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!

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Orly Royal Navy

2 coats, sunlight

Let’s take a break from the Urban Decay Summer of Love collection and swatch one of my favourite polishes – Orly Royal Navy. I first heard about it from Scrangie. Her passion for this royal blue colour was so contagious I had to purchase it off eBay. When I first applied it, I was struck by how quickly it dried. There is some neon pigment in this, similar to the cremes in the Urban Decay collection, so it dried semi-matte. It was only after two coats did I see the micro turquoise glitter. But creme lovers, do not worry, the micro glitter is so subtle that you have to stare at your polish to realise that it’s there.

With OPI Alpine Snow (matte) and Zoya Charla

Here’s my blue pudding manicure. Okay the lines aren’t particularly straight but hopefully you will be too entranced by the pretty blue colours to notice!

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.

Urban Decay Woodstock

Urban Decay’s Summer of Love, released in 2010, features seven mini nail polishes that reflect the colours of the hippie era. While these colours are generally hippie-ish, I feel that they should be more washed out. I would have loved for the colour of faded jeans or sun-dried carnations. These colours are just really loud and obvious. Today, I will feature Woodstock, which is a hot neon pink that dries semi matte.

2 coats, sunlight

The formula was good. It applied smoothly and dried quickly. The brush is too tiny to achieve perfect application but I guess that’s the problem with all mini polishes. I haven’t tried any OPI minis so I can’t compare though.

With OPI Black Shatter, no top coat, sunlight

With OPI Black Shatter, top coat, sunlight

I think OPI Black Shatter needs no introduction but for the uninitiated, this is a black polish that randomly separates and cracks when you apply it on your nail. You can literally see this happen the moment you apply it. It’s incredible and sexy but I’m wondering how I am going to hide my crazy nails at work this Monday. A top coat is needed because the black shatter polish dries matte.

NARS Midnight Express

2 coats, sunlight

NARS Midnight Express is an inky blue in a jelly formula that is akin to NARS Zulu. This was re-released as part of NARS Vintage collection last year. I prefer this to Zulu. While Zulu looks black most of the time, Midnight Express is undeniably blue even when the lighting is poorer. Like Zulu, the application is somewhat uneven with only coats. Parts of the nail where I used a heavier hand showed up darker, while other parts were lighter. A third coat would have evened things out but I was afraid that the colour would end up looking black.

1 coat, sunlight

Here’s one coat just to show you how blue it was initially before I started layering it on.

Serena’s nails, with OPI Alpine Snow (matte), glittery silver nail striper pen, sunlight

With Orly Snowcone, Orly Pointe Blanche, sunlight

…. And with white nail striper pen, China Glaze Millenium, artificial light

Here are some of the designs we tried with Midnight Express. The last attempt was a bit out of hand as there were way too many things going on!

OPI Alpine Snow (matte)

Alicia’s nails, 3 coats, sunlight

Alicia’s nails, 3 coats, artificial light, iPhone picture

Alpine Snow (matte) is a stark white polish and was a bitch to pain. Three coats were needed here not because the pigmentation was thin but because it streaked so badly. I couldn’t paint this at all, so Alicia did this on her own. She just applied the lacquer very quickly in quick globs because it dried almost instantly. I bought this thinking I could use it for French tips but it’s rather impossible.

With China Glaze Snow Globe, one coat

With China Glaze Treasure Chest, 1 coat

The white polish was great for layering. I prefer the look with Snow Globe, a clear polish with irridescent rainbow-coloured glitter pieces.

Amanda’s nails, with Zoya Raven, artificial light, iPhone picture

You can also alternate Alpine Snow with a black polish. Amanda wore this to Halloween.