Category: Mani Monday

Mani Monday: Formula X Spring 2016 Review + Swatches

It’s been a really long time since I’ve used Formula X nail polish, I’m talking over a year but I use their Delete All polish remover pretty constantly so I’m happy to say we have a bunch of Formula X based posts coming up. The first one up has three of their new shades for spring. I have to say, this Sephora exclusive, 3-free line has some pretty spectacular formulas. Considering these are pretty light shades, I was expecting some issues but the only problem I had was with Punch Line and that was mostly my fault.
Punch Line
Formula X Punch Line Swatch - 1st coat was good, 2nd wouldn't dry
I used a pretty heavy hand with the first coat of this peachy coral and it looked so good I should’ve left it alone. Unfortunately I decided I needed a second coat and ended up with drying issues, even after a coat of Seche Vite. It ended up looking good anyways, but one coat of Punch Line would’ve been perfect.
Formula X Delightful Swatch - Perfect, a little chalky
Delightful was the cause of a lot of debate. It’s a really soft, pastel dove gray that has hints of blue. At least that’s how I saw it, but there was a lot of debate about what the shade actually was. With the exception of a tiny bit of chalkiness, two coats of this went on perfectly with none of the patchiness I’d expect from a shade like this.
Formula X Intrigue Swatch - 2 thin coats, perfect
I adore this taupe shade to the point where I didn’t want to take it off. I went almost a week before I had to do other swatches and I didn’t have a single finger with a chip or tip wear. Two thin coats went on perfectly and I’m going to be using this one a lot.

I have no idea why I haven’t been using Formula X more, but that changes now. They have so many shades available that it’s going to be hard to pick. Intrigue is my favourite so far but I have a feeling if they all go on this well that’s going to change constantly.

Essie Spring 2016 Collection

We’ve been trying out quite a few spring nail polish collections lately and it seems that the only thing they have in common is that they’re not quite spring like. Essie’s six offerings have a couple that are perfect for spring and a couple that don’t quite belong but are gorgeous anyways. For spring, Essie’s Global Color Designer Rebecca Minkoff was inspired by Palm Beach and a ‘sunshine state of mind.’ We didn’t get a chance to try one of the polishes, Shades On, a really pretty purple but I’m going to grab it if I can ever find it in a store. I’ve been finding Essie’s formulas just keep getting better and there were a couple of one-coaters in this collection.
High Class Affair
Essie High Class Affair Swatch - Perfect
With the exception of the Retro Revival collection, Essie has been killing it with their nudes lately and the blush nude of High Class Affair has a formula that’s perfection. I did two coats and a top coat and had zero issues at all. It’s also a really flattering nude for my skin tone.
Lounge Lover
Essie Lounge Lover Swatch - Thick Coats
Lounge Lover seems to be the most spring like of this collection to me. A bright pinky-peach, it’s really pretty. I had to use thicker coats for this one but generally didn’t have any issues.
Sunshine State Of Mind
Essie Sunshine State Of Mind Swatch
I’m so not ready for orange nail polish yet, I thought for sure we were still a couple months away. But this ‘bright coral tangelo,’ looked a lot better in person and the formula was fairly typical for Essie, meaning two coats went on perfectly.
Off Tropic
Essie Off Tropic Swatch - 1 Coat
This ‘lush grove green’ didn’t make any sense to me for spring until I read Rebecca Minkoff’s inspiration for the collection. This is such a gorgeous shade though and I had full opacity in one coat. I was fully expecting this one to stain and it didn’t. I’m going to be using Off Tropic a lot but probably not until fall.
Pool Side Service
Essie Pool Side Service Swatch - 1 Coat
Another one-coater, Pool Side Service is a ‘refreshing cerulean blue.’ I couldn’t photograph how stunning this shade is in person. It’s more on the teal side for me and I’m completely in love with it. I don’t think I’ve ever owned a polish quite like it before.

The shades may not make a ton of sense for spring but this is definitely a winner of a collection.

