Tag Archives: China Glaze

China Glaze Sea Spray nail polish review

china-glaze-sea-spray

Over a week without a nail polish blog – what’s going on?! So here’s China Glaze’s Sea Spray to get us back into the swing of things – and how!

Of all the new spring collections, China Glaze’s Anchors Away was the one I was most excited about and of all the new nail polish colours, Sea Spray was the one I absolutely had to have. Of course, Treg’s Luck struck again, meaning Sea Spray was the only colour missing from the collection when it first arrived in Cher2 (yes, I was there the first day…), meaning I *had* to stake out both branches until it arrived. Thankfully, it was all I dreamed of… and more.

The perfect shade of dusty blue has been a long-time Macguffin of mine so I was overjoyed to find it encapsulated so wondrously in Sea Spray. And since it’s the absolute ultimate blend between a light powdery blue and a pale dove grey, no other brand need bother me with dusty blues again. I’ve found my lobster (sorry non-Friends watchers)!

Despite a streaky first coat, you soon end up with a meltingly creamy finish, with just the merest hint of a pearlescent shimmer bubbling under there too. What’s more, this stuff goes the distance, staying chip-free in style for well over a week.

Since it hung around so long in immaculate fashion, I decided to see how it might look with some sparkly top coats. I gave it one coat of White Cap (a white-based gold glitter pearly shimmer from the same Anchors Away collection) and Last Friday Night (a supposedly blue but actually very sheer chunkier glitter from OPI’s Katy Perry line) and, although the greyness is diluted a little, the results were dazzling! A cross between a snow globe and the Blue Fairy from Pinocchio, I think this looks like magic dust got sprinkled on my fingers (click for a close-up of its frosty goodness!). Way to make me fall in love with Sea Spray all over again!

A slightly more delicate duck-egg blue, Sea Spray completely makes good on its evocative name. I just think it’s too pretty for words – the kind of colour subtle enough for day-to-day wear yet flattering enough to still garner plenty of compliments. It’s fresh enough to make it an obvious spring choice, yet grey enough to make it look charming all year round. It’s soft, it’s lovely and it’s mine, all mine!!! Can you guess that I like it?!

Looks good with: muted pastels, sparkly top coats, pretty things
Drying time: 5-7 mins
Coats required: 2-3
Chips: +7 days

China Glaze Sea Spray nail polish, Spring 2011 Anchors Away Collection, $60, Cher2

China Glaze Heli-Yum nail polish

Remember my quest for the perfect hot pink? It wasn’t quite as long-winded as my search for Pixie Lott’s yellow, nor as die-hard as my search for a true turquoise and it certainly didn’t entail as many miles as my search for Gosh’s Gasoline but it eventually ended abruptly and slightly unhappily with Essie’s Fiesta, a colour that looked perfect in the bottle, on samples and indeed, in photos but which looked like I’d scribbled my nails in with a Muji gel pen in real-life. Well, I’m now happy to report I found my perfect hot pink without even looking. It’s China Glaze’s Heli-Yum.

I’d originally intended to buy one of the pinks from OPI’s Spring Texas Collection, yet on seeing the supposedly innovative “sorbet” finish (i.e. too sheer for me), I was guided towards the more easily opaque Heli-Yum. A candy-coated bright raspberry creme, it looked even more edible on my fingers than it did in the shop.

China Glaze are fast becoming my favourite brand – the cheapest in Cher2 but with a gorgeous array of colours and consistently high quality results. I was a little worried as Light As Air, which came from the same Spring 2010 collection Up & Away, had been a little gloopy with a lumpy finish but no such problems with Heli-Yum. In fact, it was probably the best yet I’ve tried in terms of formula and application, a smooth and glossy one-coater that dried quickly to boot.

I totally loved Heli-Yum. It was almost good enough to eat (please note: Through The Looking Glass does not recommend you actually try and eat it). It’s the picture perfect shade of hot pink for me, a creamy cerise that’s supremely flattering rather than being sunglasses-needed shocking.

Truly scrumptious!

Looks good with: summer brights, sweets, fun
Drying time: 3-5 mins
Coats required: 1
Chips: +5 days

China Glaze Heli-Yum nail polish, Spring 2010 Up & Away Collection, $60, Cher2

China Glaze Midnight Kiss nail polish review

As anyone who’s read any of my previous nail polish reviews will know, I have a habit of being Goldilocks-levels of exacting about colours. So like Turquoise & Caicos was the result of a quest for a true turquoise, Pamplona Purple the quest for a pink-based purple that popped and Bekka the quest for the exact shade of yellow that Pixie Lott wore in a music video (bloody hell, I really don’t make it easy for myself, do I?!), China Glaze’s Midnight Kiss was the end result of a quest for the perfect gold.

