Tag Archives: O.P.I

OPI Mermaid’s Tears nail polish review

I’m usually a bit dubious about the current vogue for nail polish celebrity cash-ins tie-ins, yet OPI’s Summer 2011 Pirates of the Caribbean collection struck gold… or should that be pieces of eight?!

Overall, it was an unusual collection for summer, filled with murky muddied pastels that didn’t exactly scream adventures on the seven seas. Yet for that reason, it was probably one of my favourite OPI collections to date and I snapped up the whole collection quicker than you can say ‘Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum’!

I was instantly drawn to Mermaid’s Tears, a dusty turquoise (and you know how much I love turquoise!). Firstly, what a gorgeous evocative name! OPI are known for their cute-but-cheesy names so I was expecting this to be pun city but they actually managed to keep it classy – classier, in fact, than the film itself!

Unfortunately, I found this polish quite difficult to work with. It was gloopier than most OPIs and the first few coats went on thickly and unevenly – partly my own fault as I spent too much time trying to correct it, forgetting that OPI lacquers are actually amazingly self-levelling on their own. Consequently, drying time was longer than usual and the finish was a bit lumpy up-close.

What I can’t complain about is the colour. Gorgeous! It’s an almost vintage take on turquoise; classy but murky, delicately dusty, but still straight-up beautiful (although a shade darker than the bottle colour). You could well imagine it being the tears of a siren, prettily magical yet refined. There aren’t many turquoises that suggest sophistication, but this is definitely one.

Compared to my other top turquoise creme, Essie’s Turquoise & Caicos (on the middle finger), Mermaid’s Tears is noticeably less bright, dustier and perhaps more obviously green-leaning – a pale green tea, or pretty slate green rather than the tropical island turquoise of the Essie. Both, however, are creamily lush and look great on.

Mermaid’s Tears – Lorelei loveliness in a bottle. No pirate puns needed.

Looks good with: other muted pastels, floral tea-dresses, grey
Drying time: 10 mins
Coats required: 2-3
Chips: +7 days

OPI Mermaid’s Tears nail polish, Summer 2011 Pirates of the Caribbean Collection, $70, Cher2

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OPI The One That Got Away nail polish review

Slowly but surely, I’m attempting to review all of the Katy Perry nail polishes before OPI’s Summer Collection comes out, so it’s down to The One That Got Away to get us over the camel’s hump.

So far, we’ve had the colour-changing silvery star of the show Not Like The Movies and the pretty in pink Teenage Dream. The One That Got Away is a deep bold but cool-toned fuchsia, with the merest smattering of glitter and shimmer, and yet it’s by far the most boring colour of the bunch.

The fact that there’s no other way to describe this shade than fuchsia should indicate part of the problem. It’s utterly one-dimensional, despite the metallic-glitter-shimmer effect that’s similar to the finish of The Show Must Go On. Whereas that polish glowed in a million different ways and was made even more unique by that beautiful finish, here those little flecks of glitter can’t save what is ultimately a flat and run-of-the-mill colour from being boring – a word which, love her or hate her, is so very un-Katy Perry.

I think it looks nicer and sparklier in my photos (especially the one below, taken in strong sunlight) than it did in real life. Even my boyfriend, who rarely manages to rouse himself from anything but boredom in regards to my nails, said he didn’t like it. I wore it with First Mate, hardly the world’s most exciting colour, on the other hand – and somehow, an inky navy crème managed to outshine a bright glittery shiny metallic. Speaks for itself, doesn’t it?

The One That Got Away? If only! Annoyingly for a colour that I didn’t like that much, it didn’t give me much of an excuse to take it off – opaque in two easy breezy coats and chip-free for WELL over a week. Since it hung around longer than a novelty record in the charts, I noticed that it seemed to lose some of its sheen as the week progressed, making a dull colour look even duller.

Without wanting to go on a full-on rant again, The One That Got Away does not even have the mitigating factor of being suited to its name. Once you’ve listened to the song itself, a wistful swoon down memory lane, it’s hard to reconcile this bright bold hue with any feelings of rose-tinted nostalgia – and for those that haven’t listened to the song, I’d argue that the phrase The One That Got Away has a sense of inbuilt sense of nostalgic longing anyway.

Perhaps I’m attaching too much stigma to the name; after all, ‘a rose by any other name would smell as sweet’. Alas, this rose smells of nothing but flat and uninspired. As far as I’m concerned, The One That Got Away can run for the hills.

