Tag Archives: China Glaze

China Glaze Lorelei’s Tiara nail polish review

Over Christmas, my make-up inevitably turns to bling. Oh, who am I kidding, it turns to bling nearly all the time! And, of course, where else to start with the sparkles than the nails?!

My manicure over Christmas fell into the silvery sparkly hands of China Glaze’s Lorelei’s Tiara, part of their Eye Candy 3D Glitters Collection. You know you’re onto something special once China Glaze busts out those silver caps – as seen on their Kaleidoscope and OMG collections of holographic polishes, need I say more!

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China Glaze TMI nail polish review

As you know, I’m really digging coral this season – so what could possibly be better than the eye-popping coral crème that was CND’s Poppyfield? Well, a holographic coral, of course! Skip forward, China Glaze’s TMI.

Yes, it’s another one of those oh-so-awesome colours from the OMG Collection. TMI is from the warmer end of the spectrum, a lovely pinky coral that glows in natural sunlight. Those enchanting entrancing rainbow-reflecting properties are still very much present (albeit slightly weaker than the other OMG colours I’ve tried to date), but this time it’s very much the summer end of the rainbow that gleams back at you – all golds, pinks, oranges and red.

For me, TMI is very much an instant winner in the daylight. It’s a really gorgeous colour, very flattering and there’s something about that rosy pink-toned coral that gives you the warm fuzzies inside. However, where it comes unstuck is in the shade or in yellow artificial light, where it turns into a weird dusty salmon, leaning towards rusty orange, which I found really rather nasty. Oh well, you gotta take the rough with the smooth and trust me, that first flush of rosy coral loveliness is definitely worth it.

More rainbows reveal themselves under white artificial light

Application-wise, I found TMI to be a little trickier than the rest of its OMG cousins. The consistency was a tad gloopier and coverage was initially difficult to get even. However, it’s worth remembering that these polishes are now a few years old and when I found TMI, it was sitting unloved, unclean and with a formula that had separated many moons ago, so all this could well be a factor. Add some TLC to TMI and after a careful two coats, it looked fine.

Although TMI is definitely not my favourite from the OMG Collection as it’s definitely a little tamer than its brothers and sisters, that might actually work in its favour for those of you who’d prefer an easily wearable, flattering colour that still boasts that holographic awesomeness. And let’s face it, rainbows are just irresistible, aren’t they?!

Looks good with: summer, natural sunlight
Drying time: <2 mins
Coats required: 2
Chips: 2-3 days

China Glaze TMI nail polish, Spring 2008 OMG Collection, $80, Nail Concept Company

China Glaze Passion In The Pacific nail polish review

Whilst I was desperately seeking Turned Up Turquoise, I ended up buying a bottle of China Glaze’s Passion In The Pacific to fill the tropical turquoise void in my life. Well, you know, the one that hadn’t already been filled by Essie’s Turquoise & Caicos.

I initially thought Passion In The Pacific would be a shimmery zingy emerald to Turned Up Turquoise’s true turquoise hue – but in fact, they ended up as much closer cousins than I would have imagined. Just like Turned Up Turquoise, Passion In The Pacific becomes a lush jewel-toned turquoise in the brightest artificial white light and just like Turned Up Turquoise, it’s a standard summery palm tree green practically any time otherwise.

The main difference is the finish. Whilst Turned Up Turquoise has that trademark semi-matte finish of most neons, Passion In The Pacific is a definite ocean-in-the-sunlight shimmer. I’d even be tempted to call it a frost, if it didn’t seem utterly strange calling a colour evocative of beaches, summer and sarongs something so cold, stark and wintry.

I had all kinds of problems with it though. I don’t know if this is because Passion In The Pacific is an older polish so has a different formula than the China Glazes I know and love or if I just got a dodgy bottle, but it was dishearteningly difficult to work with. Extremely thin, watery and streaky, prone to air bubbles, looooong drying time and brush-strokey finish when dry. I hated it. As usual with polishes I hate, that meant it decided to stay with a vengeance – I managed a full week chip-free before I finally caved in and ditched those mocking air bubbles.

