Tag Archives: purple

Majolica Majorca V1494 nail polish review

On my epic quest for Gosh Cosmetics, I had some happy accidents along the way (although this makes it sound as if I was merrily wetting myself upon arrival at each Watsons store – not the case I assure you). One such discovery was Majolica Majorca’s V1494 nail polish.

V1494 – snazzy name, right?! However, that’s pretty much the only thing about this polish to dislike. Almost too sparkly for words, it’s a bright violet-based glitter packed with more twinkles than you could shake a magic wand at.

Majolica Majorca is the drugstore sub-brand of Japanese high-end cosmetics company Shiseido, and can be found in most Sasas and selected Watsons. The whole line is very typically Japanese – overly cute girlie packaging, pretty feminine colours, liberal heaps of sugar and spice and all things nice… you get the picture. Their nail polishes are suitably packaged in 3ml teeny tiny bottles (so much so they can’t even fit their ingredients list on!) – but my, do they pack in some polish for your buck!

V1494 is part of Majolica Majorca’s Jeweling Line (and yes, it pains me to write that typo but that is how they’ve decided to spell it…), designed especially for creating glittering and glistening nail art. They’re meant to dry in 45 seconds flat and have teeny tiny brushes so you can be as delicate and precise as possible. I’d highly recommend their website, which features lovely step-by-step tutorials on how to create pretty designs that look do-able even to a nail art novice like me. However, despite the rainbow of glitters available as part of the Jeweling Line, V1494 is the obvious standout.

Why? Because in addition to the lushly gorgeous pinky-purple glitter itself, V1494 comes studded with beautiful bigger rainbow-reflecting circles of sparkle that have an almost diamante effect on the nail. It’s an absolute dazzler.

As a topcoat (shown below), it’s seriously stunning. I put it over the tips of Gosh’s Gasoline to accentuate the violet glitter; the overall effect reminds me of the glittering sumptuous jewel tones of an Indian sari, with a cascade of gemstones thrown at it for good measure. Super pretty – I could not stop looking at it.

On its own, it’s perhaps a little gaudy for some, but the mixture of colours and sizes of glitter means that you get a wonderfully three-dimensional effect that flashes in continually entrancing ways whatever time of day it is. It takes three coats to build up the intensity of the violet to opaque levels (a bit of a pain with the tiny brush) and, as with many glitters, you end up with a slightly bumpy and uneven finish, but for nails so blingtastic they’d put J.Lo to shame, V1494 is a winner.

Alas, I didn’t have my stopwatch with me, but 45 seconds doesn’t seem too much of an exaggeration. It also sticks like glue, lasting days without chipping, and as a topcoat could add life to your manicure as well! Glitters are renowned for also sticking like glue just when you don’t want them to but, with my trusty Nail Tek II as a base, I found I could just peel it away, like the white PVA glue you used to use as a kid in school (and which Neil Buchanen was constantly using on Art Attack, of course).

It’s basically WOW in a bottle. Hell, it’s even good enough to excuse that typo too!

Looks good with: purple base coats, jewel tones, not being a shrinking violet
Drying time: <1 min
Coats required: 3-4 on its own, 1 as a top coat
Chips: +5 days

Majolica Majorca V1494 nail polish, Jeweling Line, $38, selected Watsons

Gosh Gasoline nail polish review

After the various trials and tribulations involved in getting my mitts on Gosh’s Gasoline nail polish, it didn’t have much choice other than to be bloody brilliant. Thankfully, it was.

An amazing glittering true purple that manages to be bright but deep at the same time, I can honestly say it’s become one of my favourites. Partly because purple is lucky enough to be my favourite colour full-stop, but mostly on the grounds of Gasoline’s merits alone.