Metallic nail varnishes are ten-a-penny, glittery nail varnishes dozen-a-dime, but a good gold is hard to find. I didn’t want a simple shiny gold gloss or a lacquer that looked like a kindergarten’s craft cupboard had exploded in it but for it to seem as if I had coated my nails in gold leaf. Like the gilt edging you get on fancy encyclopaedia pages or the sheets of stuff that Lawrence Llewelyn Bowen was always advocating we apply to just about every hard surface on Changing Rooms, it had to be dense, shimmery and stunning. Midnight Kiss was spot on.

Did I also mention that I didn’t want it to be too yellow either? I wanted a champagne-infused sparkle rather than brassy Bet Lynch glare. Midnight Kiss delivered that too.

A pale buttercup foil that built to a glittery but not gaudy intensity, Midnight Kiss was pure tinselly brilliance (it is part of their Holiday Collection after all, hence the nice touch of the brushed silver lid). I’d experienced some problems with the finish of a previous China Glaze polish but had no such issues this time. It applied and dried super-smooth and super-fast. Although I find glittery polishes have a tendency to get streaky, China Glaze’s brush fanned out nicely to ensure a beautiful even finish, with two (or even one) coats proving sufficient.

What I loved was how evenly and densely-packed the sparkle was. None of this kiddie glitter-glue type effect but a pure hit of genuine gold. It might be a bit too full-on for traditionalists to consider it for everyday wear, but its mellow blonde qualities mean it isn’t overly flamboyant. And the great thing about gold is it goes with literally everything. This would look absolutely amazing with black, or even chocolate brown tips (if only I had the nail polish skillz to achieve such a look).

If Midnight Kiss were a Christmas bauble, it would be a proper posh M&S sparkler, rather than a cheap and cheerful Primark wonder. Midnight Kiss delivers a hefty dose of grown-up glamour for the nails, any time of the year.

Looks (especially) great with: black, chocolate brown, all-year round festive spirit
Drying time: <5 mins
Coats required: 1-2
Chips: 3 days

China Glaze Midnight Kiss nail polish, Winter 2010 Tis The Season To Be Naughty Or Nice Collection, $60, Cher2

China Glaze Light As Air nail polish review

Sorbet shades were all the rage this summer, so as usual I’m one step behind and sporting the look in autumn, thanks to China Glaze’s Light As Air.

You may remember my dubiousness at the whole ‘pre-school’ pastel polish thing circa my Essie Turquoise & Caicos review and I stand by this to a certain extent (the day you see me wearing baby pink is the day you know I’ve bought nail varnishes in every single other colour). However, lilac was always my favourite pastel shade and Light As Air is a great interpretation of the colour.

If it’s pink-based, or even too blue-based, pastel purple could easily verge on the sickly-sweet, more reminiscent of a Care Bear than a shade you’d happily sport on your nails. But here lies Light As Air’s trump card – it’s actually tinged more with grey, making it surprisingly subtle and actually (incredibly!) sophisticated. Having said that, it’s still pretty delectable for those with a sweet tooth as it’s almost exactly the same colour as Swizzels’ Parma Violet sweets, which I remember scoffing at parties as a child.

Light As Air marked my first foray into China Glaze nail polishes and the results were mixed. Both the bottle and brush are more from the OPI school of chunkiness – the brush is slightly thinner than OPI’s but nowhere near the Essies and Zoyas of the world (which, as you already know by now, I find much easier to use). The colour was even, soft and creamy but I found the consistency a little gloopy and the finish downright terrible. Although the pigmentation was strong enough to mean only one coat alone achieved a gorgeous colour, I had huge problems getting a smooth finish and ended up doing three on some nails! Even then, as you can see, the results were still a bit bumpy and it was nowhere near self-levelling enough, with the layers clearly visible in some places. Like the brush situation, durability was also pitched somewhere between chip-happy OPI and iron-clad Essie and Zoya but it was peeling rather than chipping which proved to be Light As Air’s undoing.

It’s a feather-light colour that, although more tea party than rock concert, is a categorically classy choice. It doesn’t sit well with brights but looks fabulous played against other purple tones, hence why it looked really cute mix and matched with OPI’s Pamplona Purple. Light As Air is more a Betty Draper than a Joan Holloway and would look great worn an air of elegance, a chignon, kid gloves and a 50s style floral dress. But if you don’t have any of those ingredients, don’t worry. It’s just as great at bringing out your inner lady, no chignon required!