Under bright artificial light (plus flash)

The colour pay-off is a nice summer bright but probably not that unique – if I’d have known that it was so similar to Turned Up Turquoise, indeed if I’d have known I’d find Turned Up Turquoise in the first place, I probably wouldn’t have bothered. After all, there are enough top coats in the world that could probably recreate that oceanic shimmer, except without all the application problems and maybe look even better.

In short, Passion In The Pacific is a great summer colour – but only if you can’t find any other similar alternatives! Looks like he’ll be enjoying his beach-side cocktail on his own!

Looks good with: tropical brights, bikinis, cocktails with umbrellas in
Drying time: 10 mins
Coats required: 3-4
Chips: +7 days

China Glaze Passion In The Pacific nail polish, Spring/Summer 2006 Fiji Fling Collection, $60, Cher2

China Glaze Turned Up Turquoise nail polish review

Have you cottoned onto the fact that I like turquoise – a lot – yet? It should come as no surprise then that, after seeing pictures of China Glaze’s Turned Up Turquoise on some blogs, I just knew I had to claim that turquoise for my own too!

Part of the Summer 2008 Ink Collection, which were somewhat bizarrely based on the hues of tattoos, it proved pretty difficult to track down – but as you know with me, the journey is half of the fun… or something like that (see tracking down Gosh Cosmetics, flakies and even Waterball Bay for further evidence!). The whole collection is made up of bright buzzing neons that practically jolt you to attention and Turned Up Turquoise is no exception. It’s an intense saturated turquoise colour that floods the senses with its zing. So far, so amazing.

But unlike Essie’s Turquoise & Caicos, I don’t think I can describe this as true turquoise. It’s simply not content to be just one colour! Turned Up Turquoise is a bit of a tropical chameleon in a way that I don’t think most Internet swatches have shown. Sometimes, it really would look like the perfect turquoise adrenaline rush; other times, it leaned massively towards a mouth-watering candy-coated green. All the pictures on this page were taken in daylight (apart from one I’ll mention later), with only minor adjustments to hand positions and the natural variations of sunlight and shade to blame for how differently they all turned out!

The greenest shades remind me of the most vibrant green of cartoon palm trees whilst the most truly turquoise make me think of the clearest, jewel-like tropical oceans. Either way, they’re all violently vivid, although some seem to have had a heftier dose of lime juice than others. As you may guess, my favourite hue is the most traditionally turquoise one… but to guarantee that colour, you have to stay in the brightest sunlight or the whitest lighting possible at all times!

Like many neons, Turned Up Turquoise dries to a semi-matte finish. I think it might look even more awesome glossy, but the matte effect is stopped from falling flat by a slight shimmer that’s been thrown into the mix too. It proves somewhat elusive to catch in photos; the slightly blurry one below taken under artificial light comes closest to capturing the subtle glow that stops it from looking chalky and dull.

Application-wise, I found it a little difficult to work with simply because, like many mattes, it dries quickly. Unlike all those OPI Suedes that I’ve loved, Turned Up Turquoise seems to have a thicker consistency that meant it was difficult to make perfect, without visible brush-strokes, in the short time before the lacquer started setting. Even though the colour was so strikingly strong and intensely-pigmented to only require one coat for opaque coverage in a colour that looked exactly like it did in the bottle, you might need to go for two just to try and clean things up a bit. But like the other matte finishes I’ve tried, this didn’t wear too well, with chips appearing after just one or two days.

Turned Up Turquoise does have its faults, but for that extreme rich colour pay-off, it’s definitely worth it. When it does decide to give you a glimpse of its turquoise side, it’s a turquoise so eye-poppingly amped up to the max that you’re shocked into submission, yet without appearing garishly fluorescent. And hey, those green shades aren’t too shabby either, right?

Looks good with: neons, high contrast, high NRG
Drying time: <2 mins
Coats required: 1-2
Chips: 1-2 days

China Glaze Turned Up Turquoise nail polish, Summer 2008 Ink Collection, $160, Nails From The Heart, Admiralty Centre

China Glaze BFF nail polish review

And so the holo madness continues, with China Glaze’s BFF.

