Category: Nail Polish

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.

Lise Watier Majestique Holiday 2015 Collection

Lise Watier Majestique Holiday 2015
We know it’s a little late to be posting a holiday collection but to be fair we didn’t receive the Lise Watier Majestique collection until a couple days before Christmas. Luckily, all of these products are still available on the Lise Watier website and you can probably find some in Shoppers Drug Mart as well. This collection is pretty big, with lots of colour choices and we got to try a good chunk of it.
Lise Watier Palette Majestique Luxury Lady
There are two palettes in this collection and we got to try Luxury Lady. I’m completely obsessed with this palette. It’s a great neutral palette with both lighter and darker shades. But it’s the texture of the eyeshadows that blows me away.
Lise Watier Luxury Lady Swatches
They’re all extremely pigmented and so creamy that it just takes one swipe of a brush to get full coverage. They blend beautifully as well. I’ve been using this palette almost exclusively for a couple weeks and I haven’t even made a dent in it.
Lise Watier Ombre Souffle Supreme in Love Spell
Ombre Soufflé Suprême in Love Spell is so light and airy that you’re going to want to use your fingers. I don’t recommend it though, if you want to get any kind of colour on your lids you need a brush. It’s a gorgeous shade though, and makes a great base colour.
Lise Watier Majestique Lips
I love the amount of options there are for lips. There’s Haute Couleur Full Coverage Lip Lacquer in Royal Couture, which is not only long lasting and not sticky but it has a light in the cap which makes application in darker areas a breeze. Next up in Rouge Gourmand in Fortune Cookie. This is my favourite of the bunch. It’s so creamy and easy to wear and it’s a great neutral shade. Last is Rouge Gourmand Velours in Fatal Potion. If you love a dark, matte lip, this is a great option since it’s extremely comfortable to wear.

Lise Watier Majestique Lips Swatches
Love Spell, Royal Couture, Fortune Cookie, Fatal Potion

I’ve never tried a Lise Watier nail polish before and Red Heart was a great place to start. A classic red, it had great opacity and was pretty good with tip wear.
Lise Watier Red Heart Swatch
I just wish the bottle was a little bigger because it was a little hard to work with.

This is one of my favourite holiday collection from last year. I always forget how much I love Lise Watier products until I start using new ones. But since Luxury Lady is in heavy rotation in my eyeshadow drawer, I think I’ll be remembering more often.

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.

Mani Monday – Misslyn Holiday Most Wanted

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
Misslyn Velvet Diamond 48 Heart-Stopping Swatch
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 
Misslyn 229 Party On Swatch
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
Misslyn Effect Top Coat 756 Mirror Ball Swatch
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.

Mani Monday – Ceramic Glaze Fall/Holiday 2015

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.
Ceramic Glaze Applause Swatch
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.
Ceramic Glaze Regal Swatch - One Coat
This deep, bold blue is a one-coater and it goes on extremely smoothly. This is my favourite shade of the collection.
Ceramic Glaze Wonderland Swatch
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.
Ceramic Glaze Sorcery Swatch - Stain
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
Ceramic Glaze Snow Queen - Diamond Dust Swatch
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.

Mani Monday – Essence Gel Nails Challenge

essence The Gel
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.
essence The Gel Nail Art Challenge
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.