OPI Suzi Skis in the Pyrenees

Alicia’s nails, 2 coats, sunlight

Where are the Pyrenees? They are a chain of mountains in southwest Europe that borders France and Spain. This is very apt, considering that the polish is part of OPI’s Fall 2009 Spain collection. As you can see, two coats are inadequate. There are bald spots and the colour is less dense than ideal.

With three coats, you can see this polish is its full jelly grey glory. I decided to compare it with NARS Midnight Express because I thought they had similar consistencies. Both had a jelly texture, albeit Midnight Express more so than Suzi, while Suzi had a very subtle shimmer. I really like this polish. It somehow manages to be soft and dark at the same time.

With China Glaze Millenium and silver striper pen

I wore this look for a week, which is a long time for Poppynails-land.

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China Glaze Lorelai’s Tiara

Alicia’s nails, 2 coats, sunlight

My first impression of Lorelai’s Tiara was Gilmore Girls? It was quickly followed by Aww… what a pretty colour! This is a clear base filled with gazillions of small silver glitter and slightly larger blue ones. The polish is from the 2011 Eye Candy collection and is part of a pack of six. It’s very pretty and glacial and was so opaque it can be worn on its own. I love dense glitters like that. They are perfect for shiny French tips.

With Maybelline Cloudy Grey

Here are Alicia nails with a blue-grey Maybelline base and Lorelai’s Tiara as the glitter tips. I stuck on some other larger blue pieces from another polish and added several crystals on the ring finger and the thumb. We were trying to achieve a mermaid effect with the aqua and the moody grey. On hindsight, there could have been a greater contrast between the tips and the base polish. A darker base, for example, may have being better at bringing out the glittery effect.

I am so happy to be featuring someone else’s nails apart from my ugly ones on this page!

OPI Dating a Royal

2 coats, sunlight

OPI Dating a Royal is a deep bright blue creme from the Mod About Brights collection. It has a semi-jelly texture which makes it incredibly shiny. You can spot the reflection of flats behind me in the second picture. The jelly texture also means that you have to be careful to cover all bald spots. Too light a brush stroke will easily leave you with patches of lighter blue. I recommend three coats to be perfect.

One reason why I am so enamoured with this polish is that it’s the colour of one of my favourite rocks the lapis lazuli, which is found mainly in the mines of Afghanistan. My lapis lazuli ring (pictured above) was bought from Montpellier, France, which sold lots of other nice gemstones as well. If you’re a Vampire Diaries fan, you would also know that Lapis Lazuli was worn by several vampires as protection against the sun.

With OPI Crown Me Already (silver glitter) and Nicole Glitz and Glisten (purple glitter), sunlight

Urban Decay Love Light

2 coats, sunlight

Love Light, the last polish from the Urban Decay Summer of Love collection, is sheer with suspended silver glitter bits. I wouldn’t wear this on its own because it’s basically colourless.

Here I layer Love Light over other polishes, such as Zoya Raven, the black polish on my index finger, as well as the three other Urban Decay cremes.

With China Glaze Re-fresh Mint

But my favourite use for such polishes is in French manicures, particularly with coloured tips like my mint green ones here.

So here ends my review of the collection and thanks for looking!

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.

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!

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.

China Glaze Millenium

Alicia’s nails, 2 coats, sunlight

Millenium is from the 2009 Khrome collection, and is part of six other metallic colours. This is pure liquid silver and you can (almost!) see your reflection in your nails. The formula is excellent: smooth, opaque and dries very quickly. On the other hand, flaws show up easily so if you have any bumps or uneven ridges on your nails, it’s not very forgiving.

It’s a little crazy to wear on its own so I haven’t. However, I have used this extensively as French manicures and for nail designs, as you can see in the previous two posts. It’s really nice for Christmas- and New Year-themed nails.

With China Glaze Sugar High, artificial light

I dug up this old photograph of Millenium with Sugar High. Whoops! Can’t believe how shoddily painted it is. But anyways, you get the picture.

China Glaze Refresh Mint

2 coats, sunlight

China Glaze Refresh Mint is the latest addition to my pastels family. This is part of the Spring 2010 Up and Away collection. It is a pale mint green that turns opaque in two coats. Application was a bit iffy and I thought it was slightly more difficult to apply than the other pastel polishes in the range. It was thick and watery at the same time, which means that the paint bled more easily at the cuticles. Nonetheless, I love this incredible vintage green colour.

Maggie’s nails, 2 coats, with MAC Originality, iPhone picture under artificial light

I haven’t been carrying my camera around recently so this explains the deluge of iPhone-taken photographs. The colour in this picture is not accurate. The very first photograph at the top of the post is. Maggie’s nails were a lot prettier in real life and resembled (in another colleague’s words) a China teacup with the green and gold.

Emily’s nails, (all China Glaze) Refresh Mint, Millenium, Something Sweet, iPhone photo

Yup, another inaccurate iPhone photograph. Here I paired Refresh Mint with Something Sweet for Emily’s Christmas-themed nails.

2 coats, with China Glaze Matte Magic Flat Finish Top Coat, sunlight

I have Refresh Mint on my big toes, along with other China Glaze pastels on the rest, topped with China Glaze’s matte top coat.