Looks good with: Black, ignorance of the Katy Perry song
Drying time: 3-5 mins
Coats required: 2
Chips: +7 days

Read my reviews of the rest of the OPI Katy Perry Collection:
     •  Teenage Dream
     •  Not Like The Movies

OPI The One That Got Away nail polish, Spring 2011 Katy Perry Collection, $168 for four of four minis, selected Mannings

OPI Sparkle-licious nail polish review

Remember in my first nail varnish reviews, how I revealed my disdain for glittery nail polishes? Well, it’s only taken six months or so, but this contempt has been well and truly left in dust – and what better way to celebrate than with one of the sparkliest, shiniest, glitteriest polishes on the block, OPI Sparkle-licious.

OPI are renowned for their fun names yet Sparkle-licious could not be any more accurate unless it involved copious amounts of exclamation marks. It’s a veritable Mardi-Gras on the nails – large showy particles of gold, pink, blue and purple all joining together for a riot right on your fingertips.

One of my previous objections to glitter polishes was that they tend to look like a pre-schooler ran riot in the art cupboard, with pots of glitter just dumped haphazardly on the nails. And Sparkle-licious looks pretty much exactly like that – the mixed-up multi-coloured bags of glitter you’re left with once kindergarten kids have got a bit too enthusiastic with your craft supplies. Although the bottle makes it look like purple might be the predominant colour, once it’s on the nails it seems to burst into a brighter golden glow. So whether you love it or loathe it, this look is a difficult one to ignore!

If only getting this intense sparkle showdown was as easy as letting a child run amok with some PVA glue and a wild imagination. Unlike another recent OPI glitter polish, Teenage Dream, which had a coloured base, the particles in Sparkle-licious are suspended in a clear liquid, so I had to go four coats to get full coverage. I also found Sparkle-licious’ formula to be gloopy and very runny, meaning (in true kindergarten style) that I got glitter absolutely everywhere.

However, it didn’t have the overly gritty feeling of glitter polishes of yore, even if it’s obviously not an entirely smooth surface without a top coat. And, despite the four coats, it generally didn’t feel too thick or heavy either. The downside of this pure glitter hit that required plentiful coats? Brittle nail polish that chipped off in chunks sooner rather than later.

Another memory of glitter polishes that did unfortunately prove correct – they’re hell to remove. Don’t even bother trying a non-acetone remover with Sparkle-licious, as it merely laughs in its face and stays sparkling steadfastly into the night. The best way of putting out the party on your nails is to employ the foil method, which entails wrapping nail polish remover-soaked cotton wool around the nail, then wrapping foil around the whole fingertip and leaving it a few air-starved minutes to do its work. This removes the glitter in a fuss-free fashion but thanks to the acetone – the magic ingredient that does most of the removing but certainly doesn’t go about it quietly – your fingers will probably sting, tingle and remain highly sensitive for a while afterwards (and be prepared for a lot of wincing if you have any cuts!).

Sparkle-licious is an ostentatious glamorous glitterbomb that’s not for the faint-hearted or vanilla-loving amongst us. I also tried it as a top coat over The Show Must Go On  and it didn’t seem too happy to share the spotlight – frankly, I found it a bit too busy and overpowering to work with just one colour as its backing singer (shown below, although I think it looks better in the picture than it did in real life!).

Whether you look at Sparkle-licious and think ‘Too Much!’ or ‘Not Enough!’ rather depends on your feelings about glitter as a whole; honestly, for me, it was just too much for wearing round the house doing nothing more exciting than the washing-up. This baby packs more bling than the brightest Bollywood musical and more glitter than the wardrobe department for a beauty pageant. Be prepared for the term Sparkle-licious to sound like an understatement!

Looks good with: parties, more bling, your inner diva
Drying time: 3-5mins
Coats required: 3-4
Chips: 2 days

OPI Sparkle-icious nail polish, Winter 2010 Burlesque Collection, $132, selected Mannings

OPI The Show Must Go On! nail polish review

I seem to have been on a bit of a roll with OPI lately – my recent-reviewed Not Like The Movies, Miami Beet and most of all, Parlez-Vous OPI, now rank as some of my favourite polishes period. So let’s usher in another OPI instant classic – The Show Must Go On!

I’ve read lots of posts comparing The Show Must Go On to Mac’s Bad Fairy from its Disney-themed Venomous Villains collection, a magical glittering red-orange-pink concoction in everyone’s photos yet, from when I tried it at a Mac counter, a streaky gritty hellish mess to apply. Whilst The Show Must Go On and Bad Fairy are certainly not identical judging from the pictures, by my reckoning, The Show Must Go On is a simply beautiful colour in its own right.

