Urban Decay Shine On

Melissa’s nails, 2 coats, sunlight, iPhone picture

Urban Decay Shine On is a shimmery metallic bronze polish that’s not too gold and not too orange. It looks great on Melissa’s skin and was a breeze to apply.

These are all two coats. As you can see, the colour itensity of the polish is great and on par with MAC Originality. Compare this to the weak Revlon Copperglaze Platinum, which couldn’t cover anything with two coats. We can also see that Shine On’s gold/bronze is much more neutral than Originality.

Melissa’s nails, with OPI Black Shatter, sunlight, iPhone photo

And viola! A leopard theme manicure when Shine On is paired with OPI Black Shatter. After playing with Black Shatter for a few days, I think that it goes the best with glittery polishes. Somehow its matteness dulls the bottom colour so if you are using a creme, your entire manicure looks blah.

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Zoya Luna

I’m in love with all my Zoya polishes. I like the size of the brush (unlike OPI’s Pro wide brush that is too large for nail art) and the creaminess of the formula (applies like buttah, baby). Today, I’m going to introduce Zoya Luna to you, which is one of the most versatile colours for nail art.

3 coats, sunlight

2 coats, sunlight

Zoya Luna is a pale grey polish with dense silver glitter from the Ultra Glitter 2009 winter collection. I didn’t put top coat on the swatches so you can see every bump on my nails. If you want to wear this on its own, three coats are needed as two coats will still expose your pinky nail bed.

However, the main use for Zoya Luna is not as a base colour, although you most certainly can do that if you have a New Year countdown party to attend. Instead, this is excellent for glitter tips. Behold:

Melissa’s nails, OPI Coney Island Cotton Candy, Zoya Luna, China Glaze Nova, red and silver jewels, sunlight

Emily’s nails, OPI Coney Island Cotton Candy, Zoya Luna, random small glitter, pink and white pearls, silver jewels, iPhone

Once again, sorry for the poor quality iPhone pictures. Anyway, the concept is the same for both manicures. First you apply a sheer French manicure base (as I only have one, that means OPI Coney Island), followed by Zoya Luna, which you pat on with the brush. To create texture and a slight gradient effect, use a smaller glitter over Luna and extend it beyond so that the you can see the glitter become less sparse towards the cuticle. Follow up with jewels and pearls. Ideally, you should put plenty of them, as in Emily’s nails, to create the denseness at the tips, but it may not be very practical if the person is not very careful with her nails. The more jewels, the more chances of you hitting them against something.

With Zoya Raven (black), China Glaze White Cap (gold shimmer)

Here’s a suggested look if you really, really need to use Zoya Luna as the base colour.

Chinese New Year manicure

Chinese Lunar New Year starts on 3 February this year and it’s the year of the rabbit – one of the cuter animals in the Chinese zodiac. Since the celebration takes place over 15 days, while the festivity starts a month before, I had plenty of time for Chinese-themed manicures.

Serena’s nails, OPI An Affair In Red Square (red), MAC Originality (gold), China Glaze Treasure Chest (gold flakes), evening light

Serena sported the traditional colours of red and gold for Chinese New Year. The designs on her index and ring fingers were meant to look like wrapped gifts. The rest of her nails received a simple gold French tip topped with gold flakes.

Barbara’s nails, OPI Red My Fortune Cookie, MAC Originality, China Glaze Treasure Chest, white striper pen

Here Barb gets the full-blown treatment. Every single nail is a wrapped gift. The white nail striper pen got super gooey when I started on the horizontal stripes. Time to start hunting for a better one. The problem is that none of the major polish brands make them and so I have to resort to purchasing random ones at pasar malam stores.

Weifen’s nails, OPI Coney Island Cotton Candy (milky pink), China Glaze Ruby Pumps (red), MAC Originality (gold), China Glaze Treasure Chest (gold flakes), jewels, sunlight

Here I used virtually the same colours for Weifen for a more subdued look.

Cheryl’s nails, OPI Passion, China Glaze Treasure Chest

Cheryl insisted on having a non-adventurous nail colour. Does this still look somewhat festive?

