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
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 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 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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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?
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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 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.
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.
Misslyn is a German beauty company that’s recently made it’s way into Canada. I hadn’t had the chance to try their nail polish until now and I have to say I’m really impressed with all the shades I got to try. There are tons of options with shades, finishes and top coats and these are my holiday picks. You can find more information about Misslyn on their Facebook page and they do a lot of contests as well.
Velvet Diamond 48 Heart-Stopping
Velvet Diamond is an interesting effect polish, the base colour dries matte and the glitter remains sparkly. I added a top coat to this one because I wanted to see how it would look and honestly this pinkish red looks great either way. It also dries a lot smoother than I expected.
229 Party On
Party On is part of Misslyn’s regular polish line and it’s bright shimmery plum is gorgeous for the holidays. The formulation is pretty fantastic and was a breeze to work with.
Effect Top Coat 756 Mirror Ball
I added Mirror Ball on top of Party On and the silver and metallic glitter really popped. I don’t know if I would use this on all my nails at once, it might be overkill, but as an accent nail it looks fantastic.
There are so many options for holiday nail polish looks and it’s rare that one collection has options for nearly all of them. Ceramic Glaze’s fall/holiday line has a little something for everyone. Want a glossy creme? Got it. Sparkle? Got it. Fancy top coats to change up your look? That too. There are six new, limited edition shades and two previously released shades (Hong Kong Diva and Vintage Glam). We have the new shades to show you.
Applause is a deep plum with a little shimmer and it’s gorgeous. If you want something that falls into the holiday category but is a little different, this is a great choice.
This deep, bold blue is a one-coater and it goes on extremely smoothly. This is my favourite shade of the collection.
Wonderland is an iridescent shade that’s hard to nail down. There’s gold, silver, green and purple in here and it changes depending on the lighting.
Sorcery is a dark teal creme and it’s quite different than most shades in it’s category. This one stains though.
Snow Queen + Diamond Dust
Snow Queen has white hexagon glitter in a clear base and Diamond Dust has holographic microglitter. I’m wearing them over Sorcery in the swatch. The’re both really nice top coats but I prefer Diamond Dust. It’s so, so pretty.
I love doing my nails and I’ve gotten really good at painting them. What I haven’t mastered however is nail art. But when we got asked to try the essence gel nail challenge, I figured that was as good a time as any to see what I could actually do. essence sent over a bunch of their The Gel nail polish including the base and top coats. I chose Turn The Lights Off as my base colour, which is part of the essence Soft Metal category and is a gorgeous silvery blue. The other two shades I picked was Rock My World (medium gray) and Let’s Get Lost (teal). My first attempt at this nail art challenge was so bad that I decided to wait a few days before trying again.
I wore Turn The Lights Off the whole time in between and I have to say how incredibly impressed I was with The Gel nail polish system. I wore the same shade for five days with zero tip wear or chips and probably could’ve gone another week.
I ended up with a semi-successful attempt at nail art. I’ve never even attempted ombre nails before, which is why I’m calling it successful but it’s not the prettiest my nails have ever looked.
All I really learned from this challenge was that I really like essence’s The Gel nail polish and that I’m really terrible at nail art.
I get asked all the time how I keep my nails looking great and to be honest it’s mostly luck and good genes. But there are a few products I use almost religiously. These are my Most Wanted Mani Essentials.
Essie First Base Base Coat
I’ve used quite a few base coats in my time and I always go back to Essie’s. I’ve been using First Base for a few months now and I love how smooth it makes my nails and how strong it keeps them. It also helps your nail polish stick, which makes for a longer lasting manicure.
CND Solar Oil
I’m not a huge fan of greasy cuticle oils but Solar Oil absorbs almost instantly, smells delicious and keeps my cuticles looking good.
L’Occitane Shea Butter Dry Skin Hand Cream
Pretty nails don’t look as great if your hands look really dry and a good hand cream can help with that. L’Occitane’s line of hand creams include shea butter which make my hands feel extremely soft and hydrated and I love that it doesn’t wash off when you wash your hands.
Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
This is probably my favourite nail product of all time. People seem to have a love or hate relationship with Seche Vite but I’m definitely in the love camp. It dries my nails in under a minute and leaves them glossy for days. I take this with me when I’m going to a nail place for a manicure and if they ever decided to discontinue it, I’d probably stockpile enough for the rest of my life.
Formula X For Sephora Delete Nail Polish Remover
I change my nail polish pretty much every day so it’s important I have a good nail polish remover that doesn’t kill my nails. Delete by Formula X gets everything off (even glitter) without scrubbing or tugging. I love the pump formula because you end up using less and it locks so it’s hard to spill.
What are your favourite nail products?
I’ve already mentioned that fall is my favourite nail polish season and CND Vinylux have pretty consistently been some of my favourite fall shades. Vinylux is Shellac’s at home weekly wear system. You apply two coats, add the top coat and it dries in minutes without a lamp and lasts for at least a week. The best part, you can use regular nail polish remover. These are my most wanted shades for fall.
Faux Fur is a great deep brown that’s perfect for fall. I feel like there really haven’t been a ton of brown shades released lately and it’s too bad because they’re great for someone who wants a dark shade without being edgy.
There are very few purple shades that catch my eye but this dark plum is one of my favourites.
This medium green has a ton of grey in it which makes it more of a fall colour than spring or summer. If you don’t want to go completely dark with your nail polish, this is a great option.
I have a really hard time explaining Fedora. There’s red, brown and purple in it and it’s the best alternative to black. It’s really a gorgeous shade.
I find it’s pretty difficult to find a good black that’s glossy and has a great formula. Black Pool might be the best black I’ve found and I wore it on Halloween with little skull decals but I would wear this any day of the year.
Do you have a favourite fall nail polish?
Fall is usually my favourite time of year for nail polish collections, I love the darker, warmer shades. Usually though, I love a couple shades from a collection, not the entire thing. Essie’s rock’n’roll royalty inspired collection is everything I want in a fall collection. The formula for this collection is a tiny bit thicker than their usual thin formula which made it really easy for almost all of these shades to be one-coaters.
Color Binge isn’t a classic red, it has too much orange in it, but it’s a great fall shade that would be a great base for halloween nail art.
With The Band
Essie calls With The Band a ‘toasted spice burgundy’ and while I’m not a huge fan of red polish, I fell in love with this one with the first brush stroke. This could’ve been one coat but I went with two to even it out a bit.
In The Lobby
In The Lobby really makes me think of the 90’s. An ‘exotic cinnamon plum,’ this shade is competely on trend and a fantastic shade for fall.
I don’t know if I would’ve ever picked up this molten bronze shade on my own but it’s really pretty in the sunlight and had full coverage with one coat.
Frock ‘N Roll
Frock ‘N Roll is described as a ‘shimmering rich espresso’ but it leans toward the black side. There’s a lot going on with the shimmer as well, I saw reds and golds and probably missed other shades. This one was also one coat.
To the surprise of no one, I knew Bell-Bottom Blues would be my favourite shade just by looking at the bottle. But I was completely unprepared for how gorgeous this indigo shade is. One coat looked great but two is spectacular.
It’s been a really long time since I’ve loved an entire collection so much to the point where I didn’t want to take any of these polishes off. I really liked the thicker formula and might have to stock up on a couple of these in case I run out.