Category: Nail Polish

TNCB Sneak Peek

We love our manicures around here and it doesn’t hurt when they come with a little bubbly, so we were really excited to hear about a new pop up shop called TNCB, or The Nail And Champagne Bar. It’s the first pop up in Toronto to combine both nails and champagne. Open in downtown Toronto (39 Stewart St.) from May 30 to June 5, TNCB will have everything you want in a nail bar (natural nails only), plus an actual bar for champagne! We had a quick chat with owner Eliza Sipin about what to expect.
TNCB- with boarder final logo ICON-SM4-2
How did the idea for the nail and champagne bar come about?

It was a natural progression of my background and what I’m truly passionate about. I started getting my nails done in high school and it has been in my bi-weekly routine without fail. In 2013, I created 2 colours and launched Vain Polish – a small line of nail lacquers under The Vanity Events. My strict love affair with champagne took flight 4 years ago when I visited region. With over a decade background as a Bartender, I’ve always had a deep interest in sparkling wines.

Why a pop up bar and not a traditional, stay in one spot retail location?

The Pop Up scene in Toronto is really growing and it’s such a unique and wonderful way to launch a brand and have people experience your offerings.

How has the response been?

It’s been great! People are excited, interested and curious all at the same time.

You’re only going to be open for a week, are there plans for more pop-ups in the future?

Yes, absolutely! The brand will introduce one-of-a-kind experiences with all things nails and champagne.

Do you have a favourite nail and champagne combo from the list of offerings?

I would definitely recommend the  “Manicure with Champagne” combo. It comes with a glass of Tarlant Brut Reserve, which is rich and creamy but still very light and refreshing. I would definitely add some Nina’s Paris truffles. The Marie Antoinette line has ingredients from The King’s Garden in Versailles and will be exclusive at the Pop Up!

Do you have recommendations for people who can’t decide what to get?

I recommend pre-booking a manicure to be sure you have the time you want. Once you arrive, please speak to myself for any recommendations on our champagne offerings or nail services. We also have our nail designers who are all certified nail technicians to guide you. And just in case, I’m also certified so you’re in the right hands!
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For more information on services or to book an appointment, head to http://www.tncb.ca/. If you’re in Toronto or not to far away, you definitely need to check out TNCB, I know I’ll be there!

CND Vinylux Flirtation Summer 2016 Collection

I’ve gotten so used to neon nail polishes for summer that receiving anything else is kind of refreshing and CND Vinylux’s Flirtation summer collection this year is definitely not neon. While some of the shades are bright, there are definitely some pastel leaning colours. It makes for a really nice, if unexpected, summer polish collection.
Skin Tease
CND Vinylux Skin Tease Swatch
Skin Tease is a nude shimmer that’s a little too close to my actual skin tone. That said, it looked a lot better than I expected it to but I’m probably not going to be grabbing it a lot.
Honey Darlin’
CND Vinylux Honey Darlin' Swatch - Frayed Brush
My experience with Honey Darlin’ was completely influenced by the fact that my brush had frayed edges. This pastel yellow creme had a good formula that managed to make itself go on really nicely even though the brush was awful. I’m not a fan of the colour but this is one of the best yellow formulas I’ve ever used.
Pink Pursuit
CND Vinylux Pink Pursuit Swatch
I love the colour of Pink Pursuit but I was really expecting it to be darker than it was on my nail. The light rose creme is really pretty though and I’d wear this one again.
Lavender Lace
CND Vinylux Lavender Lace Swatch
I don’t think I have a shade quite like this lavender shimmer. The Vinylux shimmers aren’t my favourite thing to take off and I don’t love this shade enough to do the work but it’s a really nice light purple.
Be Demure
CND Vinylux Be Demure Swatch
I’m in love with this baby pink creme and I’ve worn it quite a bit of the past couple months. It’s just so pretty without being completely dainty.
Desert Poppy
CND Vinylux Desert Poppy Swatch - Sheer
Desert Poppy is an orange creme with a little shimmer but it’s so sheer that I couldn’t get the opacity I wanted. Sometimes that doesn’t bother me but I don’t really like the shade either, so this one’s a pass for me.
Date Night
CND Vinylux Date Night Swatch
Date Night is the first shade I tried from the collection and it’s a beautiful bright blue creme. This one does stain a bit but I was expecting that. I love that it’s not a typical summer sky blue. You’ll be able to wear this one in any season.
Aqua-intance
CND Vinylux Aqua-Intance Swatch - Perfect
Teal and turquoise are actually my favourite nail polishes, when they’re done right. Aqua-intance is a perfect teal for summer. Actually, everything about this one was perfect for me; the shade, the formula, the wear time. This is definitely a contender for favourite polish of the summer.

