Tag Archives: summer brights

Orly Frisky nail polish review

Thank God for swatches, right? [That’s photos of beauty products tested in real life, for all you non blog-linguists.] They’ve practically revolutionised the way we make-up mavens shop – the equivalent of try before you buy! This is especially useful for nail polish which, unlike make-up you’re allowed to smear on the back of a hand or let an assistant vandalise your face with, shops generally won’t let you try before you buy anyway!

But what’s worse than not being able to find a single swatch of a make-up product online? Finding dozens of inaccurate ones instead.

And thus is the case with Orly Frisky.

Most blog pictures have made this crème look like a super-bright saturated cyan blue colour. Even Orly’s product photo makes it look like a super-bright saturated cyan blue. So I figured the first few pages of results in Google Images couldn’t be wrong, and bought Frisky believing it to be a super-bright saturated cyan blue. It isn’t.

That’s not to say that Frisky isn’t a fantastic colour. It is super-bright and it is saturated – but it’s more of a turquoise, actually. Luckily, turquoise just happens to be one of my favourite colours so I was still delighted with the results.

It leans more blue than Essie’s Turquoise & Caicos (thus far, my ultimate turquoise) but it’s definitely much more aqua than the green-leaning Turned Up Turquoise from China Glaze. It’s by far the brightest turquoise I own – the closest thing to being fluorescent without actually heading into highlighter pen territory.

It’s a vivid vibrant aquamarine that pops straight off the nails. Brilliant, bright and bouncy, it totally lives up to the name of its mother ship – the Happy-Go-Lucky collection.

It’s a really lush creamy colour but sadly, doesn’t dry to a high-gloss finish. The formula was a little tricky to work with – thick, glue-y and with a finish nowhere near as self-levelling as OPI’s – but the coverage was good and the colour was opaque in just one coat (though I did two anyway). I experienced a little bubbling with thicker coats though, which you can see from my photos, and a longer than average drying time. Orly’s brush is large but thin – sort of a cross between OPI’s in size and Essie’s in thickness – which I found spread the polish nicely, and I love brands that have rubber caps like these for better grip.

Overall, Frisky is an awesome aqua that sits equally nicely amongst spring pastels, summer brights or as a pop of colour against an otherwise neutral outfit. It’s a charismatic crowd-pleaser, bursting with oodles of oomph. It’s just not cyan blue, ok?!

Looks good with: summer brights, spring pastels, as a pop of colour
Drying time: 5-7 mins
Coats required: 1-2
Chips: +5 days

Orly Frisky, Summer 2011 Happy Go Lucky Collection, $60, Cher2

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OPI Planks-A-Lot nail polish review

It’s been a while since a nail polish review right? Well, let’s get back on the Pirates Of The Caribbean galleon with OPI’s Planks-A-Lot.

Firstly, what a name! Fun and tongue-in-cheek enough not to feel like you got dumped with a huge side order of cheese.

Planks-A-Lot is probably the brightest colour in the Pirates Collection, which mostly specialised in muted muddied pastels that weren’t at all what you’d associate with the gypsies of the seven seas. It’s a medium perfect purple, veering slightly to the lavender side yet still bright enough to not quite sit at home amongst pastels. It does have a touch of dustiness to it too and is noticeably darker than the pale lilac of the bottle, but nothing near as greyed-out as the grurple explosion (best exemplified by all-time favourite, Parlez-Vous OPI). And obviously, I love it.

You know this. I love all purples. Grey purples. Matte purples. Flakie purples. Holo purples. Glittery purples. Rock star purples. Purple, purple, purple (thought I’d just say it a few more times to make sure). So it’s no surprise that I now love Planks-A-Lot, a fairly straightforward lavender purple crème, too.

What I didn’t love was the formula. I had similar problems with OPI’s Mermaid’s Tears and Planks-A-Lot was even worse. Thick, gloopy, uneven first coat… and once again, I tried to over-compensate, forgetting about OPI’s self-levelling properties, meaning I didn’t get quite the lovely smooth finish I hoped for. But even then, Planks-A-Lot is still super-glossy, lushly creamy and just a gorgeous dreamboat of a colour through and through.

So I know I’m not surprisingly anyone by declaring my outright love for Planks-A-Lot, but she really is a beauty. Yo ho ho and all that too.

Looks good with: muted crèmes, florals, grey
Drying time: 10 mins
Coats required: 2-3
Chips: +7 days

OPI Planks A Lot nail polish, Summer 2011 Pirates of the Caribbean Collection, $70, Cher2

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

CND Poppyfield nail polish review

The sun has got its hat on, hip hip hooray, the sun has got its hat on, CND Poppyfield’s coming out to play.