Looks great with: other purples, other pastels, pretty dresses, a sophisticated smile
Drying time: 5 mins
Coats required: 1 for colour, who knows how many for finish
Chips (or rather peels): 3-4 days

China Glaze Light As Air nail polish, Spring 2010 Up & Away Collection, $60, Cher2

Going Over The Taupe at Cher2: OPI nail polish review


The other day, I had lunch with a friend who was sporting turquoise nails and I developed a sudden finger fetish, quietly coveting her aqua talons all afternoon. Having not painted my nails in about ten years, it suddenly struck me that there was a whole rainbow-coloured world of make-up that I was wilfully neglecting – and I felt the need to rectify it immediately.

Not as easy as it sounds. Without my trusty Boots to fall back on, I headed to the local equivalents (Sasa, Bonjour, Colormix) and checked out their huge vats of pick n mix nail polish. They were cheap (average $15) but not so cheerful – colours already separating in the pots, brands I’d never heard of and signs imploring me not to try out the goods. When I sneakily opened one, the sad thin lacquer dripped down, morose and unloved. No thanks. I trusted the Revlon and Maybelline concessions more but their limited range of colours left a hole in my technicoloured heart and although I’d heard you could buy good stuff at salons that did manicures, I felt a little odd rocking up at one without wanting a treatment. So it was a case of Sassy Hong Kong to the rescue.

Through Sassy’s fantastic website, I found out about a shop called Cher2, a candyland of nail polish that stocked every colour under the sun. What’s more, this was real nail varnish, made by established brands OPI, Essie and China Glaze, but sold at nearly half the normal retail price. In Hong Kong, you come to rely on such tip-offs because these secret goldmines are invariably tucked away in shabby, unassuming office buildings with those scary lifts where you have to open the doors yourself. I felt like an explorer navigating these old and dusty corridors in search of the treasure trove – and this quiet haven with racks and racks of rainbow explosions was definitely some glorious treasure for a make-up mavens like me!

I’d taken my first tentative toe-dips of getting back in the nail polish groove by doing my thumbnail with a tester pot of ‘it-shade’ Particuliere in Chanel. Classy, I know. I’d selected that mould-colour out of curiosity more than anything else, but over the past few days it had grown on me… rather like mould, I suppose! Armed with painted thumb, I asked the Cher2 shop assistant for the most similar colour they had. The girl was brilliant, knowing her stock exhaustively and producing about five different variants, with us eventually settling for OPI’s Over The Taupe as the most accurate dupe. So here we are.

I’m so in love with this shade right now. I love how subtle it is, yet also how very grown-up. Mushroom, putty, greige, mink, taupe, mould, cloudy coffee, sludge – call it what you will but it’s a sophisticated and seriously arresting blend of brown, grey, beige and even a touch of pale purple. I’d also forgotten how great wearing nail varnish makes you feel, like you’ve made an effort even on off-days, and I keep staring at my pinkies in pleasure. Yes, the finger fetish is back!

As for the nail varnish itself, I found it a little thicker and gloopier than I was expecting. OPI’s fatter brush took a while to get used to and I found the Chanel one easier to apply but this is as much due to the deterioration of my nail painting skills over the intervening decade (when advising me on base coats, the Cher2 assistant told me I had healthy nails – probably because I hadn’t painted them in ten years!) as to any shortcomings of the lacquer itself.

Despite lack of skill, I’m sadly still a bit of a perfectionist. I’d paint, not be entirely happy, try and tidy it up with nail varnish remover but manage to get acetone on other nice nails, meaning I had to start all over again, several times! It also seemed to take an age to dry, possibly because I didn’t leave enough time between coats (and you definitely need two coats, just one is too streaky and uneven) – I was amazed that it was still tacky over an hour after application, causing me to perennially smear it on things, meaning the final finish wasn’t quite as smooth as I’d hoped. 90 minutes and three rounds later, I was practically high on nail varnish remover fumes – but I had beautiful nails. Well, from a distance anyway!

I think I need to go a few more rounds with OPI to decide whether the thicker polish and fat brush works for me, but I really adore the colour. Two days on and I’m still chip-free, which speaks highly of the quality, especially reasonable at Cher2 prices.

I’ll be back on the nail varnish wagon again soon with the other two shades I bought so watch out for reviews of them! In the meantime though, I’ll just stare lovingly at my fingers some more…

Looks great with: Black, cream, smart/casual look
Drying time: +10-15 mins
Coats required: 2
Chips: After 2 days

OPI Over The Taupe nail polish, Summer 2009 Bright Pair Collection, $70, Cher2

All Cher2 locations in Hong Kong:

– 1E Po Foo Building, 84-94 Percival Street/1 Foo Ming Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, 2882 2528
– 809, Mong Kok City Centre, 74-84 Sai Yeung Choi Street, Mong Kok, Hong Kong, 2886 1132
– 1202A Century Square, 1-13 D’Aguilar Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2810 0171
– 607 Kowloon Centre, 29-39 Ashley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, 2730 0701

http://www.cher2.com