OPI Infinite Shine Spring 2016 Collection

I’ve been using a lot of OPI lately but until now all of that has been the regular polish. This time I tried the Infinite Shine series for the first time. Infinite Shine has it’s own base and top coats and it’s a no light gel lacquer. This is first time I’ve used a base coat with an at home gel polish and I was definitely curious to see if it would make a difference. Almost immediately I had issues with the system. Things weren’t settling or drying like I expected them to. So this post will be split in two parts; the first half is using the Infinite Shine system in it’s entirety and the second half will be using my regular base and top coats with the Infinite Shine polish. I noticed a definite difference. All the swatches are two coats unless otherwise specified.
Experiment #1: OPI Infinite Shine with Infinite Shine base + top coats

Half Past Nude
OPI Half Past Nude Swatch Patchy 1
This was the first shade I tried and the amount of patchiness I had to deal with was my first indication that the whole system might not work for me. I actually really like this nude blush shade though.
Sunrise To Sunset
OPI Sunrise To Sunset Swatch - Too yellow 1
This medium orange was really the only shade in the collection that I really didn’t like. It has way too much yellow in it for me and the fact that it had a lot of the same issues as Half Past Nude didn’t help.
It’s Pink P.M.
OPI It's Pink P.M. Swatch 1
This pastel pink is really on the white side but formula is really great for a shade that pale. It’s definitely a standout light pink from the ones I’ve tried recently.
In Familiar Terra-Tory
OPI In Familiar Terra-tory Swatch - I coat 1
This dark coral is the only shade that was perfect in one coat and yet it was still a tiny bit smudgy with the top coat. That said, I’d wear this one again.

Experiment #2: OPI Infinite Shine Lacquers with alternative base and top coats

Rose Against Time
OPI Rose Against Time Swatch 2
I noticed an immediate improvement with this bright pink. I’m not a huge fan of the shade, it’s a bit too bubblegum for me, but I don’t hate it.
Don’t Provoke The Plum!
OPI Don't Provoke The Plum! Swatch - almost 1 coat 2
This purple is just gorgeous and I could’ve gotten away with one coat but wanted a little more depth. I’m a big fan of this one.
Olive For Green
OPI Olive For Green Swatch 2
I have no idea why I was so surprised by how dark this piney green is but I really was. It’s a gorgeous shade that also could’ve been one coat but looks way better with two.
Reach For The Sky
OPI Reach For The Sky Swatch 2
I adore this light blue so much for spring. It definitely needs two coats but the formula is great.

Results: I didn’t plan on making this an experiment when I started swatching but I’m glad I did. I’m sure some people really love the OPI Infinite Shine system but I’m definitely not one of them. I noticed a major difference when I used the polishes with my favourite base and top coats instead. And actually, I don’t hate that because it gives you a lot more options when it comes to what you need to buy. The shades from this spring collection were pretty great and I would wear quite a few of them again.