Mani Monday: Misslyn Viva La Diva Spring 2016 Collection

I’ve only tried a few Misslyn nail polishes but I’ve become seriously impressed with the ones I have. For their spring collection, Misslyn introduced the Viva La Diva collection, inspired by Italian temper and a lively colour palette. With five nail polishes (all in some shade of pink), two top coats and ring tattoos, this is a great line for spring and would’ve been great for Valentine’s Day as well. We received two of the nail polish shades to try and both formulas were pretty flawless. The brush is on the larger side but I didn’t need much cleanup and it actually made it easier to cover my nail in one stroke.
361 Speed Dating
Misslyn 361 Speed Dating Swatch
Speed Dating is a deep pink-magenta and was really pretty in the sunlight. It’s not a shade I’m usually drawn to but I really enjoyed how it looked. This is two coats and a top coat.
384 Floral Ornament
Misslyn 384 Floral Ornament Swatch
I might be on some kind of nude polish kick because I love this pink-nude. Application was perfect and I could’ve gotten away with one coat but I went with two anyways. This might be one of my favourite nudes ever. It’s really flattering to my skin tone and wasn’t patchy or streaky at all.

Viva La Diva hit stores yesterday and is only available until March 26, 2016, so if you want one of these gorgeous polishes, you’re going to want to get to Shoppers Drug Mart. For more information on Misslyn, you can check out their Canadian Facebook page.

CND Vinylux Spring 2016 Art Vandal Collection

One of the things I love most about CND’s seasonal collections is that they’re not always expect for the season. Most of us think pastel when it comes to spring nails but CND Vinylux’s Art Vandal collection is instead inspired by the self-expression of art. In the eight shades of the collection, there’s only one that can be considered pastel, and I’m definitely ok with that. All of the swatches are two coats, followed by the Vinylux top coat.
Tutti Fruitti
CND Vinylux Tutti Frutti Swatch
Tutti Frutti is a shimmery bright pink that’s gorgeous in the sunlight. This one will be great for summer.
Irreverent Rose
CND Vinylux Irreverent Rose Swatch
I was surprised by how much I loved the pink shades in this collection and Irreverent Rose is a really pretty dark rose creme.
Mauve Maverick
CND Vinylux Mauve Maverick Swatch
Mauve Maverick is not the kind of shade I’d normally pick up and the name is really misleading (it leans more pink than mauve) but this is my favourite shade of the collection. The formula was amazing and it’s just so pretty.
Untitled Bronze
CND Vinylux Untitled Bronze Swatch - Hard to take off
Untitled Bronze on the other hand was my least favourite. A bronze shimmer with lots of pink in it, it was a formula that never seemed to smooth out. And all the glitter in it made it almost impossible to remove. I know I can’t like every single Vinylux shade but I’m always surprised when I don’t.
Art Basil
CND Vinylux Art Basil Swatch
Art Basil is one of the more unusual shades in the collection. A green/teal shimmer, it really stands out against all the other green polishes I own. It’s a gorgeous shade for spring.
Sienna Scribble
CND Vinylux Sienna Scribble Swatch
Sienna Scribble is a metallic copper and it’s basically the exact opposite of Untitled Bronze. It’s smooth, the colour is gorgeous and it wore really well.
Magenta Mischief
CND Vinylux Magenta Mischief Swatch - Could've been 1 coat
There’s something so special about Magenta Mischief, in the sunlight you can see hints of a blue violet undertone within the magenta shimmer.I could’ve gotten away with one coat of this one but went with two to really show it off.
CND Vinylux Digi-Teal Swatch
This bright blue creme got me the most compliments of the whole collection. It’s stunning in person and while it might not be a pastel, it definitely leans spring.

The whole Art Vandal collection is beyond gorgeous and I’m going to be using almost the whole collection quite a bit. We already have the summer Vinylux Flirtations collection and it’s just as pretty, that review is coming soon.

