Monday, May 31, 2010

Old NOTD: Nicole In Your Hands

I absolutely adored this polish. About a year ago, I bought Lippmann Rehab and was very disappointed that even though the color was magnificent (a dark, slightly dusty blue jelly), it was so sheer. I built it up to four or five coats before I realized that it was never going to be opaque. I ended up swapping that one away and forgot about it... until now. (Or rather, two months ago when I had this NOTD.)

Nicole In Your Hands

This is what I wanted Rehab to be: dark, blue, squishy, lovely. Three coats to get rid of VNL but yet it retains a jelly goodness. I dislike Nicole bottles and so I rarely buy their polishes but I couldn't resist this one when I saw it in the two-pack at Marshall's for $5 (or something like that). It sat in my untrieds for about five months! I kept on looking at it, picking it up to try and then putting it back. Finally, I tried it and it applied beautifully and I wore it for three days (which is a long time for me). With Nail Life Gripper basecoat and Diamont topcoat, all I got was a tiny bit of shrinkage in the beginning but otherwise, it remained nearly perfect until I got bored of it on Day 3. (I do attribute the longevity of the manicure to Nail Life Gripper though. It's held up very well using a variety of polishes. Or rather, it held a variety of polishes to my fingers very well.)

read more "Old NOTD: Nicole In Your Hands"

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dare2Wear Prism swatches: Silhouette, Pirouette and Kiss the Rain

I'm not entirely sure what the story is with Dare2Wear polishes. I am under the impression that they are a relatively old brand, found mostly in dusties... except they have some newer collections like Disco Tech (mixed glitter awesomeness, omg). Anyway, I ordered these from against the advice of some NBers -- questionable CS, minimum shipping of $25 -- but they were the only place I knew of that had this set so... I took the chance.

(Actually, I thought BeautyWests was great. It got to me relatively quickly and was well-packaged.)

I was thrilled when I got them and saw that they contained holo glitter! They're a bit unusual for holo glitter'd polishes though as they are also somewhat frosty-looking. (They're not actually frosty; they just have very bright flashes of shimmer in different colors that appear silver in these photos.)

Dare2Wear Kiss the Rain

I loved this song as a moony fourteen year old girl in a "long distance relationship". (Actually, I still quite like this song and I've long since outgrown both being fourteen and that relationship. Thank heavens on both counts.) And I really love this nail polish even though it would take at least five coats to become completely opaque on me. Still, a dusty light blue with a pink flash and holo microglitter... hard to argue with that combination. There's something really ethereal about this polish in person: it's serene and twinkling all at once.

Dare2Wear Pirouette

This is one of the more unique polishes I've seen lately. Totally ugly-pretty. The base color is somewhere between a pumpkin and a terracotta shimmer but what really makes this go *POW* is the amazing greenish-gold shimmer and holo microglitter interspersed throughout.'s seriously ugly but so incredibly pretty. Three coats.

Dare2Wear Silhouette

Mauve (taupe??) shimmer with ridiculously bright silver shimmer and holo microglitter. This one was so shimmery and sparkly that this was the only photo I could get that was in decent focus. Three coats, pretty thick (but manageable) stuff.

I took videos of all three but I swear, the sparkle made my camera wiggy. So instead of showing three very blurry videos, I thought I'd just post one:

Video of Kiss the Rain
read more "Dare2Wear Prism swatches: Silhouette, Pirouette and Kiss the Rain"

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Even more stash pics: fauxnads that resemble real Konads

It's the day of my poster! 2-3pm today. And after that... I AM FREE!! (Sort of.) I'm at least free to enjoy the rest of my time in Boston. And I am so looking forward to that.

Today I have even more nail stamp plate stash photos.... we're about halfway through my stash at this point.

These I got from eBay about a year ago: a seller whose name I no longer remember was selling a bunch of the typical GCOCL-like fauxnads but he or she also had a bunch of
dead-on Konad dupes, so I scooped them up. They work fine and are the exact same patterns, if not as deeply etched and on a lighter-feeling disk.

Fauxnad B09 (compare to Konad M3)
Plastic still hasn't been taken off the plate. Wasn't excited about this one but figured I'd have some use for basic hearts and stars sometime.

