Chanel Nuit Magique

I can't remember when I first heard about Chanel Nuit Magique, this year's (kind of?) Fashion Night Out or rather, "Vogue Fashion Night"—or maybe neither of those things—special edition polishes. In the past I've looked forward to these special editions and this was no exception.

And then the trouble began.

In years past I'd ordered the Fashion Night Out polishes directly from Chanel's website, but then Fashion Night Out was cancelled and no one was sure what would become of the polishes. Would they be released in the US? Would they be a boutique exclusive or available online? No one knew for sure.

Around this time my fiance went to Las Vegas for his brother's bachelor weekend and I asked him if he would please please find his way to the Chanel boutique in the Bellagio and order the polishes for me. I wrote the names of the collection down and sent it off with him.

The sales associate at Chanel did let him place the order but told him they couldn't guarantee if they'd ever get them or not. She said it might be as late as November when they showed up (he was there at the end of August). All of September came and went without hearing anything.

But then! My well-connected nail friend Janice told me the polishes would be available after all! And sure enough my fiance received a text from Chanel in Las Vegas, saying they'd be sending them along.


Chanel Cosmic is very beautiful. It's a dark smoky charcoal, not a true black, with silver and blue microglitter. The effect is kind of stars-in-the-night-sky, with the little bits of glitter winking from within the polish. It's subtle, as Chanel shimmers (though this is truly a glitter, not a shimmer) tend to be, but very interesting and a really nice surprise from Chanel. The formula's good and easy to control. I should note this finishes smooth, not gritty like some glitters.

Chanel Cosmic—Nuit Magique collection
 Chanel Magic is a medium blue creme, and it's very reminiscent of Chanel Blue Rebel, a polish I owned and loved but passed along as part of a complete set with Blue Boy and Coco Blue (also FNO polishes). It's a beautiful, work appropriate (in all but very conservative environments) polish though probably quite easily duped. I'm happy to have it, though, because I somewhat regret having got rid of Blue Rebel and Blue Boy.
Chanel Magic—Nuit Magique collection
I'm not sure where to tell you to get these polishes if you're interested in paying retail ($27) for them. It might be worth a try to call a Chanel boutique to see if they've got any and will ship them to you. They don't seem to be available online, although—curiouser and curiouser—they do turn up on the website if you search for them on Google and click through that way. Going through Chanel.com I could not get to them. So who knows. My guess is that they may have planned to offer them online and then didn't.

Because these are spendy and somewhat of a hassle to get, I know people will want to know if they are worth the trouble/cash. If you're choosy, skip Magic (particularly if you already own Blue Rebel) but Cosmic I must recommend. It's not a glitter bomb by any means but pretty special for Chanel and very beautiful in any case!


Some oldies-but-goodies

I had some extra time this weekend and gave myself a much more careful manicure than I usually do.
I need to remember what a difference it makes to do this every now and again...for my cuticles, primarily. Even with the warmer weather my cuticles have been pretty bedraggled lately.

This manicure was pre-cuticle cleanup: Orly Cashmere Cardigan.
You can see the dry bits here but let's talk about the polish. I bought it at the very beginning of my nail polish collecting obsession, in early 2009-ish. Cashmere Cardigan was part of the Prepster collection along with Country Club Khaki, Tennis Anyone and Polo Princess to name a few.

Here is the kind-of psycho thing about nail polish collecting: I've owned this polish for more than four years and this is the first time I've worn it. That's kind of crazy, no? This is before I knew better than to just buy stuff willy nilly. I actually have a lot of polishes that I bought early on and wasn't really crazy about...most of them I've sold and passed along, but some are still sitting in my Helmers.

ANYWAY. The polish is a dusty, muted purple. I think it would be considered work appropriate in all but the most conservative offices anymore. Orly's formula is great, no complaints. It wore very well with my usual base and top coats.