Mani Monday: Essie Retro Revival Review + Swatches

Essie has released hundreds of nail polish shades since their launch in 1981 but unfortunately, a lot of them are limited edition or have been discontinued. Since Essie fans have been begging for them to bring back certain shades, they decided to release Retro Revival, six of the most popular Essie polishes ever. We have almost the whole collection, we’re just missing Starry Starry Night, which is probably the most sought after polish in the collection. I’ve never tried any of these shades before so I was pretty excited to get started.
Bikini With A Martini
Essie Bikini With A Martini Swatch - 3 coats
Bikini With A Martini first launched in 2006. This frosted iridescent pink is pretty sheer and required three coats to get even a little opacity. It looks good regardless of how many coats you use. If you’re piling it on though, you need to be careful of pooling.
Sequin Sash
Essie Sequin Sash Swatch - 3 coats, sheer
This sheer glittery bronze has silver glitter in it and comes from 2005. This one is also three coats but has a better reaction to more coats. Unfortunately, I’m just not a fan of the colour.
Birthday Suit
Essie Birthday Suit Swatch - pooling, settling, hour to dry
Birthday Suit is part of the original collection from 1981. Essie calls it a ‘cheeky, delicate nude.’ I just call it a complete pain to work with. There were pooling issues, settling issues and it took over an hour to dry, even with a good coat of Seche Vite over it. Just getting it to look presentable enough for a photo took way too much work. Luckily this was the exception of the collection.
Cabana Boy
Essie Cabana Boy Swatch - perfect
Essie calls Cabana Boy an ‘ultra-cool pearly white,’ but I think it tends to lean on the grey side, with a hint of blue. Originally released in 2005, Cabana Boy had the best formula of all the light shades and is just gorgeous on. I might have to stock up on this one, I love it that much.
Life Of The Party
Essie Life Of The Party Swatch - perfect
Life Of The Party is my favourite of the collection. This one is from 2002 and might be my favourite Essie red ever. A ‘pinot noir pearl,’ it stands out from most typical red shades and the formulation is pretty much perfect. I only did a second coat because I wanted it to stand out more and I’m completely obsessed with this one.

I really wish Essie had released more colour into their Retro Revival collection, Life Of The Party and Starry Starry Night just don’t seem to be enough. And while Essie is pretty well known for their neutral shades, the only one I’ll reach for again is Cabana Boy. That said, I love the idea behind this collection and hope they continue to bring back more shades.

MoYou London Illusion Starter Kit

Illusion Starter Kit Package
It’s been pretty well established that I’m pretty bad at nail art, but I’ve never tried nail stamping before. To be honest, it seemed really difficult and messy and I hadn’t really ever put much thought into trying it. When we got a invitation to visit the Trade Secrets head office (they’re the only place that carries MoYou London in Canada) to try MoYou, I was curious enough to try it out.
Illusion Starter Kit Back
Getting your nails stamped by a pro is one thing (my nails looked amazing) but trying it on my own was something completely different. So when I was sent home with the Illusion starter kit, I was excited and a little bit scared.
Illusion Starter Kit Contents
The kit comes with everything you need. An image plate (Illusion 02), a stamping polish (Black Knight), a stamp, a scraper and a hugely helpful instruction manual.
Illusion Starter Kit Contents Open
I figured a kitchen table would be the best place to spread everything out and give it a try. I also had nail polish remover and a roll of paper towels with me. I was a little overconfident, I mean the lady who did my nails made it look so easy, so I could figure it out right? Well, sort of. Figuring out how much polish to apply to the image plate and how to position the stamp on your nail is definitely going to take some time to get the hang of. And every time I had to clean the stamp the rubber came out of the holder, so there’s definitely a learning curve.
Illusion Starter Kit Swatch 1
I used Essie’s Blossom Dandy under the stamping, thinking it would be a good contrast to the black stamping polish. I obviously didn’t get the right amount of polish on the stamp on my first try but I liked the faded effect so I didn’t redo it.
Illusion Starter Kit Swatch 2
For my very first try, it was a pretty decent attempt at nail art and I have a couple more image plates to try out. I’m going to do some practise runs on paper before I go for my nails again. MoYou London has an insane amount of image plates to choose from and I’m going to pick up more stamping polish because you can’t use regular polish for this.

Nail stamping might be the only way I can get the hang of nail art, luckily I have tons of options to choose from. Stay tuned for more attempts.