However, in addition to the hard slog that was getting the nail polish itself, application wasn’t exactly a breeze either. As a girl used to salon-quality nail varnish in the forms of OPI, Essie, China Glaze and Zoya, the ridiculously sheer first coat was a bit of a shock. On seeing the initial pale watery fuchsia colour, I wondered if I’d be building up coats quicker than mattresses in The Princess & The Pea in order to get the bottle colour. It took four coats and a long fraught drying time of tackiness, but I finally got there – and it was totally worth it.

Chock-a-block with flecks of multi-coloured glitter, Gasoline is a hypnotising mesmerising shade of purple that was just about everything I wanted but failed to get from Essie’s Sexy Divide. It’s that pitch-perfect purple smack bang in the middle of the spectrum between pastel and midnight. Neither too pink nor too blue, it’s basically the colour I’d conjure up in my head if you asked me to envisage my ideal purple. Eye-catching and still obviously purple in all types of lighting, it especially comes alive against black.

What with the vivid purple colour and the glittery sparkliness, it’s the kind of nail varnish I’d imagine my all-time favourite cosmetics company, Urban Decay, coming out with. In fact, it’s pretty much the polish equivalent of their brilliant shimmering 24/7 eyeliner in Lust. [Gasoline is such an Urban Decay name too.] Then again, it’s also the polish equivalent of the Purple One in a box of Quality Streets too.

A rocky vibrant shade with a gleaming cosmic depth provided by those swirls of glitter, Gasoline had me utterly spellbound. Thank God Treg’s Luck didn’t strike again!

Looks good with: black, love of purple, Urban Decay make-up
Drying time: +10 mins
Coats required: 3-4
Chips: +7 days

Gosh Gasoline nail polish, $78, selected Watsons

China Glaze IDK nail polish review

One of the more unexpected nail trends to emerge for Spring 2011 is the unstoppable rise of glitters. It seems nail varnish companies have (finally!) locked onto the fact that their most bling-tastic of polishes go down a treat all year round, as opposed to just with lashings of festive spirit. In China Glaze’s case, this has meant producing a twelve-strong collection of glittering gleaming finishes for their 2011 Tronica Collection… a task that probably didn’t require too much work as it basically entailed reproducing one of their much-loved and lusted-after sets, the OMG Collection.

Alas, as with most awesome things, the OMG Collection is now preceded by the word ‘discontinued’. Like your favourite ever lipstick shade, your favourite ever childhood chocolate bar or your favourite ever Disney movie, brands seem to just love stashing away the good stuff to cause much stamping of feet and gnashing of teeth all-round. I don’t think I’ve visited a nail varnish blog where the OMG Collection isn’t talked about with a reverence more befitting of the Holy Grail. And bizarrely, I lucked out on finding two such mystical polishes kicking around in the bargain bin at a little toiletries shop down a side-street in Tsim Sha Tsui.

Having now checked out OMG in its entirety online, I have come to the conclusion that I found the obvious best shades (!) – IDK and 2Nite (the worst thing about the set was that they were all named in txtspeak).

Strong sunlight vs shadows (click to enlarge)

IDK is a lovely dusty lavender, a colour I’d love even if it wasn’t for OMG’s special ingredient – a holographic finish. This basically means it shimmers and glimmers in a whole rainbow of colours, like those shiny silvery stickers you used to collect when you were a kid. You know, they had a whole special page in your sticker book and they were the most prized possessions for trading with friends. [So, given the barter value of holographic nail polishes, not much has changed!]

IDK was a joy to apply, even in its two year-old, mouldering on a lonely shelf state (note: not actually mouldering, merely separated pigments and an air of being unloved). Despite having read you shouldn’t apply it with a base coat, my Nail Tek II and I are never parted and I had no problems. Initially, it looked like it was going to streak and pool in strange formations, yet it dried rapidly to a beautiful smooth and even finish with just the one coat. I applied another coat for luck and we were good to go!

Before I wax lyrical about IDK’s many other magical properties, I’ll mention the only downsides. Like many other holographic nail polishes, it chips easily and without warning. Secondly, the formula feels very thin, meaning when it does chip, it flakes away with abandon, peeling off like thin parchment. But even with these negatives, IDK is SO worth it.