For Memorial Day weekend I gave myself the aforementioned full manicure and then pulled out one of my long-time favorites, OPI Dutch Tulips (old formula!).
I've worn this one so often and so far as I know haven't shown a picture here. It's a vibrant deep pink creme. The formula is nice if a bit on the thin side, and of course, this old formula version is full of those lovely bad chemicals that make the polish so easy to control. Old formula means old brush, unfortch, but I manage.

What are you wearing on your nails for the long weekend (if you're in the US)? If you're outside the US, what are you wearing for the regular-size weekend? :)


OPI Did It On 'Em

I pulled this out a few weeks ago when the weather started to get more determinedly summery (of course at the moment it's about 40 degrees outside but at the time it seemed like a good move).

I can wear pretty much any polish I want at work, which is fortunate because this is a pretty shocking color. A couple of people remarked upon it...remarks along the lines of "Boy that's...really green." I don't exactly think that was a compliment, but you know, whatever.

This picture is a little misleading, because the polish isn't neon in the truest sense of the word. It is greener than it appears here, but it is very vivid.

Colors like these are very polarizing, and it didn't do much for me as a manicure. I think it would look great as a summer pedicure, though.


Chanel Azuré

I got very excited about the summer Chanel nail lacquers when I heard a vibrant teal duochrome and electric blue shimmer would be part of the collection. The L'Ete Papillon de Chanel collection includes three nail colors: Azure, Bel-Argus and Lilis. I skipped Lilis, the coral, but picked up the other two.

 I'm wearing Azure as a full manicure right now, and to just get this out of the way: Yes, it's beautiful; no, it's not 100% unique. That should be all it takes for the Chanel haters to feel justified in sitting this one out.

But really...there are few polishes that are 100% unique these days, which is why small indie producers are having such a field day at the moment. Nail polish hoarders like myself are always interested in something they haven't seen before, and I'm not sure Azure qualifies.

That said. It is gorgeous. The duochrome blue-to-purple shift isn't as strong as the color shift in, say, Chanel Peridot, but it does show up in certain lights; and regardless of the duochrome the color is super vibrant. In the sun, the color really dazzles. It's a beautiful, summery, oceanic blue. It would be a very fun summer pedicure color.

I used two coats for opacity. The formula is excellent and wore well with Palladio Fuse base coat (RIP) and Seche Vite fast-dry top coat.

Whether it's worth $27 or not is entirely up to you. This is among the more unusual colors Chanel has produced, particularly of late, so people who collect Chanel will definitely want to get this one.


NOTD: Estee Lauder Smashed

When I chose this polish to put on tonight, I couldn't believe I hadn't featured it as an NOTD before. Released as part of the Metal Mania collection in 2012, Smashed is a vibrant red-purple jelly with magenta, purple and blue flecks. They're not fine enough to be a straight shimmer, but they are very small, and irregularly shaped.

I bought Smashed along with Tempestuous—the first full-size Estee Lauder polishes I'd laid my hands on. In recent years, EL's nail color selection has gotten much more interesting as more women get adventurous with nail polish, even EL's traditionally more mature, conservative customer. Smashed still falls on the "safe" side and would be work appropriate in all but the most straitlaced workplaces, but it's still a beautiful polish.

The formula was very good—an easy-to-control jelly. The brush is short, on the stiff side and somewhat flat, but not wide like an OPI ProWide. All in all it was very easy to apply.

Also, it must be said, the Estee Lauder nail lacquer bottles are a thing of beauty. The polish is contained in a spherical void within a glass cube. Yes, you're only getting 0.3 ounces, but the bottle has a nice heft and it certainly connotes luxury as is appropriate for the brand.

The good news is that Smashed is still available. The somewhat less good news is that it's $20.


L.A. Girls 3D Effects Teal Dimension

Listen, there are a number of nail trends that either don't interest me or that I actively dislike. I am sure this applies to everyone. Luckily for every trend that emerges that we don't like, another will soon come along that we just can't get enough of.

I know that a lot of people got real tired of holos, and I understand that, because I got real tired of them for a while too. At this point I don't understand why a company would even go to the trouble of producing another black or HEAVEN HELP ME pastel holo. I'm interested in more holos—linear, scattered, whatever ya got—but I want some new and interesting colors.