Fauxnad B16 (compare to Konad M8)
Umbrella! Dunno what that little spray of whatever with the dots at the end is but I like it.

Fauxnad B17 (compare to Konad M20)
Plastic still on. I forgot that I wanted to use the little cluster of cherry blossoms (or whatever blossoms) for Chinese New Year earlier this year. Love the gingko leaves.

Fauxnad B29 (compare to Konad M38)
Grapes on a vine and a wine glass. Perfect. Perfect for what? Who knows.

Fauxnad B33 (compare to Konad M37)
Grapes! I like some of the garlands on this one too.

Fauxnad B36 (compare to Konad M39)
Really don't know why I got this one...

Fauxnad B56 (compared to Konad M44)
I'm so bad at placing French tips that I haven't even bothered trying any of these.

Fauxnad B57 (compare to Konad M45)
I tried the polka dots. That's where I learned I couldn't Konad a french tip straight to save my life.

Fauxnad B65 (compared to Konad M51)
I dunno what it is: I love swirls. When I doodle, I doodle swirls much like the ones one this plate.

Here's an odd one:

Fauxnad M24 ( to Konad M24)
It's the same number and everything but I got it off of eBay and it doesn't have the paper backing that real Konad plates have. It also photographed differently than any other plate I have: I can't describe it that well, it's like it diffused light differently. It was hard to get a pic that showed the designs clearly.

And finally, the one plate I got from this particular seller that wasn't a Konad dupe:

Fauxnad B61
Why did I get it? Snowflakes. :)

And I'm not even on the BundleMonster plates yet... I should at least take the plastic off and pretend like I use these plates to justify how many I have.
read more "Even more stash pics: fauxnads that resemble real Konads"

Friday, May 28, 2010

Perfectly Pink - OPI Japanese Rose Garden

This season I've been really into three kinds of polishes - metallics, corals and pinks. I'll be showing you some more metallics soon (OPI Dazzled by Gold! Hold on to your hats!), as well as two corals that might be working for me (can't wait to share those and get your opinions...I may have finally found "coral success")!!

I've got to tell you though...lately I've been in a full-tilt boogie pink phase! It's odd because I'm usually not a pink polish kinda girl (with the exception of light sheers). I think that pink is underestimated - it can be very exciting, dramatic and sexy, and like other colours, just as hard to find one that works for you. Just because there are so many pinks out there doesn't mean you've picked up the right one(s)! I think they are incredibly fickle when it comes to skin tone and this is probably why I've shied away from pink cremes in the past. I'm happy to say I think I have stumbled upon a medium pink that really works for me!

I present to you, OPI Japanese Rose Garden (in the "ugh-I-didn't-have-the-bottle-but-I-found-some-light-so-I'll-do-the-claw" pose):

It's not a straight creme - you can see in the bottle that is has a soft pearlescence to it - much like the pearlescence you find in OPI Puerto Vallarta Violeta - another spring favourite of mine! On the nail all you see is creme unless you look *realllllllllllyyy* closely. This is great because it means no danger of streaking whatsoever, yet the polish seems to glow. The colour is hard to explain - it's bright, yet demure; old-fashioned, yet fresh. It's a Barbie pink that keeps from being cloyingly sweet by having a tinge of mauve and grey to it. This usually a Grandma polish makes, but I think its working for me! (Correct me if I'm wrong please ladies.)

The odd/brilliant thing about this polish? In many ways, it reminds me of my mother's super-pigmented Chanel lipsticks - as if it was more pigment than polish! Result? Fabulous one-coater! I kid you not - a light(ish) colour in one coat. I have a separate shelf in my mind reserved for one-coaters and I reach for the ones on this shelf whenever I'm in a tornado-style rush. Japanese Rose Garden is on the roster!

So I'm not a seasoned pink girl - what do you ladies think? Are you into pinks this season or am I on my own? What's your 'perfect pink'?

read more "Perfectly Pink - OPI Japanese Rose Garden"

Thursday, May 27, 2010

iHaul on vacation: the absolute best dusty hunt I've ever been on!

