Red holo and holo sparkle comparisons

Hi there, I'm still here! I have some NOTD photos and a product review waiting in the wings but I wanted to post these comparison photos today because they're ready to go.

 Here they are, in non-direct natural light.

1. Sally Hansen Prisms Ruby Diamond
2. Sally Hansen Prisms Golden Tourmaline
3. Hits Ares
4. Ozotic 511
5. Catherine Arley 800
6. OPI DS Reflection

Numbers 1 through 4 are linear holos; 5 and 6 are holo sparkles. I've been in search of a true red holo for a while now, and while Ozotic 511 is gorgeous I suppose I really meant to order 621 (and uh...probably will at some point!). Glitter Gal also has a gorgeous red. I bought Ares - the red from the Brazilian-based Hits No Olimpo collection - because there were a few I wanted to try anyway (and I will post about them at some point soon).

Here they are in more direct sunlight.
You can see here that the base color is closest between Ares and Golden Tourmaline. DS Reflection also approaches true red. Catherine Arley 800 is really gorgeous on - it has this great orange flash that I just adore. Ruby Diamond (1) and Ozotic 511 (4) are definitely more of a strawberry pink than a true red.

Here's a full swatch of the Catherine Arley.

Anyway, if you've been looking for a red holo or holo sparkle - hope that helps!


OPI Lincoln Park After Dark

Sometimes, you just want to wear a classic.

Lincoln Park After Dark is one of the first OPI polishes I bought, in order to use it for touch-ups on salon manicures.

Feels very autumn to me.


The joy of Nfu-Oh Aqua Base

About a month ago I ordered a bottle of Nfu-Oh Aqua Base from FabulouStreet. I was tired of struggling to apply my Make Up Store and Nfu-Oh holos only to have them look like crap when I finished and begin chipping/wearing off almost immediately. I accept that some types of polish don't wear as well as others, but holos are so gorgeous and frankly, when you put that much work into applying a polish you want to enjoy it for a while.

I decided to try the Aqua Base with Make Up Store Siw. Aqua Base is milky in the bottle and goes on the nail that way. You'll want to make sure you're not applying it too thick, or it won't dry properly and your nice holo polish will get messed up in spite of your efforts. It has a slightly sweet, almost flowery scent. I don't mind it but I suppose it could bother some people. I think it smells much nicer than typical nail polish.

In short, the Aqua Base is a must for holos in my opinion. It made application 100% easier, made the holo look better on the nail, and thus far has made the polish wear much better. I've had Siw on for three days which is unprecedented for me.

Have you used a special base for holos? If not, what do you use, and how does it work for you?


Misa Surreal Escape Collection

I saw the bottle pictures of this collection on Scrangie's site and ordered the whole thing immediately. I've never done that before! Although I did order 5 of the 6 shades in Misa's 9 to 5 collection, which was awesome. I really do love my Misas.

However, I think I might have jumped the gun a little. The colors in Surreal Escape are fine, but I'm not sure I really needed all six. (Inasmuch as anyone "needs" nail polish at all.)

First off, some quick nail wheel swatches.
Beyond Infinity, Gray Matters, Spaced Out

Phazers on Stunning, Shields Up, The Great Green Whatsit

Beyond Infinity

I've seen this dissed as a boring color, and I will concede it's not exciting. However, if you don't already have a gunmetal shade in your collection, or if you're just particularly fond of them, this is worth checking out (especially for the price). The shimmer is sophisticated and not frosty - no brushstrokes.

Phazers On Stunning
Please excuse the lighting on some of these, the weather was terrible today after a long stretch of perfectly gorgeous summery days.

This is three coats. The duochrome is quite evident, and the scattered silver sparkles just make it that much prettier.

The Great Green Whatsit
This leans a bit frosty and doesn't have much of a duochrome, but it does shift to blue a little bit. It reminds me of Missha HGR01, but GGW has those tiny flecks of silver glitter.

Shields Up
This is my least favorite of the collection, and if you have WnW Gray's Anatomy, Deborah Lippmann Wicked Game or OPI Not Like The Movies, you can skip this one. There is decent duochrome with Shields Up but even after three coats, it was almost totally sheer. Maybe it would look good over black? I'm not sure and frankly it annoys me because "it would look good over black" is not something I like to hear.