Another holo wish I had was availability. I don't mind paying more for holos but I also don't especially want to have to send away to Italy or Brazil to get them. And I find a lot of US resellers very frustrating in this regard, because things are constantly out of stock. This isn't anyone's fault exactly but if I have a list of six polishes I want and only three are in stock NOW but if I wait four weeks, two others will be in stock but one of the original three won't be—well it just gets to be exhausting. And nail polish shouldn't be exhausting.

So I was very exciting when a couple of scattered holos popped up in the Zoya holiday 2012 collection. I also picked up a few of the China Glaze Hologlam collection. And you might have noticed the L.A. Girls 3D Effects collection, which is both very available (RiteAid!) and quite affordable.

L.A. Girls Teal Dimension
I picked up Teal Dimension recently because I don't have another holo that's similar, and boy was I ever thrilled with it. It's SUPER blingy. Lots of nice depth. And a beautiful base color too.

Application on this was fairly average. No special base coat is needed, and top coat did not dull it. I have two coats on in the pictures.

A widely available, inexpensive holo? Highly recommend!


China Glaze Hologlam Collection—When Stars Collide

China Glaze When Stars Collide
By the time I got around to buying a couple of the Hologlam colors, I had almost forgotten they existed. I was at Sally for something else and took a cruise by the nail polish section—as is my way—and saw some of the Hologlams all the way down on the bottom shelf. There was a buy-two-get-one sale going on, so I picked up When Stars Collide, Infra-Red and OMG a UFO. When I saw the swatches on Fashion Polish I'd also wanted Strap on Your Moon Boots, but I guess everyone else did too because it was nowhere to be found.

I bought these in spite of the fact that many people were disappointed in their holographic quality. To be sure, they are not strong holos. They're linear as opposed to scattered, but very very subtle. I didn't find the colors I bought to be too frosty, but I did have some issues with application—they have the typical holographic issues, so you might want to use Aqua Base.

I don't often buy China Glaze anymore because I find them to be a pain to apply and just not great quality overall. Were these worth it? Well, I'm glad they were on sale. But I like the colors and the application isn't so challenging that they aren't worth wearing. Nothing a little Aqua Base won't take care of.

Frankly, finicky holos kind of annoy me, because I've bought plenty of holos that aren't total pains to apply. But if you're looking for easily accessible holographic polishes that you could also wear to work (particularly the pinks, purple and gray) the Hologlam collection might work for you.


A humble request

Now that the light is lasting longer during the day, I've been taking more nail pictures and working up some lipstick/lipgloss posts. I'll get those sorted as soon as I can, but I have a random question.

Is anyone in the UK (or Ireland, or anywhere else for that matter) have access to L'Oreal Elvive royal jelly conditioner? Specifically, this one. I was able to buy a big bottle at a pharmacy when I was in Dublin three months ago but I'm going to run out soon and...well, I don't want to run out.

It's possible to find it here but it's very expensive, even considering converting the cost from euro and accounting for shipping. If there's anyone out there wanting to do a swap or CP (I will CP for you, if there's anything you want), let me know. And thanks!


Cobbling together a gel manicure: Fails and near-fails

Like any nail fiend, I am naturally drawn to almost any new nail trend or technique. Some work out, some don't (for instance, my experience with stamping and most other forms of nail art) but all of it interests me, however briefly.

I've been unable to shake my curiosity in at-home gel manicures, even though it seems silly for someone like me to want a manicure to last as long as two weeks. Convenient, fuss-free...sure, but I like changing my nail color frequently. I'm happy when a manicure lasts and looks good the entire time I have it on, but I usually get a little impatient with a color at the 4-5 day mark.

Late last year I went on a ten-day trip overseas and I did think about what I would do with my nails during that time. I wouldn't need a pedicure but I'd want my nails done and I didn't want to pack a bunch of polishes and implements to take with me. I scheduled an appointment for a gel manicure but cancelled when I realized the timing wasn't going to work out—I would have been getting the manicure almost a week before we left, so it would be half grown out by the time vacation started. I ended up giving myself a manicure with OPI Casino Royale and just taking that bottle, a bottle of Seche Vite and some remover wipes with me. I fixed small chips and redid nails with big chips. And as I suspected, I was too busy and having too much fun to really have my nails be a huge priority. (I know...bad nail fanatic, bad.)