Exhausted. About to run out to dinner. Without a good light or a real camera so here are crappy pics of the labels. I hit at least 6 or 7 dusties today and paid between $5-8 for each. I'm so pleased! Dusty hunting is fun. I wish I lived near nail salons that are old enough to have old polish.

(I think that's Creme de Menthe. I was disappointed when I got it for $40 on eBay... but I had hunted it so long, I couldn't leave even an unlabelled, half full one for $5.)

Ruuuuby Slippers! It's true! Lemmings do find you eventually!

Yeah, late for dinner, gotta run!
read more "iHaul on vacation: the absolute best dusty hunt I've ever been on!"

Nude for a black girl

This is the closest I have come to finding a polish that matches my skin color. You know...I don't mind it ON ME, but my skin color is kind of uggs in a bottle. So I've had a tough go of finding a close match. Nobody is really making the color.

Brown Bag

(1 coat)

It's not perfect but it's close. The subtle shimmer isn't ideal but I cannot complain about the excellent coverage!

I'm waiting on a couple polish deliveries where my fingers are crossed that I get even closer.

There's been a lot of trial and error to get here. There have been those that were too orange, too red, and too brown. I finally found a yellow brown to match my NC42 skin.

In other news - GASP! My purple/pink helmer drawer is almost full.

I make myself sick.
read more "Nude for a black girl"

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Christian Dior Gold Nugget + Sale Reminder

As a present to myself for passing quals, I decided to get a polish I was really really really lemming. I'd be ogling Dior Gold Nugget on Piff for quite some time now and decided that this was basically the only occasion where I'd allow myself to go for it!

It's here and you know what....I'm not sure. :(

Here is Dior Gold Nugget in the pseudo-sun:

And in the shade/dark:

Gold Nugget is definitely what I would call an 'antique gold'. It looks burnished, but not warm. To me it kind of looks like how champagne tastes (I'm officially losing it...) even though I love champagne but I'm just not sure of this on me. It definitely isn't that 'boom in your face!' sparkly metallic like OPI DS Glow - there is something really classy about this one. I've been really in love with metallics this season, but with OPI Dazzled by Gold on its way to me, I'm wondering if this was really worth the splurge.

I think one thing that is making me waver is that I expected awesome application with this one...and didn't get it. I've heard tons of people rave about the Dior formula and to me it was kinda thick (even though my bottle was brand new) and had a ton of cuticle drag. I am also having a bit of shrinkage (see my ring finger in the sun pic??) which is annoying.

I need to make a decision on whether or not to keep this guy! I think as I wear this throughout the day I'll figure out how I feel...but I'd appreciate some outside input!

So please please please tell me what you think...this puppy might just end up in my SALE. ;)

read more "Christian Dior Gold Nugget + Sale Reminder"

Cheap thrills: Sinful Innocent and Happy Ending (...and a short-term goodbye til Sunday)

Today is going to be a ridiculously busy day: my formal second-year talk is at noon and I'm leaving to go to Boston tonight for APS (another red-eye) to present my poster.

I recently spent some time swatching most of my Sinful untrieds and as usual, I find that the good ones are GREAT and the not-so-good ones make me want to return them because they still seem a waste of $1.99. (I have about 1000 polishes: I literally don't have room for cheap nail polishes that aren't of good quality.)

Here are two Sinful successes!

Sinful Happy Ending

The phrase "Sinful Happy Ending" makes me want to titter like a schoolgirl but I'll resist the urge to do so. Wonderful grass green with bright gold shimmer. I think this was two thick coats. A little brush strokey but I love the color.

Sinful Innocent
Extra thanks to Adrienne for getting me Innocent for my birthday (and for purchasing some LE FingerPaints for me)! :D Lime greens are my newest obsessions. (An offshoot of the mint green obsession, probably. Or maybe it's an offshoot of my yellow obsession. A convergence of the two obsessions perhaps... I'll shut up now.) This was an amazing creme: two coats, went on perfectly. Worth much more than $1.99 and a complete steal at that price. I haven't had time to compare the two but OPI Who the Shrek Are You is slightly darker and a smidge bluer than Innocent. It also looks very dupey to FingerPaints Lucky in Love Lime. When I get back from Boston-New York-Boston, I'll post a comparison of these three polishes.