Essie Resort 2016 Collection

With so many spring nail polish collections looking pretty similar, it’s always nice when we get a collection that stands out. And while Essie’s India inspired Resort collection might not technically be a spring collection, it’s definitely a breath of fresh air. There are only four shades in this collection and they’re mostly kind of on the pastel side or bordering on neon. Either way, they’re gorgeous!
Taj-Ma-Haul
Essie Taj-Ma-Haul Swatch
Pretty much nothing about this spicy apricot marigold shade worked for me except the formula. But even that couldn’t save this too yellow shade for me. I’m sure it will look fantastic on someone but definitely not me.
Going Guru
Essie Going Guru Swatch
I adore the colour of this mediative mint lime but unfortunately the formula didn’t live up to the gorgeousness. It was both thin and clumpy at the same time which made it really hard to get it to look presentable. I love it so much though that I’m probably willing to go through it again. Probably.
Delhi Dance
Essie Dehli Dance Swatch
Essie calls this a silky sari pink and I just call it pretty. It’s a perfect bright pink for spring that could also work in the summer. I’m not usually a pink person, but I’m obsessed with this one.
Nama-Stay The Night
Essie Nama-Stay The Night Swatch
Oh look, another blue is my favourite. I’m sure no one is surprised but there’s just something about this energetic Goa blue that makes it stand out. The fact that one coat was almost perfect was a bonus.

I might have had issues with a couple of the shades but I really do love Essie’s Resort 2016 collection, which really, could’ve been spring collection part 2. I also love how totally different it is from the Bridal collection (post coming soon) which I received at the same time. If you want to brighten up your nails, you definitely have some options now.

Butter London The Waterless Manicure System

butter-london-manicure-set

I already love Butter London nail polish, so getting this set wasn’t about knowing how the polish went on and how long it lasted. I really wanted to know what this new “Waterless” Manicure was all about. I was also excited to try out some of Butter London’s other nail products.

Butter London’s Waterless Manicure System is a 7-piece kit for those just starting to give themselves manicures at home. Honestly, I’m not sure what “starters” they mean. Girls start playing with nail polish at a young age. I think this set is more a stepping stone into full on nail enthusiast.

The person who will appreciate this kit most is someone who knows the salon manicure process well, but doesn’t necessarily enjoy it. The idea behind the waterless manicure is that the soaking and cutting of your cuticles may not be that great for your nails and your manicure. Since I’m not professionally trained, I can’t speak to that. I do know that when I am at home, there is no chance that I’m going to be getting out a bowl of water to soak my hands in. That is too much work!

buter london polish

This kit includes Melt Away Cuticle Exfoliator, a nail file, Scrubbers 2-in-1 Prep & Remover Wipes, Nail Foundation Priming Basecoat, Hardwear Shine UV Topcoat and one small bottle of Butter London Nail Polish in Trout Pout pink. I wasn’t crazy about the colour, but it’s spring, so it’s time to get back into pretty pinks!

The steps are pretty simple. Walking through the instructions, I’m not sure what makes this so different from most other at-home manicures. The cuticle exfoliator may be a new step for beginners, but those of us who are well versed in nail products will be very comfortable with the steps.

butter london scrub

I am so impressed by the other nail products from Butter London. The Scrubbers get all of the grime off your nails in a swipe. I didn’t even know my nails felt dirty until I knew what they like clean. You can get them on their own and I am going to be investing in a LOT. I am obsessed. The basecoat is also amazing. It gives your nails a quick dry matte finish. You can feel how this is going to help your polish stay put!

If you are thinking about making the plunge into a nail obsession this kit is a great way to get your feet wet. If you are already crazy about nail polish, I recommend finding the individual pieces that you want to try and investing in those. Either way, you are bound to find something you love.

Formula X The Match Clix in Light/Medium Review + Swatches

Formula X The Match CLIX Light Medium
I have a ton of nail polish. More than I can actually wear, let alone finish, but I’m always on the hunt for new shades. And even though I know I don’t need more polish (we get sent a lot), I keep buying more. But picking shades is a problem for me. If I’m paying money for a polish, I want to know it’ll look good on me and Formula X’s The Match Clix is a fantastic way to do that. Each set has a pink, nude, gray and blue, all chosen to compliment your skin tone. The kits come in Fair/Light, Light/Medium and Dark. While I normally would’ve used the Fair kit, I was so happy to be send Light/Medium because they were my favourite shades. All four shades went on perfectly in two coats.
Alive
Formula X Alive Swatch
Alive is a gorgeous peachy-pink that really flattered my skin tone. Its also on sale on the Sephora Canada site right now and I’m thinking about picking up the full size bottle because I like it so much.
Monumental
Formula X Monumental Swatch
Monumental was the only shade I had an issue with and I honestly think it was because of my skin tone, it didn’t look good on me at all. Formula X calls it an ivory gray but it looked beige on me.
Gray Matter
Formula X Gray Matter Swatch
Gray Matter is a charcoal gray that might be one of my favourite gray polishes ever. I’ve worn this one the most out of the set.
Free Spirit
Formula X Free Spirit Swatch
I knew I would love Free Spirit but I didn’t realize just how much I would love this cornflower blue. Or how many compliments I’d get on it.