It’s an absolute dreamboat of a colour, reminiscent of how you imagined butterflies to be when you were little – actually glittering, a light pretty lilac, flashed through with rainbow sparkles in the sunlight. In short, it’s a total ‘wow’. And whilst some might say it’s flat and dull without the holographic effect (which really does only show up angled against natural light), I even love in its plain old alter-ego as a pale dusty purple. An unusual subtle shade that I’ve not managed to find sans glitter, it’s right up my street.

Think of me as Rio Pacheco, torn between love for both flashy glamorous Jem and more grown-up Jerrica on favourite-ever cartoon Jem & The Holograms – alas, also now discontinued. Sob.

Looks good with: florals, childhood wonder, definitely not just Christmas
Drying time: 1 min
Coats required: 1-2
Chips: 2 days

China Glaze IDK nail polish, Spring 2008 OMG Collection, $80

Essie Sexy Divide nail polish review

MAC Cosmetics recently produced a collection called Venomous Villains, inspired by Disney’s most notorious baddies… And sorry to say, this isn’t a review of any of those products!

Great idea for a collection, gorgeous packaging but sadly, I wasn’t impressed with the execution. By the time I fought my way to a MAC counter, most of the products had sold out. I tried a few that had impressed me from photos – the Mineralize duo eye shadows were murky and dull, the glittery duochrome nail varnishes gritty, grotty and way too sheer (though I’ve since picked up a newer release of Mean & Green and it’s pretty badass). Oh well, at least I left with my wallet untouched – sadly, never an issue I have at my beloved Cher2!

So following on from nail polishes inspired by a Pixie Lott music video and an accidental finger in a photo, here’s my latest lacquer inspiration:

Isn’t she magnificent?! It’s no coincidence that her actual name, Maleficent, is only one syllable out. The most fierce of all Disney villains, primarily because she was evil just for the sake of it. No tortured childhood, no ulterior incentives, she decided to wreak havoc just because she was pissed she didn’t get a party invite. Fabulous.

So, given that MAC’s interpretation of Maleficent’s make-up didn’t impress me, I set about to find my own. Enter Essie, Sexy Divide, stage right.

A deep dark mysterious purple, it’s the kind of colour I could totally envisage coating Mal’s claws. Consistency was great, pigmentation strong and it dried quickly to a smooth glossy finish. It also had a gorgeous iridescence from some angles, a golden pinky shimmer that showed in either strong natural sunlight or bright artificial light (as I’ve tried to show in the photo with flash, above left; normal natural light, above right; click for enlargement).

However, from other angles or in the wrong lighting, it looked a little dull and flat. So whilst it was fun to vamp about in for a while, it probably won’t enter the pantheon of my favourite polishes. But here’s an evil cackle just for good measure: mwahahaha!

Looks good with: dark colours, bad girl attitude, a raven
Drying time: <5 mins
Coats required: 1-2
Chips: +7 days

Essie Sexy Divide nail polish, Winter 2008 Collection, $60, Cher2

OPI Suede Lincoln Park After Dark nail polish review

I’ve found ‘it’. The elusive colour you put on and know is you all over. Hello OPI Suede in Lincoln Park After Dark.

Given that I hunt down nail varnish colours from music videos and rogue snapshots from years gone by, you know I’m a picky one. But Lincoln Park In The Dark Suede was almost enough to turn me into a one-colour woman.

It’s from OPI’s range of nail lacquers with a matte finish that they’ve rebranded as ‘Suedes’ – which, let’s face it, is a much more appealing term than matte, which sounds like a dullard DIY word. Instead, suede conjures up images of rich velvety colours perfect for wintry walks in the park and the OPI range more than justifies such plush fantasies.