Off to start my long, long day...! I probably won't be posting much between now and Sunday (my poster is on Saturday). So I hope everyone has a great rest-of-the-week!
read more "Cheap thrills: Sinful Innocent and Happy Ending (...and a short-term goodbye til Sunday)"

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Some Alice in Wonderland bottle comparisons and some of my mini mani travel kit

Before I forget, Polish or Perish now has a sale blog for the bunch of us to sell our polishes... mostly in order to raise funds to buy new polishes. kittytokaren posted the first sale today!

Somebody on Nail Board alerted me to possible Absolutely Alice and Mad as a Hatter dupes the other day. Luckily, Ricky's NYC does online ordering now so I could take a looksee at these possible dupes.

Mattese (or Mattese Elite) is/was (?) a store-based brand, found in Ricky's NYC, a chain of not-cheap beauty supply shops in New York. Currently, their polishes seem to be manufactured by Forsythe and are often dead-on Color Club dupes. So I was surprised to hear about the existence of OPI dupes. I didn't think they'd be dead-on and I was right. I'm leaving for Boston tomorrow (not to mention having my second year talk in the morning) so I didn't have time to swatch these. I will do a comparison when I get back though...

Mattese Elite Legendary Alice vs. OPI Absolutely Alice

Here are a series of photos where it'd be really helpful to click to see the full sizes (if you are really bent on finding AiW dupes). The Mattese seems to use a slightly brighter blue and is missing what I think of as the defining gold glitter that makes Absolutely Alice so great. Instead of the gold glitter in AA, it has highlights of silver glitter instead. Which kind of makes Legendary Alice a more run-of-the-mill blue glitter.

Mattese Nutty Hat Guy vs. OPI Mad as a Hatter

It's like Forsythe didn't have gold glitter on hand to put into these polishes. Nutty Hat Guy (ha) consists silver glitter, light purple (or pink) glitter, red glitter and green glitter. The predominant color that seems to come out is a bright, slightly pinkish silver. Mad as a Hatter contains so many more different colored glitters: silver, gold, dark purple, green, orange and blue. It gives MaaH a darker and more complex look and the predominant color appears to be more pewter in appearance than silver. It does appear that the Mattese Elite versions of this polishes are not as a complex and and a (noticeable) touch brighter than the OPI polishes.

In my opinion, I would never call these dupes. They're close enough for people who aren't obsessed but for those who are... they're close but no cigar. I think they probably look more similar on the nail, from afar though.

And finally, my travel mani kit: getting ready for my conference!

1/8fl oz of Nail Life Gripper, a bit less than 1/8fl oz of Orly Prince Charming and 1/8fl oz of Nubar Diamont. I will most likely pick up new polishes in Boston (and New York) so I'm not worried about bringing something else to change into once my poster is over.

In the meanwhile, I didn't get my paper into my readers before the end of the weekend and am still busily writing. I really, really, really want to get the first draft to them before tomorrow morning -- and I need my sleep tonight. But right now, I have some hope: I have a good first paragraph. (That doesn't sound too good but I generally don't write first paragraphs until at least halfway through the paper, when I've figured out what the paper is about. Also, introductory paragraphs are usually pretty hard if you're trying to be a halfway entertaining writer.) And once I have a good first paragraph, it's like it provides momentum for the rest of the paper. I have about 65% of it done and I completely stalled over the weekend. Now, I feel like with my good first paragraph... there is no reason why I can't finish it tonight!
read more "Some Alice in Wonderland bottle comparisons and some of my mini mani travel kit"

Nail Polish Innuendos and Feminism

I'm so sorry I've been absent for so long. I've had a tough last few weeks, dealing with final papers and a grade that I feel is unjust. :-/ Long story short, I am SO done with school right now - though I have one semester left. This summer will be time for me to go to work in the mornings, hang out at the apartment pool, read, and work on my Master's thesis. I wish I could feel relaxed, but instead I feel extra stressed. I still haven't found a panel for my Master's thesis defense (no one in my department really fits my interests) and I'm struggling with figuring out my future.