I love this kit for a lot of reasons. It’s a great way to try new nail polish (where else can you try four shades for $19?) and it’s great to throw in a makeup bag when you’re travelling. I wish they had more sets with different shades. I would love to see a set with a purple and a green, or seasonal ones like neons for summer.

Mani Monday: Quo By Orly Spring 2016 Collection

We’ve been receiving a lot of spring polish collections that have at least six shades in them. And while I love variety, sometimes a smaller collection still has everything you need. Quo By Orly’s 4-piece spring set falls into that category. While Orly’s nearly identical Melrose collection (Quo By Orly and Orly almost always have identical collections with different names) has two more shades, the four shades we tried have all your spring looks covered.
Stand Out
Quo By Orly Stand Out Swatch - Dried Weird
Nearly every spring nail collection this year has had a version of coral-pink and Stand Out is a fairly decent coral shimmer but it dried kind of weird and ended up being a little bumpy.
Retro Glam
Quo By Orly Retro Glam Swatch
I’m really not a glitter fan but this pink holographic glitter was super pretty and would be great as an accent nail.
Always Chic
Quo By Orly Always Chic Swatch - Gorgeous Pearlescent Pink
I honestly can’t get over how much I love Always Chic. It’s a gorgeous pearlescent pink and just reflects light so beautifully. I haven’t seen a single spring shade like this one and the formula was fantastic as well.
Cultured Classic
Quo By Orly Cultured Classic Swatch - Perfect
I have to mention how impressed I am by the formulas for this collection and Cultured Classic had the best one of the bunch. This minty turquoise could’ve been one coat but looked so much better with two.

I have to say, this was one of my favourite Quo By Orly collections and even though it’s small, Cultured Classic and Always Chic are two of my favourite shades for spring this year. I can’t wait to see what they come out with for summer.

OPI Soft Shades Pastels Spring 2016

I’m not a huge fan of pastel nail polish but it’s something I’ve come to expect with spring nails and I was getting very confused by the lack of it this season. Leave it to OPI to make things right in my nail world with their Soft Shades Pastels line. Not only are all six shades pastels but they all basically have the same formula. And for a pastel, it’s a seriously amazing formula. There was a distinct lack of chalkiness throughout the shades and there was minimal patchiness and streaking. All of the photos are two coats with a top coat.
It’s In The Cloud
OPI It's In The Cloud Swatch - dirty white-out, meh
I love a white nail polish but this creamy white just looked dirty to me. Maybe it was a little too much on the warm side, but I would’ve preferred a brighter white.
One Chic Chick
OPI One Chic Chick Swatch - Great Formula, bad colour
Yellow nail polish doesn’t look good on me. Ever. But I’m always looking for a formula that doesn’t suck and this one was really good. If you’re looking for a pale yellow, this is probably the best one I’ve tried so far and if you can pull it off, even better.
Stop It I’m Blushing!
OPI Stop It I'm Blushing! Swatch
This pale peach is the shade that won me over. It’s so notoriously hard to get a good formula for a shade like this and it was so easy to work with.
I Am What I Amethyst
OPI I Am What I Amethyst
I don’t think this shade is really going to remind anyone of amethyst, but it has a really nice hint of lavender. This is the pastel for someone that wants something a little different without going into full on blue/green territory.
This Cost Me A Mint
OPI This Cost Me A Mint Swatch
It Cost Me A Mint might be one of the few green shades I’ve tried that I didn’t automatically love. There’s nothing wrong with this pale green, it’s just a little light for me.
It’s A Boy!
OPI It's A Boy! Swatch
While I’m trying to decide how much I hate the name of this pale blue polish, I definitely love the shade. It’s exactly what I want from a spring polish and considering we’re still getting snow in April, it just makes me happy.

