Red – the colour of danger, love, anger, fire, blood, lust and, in Chinese culture, luck. You can see red, paint the town red, raise a red flag, catch someone red-handed, celebrate a red letter day and discover a red herring… and that’s before we’ve even got onto scarlet women, strawberry fields, crimson tides and ruby slippers. Basically, that’s a lot of connotations for a simple three-letter word!
So it’s no surprise that my second pick from the Christian Louboutin Red Nail Extensions Collection manages to be quite so different from the first. Lady Peep is dark and brooding where Edgypopi was bright and fresh; it’s the arched eyebrow of maturity to the fist pump of youth, the sophistication to Edgypopi’s sass. This is a long-winded way of saying it’s a dark red.
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My final festive Beauty Spot belongs to Essie’s Silken Cord (the other three were China Glaze’s Midnight Kiss, Zoya’s Gloria and Essie’s Mint Candy Apple). I’d previously avoided red nail varnishes as I thought they were a bit obvious, a bit overdone, a bit old-fashioned yet along came Silken Cord and swept me away.
Silken Cord was actually the colour I sported through Christmas itself, as I just fell head over heels for its super-glossy finish and tangy crimson colour. It’s a bright bold red, with a hint of coral to it from some angles (see above, in softer lighting). It looks absolutely amazing with black (it couldn’t pop anymore without actually sitting up and smacking you in the face), gold and against pale skin – what I’m calling a very Snow White kind of colour combination, with skin white as snow, hair black as ebony, lips (or in this, case nails) red as the rose and all that. As such, it was exceptionally flattering to my colouring and my usual taste in clothing – and doesn’t it look just darling with my black fingerless gloves!
As with many Essie varnishes, the first coat is all kinds of thin and streaky. This beefs up to the beautiful bottle colour by the second or third coat but something about the formula still felt quite thin to me, a feeling vindicated by the fact this polish chipped much quicker than all the other Essies I’ve tried thus far.
But the pay-off is the intensity of the colour, a stark striking shade of scarlet, and the intense glossiness of the finish. In nail polish jargon, it’s almost a jelly finish, so shiny and reflective that it’s almost glassy. It’s just brilliant in every sense of the word. (I was also really impressed that a red this vibrant didn’t stain my nails afterwards!)
I was seriously smitten with Silken Cord. It’s such an eye-catching attention-grabbing shade that made me feel like a 50s film siren but without being too vampy for the everyday. Definitely enough to make me shake off my red polish inhibitions – but with a red this beautiful, do I even need any others in my collection?!
Looks good with: skin white as snow, hair black as ebony… and just about everything else too!
Drying time: 5 mins
Coats required: 2-3 (definitely better with 3 though)
Chips: 3 days
Essie Silken Cord nail polish, 2010 Winter Collection, $60, Cher2
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Tagged 2010 Winter Collection, Beauty, best red nail polishes, Christmas, cosmetics, crimson, Essie, festive, Holiday Collection, make-up, nail lacquer, nail polish, nail varnish, red, scarlet, Silken Cord, swatch