Isn’t coral just such a fabulous summer colour? I’ve been searching for a great coral all year in anticipation of sunny days, blue skies and beach dreams but it wasn’t as easy as I’d thought it would be! A good coral should be the perfect blend of pink, orange and red; you know it’s perfect when it’s definitely not identifiable as being solely any of the colours above but cries out to be called coral! It’s also one of those colours that depends on skintone and surroundings to pull it in different directions, so one woman’s ultimate coral can easily be another’s crash and burn.

Poppyfield’s name doesn’t really do it justice. When I think of poppies, I think of a cheerful bright red, which this polish clearly ain’t. It’s a tangy mostly orange-leaning red that pops with more gusto than an Andy Warhol painting. A Californian poppy at a push, but much more likely a nasturtium, geranium or hibiscus if you must go down the garden path (yes, I did a lot of gardening as a child, what of it?!). In real life, there is a detectable melon sorbet pink tone in there too, but my camera clearly preferred the orange instead (you can see it more in the bottle). So what’s that – mentions of red, orange AND pink? Clear coral territory, for sure.

Poppyfield was the first CND nail polish I’ve tried – and I’m definitely going to be back for more! Unfortunately, Creative Nail Design (to use their full moniker) underwent a revamp a few years back, which overhauled their bottle design for the better, but severely stunted their range of colours in the process. It’s now a mostly uninspiring collection seemingly based on the boring racks in Essie i.e. traditional colours in red, pink and neutral shades.

Such a shame as the formula on this was brilliant. Smooth, creamy, easily opaque in two coats, a high-shine glossy finish and chip-free after well over seven days. I also loved the rubber cap of these bottles, which made such a difference to getting that extra bit of grip and security (my polish-stained blanket bears testament to the number of plastic caps that have slipped through my fingers!). The brush itself was not too memorable (I’d compare it to China Glaze’s in terms of size and thickness) and judging by how relatively neat my nails look here, it must have been pretty good to use.

Poppyfield is a coral that doesn’t just smile – it positively sings. It looks A-MA-ZING (emphasis on the zing) paired with summer brights and it’s the kind of polish that brightens up your whole look. Together with the fabulous formula, Poppyfield is a no-brainer. Flash but not brash, it’s definitely one for your summer stash. Yes, I do rhymes here too.

Looks good with: summer brights, sunnies, shorts
Drying time: 5-7 minutes
Coats required: 2-3
Chips: +7 days

CND Poppyfield nail polish, $60, Nail Concept Company

China Glaze Passion In The Pacific nail polish review

Whilst I was desperately seeking Turned Up Turquoise, I ended up buying a bottle of China Glaze’s Passion In The Pacific to fill the tropical turquoise void in my life. Well, you know, the one that hadn’t already been filled by Essie’s Turquoise & Caicos.

I initially thought Passion In The Pacific would be a shimmery zingy emerald to Turned Up Turquoise’s true turquoise hue – but in fact, they ended up as much closer cousins than I would have imagined. Just like Turned Up Turquoise, Passion In The Pacific becomes a lush jewel-toned turquoise in the brightest artificial white light and just like Turned Up Turquoise, it’s a standard summery palm tree green practically any time otherwise.

The main difference is the finish. Whilst Turned Up Turquoise has that trademark semi-matte finish of most neons, Passion In The Pacific is a definite ocean-in-the-sunlight shimmer. I’d even be tempted to call it a frost, if it didn’t seem utterly strange calling a colour evocative of beaches, summer and sarongs something so cold, stark and wintry.

I had all kinds of problems with it though. I don’t know if this is because Passion In The Pacific is an older polish so has a different formula than the China Glazes I know and love or if I just got a dodgy bottle, but it was dishearteningly difficult to work with. Extremely thin, watery and streaky, prone to air bubbles, looooong drying time and brush-strokey finish when dry. I hated it. As usual with polishes I hate, that meant it decided to stay with a vengeance – I managed a full week chip-free before I finally caved in and ditched those mocking air bubbles.

Under bright artificial light (plus flash)

The colour pay-off is a nice summer bright but probably not that unique – if I’d have known that it was so similar to Turned Up Turquoise, indeed if I’d have known I’d find Turned Up Turquoise in the first place, I probably wouldn’t have bothered. After all, there are enough top coats in the world that could probably recreate that oceanic shimmer, except without all the application problems and maybe look even better.

In short, Passion In The Pacific is a great summer colour – but only if you can’t find any other similar alternatives! Looks like he’ll be enjoying his beach-side cocktail on his own!

Looks good with: tropical brights, bikinis, cocktails with umbrellas in
Drying time: 10 mins
Coats required: 3-4
Chips: +7 days

China Glaze Passion In The Pacific nail polish, Spring/Summer 2006 Fiji Fling Collection, $60, Cher2