This is such a great collection if you love pastels and all these shades also come in GelColor.

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Spring 2016

It’s been a minute since I’ve used Sally Hansen’s Complete Salon Manicure so I completely forgot that you can skip base and top coats with it. By the time I remembered, I had already used both with two shades, so all of the swatches have both base and top coats. In the five shades I tried for spring, I only disliked one of them and shockingly, my favourite shade wasn’t a blue. I think I’ve gotten used to the huge brush, so there wasn’t nearly as much cleanup to do this time.
Warm Regards
Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Warm Regards Swatch - VBN
Warm Regards is a bright orange-red and while the colour itself didn’t bother me, the visible nail line did. You can’t really see it in the photo but even with two coats, it was extremely sheer. I can deal with VNL with lighter shades but not one this bright and noticeable.
Red Over Heels
Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Red Over Heels Swatch - 1 Coat
Red Over Heels doesn’t really scream spring to me, but this dark, classic red was perfect with just one coat. I did notice that it got a little dull as it was drying, which was probably why I forgot you don’t need to use a top coat with this line. It looked much better with one.
New Suede Shoes
Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure New Suede Shoes Swatch
New Suede Shoes is a bright cobalt that’s usually going to fall somewhere in my favourites. And while I liked it a lot and got a ton of compliments on it, the formula wasn’t my favourite. The first coat looked awful but luckily the second coat made up for it.
Bluphoria
Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Bluphoria Swatch - 1 Coat
Another one coater, Bluphoria is a dark navy-gray that went on perfectly. I’ve definitely worn a lot of shades like this before but I always love them. I just prefer them in the fall rather than spring.
Happy Daze
Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Happy Daze Swatch - Survived scraping ice off the car
I don’t even know what’s going on with me lately but Happy Daze was my favourite shade of the bunch. It’s a bright pink that I would normally not be drawn to, but I guess Toronto’s weird March weather is making me want something definitely spring like. This shade did survive me scraping sheets of ice off my car without gloves though.

Overall, I really liked these shades and was pretty impressed that I could deal with a ton of ice without a single chip. I don’t know how it would’ve gone without the top coat but I have a feeling it would’ve held up pretty well.

OPI New Orleans Collection Review + Swatches

It’s been a really long time since we’ve featured any OPI on the blog and since we receive so much nail polish it’s been even longer since I’ve tried a new shade from them. Their New Orleans collection is pretty much perfect for spring and we have five shades to show you.
Take A Right On Bourbon
OPI Take A Right On Bourbon Swatch - Brushstrokes
Take A Right On Bourbon didn’t really do much for me, a silver with pink undertones, this shade was ok to work with but the brushstrokes never went away and kind of drove me crazy.
Got Myself Into A Jam-Balaya
OPI Got Myself Into A Jam-balaya - coats didn't settle well
This pink creme had slight coral undertones and was really pretty but I couldn’t for the life of me get the coats to settle into each other and the end effect didn’t look great. I also feel like I’ve been seeing this shade a lot lately and with much better formulas.
Spare Me A French Quarter
OPI Spare Me A French Quarter
Spare Me A French Quarter is a gorgeous raspberry pink and two coats were perfect. This is such a pretty shade for spring.
Rich Girls & Po-Boys
OPI Rich Girls & Po-Boys Swatch - Could've Been 1 Coat, no staining
I feel like bright blue is such a great colour for spring and this one is a great example. I almost got away with one coat and there was zero staining.
I’m Sooo Swamped!
OPI I'm Sooo Swamped! Swatch - brush seemed a little narrower, perfect
I love green polish but looking at the bottle of I’m Sooo Swamped!, I was a little hesitant. But this grassy green is perfection. The brush seemed a little narrower to me but two coats went one so smoothly. I’m completely in love with this shade.

I love how OPI names their shades and I’m really excited to be using OPI again but I wish the formulas were a little more consistent. Luckily the shades we received are the ones I really wanted to try and overall I was really impressed with the New Orleans collection.