Illamasqua Throb

2 coats, sunlight

Oh Illamasqua, how I love thee. I only own three polishes from this brand and already I feel like its formulas are the best I’ve seen. Throb is a cool red creme and honestly, the colour is nothing to write home about. It’s a very nice red but as I mentioned before, there are only so many reds you c!n have in your stash. What’s incredible about this is the formula. Throb is thicker than the typical OPI creme polishes but still applied very well and has a very shiny red car paint finish. It was sturdy and stayed on my nails better than OPI reds.

Constant readers will know that I own a limited amount of reds. So here is Throb compared to OPI Comet Loves Cupid and OPI Red My Fortune Cookie. You can see that Throb is a darker and more womanly shade as compared to the two OPI shades. I’m glad that it looks quite different from them because I would be peeved if they were too similar.

Alicia’s nails, with China Glaze Love Marilyn

This photo came out quite poorly because it was taken in low lighting but this was Alicia’s Hello Kitty nail manicure. Illamasqua Throb was used as a base for all nails and the glittery Love Marilyn was layered over a few nails. On her pointer finger we painted Hello Kitty stickers.

Random nail art

I have been too busy to do any swatching recently so here are some random nail art pictures. The lighting tends to be quite poor because we usually meet in the evenings to prettify our nails. Daylight pictures are hard to come by nowadays!

My favourite is the first picture. The pink and gold nails are very pretty but so tedious!

Alicia’s nails, China Glaze Something Sweet and China Glaze Sugar High

Emily’s nails, Zoya Moxie

China Glaze Refresh Mint and OPI Jade is the New Black

Alicia’s nails, no idea what these polishes are because she did them with a professional manicurist

Singapore national day nail art 2011

Alicia’s nails

Liwen’s nails

Serena’s nails

Urban Decay Psychedelic Sister

2 coats, sunlight

This has got to be my favourite colour out of the Urban Decay Summer of Love collection. It is a pink-based red creme that’s quite unique in my (small) collection of reds.

Psychedelic Sister (left side) vs OPI Red My Fortune Cookie (right side)

You can see the pink tones more clearly in this picture, where I compare Psychedelic Sister side-by-side with OPI Red My Fortune Cookie. Application was quite poor. The formula was thick and stringy at times and I had to add thinner.

Red polish always looks good with white polka dots. I’m not sure if the Claire’s brand of nail striper is something special because the ones sold on eBay without any brand name look almost the same. This one comes with a brush and a metal tip, where you can squeeze out a teeny amount of white paint.

This look was inspired by this:

Emily’s nails, iPhone picture

Emily did this manicure in Bangkok. Look how pretty the lace design is, compared with my clumsy and gloopy ones.

Urban Decay Aquarius

Three coats, sunlight

Aquarius is a green-blue shimmer polish from Urban Decay’s Summer of Love collection. I applied two coats at first but then went over the bald spots with another so I think most of the nails ended up with three coats. It’s not really a colour that I would wear on its own so this stayed on me for only two days. However, it does look good when paired with other polishes.

With MAC Blue India and silver nail striper, sunlight

And here’s Aquarius with one of my all-time favourite polishes, MAC Blue India. I kept this manicure on for more than a week because of Blue India.

With Urban Decay Love Light, sunlight

This manicure was done some time back when I was obsessed with the whole nude nail and coloured french tips look. Love Light isn’t really a typical nude. It’s a very shimmery light pink that I think is an interesting alternative to the usual sheer milky nudes.

So here we are, halfway through the Urban Decay Summer of Love collection. Stay tuned for more!

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.

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.

Nails for charity

Nail painting for the needy, anyone? As part of our company’s charity drive, Liyen and I offered nail painting services for $10. The proceeds went to MIND, TOUCH and Kwong Wai Shui Hospital and Nursing Home. Here were the results:

Maggie’s nails, OPI Alpine Snow (matte), China Glaze Snow Globe and jewels

Weifen’s nails, random OPI red polish, China Glaze Sugar High, China Glaze Something Sweet, jewels

PJ’s nails, Chanel Diabolic, Maybelline Cloudy Grey, jewels

Cammy’s nails, China Glaze For Audrey, Orly Snowcone, white nail striper pen

Yingmin’s nails, Pop Beauty O Boy, random sparkly OPI, jewels

Huifang’s nails, Orly Snowcone, MAC Blue India, Zoya Charla, jewels (this is essentially the blue version of Weifen’s nails)

Jac’s nails, Zoya Moxie, MAC Originality, white nail striper pen, jewels

Vida’s nails, China Glaze Peachy Keen, Orly Pointe Blanche

 

Cynthia’s nails, China Glaze Something Sweet, random sparkly OPI

Liyen’s nails, OPI Parlez-vous OPI?, China Glaze Millenium

Liyen’s nails, China Glaze Sugar High, China Glaze Snow Globe, jewels

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

Three triangles

We call this the “Three triangles” pattern, which consists of three different geometric shapes on a nail and having it all come together with a jewel right smack in the middle of the colours.

Alicia is modelling her own creation here. This is China Glaze For Audrey as the base colour, MAC Blue India as the darker blue triangle and Pop Beauty O Boy as the pink shape.

And here are both hands! I made her pose in this ridiculous manner because she looked unnaturally womanly that day with her maxi dress and satin-like shawl.

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