Not that OPI would have you know. Never have I seen bottle pictures more inaccurate. Google Image this baby and you’ll more than likely see a bright but boring fuchsia staring back at you. The bottle photo at the top of this post is slightly more accurate but still doesn’t nearly capture the depth and brightness of colour, nor the brilliance of its foil-like sparkle.

The Show Must Go On is primarily a metallic pink-based red, with a gorgeous shimmer that seems to come bursting from within the polish itself. It has a fantastically clean and bright finish, jumping straight off your fingers to instantly work its way into any nail polish lovers’ heart. But what makes this polish truly incredible are the subtle shifts in colour that flash at you throughout the day. Red, scarlet, coral, pink, copper, orange, gold – practically every colour from the warm end of the spectrum is there, winking at you like you’re sharing a particularly juicy secret. Needless to say, I couldn’t capture it in photographs, though I’ve tried to compensate with quantity over quality for the sake of this review (though I urge you to click and check them out close up)!

I was also quite impressed with the formula, despite a thin first coat that gave me bald patches all over. Somehow, it worked out its problems by the second coat to give me a truly flawless finish, as clean bright and shiny as a child all smartened up for her first day of school. Sadly, it did the trademark OPI thing of chipping slightly by the third day of wear, but I find their polishes self-levelling enough to fix relatively easily.

This is definitely one of my favourite polishes so far. It’s slightly reminiscent of Zoya’s Gloria, except warmer-toned, multi-coloured and with a more low-key approach to glitter (so not that similar at all then!). Whilst The Show Must Go On definitely boasts a certain shimmer, it doesn’t feel like an additional ingredient, more that it was an inseparable part of the polish all along. It’s festive without being singularly so and unusual enough to distinguish it from the stocking-load of other red foils out there.

Like a flickering flame of the most entrancing candle you’ve ever seen – we’d all be moths if flames were this gorgeous! – The Show Must Go On is a must-see. Get your tickets now!

Looks good with: your inner diva
Drying time: 5-7 mins
Coats required: 2
Chips: 3 days

OPI The Show Must Go On nail polish, Winter 2010 Burlesque Collection, $168 for pack of four Mini Teasers, selected Mannings

OPI Teenage Dream nail polish review

My rant about the anticlimactic OPI Katy Perry collection over (see here for the colours that should have been), it’s time to deliver a nail polish review proper. Namely, OPI’s Teenage Dream.

Not Like The Movies, a shimmering silver chameleon is definitely the star of the collection (alas, definitely not the star of the album itself!) but from other bloggers’ photos, I thought that Teenage Dream might give it a good run for its money. A dreamy glittering pale pink, it captures the rose-tinted romance from the song itself with oh-so-pretty results.

Too pretty, in fact. The near-translucent peachy pink base of the polish is such a girlie colour to start off with that once you start tipping in sparkly silver micro-glitter, never mind the further dose of twinkle supplied by a scattering of larger round iridescent pieces, that it begins to verge on children’s party territory. Think Hello Kitty, unicorns and the girls clothing department in Mothercare and you’re pretty much there.

In Teenage Dream’s favour though is that, for the many lovers of glitter polishes out there, this is definitely one of the best formulas around. Usually, coloured bases of glitters are so sheer that by the time you’ve layered it to any semblance of opacity, your nail is almost as thick as the Yellow Pages. Not so with Teenage Dream. I was amazed when the pink became perfectly lovely in two – yes, TWO – coats. That’s opaque enough to ensure no Visible Nail Line (i.e. being able to distinguish the white tips of your natural nails), yet not so opaque that the delicate wistful qualities of this unusual pale pink are completely lost.

Secondly, the amount of glitter has been calculated to professor-like levels of precision. It’s easy for glitter to be either so sparse that you once again end up with more layers than a wedding cake or so dense that your nails look more bling-heavy than J.Lo’s jewellery box but Teenage Dream’s clever mix of a wash of peachy silver micro-glitter with the occasional bigger rainbow-reflecting piece floating through makes for a lovely multi-dimensional effect that’s both dazzling yet still reasonably subtle. As subtle as a glitter polish can be, that is.

Like most glitters, it’s anything but a dream to remove, but I expect you all knew that already. And whilst I was impressed by the formula, finish and staying power of Teenage Dream, it’s just not the colour for me (I also have very pale skin, meaning these pale pinks tend to blend in with my fingers!). My eight year-old self, however, would have been all over this like it was the latest princess Barbie. So if you have a pink-loving eight year old crying to get out or simply can’t get enough of glitters, Teenage Dream might just be your year-long Valentine.