Gray Matters on pinkie and ring finger; Spaced Out on middle and index
I like both of these grays - Gray Matters is your standard concrete gray with black and silver specks; while Spaced Out is a more blue-toned gray with black and silver specks. These aren't shimmers per se...they're just subtly sparkly.

I've worn two of these shades (Gray Matters and Beyond Infinity) as full manicures and they both applied well and held up great, as I'm accustomed to with Misa polishes. I typically adore Misa's formula and these two were no exception. The other four all applied perfectly as well - easy to control. Drying time was a little long. All are nicely pigmented except for Shields Up.

If I had it to do again, I'd skip Shields Up, Beyond Infinity and one of the grays (probably Spaced Out, I'm a huge sucker for light grays).

If you don't have any Misa lacquers, I highly recommend them. The formula is reminiscent of a much more pricey brand, and if this collection is any indication, Misa may be back on track to create some amazing colors in the upcoming seasons.

Do you own any Misas? Did you buy anything from this collection?


Nicole Iceberg Lotus & Bad Brushes

Couple things for you today, first off my current NOTD, which is Nicole Iceberg Lotus. I keep wanting to call this Iceberg Lettuce, which really amuses me.

Anyway...I forgot I bought this at Target a while back. I'd been interested in it for a while and kept picking it up and putting it down...as you do...until I finally decided to just get it. After all it's green and shimmery, making it a virtual lock in my book. (I also thought I had a $1 off Nicole coupon in my wallet, but when I got to the checkout it wasn't there...oops.)

I decided to wear it on Sunday because my Sacred Ground manicure was chipping badly. (I blame this entirely on my nails and specifically on the Nutra Nail Gel Perfect disaster. My nails are still recovering from the extreme dryness.) Iceberg Lettuce - er, Lotus - is a semi-sheer teal sparkle with a slight duochrome. As usual, the duochrome is stronger in the bottle, where it changes to a magnificent blue/purple. On the nail it shifts to blue but not as strongly as in the bottle.

Application was...well. Let's just say that I'm glad I recently saw the light regarding the acetone/concealer brush cleanup method because YIKES. I'm normally a pretty tidy polisher but this so-called "Perfect Stroke" brush was a disaster. How bad is this brush? As bad as a Borghese brush and that's saying a lot. (Yes I know a lot of people claim to love the Borghese brush but you...you are all getting different brushes than I am, I guess.)

In what world...nay, on what PLANET would this make a "perfect stroke"?

For comparison, here is a (terrible) Borghese brush. I only have two Borghese colors left in my collection, this one (Fantastico Lime) and Ecstasi Indigo. For Ecstasi Indigo at least, tt's worth the cleanup. But the brush...the brush is tragedy.
Ugh ugh ugh ugh. Look at how uneven and jagged that thing is! Awful.

Anyway, aside from the brush issues, the formula was jellyish and easy enough to control, but very sheer. I used two coats and probably could have used a third for some additional opacity. Next time I'll probably use an underwear polish...but I'll be dreading that brush.


SpaRitual Sacred Ground

I haven't owned too many SpaRitual polishes, and most of the ones I've bought I've ended up passing along, because either the colors didn't excite me or the formula didn't work well for me. I've never paid full price for one, either: I've seen them at Marshall's for $3 or $4, and I bought some on Aveyou.com during a 40% sale. Normally they're $10 each, and obviously I've paid more for a bottle of polish, but SpaRitual has never thrilled me enough to shell out the full price.

The Wilde collection for fall 2011 interested me, though. After viewing swatches online, I narrowed my wish list down to Sacred Ground and Howl. Not long ago I bought a coupon deal for Aveyou.com, which basically allowed me to buy $50 worth of goodies for $14, so I added the mini sizes of both polishes to my cart.