But on to nail polish. PoP has received some emails requesting a feminist perspective of cosmetics companies such as Orgasm Cosmetics and Naughty Nailz. I'm sorry to tell you that if you were expecting me to condemn these brands as degrading and offensive to women, you've got the wrong feminist. I am also not against all pornography or all sex work, for example. I happen to think that these issues are more complex than they seem or are portrayed to be. Also, polish names such as Orgasm Cosmetics's "Dripping Wet" may be kind of crass, but it's not necessarily degrading to women. Unless there are any nail polish names that refer to, for example, non consensual sex or women's (or men's) bodies in negative ways, then I don't have a problem with sexual nail polish names. It may be kind of uncomfortable when someone like your boss or mom asks you what nail polish you're wearing, but you can always do what I do and say, "Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot the name!" Most people can't even remember the brand of their nail polish, so you're fine. :)

I also tend to enjoy when sexuality is acknowledged, even in such a simple format as these nail polish and cosmetics names. In my opinion, sex should not be a quiet secret that is unable to be discussed in schools or among families or friends. But that's another story...

I do not actually own any products from either of these websites so I cannot vouch for these particular brands. I realize that not everyone will agree with me and some people may be offended. Even so, I do not mean to degrade anyone who disagrees. Everyone is welcome to their own opinions.

On to the pictures....

This is a franken originally created by janimal425 on MUA. The recipe is as follows:

30% OPI Absolutely Alice
30% ChG Dorothy Who?
40% ChG Emerald Sparkle

This is 3 coats

This is 3 coats of OPI Who the Shrek are You? with 1 coat of Color Club Tru Passion gradiated on top using Orly Smudge Fixer.

This is a bad pic and I apologize. I could not capture this one! It's 2 coats of OPI Mon-sooner or Later with 1 coat of OPI Dress to Empress on top.

Thanks for reading!
read more "Nail Polish Innuendos and Feminism"

Inaugural Polish or Perish sale!

Woohoo! Time to unveil the sale blog!

We decided it might be a cool idea to create a secondary blog - a place where the ladies of Polish or Perish could post about polishes that are going unloved in their stash and are looking for new homes. We will update everyone on here when there is a new posting on the sale blog, and I'm excited to say that I'm the first! Please check out the sale and let me know if there is anything you'd like :)

Go to my sale HERE!

read more "Inaugural Polish or Perish sale!"

Kittytokaren's Polish Sale!

I am kittytokaren, one of the ladies of Polish or Perish! These wonderful polishes aren't getting nearly enough love from me and they are looking for a new home!

All of the polishes listed are new or swatched one time, unless otherwise noted. They are all as-is, no returns. All of the polishes I show in the photo are the exact bottle you will be receiving. If a name is in red, then that polish is sold. Any questions about an item?? See something you like?? Contact me! :)

kittyje11 on MUA (preferred)

US ladies only. (International girls - the shipping just gets too expensive - however you if are really hankering for something and want to make an offer when it comes to shipping, please contact me.) Shipping is $2.00 for the first bottle and $0.50 extra for each additional bottle until you get over $5, then I'll be shipping by priority flat rate. I can stuff 10 bottles into the small priority box.

I will be using delivery confirmation on all shipments.

To the polishes!!!

OPI Mamma Mia $8
OPI Thoroughly Modern Millie $8
OPI Thoroughly Modern Millie (used 2x) $8

Color Club Hot Couture (?) $2
FingerPaints Yellow Bikini $1
Sinful Colors Glass Pink (65% remaining) $0.50
Orly Won't Chip $4
Orly mini (silver with silver glitter) $1
read more "Kittytokaren's Polish Sale!"

Misa Forbidden Lust and Color Club Groove Thang

(2 coats)

I am a SUCKER for any shimmery medium-purple. But this is eh for me. Not sure why. It even leans red, which is my preference. AND it glows like a fiend. idk idk. It's gorgeous but ijdk!

(2 coats)

The sound you hear is me deciding to get off my ass and do a swatch post of my favorite almost-blacks. They are the shunned by mainstream nail polish afficionados but I embrace them. I hold them tight, rocking back and forth, and whisper to them heartening words of encouragement. "We shall overcome. We shall overcome."

Seriously people. How. Can. You. Not.

