Essie Matte About You

MAC Blue India

With Essie Matte About You

Essie Matte About You is a top coat that mattifies nail polishes. It was really quick drying and you can see your polish transform to a matte finish right in front of your eyes. Really cool. I think this is great if you’re in a rush for time and want your polishes to dry very quickly. Here you can see the effect over a blue creme. It seems to “rubber-ify” the polish.

(L-R) Zoya Charla, China Glaze Ruby Pumps, OPI Crown Her Already and China Glaze Ick-A-Body (all two coats)

With Essie Matte About You top coat

Here is where this matte top coat really shines – over glitter polishes. The glitter bits are frozen and suspended in a pool of colour. Out of the four polishes I swatched, I think that Zoya Charla looks the best mattified, probably because of its complexity. The other three are more straightforward glitters.

(L-R) OPI Argenteeny Pinkini, Maybelline Copperglaze Platinum, China Glaze Wagon Trail and China Glaze Branding Iron (all two coats)

With Essie Matte About You

Okay, I’m not such a big shimmer fan so I have very limited shimmer polishes. The first two are more traditional “mother-era” shimmers where you can see brush strokes if you don’t paint properly. The other two, from China Glaze rather recent Rodeo Diva collection, represent the more modern shimmers. To me, Wagon Trail is the clear winner for this round. You can see the little specks of olive shimmer peaking out from the dark base, which is quite cool.

Overall, I must say that I had fun with this top coat. I can’t wait to try it out on more glitter polishes because that’s where I think it really excels. Frozen Charla is a beauty!

Valentine’s Day manicure

I have never celebrated Valentine’s Day. It’s a non-event for me, especially when it falls on a work day. When I was in secondary school, the teachers did not let us call it “Valentine’s Day.” Instead, it was “Friendship Day.” That encouraged a lot of little notes and gifts between members of the opposite sex under the innocent guise of “friendship.”

But Valentine’s Day, like all other festivals, is a great reason to paint nails! And what screams V-Day more than pink, white and red?

Weifen’s nails, Essie Hi Maintenance, Orly Pointe Blanche (white), China Glaze Sugar High (pink), iPhone picture

Weifen received pink polka dots for Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, the dots were a little tiny so she said they looked like measles. Seriously, if anyone wants to do polka dots, make sure you get your hands on acrylic paint because it will make your life so much easier. It’s more liquid and you can mix in water if you need a thinner formula for intricate designs. Acrylic paint is sold in art-supplies stores. Art Friend is a good place to start.

Orly Cupcake (light pink), Claire’s 18 (bright pink), white nail striper pen, Essie Hi Maintenance (sheer pink), sunlight

Candy nails! Okay I know I called the Claire’s polish “18” but I seriously doubt that’s the right name. It’s just a number at the bottom of the bottle but since I can’t find the name anywhere, “18” it is. Essie Hi Maintenance, which is a sheer pink, is used as an overall wash to tone down the stark white lines. It’s extremely useful and I’ll talk more about it in another post.

Vintage half-moon manicure

Reinforcement rings are pretty much all you need for the vintage half-moon manicure. That, and a lot of patience. By a lot, I mean if you have at least two hours to spare.

It all started with an article in Urban newspaper talking about two-toned nails. Nail aficionados will know that the real name is called the vintage half-moon manicure, which consists of painting a small portion of your cuticle a different colour from the rest of your nail. It is also sometimes called the reverse French. How hard can it be? I thought.

Barbara’s nails, China Glaze Millenium (silver) + Orly Royal Navy (blue), low light

Well, the first attempt was pretty much a disaster. I didn’t know that you had to wait for the silver to dry completely before pasting on the reinforcement stickers. When I removed them, much of the silver paint came off as well. That aside, I must say that Orly Royal Navy is absolutely stunning.

Maggie’s nails, Essie Body Language (pale purple) + OPI Black Cherry Chutney (dark purple), sunlight

Maggie’s nails turned out a lot better because we had time on our side. I think this colour combination is fabulous; Black Cherry Chutney is a luxurious shimmery burgundy from the OPI India collection. But the lines separating the colours could be cleaner. Perhaps the reinforcement rings were too sticky?

This is what I mean by clean lines. Cheryl handed me this magazine photograph and asked if I could recreate the look. So here’s Attempt #3.

Cheryl’s nails, NARS Midnight Express (blue) + China Glaze Something Sweet (pink), flash

Major fail. Jagged lines galore. Her mom said that she looked diseased. We spent close to two hours painstakingly doing this and still we couldn’t achieve perfection. Can someone help? If you know the solution, it would be much appreciated.

NARS Zulu, 2 coats, sunlight

Determined to achieve the elusive clean lines and cut down on the drying time, I decided to free hand the damned moon. Here I started off with two coats of NARS Zulu. I love the way the jelly glows. It’s so shiny you can see my reflection in the nails.

NARS Zulu (green) + Orly Pointe Blanche (white)

Using Orly Pointe Blanche, which is a white polish meant specifically for French manicures, I drew a curve line near the cuticle first, then filled in the rest of the half moon. The index finger shows the curved line.

NARS Zulu (green) + Orly Pointe Blanche (white) + Elianto Platinum Pearl (white shimmer)

Et voila! The vintage half-moon manicure without use of stickers. It’s far from perfect but at least I didn’t have to spend hours on this.

Here is a closer look. My least favourite finger is the index because the white blob looks like a lump of coal.

Just noticed that Fann Wong has a half moon in one of her advertisements. It looks kind of weird actually. White half moon over a bare unpainted nail.

Essie Body Language

3 coats, sunlight

My first Essie nail polish! This was one of the goodies that I picked up on my recent trip to Hong Kong. Body Language is a pale grey-lilac creme. This is a three-coater, but thankfully it dried quickly enough. I love this colour! It’s a great neutral that is perfect for the workplace, yet still looks interesting enough for me to take a second look.

Rosiva’s nails, 3 coats, shade

Body Language looks pinker in the shade. Rosiva chose this colour to wear because she needed something quiet for her job interviews.

I thought it would be similar to China Glaze’s Light As Air, but nope, they are really different. Body Language is not as purple and it has this insanely gorgeous moodiness to it. I much prefer it!

Melissa’s nails, with China Glaze Light As Air and silver nail striper