SpaRitual minis are adorable because they are pint-sized versions of the full size bottles, right down to the awesome grippy cap. At $5 each, they're not exactly a bargain for the amount of polish you get, but if you're slightly wary it's at least a savings over the full-size bottle. Fewer regrets if you don't like it, but probably more difficult to swap.
SpaRitual full size (Yes, I Can!) vs SpaRitual mini (Sacred Ground)
Sacred Ground is difficult to describe - the best I can do is that it's a gray/brown base with gold and purple flecks. Initially it reminded me of Hard Candy Mr. Wrong, and they are similar, but Mr. Wrong is more blingy...and less subtly interesting. I know I'm splitting hairs there, but you polish devotees will know what I mean.
SpaRitual Sacred Ground; Hard Candy Mr. Wrong
Anyway, the color is quite interesting and beautiful, though I suspect some will find it too muddy for their taste. It puts me in mind of OPI by Sephora's Absinthe Makes the Heart - there's a beautiful color in there, but it's hiding a bit.

What it really reminds me of on the nail is brocade fabric, where you can see little hints and threads of brilliant colors peeping out.
Another comparison
The formula on this was nicer than other SpaRituals I've used. It was far less runny and much easier to control. Drying time was pretty normal, too.

I used two coats over a nail treatment and base coat, and topped them with Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in the red bottle.


Glitter Gal Bronze Sparkle, White Sparkle & Electric Blue Sparkle

Today I have for you three of the 3D sparkle holographic polishes from Australian brand Glitter Gal. I have purchased Glitter Gal polishes previously, but these three colors were provided to me by Leah from her shop. I'm happy to share the swatches and results with you so let's get started.

Bronze Sparkle, White Sparkle, Electric Blue Sparkle

Bronze Sparkle

Bronze Sparkle reminds me of Cleopatra, or jewelry that you would traditionally associate with ancient Egyptian culture. It's a bright bronze base with lots of silver holo sparkle, which reflects red and turquoise and a rainbow of other colors, giving it that jeweled look.

The sparkles just light up, giving the polish a gorgeous depth.

In natural light, the polish looks more subdued. I like this quality - it's probably work appropriate for more settings, but it still has plenty of sparkle and interest - especially in the sun!

White Sparkle

White Sparkle is more than meets the eye - it's a sheer, pearlescent white base with scattered holo sparkles that glint and gleam. The pearly finish flares orange and pink in the light. Here, it's swatched over a single coat of Essie Marshmallow.


I can see this delicate look being appropriate for a wedding or even as a work-appropriate manicure for office environments. It's even more subtle worn alone. The scattered holo sparkles remind me of sunlight on a fresh snowfall.


I saved my favorite for last - Electric Blue Sparkle, which lives up to its name.
Electric Blue Sparkle

The bright blue jellyish base is packed - packed - with holographic sparkles. The result is a manicure that glows from within, because the jelly base makes the glitter look like it is sparkling from underwater.
When I tilt my nails in under a light source, I get a beautiful teal/turquoise glow. It's hard to capture in a photograph, but it's in there! Truly lovely. Definitely not subtle or delicate. Blue polish lovers will love this one.

All three of these polishes were easy to apply; Electric Blue Sparkle was probably the easiest to control because of the jellyish quality. I've always gotten good wear from Glitter Gal polishes and these were no exception (I've worn Electric Blue Sparkle and Bronze Sparkle for full manicures and both lasted 2-3 days before showing tipwear or chips). The sparkle is more dense in Broze and Electric Blue than in White Sparkle, so if you're looking for a glitter bomb, those are the two you'll want to consider. White Sparkle is a more sheer, subtle look.

In case you're not familiar with Glitter Gal polishes, remember that these bottles are smaller (.3 fl oz) than many nail polish bottles that you might be used to (OPI, Essie, Zoya, etc). As an example, here's a bottle of Glitter Gal next to a Revlon bottle.

Having purchased Glitter Gal polishes before, I can say that the quality and color payoff are certainly worth the price. Just know that they are smaller and you won't be surprised when you receive them!

You can get Glitter Gal polishes from Leah at her shop (she also offers Ozotic, a-England and other harder-to-find brands). I have always found her customer service to be fantastic.

The polishes featured in this post were provided to me for consideration from the seller. Aside from product samples, I have not received any compensation for this post. Opinions are strictly my own.