(It's a dark purple with shimmer if you can't tell. You oppressor.)
read more "Misa Forbidden Lust and Color Club Groove Thang"

Monday, May 24, 2010

A little candy coating: OPI Panda-monium Pink

A friend of mine recently got this colour done as a mani and told me that she loved the 'candy-coating' pastels that are out this spring. To us polish-speakers, she means cremes! But honestly I love the imagery of the candy coating so much, it made me pull the trigger on this polish. I wavered back and forth and back and forth on this one for the longest time! I'm very glad I finally got my hands on it.

OPI Panda-monium Pink:

left bottle: Panda-monium Pink; right bottle: Lucky Lucky Lavender; nails: Panda-monium Pink (weird right?)

Preface: When will it stop raining so I can get a decent picture?!? When????! Incentive to finally build my lightbox I guess...

Panda-monium Pink a really pretty lilac-tinged opaque pink. The colour dries darker than in the bottle - in fact, the colour it dries to is exactly the colour of OPI Lucky Lucky Lavender in the bottle! LLL also dries darker than it appears in the bottle and looks really odd on my tips, but I love it on my toes, and I think this would be a great mani/pedi combo! I've just been into pinks lately. This particular pink makes my skin look tanner without looking like I dipped my fingers in some sort of toxic neon dye. Being cool-toned, I think that the blue-toned pinks flatter me more than the warmer pinks.

The formula on this is...not the awesomest. I was a little disappointed because I felt like the other two Hong Kong Collection polishes that I have (Jade is the New Black & Lucky Lucky Lavender) both had better application - this one was a little streaky and applied like most pastels - a little difficult, a little balding around the cuticles, but was fixed in 3 coats. Just not a joy, but workable. Since I love the colour, I will let it slide.

I do feel like I have a little candy-coating on my nails - like the shell of an M&M! This is everything that I wanted RBL Smitten to be (Smitten was such a fail I didn't even keep it on long enough to take a pic!). I think this colour is perfect for spring - a pastel pink that doesn't look white and washed out.

There are a lot of pastel cremes out there for spring - which are your favs?

read more "A little candy coating: OPI Panda-monium Pink"


The rest of the STRANGEBEAUTIFUL Vol 1 polishes...

STRANGEBEAUTIFUL Vol 1 tyrian purple
Nice even red-leaning purple. For those who have been following this blog for awhile, you'll probably know that I'm not a fan of this color generally. I have a ton of clothing in it -- and quite a few polishes -- but I just find it a really boring color to wear (possibly because I've overdosed on it). But I really liked this polish: it applied really well and has sort of a squishy jelly feel to it. Three coats.

STRANGEBEAUTIFUL Vol 1 Dartmouth green
This looks a lot like Dartmouth College's signature green: dark forest green that's got a bit of blue in it. I don't have a pic of it but it's a bit more blue and right in between Orly Enchanted Forest and Orly Wandering Vine in terms of lightness (luminosity? Not sure what the right term is here). It's worth keeping to me because I love dark greens but those who have either Orly might not care to have this polish. Not that it matters after you buy the whole set. Three coats.

STRANGEBEAUTIFUL Vol 1 sapphire blue with Rescue Beauty Lounge Teal (ring finger)
In the bad lighting in my apartment at night, I thought these might be sort of dupey. Yeah, not even close. It's also not dupey to American Apparel Passport Blue, which is darker and dustier. I did three coats here, but it is probably passable at two coats. I really enjoy the glossiness of these polishes!

STRANGEBEAUTIFUL Vol 1 candy apple red with American Apparel Downtown LA (ring finger)

Yup, they are pretty dupey except that the AA is more opaque in three coats than the SB. (It is also slightly less glossy.) I saw on some blog (forgetting which one) that RBL Chinoise is a dupe to AA Downtown LA so we can assume that this candy apple red SB is probably a near-dupe for Chinoise. (Yeah, just get the American Apparel polish.)

I was hoping that of the three SB sets I got, I'd want to keep an entire one intact. This might be the set to keep. :) Anyway, two sets down, one left to go. Though I swear I heard something about a new one coming out soon...
read more "STRANGEBEAUTIFUL Volume 1, Part II of II"