Lincoln Park After Dark in its normal maroon guise is the furthest you can get to black without being black. But in its Suede incarnation, it’s a luxurious muted plum, packed to the hilt with a dense silver glitter. And I know my hostile thoughts on glitter have been previously well-documented but this liberal scatter of silver turns the shade into an expensive metallic shimmer, stopping it becoming a flat energy-zapper, like many other mattes I’ve seen on the market. It’s also ridiculously versatile – like the village tart, it just goes with everything!

Unfortunately, OPI weren’t joking when they say in their literature that Suede ‘does not wear as long as original OPI lacquer’. Count yourself lucky if your talons last 24 hours. Given that I’m currently sans employment and my most strenuous activity is deciding which side of my bed to sleep on, this stuff really does chip without the slightest provocation! At least OPI’s fantastic self-levelling properties ensure you can tidy up the chips relatively unobtrusively, although it’s a near Sisyphean task keeping them pristine for any great period of time. OPI also sternly tell you not to use hand cream if you’re wearing Suede but since my hands are still ravaged by a year of dealing with snotty kids, adhesives and constant disinfecting, I couldn’t not use lotion and can’t say I noticed any ill effects.

There are still plenty of pros. This is by far the quickest drying OPI polish I’ve come across, one coat provides excellent coverage and for once, I found the brush easy to work with, ensuring a solidly smooth finish (although it’s worth noticing that it can feel a little gritty to the touch, if that bothers you). And the colour really is beautiful – a grown-up metallic amethyst that’s totally striking without being attention-hogging. It also looks fantastic under different lighting (I’ve shown it with flash here to try and capture how under artificial light, it really looks like you’ve dipped your fingers into some mauve mercury) and, as I’ve mentioned, with any colour, any pattern, any time, anywhere.

The highest recommendation I can give to Lincoln Park After Dark Suede is that as soon as I’d applied it, I rushed out to buy the rest of the range. Apologies to your bank balance in advance… but one try and you may well find yourself doing the same!

Looks great with: possibly easier to say what it doesn’t look great with. In which case, let me know once you’ve found something!
Drying time: <1 min
Coats required: 1-2
Chips: 1 day

OPI Suede Lincoln Park After Dark nail polish, Fall 2009 Suede Collection, $70, 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

OPI Pamplona Purple nail polish review

If you thought my colour reference for Zoya’s Bekka nail polish was weird, be prepared for things to get even more neurotic. My purchase of OPI’s Pamplona Purple was inspired by this…

Yes, a rogue finger in a photograph. Back in the days when nail varnish barely registered on my radar, I actually commented on this photo on Facebook with ‘I like your nail polish!’ I liked that it was a pink-based rather than blue-based purple, that it popped without being garish and that it lay dead in the middle of the ‘light purple-dark purple’ spectrum. And Pamplona Purple is all those things and more!

It’s simply a delicious-looking aubergine, that manages the subtle trick of being bright but without blowing your socks off.

As I’ve got more used to painting my nails, OPI’s fat brush caused me fewer problems but it’s still my least favourite brush amongst the brands I’ve tried. Consistency, coverage and finish were amazing; I love the ultra-smooth, high-gloss effect that OPI specialises in. The colour was deep, rich and intense, with even one coat giving a slightly pinker magenta shade, building to the two coats shown in my photo. However, in my experience, although OPI polishes give by far the smoothest, most streak-less finishes that are impossible to scratch, dent or mark, they also chip the easiest. The pro to that con is that OPI’s are also the most self-levelling, allowing for the most painless of repair jobs to fill in the chips near-seamlessly.

Pamplona Purple feels modern and hip but without being enslaved to fashion and its ‘must-have’ shades. Simply, it’s just always been this cool – even as a blurry rogue finger in a photo!

Looks good with: denim, mini-skirts, grey, hipster style
Drying time: 5 mins
Coats required: 1-2
Chips: 2 days

OPI Pamplona Purple nail polish, Fall 2009 Spain Collection, $70, Cher2