Emily’s nails, OPI Red My Fortune Cookie, pale pink acrylic (polka dots), white acrylic (ribbon)

This doesn’t really go with the theme save for the title of the red polish, which mentions fortune cookies. Nonetheless, this is my favourite out of the bunch and I can probably use it again in late February for Valentine Day manicures.

Alicia’s nails, evening light

Alicia’s nails deserve honourable mention for their sheer tackiness. This gel manicure was done by a freelance manicurist. While there was neither gold nor red, this reminded me of Chinese dancers with their sweeping flowery costumes and fit our theme today.

China Glaze Strawberry Fields

2 coats, sunlight

Strawberry Fields is a pink polish with golden glass fleck shimmer from China Glaze’s 2009 Summer Days collection. In the second picture, you can see how incredibly glossy the polish is even without top coat. My tip lines still show with two coats, so maybe a third coat would be better. This reminds me slightly of the NARS Orgasm blush, which is pretty much a pink blush with golden shimmer.

2 coats, flash

I wore this on my toes to a dance performance where the theme was pink and bling.

China Glaze Classic Camel

China Glaze Classic Camel is from the 2010 Fall Vintage Vixen collection. It is a gold-tan colour with very pretty glimmering gold shimmer. It is one of those pretty-ugly colours that you love or hate. I happen to love it! The only complaint is the formula, which is slightly gritty. You need to have a lot of patience and use thin layers and let dry between coats to get a perfect application.

Here I’m comparing with MAC In The Buff, which is another one of those love-it-or-leave-it colours. The difference is that In The Buff has no shimmer and has green undertones. These are all great alternatives to those typical OPI nudes that are so sheer you need three to four coats to see anything.

Rosiva’s nails, Classic Camel + Light As Air + black nailart pen

OPI You Don’t Know Jacques

Two coats, sunlight

You Don’t Know Jacques is arguably the most popular lacquer from OPI France collection of Fall 2008. When I first wore it, I thought it was brown. Then an hour later, it looked grey. Coupled with rather strong purple undertones, you can understand why people love this complex colour.

I like it but I would love it more if it were one shade lighter. When I wore this to work, my colleague expressed shock at my “goth nails.” Goth?!?!

Sherinz’s nails, with MAC Originality, white nail striper and Orly Matte top coat

This is what You Don’t Know Jacques looks like mattified. Sherinz thinks that this looks like frozen chocolate.

China Glaze Treasure Chest

1 coat, natural light

2 coats, natural light

Tresure Chest is a clear base filled with hexagonal-shaped gold glitter chunks. It’s clearly not meant to be used on its own, so I tried to layer it over other polishes.

Okay, so I tried it over (from thumb to pinkie): red, black, vampy red, green and yellow. It’s so garish over red, but I guess it would be very appropriate during Chinese New Year (red and gold being auspicious colours). I think it looks the best over yellow, which is China Glaze Lemon Fizz, and green, OPI Jade Is The New Black.

Amanda’s nails, OPI Passion, China Glaze Treasure Chest

Treasure Chest is also excellent for French tips as it’s quite dense. And the great thing about glitter is that you don’t need to be super neat with the lines. Amanda thinks that OPI Passion makes her nails look like they have undergone a gel manicure.

Revlon Copperglaze Platinum


A classic Revlon shade. This is a muted metallic bronze that looks nearly nude in direct sunlight (first picture) and takes on a darker cast in low light (second picture). Not my cup of tea, but is a great work-friendly alternative to creme nudes.

This took three coats to go opaque and had some slight bubbling issue. I’m not sure if it was the formula or because I was too impatient to let the layers dry before the next.

MAC Originality

This metallic gold/copper/bronze colour is part of MAC’s Pret-a-Papier Spring 2010 collection. Hands are kindly provided by Serena, whose foundation shade is Everyday Minerals in Buttered Tan. She is slightly tanner than I am. What a gorgeous colour! It’s like she dipped her hands into liquid metal.

I wish my hair were this shade of gold! Failing which, I have to settle for admiring her nails in MAC’s Originality.