Looks good with: sugar, spice and all things nice
Drying time: < 3 mins
Coats required: 2
Chips: +5 days

Read my reviews of the rest of the OPI Katy Perry Collection:
     The One That Got Away
     Not Like The Movies

OPI Teenage Dream nail polish, Spring 2011 Katy Perry Collection, $168 for pack of four minis, selected Mannings

OPI Parlez-Vous OPI nail polish review

My last nail polish post saw me declaring China Glaze’s Sea Spray as the perfect grey-blue. Well, strike me down if I’ve not just found the perfect grey-purple too. Step (or should that be nonchalantly stroll) forward OPI’s Parlez-Vous OPI.

As part of Fall 2008’s France Collection, it’s an oldie but a goodie, but one that feels especially current since the fashion world went gaga for grunged-out grey hybrids all last year, thanks to Chanel’s Particuliere (see OPI’s Over The Taupe and Zoya’s Kelly for further details). Parlez-Vous OPI is pretty much the most grey a purple can go whilst still remaining obviously and very much purple – which, for me, makes it the loveliest ‘grurple’ I’ve come across so far.

As a result, it’s a muddied muddled lavender but one that feels soft and lush as opposed to resembling the dregs of a dirty puddle. I’m pretty certain I used to own a cashmere jumper this colour, which of course, makes Parlez-Vous OPI an instant winner.

This was also one of the best formulas of OPI I’ve used so far – creamily consistent and opaque in two easy coats. For once, I didn’t find their trademark fat brush too cumbersome (whether this older brush was indeed slightly different or I’ve just got used to it remains to be seen!) and, clearly on a roll from their other star performer Miami Beet, it dried relatively quickly and didn’t chip too easily either.

But back to the colour, which is too insouciantly dreamy not to write more about. As befits a member of the France Collection, there is something quietly chic about Parlez-Vous OPI and it’s one of those perennially flattering shades that seems to go with just about everything and work for just about every situation. My purple obsession has been well documented but this may just be my favourite yet.

Pretty but edgy, soft but grown-up, perfectly purple and yet so much more… Parlez-Vous OPI will be my ‘It Colour’ for several seasons to come!

Looks good with: everything (but I may be biased)
Drying time: 3 mins
Coats required: 2
Chips: +5 days

OPI Parlez-Vous OPI? nail polish, Fall 2008 France Collection, $90, Cher2

OPI Miami Beet nail polish review

OPI’s Miami Beet was another result of my abortive attempt to buy some colours from their new Texas Collection (abandoned as the ‘sorbet’ finish being too sheer for my liking). OPI are apparently famed for their berry cremes and chucking one or two out with nearly every collection – and if Miami Beet is anything to go by, I can see why!

I applied Miami Beet at night and was concerned that it looked too much like Essie’s slightly dull Rock Star Skinny. Thankfully, Miami Beet is much more a morning lark than a night owl and came gloriously alive (if not quite chirping!) in the daylight. The very definition of a rich raspberry, it’s the ideal half-way house between dark cerise and beetroot purple (and not as bright or as magenta as the bottle appears either).

It was also one of the best formulas I have rocked from OPI in a loooong time (don’t be fooled by that watery first coat!). Glassily glossy, creamily smooth and opaque in an even two coats, it dried quickly and stayed chip-free.

Having wanted to nibble at my nails all last week thanks to China Glaze’s delicious Heli-Yum (my other anti-sorbet purchase), Miami Beet was just as edible. We seem to be in the midst of a frozen yoghurt craze here in HK and I could barely look at my nails without thinking ‘Mmmm… Very Berry’! Mulberry, raspberry, loganberry, cranberry – take your pick! (Or, if you want to go for fruit in a slightly different state… claret, burgundy or sherry!)

It’s muted and mature enough to work for work but not so dull that it fades into the background. It also transcends seasons – warm and rich enough to fit in with velvety fall shades but light and bright enough for summer too (and it was actually released in spring!).

Like Essie’s Silken Cord, a red so perfect I’ve not felt the need to have any others in my collection, Miami Beet will definitely be my go-to berry shade for the foreseeable future. And not a ‘sorbet’ finish in sight!

Looks good with: just about everything
Drying time: 3-5 mins
Coats required: 2
Chips: +5 days

OPI Miami Beet nail polish, Spring/Summer 2009 South Beach Collection, $70, Cher2