Short recap if you haven’t been keeping close track over my nail polish obsession: Rach discovers lacquers that have rainbow holographic effect reminiscent of her favourite stickers from childhood, Rach decides she must have as many of these holographic lacquers as possible, regardless of colour, price or availability. Polish connoisseurs regard China Glaze’s Kaleidoscope and OMG Collections as the zenith of shimmery rainbowy goodness, so Rach dedicates huge numbers of man hours, resources and dollars to tracking down said collections. Rach is so zombified by doing this and blogging about 85 dresses as 2011’s Met Gala that she starts referring to herself in the third person.

Back to BFF. BFF is the colour of rhododendrons or mallows in full pinky-purply bloom. Except with added rainbows, of course. It looks a lot pinker in my photos than it did in real life, as it’s very much an in-betweeny mix of cool mid-toned pink and a pale dusty magenta. Unlike DV8, which gave a more marine-flavoured spectrum, BFF has the more traditional full rainbow glow when it hits the sun.

An easy fast-drying two-coater, BFF reverted to type when it came to chips too. DV8 unexpectedly lasted a whole week without any obvious wear but BFF started flaking away after a few days. Generally, shampoo day is the death knell for any holos I wear, and DV8 looks like it was the exception that proved the rule!

Normal light vs artificial light

Although BFF probably isn’t the most stand-out colour from the OMG Collection, it’s actually one of the most wearable whilst still providing that revelatory wink of rainbows. It’s not a too-girlie pink, but nor is it a not-safe-for-work blast of purple. Fully deserving of being every girl’s BFF, it’s pretty much the perfect Trojan horse for holographic goodness.

Looks good with: most things
Drying time: <2 mins
Coats required:
2
Chips:
3-4 days

China Glaze BFF nail polish, Spring 2008 OMG Collection, $115, Nail Concept Company

China Glaze DV8 nail polish review

As you’ll know by now, I try and avoid nail polish jargon – largely because I don’t understand it myself! I made a recent exception for flakies, although I prefer my  more descriptive term ‘amazing shreds of rainbow awesomeness’, and now I’m going to make another exception for ‘holos’ – basically because I’ve become obsessed with the things! So here goes with my first holo, China Glaze’s DV8.

…Actually, it’s my second. I stumbled upon China Glaze’s IDK on a dusty shelf in a little shop in Tsim Sha Tsui and bought it on a whim, only to be instantly spellbound by the hidden rainbow hues which came out to play in the sunlight. Little did I know, I had happened upon a much-sought-after holo from China Glaze’s discontinued OMG Collection, which nail bloggers still discuss misty-eyed although it was launched (and withdrawn) two years ago!

Holo is basically shorthand for holographic – and that clicking noise you hear is the sound of me “getting it”! It basically refers to an elusive type of glitter that reflects the whole rainbow right back at you when you hit a magic angle in strong light. It’s the kind of effect you may remember from stickers you used to collect when you were little, the rare shiny sparkly ones that would often have a special page in your sticker book and as such, were worth big stakes when trading amongst your friends. Well, you might have grown up, but nothing changes! Bloggers practically devour holographic nail polish, are constantly on the hunt for new and stronger holos and dream of rare swaps… and now I’ve become an addict too!

After hitting up the afore-mentioned shop in TST to claim whatever stock of the OMG Collection they had left (not much), I was still hungry for more. I thought I could wait until China Glaze released its much-anticipated Tronica Collection this spring, which was allegedly chock-full of rainbow goodness, but reviews started filtering in reckoning these weren’t proper holos at all… so I decided I had to source the OMG Collection whatever the cost! Hence how I got ripped off ridiculous amounts of money at a shop in Causeway Bay instead.

But it was so soooo worth it. A good holo is a thing of rare enchanting beauty and a danger to my personal safety as I find myself staring at my nails when I should be concentrating on things like crossing roads. And DV8 has to be one of the best of the lot.

A strongly-pigmented teal colour, it’s a pretty amazing aquamarine even without the rainbow shimmer, which is highly visible under strong sunlight or artificial light. Such an intense bright colour is actually pretty rare in the strange magical world of holos – it seems easier to make them in pale silvery shades, which are consequently much easier to find. Factor in the spectrum of multi-coloured hues that flit your way when the mood takes them and this oceanic stunner becomes one of the seven wonders of the nail polish world.