Mani Monday: Quo By Orly COLOR AMP’D Core Collection

Quo By Orly COLOR AMP'D On The List Kit
The latest craze in nail polish lately has been the at home gel-like polish and Quo By Orly’s COLOR AMP’D is the newest addition. Like CND’s Vinylux and Sally Hansen’s Miracle Gel, COLOR AMP’D is a two-step process. Apply two coats of polish over dry, bare nails. Add the top coat, wait a few minutes and you’re dry and ready to go. You can buy a starter kit like the photo above or buy the polishes individually and they’re only available at Shoppers Drug Mart.

I was pretty impressed with the drying time, it’s supposed to be dry in eight minutes but I don’t think any of them actually took that long. There are 24 shades in the core collection and they run from nudes to darks, cremes to shimmers. My biggest issue with the collection is the actual top coat. The brush caused some dragging issues with the nail polish regardless of how long I waited to apply it and there’s a spicy scent to it that made me sneeze constantly. The other issue I have is with the packaging. The bottles are covered in plastic the supposed shade of the nail polish inside. And none of them are close enough to what you’re putting on your nails. So every time I tried a new one I was getting a surprise. That’s fine when you’re swatching, but not when you’re spending money.
City Of Angels
Quo By Orly COLOR AMP'D City Of Angels Swatch - sheer
When I saw the light blue shade of the bottle, I decided to save this one for last figuring it would be my favourite. Boy was I wrong. The shade inside the bottle was nothing like the bottle itself. The polish was a super sheer icy blue shimmer that seems suited for a Frozen fan. Two coats didn’t get anywhere near the opacity I wanted and the formula was really runny.
Pop Culture
Quo By Orly COLOR AMP'D Pop Culture Swatch - clumping, settling issues
Pop Culture was the opposite of City Of Angels. It was thicker and a little clumpy and wouldn’t really settle properly. But this bright orange will be a great summer shade.
Surfer Girl
Quo By Orly COLOR AMP'D Surfer Girl Swatch
Surfer Girl was so much brighter on my nails than I expected from the bottle. It’s somewhere between bubblegum pink and Pepto-Bismol. but the formula was really smooth and two coats gave me great coverage.
Quo By Orly COLOR AMP'D Speakeasy Swatch
For a nude, Speakeasy has a pretty good formula that wasn’t too patchy. Unfortunately, it’s too beige for me skin tone.
On The List
Quo By Orly COLOR AMP'D On The List Swatch
On The List is a pretty silvery-rose shimmer. I did have a little bit of an issue with bubbling, but it mostly settled. This is the shade that came in the starter kit and of all the kits I’ve seen at Shoppers, most of them were this one.
Fashion Forward
Quo By Orly COLOR AMP'D Fashion Forward Swatch
I was expecting Fashion Forward to be much darker, almost plum, because of the bottle. but even with the brighter fuchsia shade, this was my favourite. The formula and coverage were perfect and it was a pretty flattering shade on me.

These shades definitely aren’t the ones I would’ve picked, I have my eye on Art Walks and Rooftop Lounge, but they were a good idea of what the core collection looks like. I don’t know if they’re going to release seasonal collections but I’m guessing we’ll find out soon.

I can’t say I’m going to use COLOR AMP’D on a regular basis but it does what it claims to. You get the staying power and glossiness of a gel and it dries really quickly. Hopefully they fix the issue with the bottles so you can actually get a good idea of what you’ll be putting on your nails.

