Tag Archives: sparkle

Zoya Aurora nail polish review

zoya aurora

Hail to the Princess Aurora! All of her subjects adore her! Hail to the King, hail to the Queen, hail to the Princess Aurora!

Given that Sleeping Beauty was always my favourite Disney princess, it was always likely I’d feel the urge to buy Zoya’s Aurora nail polish – and yes, I totally buy cosmetics based on the product names. Thankfully, the colour turned out to be pretty stellar.

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Zoya Rica nail polish review

You may have worked out that I’ve been on a bit of a coral binge lately. And whilst probably not the truest coral in the colour wheel, Zoya’s Rica is too amazing not to include.

Rica didn’t even register with me when I looked at Zoya’s 2011 Sunshine Collection online. Yet in person, on a hot summer’s day, it proved irresistible. I don’t think it could get more summery unless it came wearing shades!

Rica is a super-sparkly, super-summery, super-super pink-tinged sunny orange topped off with a liberal dose of golden sunshine glitter. It just about fits into the coral scheme of things but when I gazed at its loveliness, all I could think of were ripe mouth-watering summer fruits. It’s like someone squeezed together the juiciest aspects of a watermelon, grapefruit, tangerine, apricot and mango, and the result was Rica.

Meanwhile, that golden sunshine sparkle is the trademark Zoya way of doing glitter. You can see further examples of it in my posts on Charla and Gloria, but it’s basically a very fine glitter that positively saturates the polish, but completely evenly and consistently, giving it an almost foil-like effect. It’s completely smooth to the touch and as such, is a very grown-up take on glitter – unmistakeably Zoya and unmistakeably awesome.

Such is the awesome sunshine of Rica, it practically glows in the dark! As you can see from this photo in the shade, that glitter really does look like sparkle directly transplanted from the sun – the sun shining down on a luscious tropical island, I think you’ll agree! In the shade, it definitely leans more towards a golden orange that reminded me of a goldfish!

As with most Zoyas, it was fantastically easy to apply; at first, the consistency seems a little thin but it’s easy to work with and I had a beautiful smooth even colour after just two coats. As ever with Zoya, it also wears like iron – totally chip-free after over a week.

I honestly don’t think I can sing Rica’s praises enough. It’s gloriously golden, fantastically fruity and so so stunningly summery that it could probably brighten things up in the depths of darkest Antarctica (or, as it’s usually known, a typical British summer in the UK!). Pure sunshine in a bottle – what more could you ask for?!

Looks good with: SUNSHINE, ice lollies, summer prints
Drying time: 5-7 mins
Coats required: 2
Chips: +7 days

Zoya Rica nail polish, Summer 2011 Sunshine Collection, $80, Cher2

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 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

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