Under artificial light

The rainbow rays in here seem to reflect a much more mermaid-themed palette of glittering greens, blues and golds as opposed to the usual full ‘shine a crystal in sunlight’ kaleidoscope of colours, but that just suits the magnificent marine theme even more. DV8 feels like a treasure unearthed from the deep, guarded by sirens but rescued for your wearing pleasure: glowing, glittering, gorgeous.

I had no problems in applying this over a base and the formula was easy to work with – two thin coats and you’re done! Holos are also renowned for chipping fairly quickly (IDK flaked off into papery pieces without notice) but incredibly, DV8 lasted well over a week in picture-perfect condition. Maybe it’s to do with that stronger colour pigment but seriously, is there anything about this nail polish not to love?!

So forget about the pot of gold at the end, it’s all about the rainbow. And DV8 deserves to be celebrated with all the delight of a double one!

Looks good with: summer, bright colours, high contrast
Drying time: 2 mins
Coats required: 2
Chips: +5 days

China Glaze DV8 nail polish, Spring 2009 OMG Collection, ridiculous sum of money, Senda Salon


China Glaze First Mate nail polish review

As some of you may know, I’m just a little excited about the Royal Wedding (she says, drinking out of a commemorative Royal Wedding mug, dining on commemorative Royal Wedding crockery and contemplating her giant commemorative Royal Wedding poster). I’ve also become obsessed with Kate Middleton – or to be more exact her amazing hair, which survives everything that horrible British weather and scores of unflattering paparazzi shots throw at it and still comes out looking beauty pageant perfect every time. So it was with Princess Kate in mind that I selected my next nail polish – China Glaze’s First Mate.

If you’re thinking that blue doesn’t seem a likely choice for the future Queen of England’s manicure (pretty neutrals all the way, right?), you’d be correct. I was in fact thinking of this iconic Kate moment in choosing it:

The royal blue Issa dress that Kate wore for the engagement announcement was just stunning. Flattering, sophisticated, just that little bit sexy and in an eye-popping shade that *stroke of genius moment* matches the iconic sapphire engagement ring. Apart from lusting after the dress (get me a cheapo high street copy, stat!), it’s had me lusting after that particular shade of cobalt for weeks on end. Enter First Mate, which has been photographed on many people’s blogs looking like this, i.e. a gorgeous hue of that striking blue:

(Note the long-suffering boyfriend’s look of disgust in the background, as I whip out a camera to take pictures of my nails yet again whilst probably droning on about Kate Middleton’s hair yet again.)

However, as I swiftly learned, First Mate only turns this colour in strong bright beating sunlight. Damn you bloggers with your indiscriminate use of flash! Under normal conditions, it actually looks like this:

That’s an inky, very dark, even a little dull, take on navy blue. Under most lightings, it’s actually almost black and is definitely a whole lot darker than the, dare I say it, Issa dress colour of the bottle. It’s got a nautical feel – well, it is from the Anchors Away Collection! – and also a certain Parisian chic to it. Navy in general is an underrated colour that’s extremely versatile and looks smart all year round, even if it isn’t a natural fit for spring. However, as has been well-documented, I’m just not a fan of dark colours on my nails, however great the polish.

This, incidentally, is First Mate’s middle ground, found in normal daylight. A nice enough navy but not exactly set to striking:

Application-wise, this was another China Glaze stellar performer. Nice smooth consistency, opaque in just one coat (though you might want to go two for added glossiness) and a steadfast defiance towards chipping.

I suppose First Mate will just about complement the royal blue found in the Union Jacks I’ll be frantically waving come April 29 and after all that, it looks like Kate’s dress, without the benefit of a million flash bulbs popping at it, also turns a similar inky navy too (see below)! So whilst First Mate is still flattering, sophisticated and just that little bit sexy, it’s just not the colour I was looking for. Even if that was the wrong colour in the first place… oh, never mind. God Save The Queen!

Looks good with: red, Breton stripes, the nautical look
Drying time: 5 mins
Coats required: 1-2
Chips: 7 days

China Glaze First Mate nail polish, Spring 2011 Anchors Away Collection, $60, Cher2