Tag Archives: greige

MAC Endless Night nail polish review

Sometimes I fall in love with a polish because of the colour. Sometimes I fall in love with it because of the name. And sometimes, it’s a little bit of both in just the right amount – and such is the case with MAC’s Endless Night. It originally came out with Daphne Guinness’ rather underwhelming collection earlier in the year, but as since been re-released in MAC’s holiday Glamour Daze Collection – making it the perfect opportunity for me to pull out a polish that has been haunting me for months with its soft intriguingly understated beauty.

Endless Night is a beautiful work-safe neutral – a pink/lilac leaning greige that’s the perfect palette cleanser (yes even I need one once in a while!). But this is not just your average boring beige… oh no! This stunner has the tiniest flash of pretty pink shimmer hiding beneath its deceptively calm exterior. Of course, it’s an absolute bugger to photograph, so you can see it more in the bottle than you can on my nails in the pictures, but trust me – it’s there in real life and it is awesome.

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OPI Suede You Don’t Know Jacques nail polish review

The only problem with OPI’s Suede Collection? Once you wear one, you’ll never want to take it off. And such was the case with You Don’t Know Jacques.

A soft velvety take on mink with that trademark matte micro-glitter finish, You Don’t Know Jacques in Suede is yet another winner from the collection. C’mon OPI – this 100% hit rate is getting boring! It’s a tawny taupe transformed into a muted muddied copper thanks to that dense shimmer effect, and it’s the perfect matte take on the whole greige trend. I absolutely adore it.

This is the third Suede I’ve reviewed now (following the stunning Lincoln Park After Dark and Ink) and all the pros and cons are still exactly the same. Super speedy drying, excellent coverage from just one coat, a fat brush that is impossible to use on my pinkie and more chips than you’ll find in the deep-fat fryer at McDonalds. Seriously, it’s ridiculous. 12 hours spent lying flat in bed and you’ll probably still have some chips to show for your efforts.

Of all the drawbacks to have, chipping quicker than an Olympics 100m race is a pretty big one, but somehow OPI Suedes still have me coming back for more. You Don’t Know Jacques is no different – it’s a really subtle soft but sophisticated shade, highly versatile and a contender for a different take on work-wear nails. It looks really dreamy matched with pastel pinks, greys and creams yet also looks ultra-haute against black. I’m going goo-goo eyed even thinking about it.

There’s just something about that suede finish that is, as my good friend Alex Perry would say (with strong Aussie accent for best effect), ‘expensive’. You Don’t Know Jacques might just be the most expensive of the lot.

Looks great with: soft pastels and neutrals, workwear, luxury
Drying time: <1 min
Coats required: 1
Chips: <24 hours

OPI You Don’t Know Jacques nail polish, Fall 2009 Suede Collection, $70, Cher2

Essie Playa del Platinum nail polish review

It’s one of life’s small but great pleasures when a nail varnish colour turns out better in the flesh than in the bottle. Such was the case with Essie’s Playa del Platinum polish.

Playa del Platinum was part of Essie’s 2010 Resort Collection and the neutral shade seemed a bit of an odd choice for summer, especially against the tropical turquoise, ocean blue and splashy fuchsia creams of the rest of the set. But on the nail, it suddenly makes perfect sense.

It’s a cloudy sandy colour that, whilst being a beautiful neutral that would work well for any season, is evocative of bleached beach-houses, smooth pebbles washed up on dusky shores and the kind of chunky oatmeal knitwear that pretty people wear in the similarly evocative Boden catalogues. In fact, think this advert for Jennifer Aniston’s new perfume and you’re pretty much there!

The first coat seems a little thin and streaky, yet it evens up to a gorgeously creamy opaque by the second. It’s a highly durable and wearable shade that goes with just about anything; a classic neutral that, with its subtle mix between dusty grey and biscuit beige, also taps into the current vogue for grungy greiges. Consequently, it looked fabulous with tips in Essie’s Island Hopping (from the 2007 It’s Better In The Bahamas collection) – a creamy murky mauve belonging to the similar summery but grungy family.

After a few less than stellar Essie choices I’ve made lately, it was great to be reminded why I fell in love with the brand in the first place. Easy to apply, easy to wear and a colour that you fall for gradually a little more each day. A platinum polish, indeed.

Looks great with: beach hair, chunky knitwear and just about everything else
Drying time: 5-10 mins
Coats required: 2-3
Chips: +7 days

Essie Playa del Platinum, Summer 2010 Resort Collection, $60, Cher2

Zoya Brizia nail polish review

‘It’s a full-on Monet… From far away, it’s OK, but up close, it’s a big old mess.’

The above quote is from Clueless, a film I have dedicated unhealthy amounts of my time to learning the script for. I have been dying to use this particular zinger in real-life for similarly unhealthy amounts of time and finally I get the chance to… on Zoya’s Brizia nail polish.

Why? Well if you can bear clicking the photos for enlargements of my battered hands, you’ll see that what, from far away, looks like a nicely neutral nail-elongating shade is actually, up close, a streaky ‘big old mess’.

Despite this, Brizia is a lovely nuanced colour that queens of neutral, Essie, would no doubt die to get their (perfectly-manicured) mitts on. It’s a soft cloudy coffee created way before the current vogue for putty and greige hues arrived. But there are also hints of pearly pink, cool lavender and subtle silver shimmer. Tilt it into the shadows and it’s muted taupe, under natural light it’s a silky mauve, let it hit the sun and it’s a lustrous seashell pink; it would also look great as an irridescent topcoat over other colours. [Pictured, top to bottom: pearly pink in bright sunlight, soft lavender in natural light, cloudy taupe in low lighting.] It’s a lush multi-tasking neutral that’s highly wearable and unobtrusively pretty. Yet it’s not for me.

Firstly, I think it’s just too close to my own skintone. Admittedly, I’d give the Cullens a run for their money in the pale skin stakes, but from some angles, this just seemed to blend in with my fingers. Not a good look.

Secondly, it’s the first and so far, only Zoya lacquer where I wasn’t impressed with the formula. Although application with Zoya’s ‘just right’ brush was a breeze as usual, it went on very sheer, requiring at least three coats to get some semblance of opacity. It was also very streaky, a problem I never managed to fix entirely, and I had particular problems getting an even colour at the tips of the nails, where it pooled oddly, leading to even more streaks. Hence why I’m branding Brizia a full-on Monet!

It could have just been a dodgy bottle, it could just be that I’m not as willing to look past Brizia’s Monet properties because I wasn’t sold on the colour, it could even be that I was too desperate to get to use that line from Clueless – either way, Brizia isn’t one of my must-have shades. But what I am certain of is that, with its subtle kaleidoscope of different looks, it will definitely be on plenty of other people’s hit lists. Indeed, I am reliably informed that it’s one of Cher2’s biggest sellers.

So if you’re after a versatile nude with more bang for your buck, or if you’re another Clueless fanatic dying to give the Monet line an airing, Brizia might just be the nail polish for you. Like… whatever! I’m outie!

Looks good with: office-wear, ladylike cool, the Impressionist movement
Drying time: 3 mins
Coats required: 3-4
Chips: +7 days

Zoya Brizia nail polish, Suede Collection, $80, 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