Mani Monday: Most Wanted Nail Polish 2015

Happy New Year! We have a ton of new stuff coming up but for our first Mani Monday of the year we’re looking back at our favourite nail polish shades from 2015.
Essie: With The Band
Essie With The Band Swatch - Could've Been 1 Coat
There were quite a few Essie shades that I loved a lot this year, Bell-Bottom Blues and Groove Is In The Heart almost made this list; but With The Band is probably one of my favourites shades of red polish ever. The formula is fantastic and the colour is just a little off from a ‘classic’ red. Essie’s entire fall collection is probably my collection of the year.
Nails Inc x Alice + Olivia: Next To Nothing
Nails Inc Next To Nothing Swatch
I’m generally not a fan of nude nail polish and there are other shades in the Nails Inc. x Alice + Olivia F/W 2015 set that are more in my comfort zone but Next To Nothing is basically my ideal nude. I’ve been using it sparingly because I have a mini sized bottle but if I’m ever going to reach for a nude polish, it’ll be this one.
Julep: Alyssa
Julep Alyssa Swatch
I swear I’m not picking this shade because it has my name on it. At least not fully. When Julep released their June collection and had shades named Alyssa and Steph, I was pretty excited. But when I tried the Alyssa polish and it was basically the summer shade I would’ve picked for myself, well, the excitement level went way up. Plus you get full coverage with one coat and it’s a creme. I’ve already gone through half the bottle.
CND Vinylux: Couture Covet
CND Vinylux Couture Covet Swatch
I loved the fall nail polish collections the most this year and CND Vinylux’s Contradictions collection had a lot of great shades. Couture Covet was one of standouts for me. For one thing, it’s hard to find a great, dark teal and for another the formula was outstanding enough that I didn’t let the little bit of staining stop me from using it repeatedly.
Trust Fund Beauty: Denim With Diamonds
Trust Fund Beauty Denim With Diamonds Swatch - one coat, no staining
It takes a lot for me to be blown away by a shade of nail polish; but when I did the Trust Fund Beauty Battle Of The Blues, I couldn’t get over Denim With Diamonds. This shade is so stunning in person, I got a ridiculous amount of compliments on it. One coat gets you full coverage of this shimmery deep blue and I’m pretty much completely obsessed with this shade.

It was so hard to narrow down my favourites of 2015. What was your favourite nail polish last year?

Mani Monday: CND Vinylux Aurora Holiday 2015

We’re finally at the end of our holiday nail polish collections and while CND Vinylux’s Aurora collection might be more reminiscent of winter than holiday, it’s a gorgeous collection. If you’ve never used CND Vinylux, it’s the at home, no light needed version of Shellac. You apply the polish on bare, clean nails, add the top coat and wait a couple minutes for it to dry.
Glacial Mist
CND Vinylux Glacial Mist Swatch
Glacial Mist is one of the two glitter shades. With a combination of blue and silver glitter, this shade is stunning. The swatch is two coats and was still pretty sheer, so if you don’t love visible nail line, you might want to use this one over a coat of silver.
Winter Glow
CND Vinylux Winter Glow Swatch
A light pink creme, Winter Glow had a fantastic formula for this type of shade. It wasn’t patchy and leveled out perfectly and it does have a little glow in the right light.
CND Vinylux Tundra Swatch
Tundra doesn’t really sound like as pretty a name as this mauve shimmer shade deserves. It’s really pretty but unfortunately the brush strokes never really evened out.
Nordic Lights
CND Vinylux Nordic Lights Swatch
Nordic Lights is my favourite of the collection. A wine shade with pink, purple and blue glitter, this shade is seriously gorgeous and perfect for any holiday party.

Mani Monday – Quo By Orly Celebrity Holiday ’15 Collection

I’m finally getting to close to the end of my holiday nail polish posts and this time we have Quo By Orly’s Celebrity collection. Celebrity is only available at Shopper’s Drug Mart in Canada but the collection is basically identical to Orly’s Infamous collection, so if you don’t live in Canada but love the collection, you have options. There are also a few Quo By Orly gift sets available that are perfect for any polish lover.
Pass The Champagne
Quo By Orly Pass The Champagne Swatch
I’m starting with my least favourite of the polishes. Pass The Champagne is basically exactly what you’d expect from the name, a light champagne. The formula just didn’t work for me. It was streaky, showed brushstrokes and just didn’t level well. Luckily this was the exception, not the rule.
Quo By Orly Diva Swatch
Diva is a seriously gorgeous dark teal creme and two coats was perfect. It didn’t stain too badly coming off. Definitely my favourite of the collection.
Wild Child
Quo By Orly Wild Child Swatch
Wild Child is a deep cherry red creme, perfect for the holiday season. This one was really flattering with my skin tone and I’ve already used it again. I’m not a huge red fan, but I really like this one.
Quo By Orly Outrageous Swatch
If you need a little glitter in your life, Outrageous is a gold glitter in a clear base that has red shimmer in it. One coat was perfect over Wild Child.

I feel like every Quo By Orly collection keeps getting better with both formula and brush lengths and it’s getting easier to work with. With the exception of Pass The Champagne, this is one of my favourite holiday collections.