Anyway, I've been weighing whether or not to try at-home gel manicures, but every time I was ready to pull the trigger on buying all the things to do it, I balked. I tried the Nutra Nail UV-free kit, which was horrible and wrecked my nails. Then I started seeing Nailene's Sensationail kits (about $50-$60) at CVS and other stores, and hearing good things about them. Sally Hansen now offers a gel kit ($60-$70) and a gel strips kit ($30).

This weekend I had some Extra Bucks and other coupons, so I got the SH gel strips kit for about $20. I'm glad I didn't pay full price because the strips were a huge fail. I've done fine with strips in the past but these were thick and wouldn't conform to the shape of my nail. So I ditched them and began a grand experiment in gel manicures.

First I tried curing the SH gel top coat over regular polish. Someone I know gets this done at a salon and it works for her but I think you would have to let the polish get pretty dry before you do the gel coat and cure, because while the gel coat was dry, the polish wasn't, and my nails wrinkled. Fail!

Next I used a Sensational gel polish that I got on clearance at Rite Aid. I used the SH gel coat as a base and top coat and cured my nails tediously, one by one, with the tiny gel strip light. This worked fine, but would work better with a proper gel base coat and primer. The polish on my right thumb peeled completely off in one sheet because it hadn't adhered properly.

My other nails look great, though. I love how shiny the gel stays, and that it dries so quickly. Pardon the Instagram, but here's a quick snap:

I'll definitely be going to pick up the primer and base coat to give this another try very soon.


Still here!

Well it's been a very long time.

I'm still polishing away over here, though I haven't been buying very frequently lately. For most of the summer and fall I was trying to avoid splurges and impulse buys to save for a trip to Ireland. Hence there has not been a lot of high-end nail polish finding its way into my claws.

Speaking of our trip, I didn't end up buying a lot of nail polish or makeup while I was over there. It wasn't for lack of trying, but by the time I figured out I needed to hit up smaller pharmacies rather than just Boots and department stores we didn't have a whole lot of time left. So I picked up a few bottles of Catrice and pretty much left it at that. And I didn't buy any makeup. I was tempted to buy the MAC Primped Out Lip Look Bag in Brown Thomas just to buy something there, but I waited until I got home.

Anyway. I missed a lot of holiday collections but I did get some of the OPI Skyfall collection. I've been wearing Casino Royale, the reddish purple creme, a lot. I'm wearing it on my toes right now, and it's the only polish I took to Ireland with me. It's a very flattering color and the formula is super solid so it's just an easy, quick manicure when I can't make up my mind. I also loved Live and Let Die, which is a dark green-based jellyish polish full of gold flecks. I say jellyish because you won't need a ton of layers to build to bottle color with this one. It's very pigmented.
OPI Live and Let Die
Recently—today in fact—I received three colors from the Zoya Ornate holiday collection: Logan, Aurora and Blaze.
Zoya Logan, Aurora, Blaze
Aurora and Blaze are scattered holos, which is very exciting to me, but it was Logan that I chose to wear first. Can't help it, I'm addicted to green.
Zoya Logan
Logan isn't a holo, it's a medium green with gold foil shimmer. It's extraordinarily sparkly but the finish is smooth, not gritty or chunky. It's very pigmented and this (admittedly blurry, Instagram photo) shows two coats under one coat of Seche Vite.

Which brings me to one of the new trends in polish..."textured" finishes such as OPI's "Liquid Sand" and Zoya's "Pixie Dust" polishes. I don't know about you, but I have tried and passed along any number of gross, gritty glitters that won't behave under a coat of top coat. I try so hard to get my polish NOT to look like that, I'm not sure why anyone would do it on purpose.

But, that's the great thing about nail polish...something for everyone!

Happy polishing.