Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sally Hansen fail, Icing win

The other day, I was in the mood for a little retail therapy. Thanks to CVS, my credit card and an extra thirty minutes before I was due in a meeting, I was able to partake in some. Credit also goes to Sally Hansen, for having a nice new display of dark colors that I assumed were from a new fall collection (now that I look at permanent displays, I think they were just designed to make me think they were new - no bueno, Sally Hansen) because one of my purchases was a lovely bottle of Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Midnight in NY. It had been a rough week, and sadly it did not end with this polish.

Sally Hansen Midnight in NY

Please note that I said "lovely bottle," as the polish in the bottle was much lovelier than the polish on my nails. If it pleases the court, please note the above photo as Evidence #1: streaky application, VNL after two coats (for $8 a pop, I expect better) and NO GLITTER. That's right, I said GLITTER! There's glitter in that there polish, but WHERE IS IT? Evidence #2: Bottle photo -

THERE is the glitter! We found it! It's in the bottle! Of course it is, because why would I want it on my nail, making it look all lovely and everything? Why would I even expect the shiny, holo glitter effect that the appears so gorgeous in the bottle to ever be on my nails? Especially for $8! That is clearly something that I should have to pay $20 for, right?

Icing Blackout

INCORRECT, because THIS only cost me like $4 and it is lovely, black, dense holo MAGIC! See, Sally Hansen? Pretty bottle, pretty polish. This is Icing Blackout that I bought last winter, and it is what I wanted Midnight in NY to be, but it was not. So why did I bother to BUY Midnight in NY when I already had Blackout?

I don't want to talk about it. I just did. You know what I mean.

Happy day, all!
read more "Sally Hansen fail, Icing win"

Glitter Grows Up - OPI Holiday Glow

First of all - WOW!! Almost 1000 followers!! I think I speak for all of the PoP ladies when I say thank you - I never really thought we'd have such a large/active reader base! I really appreciate and enjoy all of your comments - that's what makes this blog so fun. :)

Today I'm going to show you what is probably my favourite glitter polish. You might be thinking "kittytokaren doesn't wear glitter...she must have inhaled too many fumes or completely lost it due to 5th-year-grad-student-syndrome". While both these things may or may not be true, I generally don't 'do' glitter - nothing personal against it, I just never feel like I can pull it off - it's just not 'me'. But this glitter is very me! From the OPI Holiday Wishes collection released last fall - I give you OPI Holiday Glow!

Classic pose:

You can see my super nubbins and the glitter well from this angle:

See how the pink microshimmer gives it a rosy glow sometimes?:

I know Burlesque is coming out and everyone is super hyped about it, but last years Holiday collection hit all of the right buttons for me and I keep going back to those polishes. This is no exception. While I usually find glitter to be OTT (over the top) and too flashy for my fairly low-key life & style, this one has a rather elegant spirit to it. The base is a brown with a dash of eggplant - the silver glitter looks like sugar crystals mixed in, while the pink microshimmer rounds it out and gives it a more sophisticated, complex finish.

I really like this for when I feel like I need a little extra sparkle - I feel like it's subdued enough for work - but interesting and glamourous enough to add a little oomph to my life. I think it fits in perfectly with my 'style'. :)

What's your favourite glitter polish?


P.S. Sad admission - I initially bought this last year when I read in a magazine that Kim Kardashian liked it. Oi. Apparently my mother read the same article because she stole it and I had to swap desperately to get it back in my life!
read more "Glitter Grows Up - OPI Holiday Glow"

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A White Comparison

I've recently been loving white polishes.  I think it started with Essie Marshmallow, continued with OPI Time-Less is More and is still going strong with Revlon Powder Puff (which I recently wore and have NOTD pics coming up for you).  Since I love doing comparisons, I thought of doing a white comparison for you guys.

First up, here's the case of characters.

I applied the above polishes in order from pinkie to thumb and took this picture in the sun.

I took this picture in the shade.

And I took this picture with the flash.

Swedish Nude is the yellowest of these polishes.  I would consider it an off-white or maybe a yellow version of Sally Hansen Lavender Cloud.  Most "regular" (read non-nail polish) people would probably look at this polish and declare it white.  I don't know if I like it with my skin tone, though.  I prefer the others on me.  Swedish Nude is a creme and it's old formula so it's got the skinny brush.  I used three coats for this comparison.

I know that the OPI Ridge Filler is technically not a polish, but I like to wear it as one so I included it in this comparison.  It dries to a satin finish so if you want it to be super shiny, a top coat would easily fix that.  I didn't use any top coat here, but it's not fully dry so it looks a bit shiny.  The main reason I enjoy using this as a manicure is because I don't need a separate base coat for it.  I can carefully apply four coats with a top coat and I'm on my way.  Since I always use two coats of base coat when I'm doing a regular manicure, this is like wearing a two-coater in comparison.  Not bad!

Time-Less is More was a huge lemming for me and I finally ordered it online.  It's a jelly-ish sheer white that falls somewhere between the OPI Ridge Filler and Essie Marshmallow.  I had huge problems with bubbling when I wore this for a full manicure and the four coats you see here were thick.  I needed six thin coats when I wore this for a full manicure.  It's most likey designed to be a sheer coat that shows visible nail line.  I was trying to make it opaque.  I still really enjoy this polish, though.  I think it's worth the trouble.

Essie Marshmallow needed four coats.  It's streaky and thin.  Frankly, it's a little hard for me to work with.  The skinny Essie brush doesn't help, either.  I do love this color, but the formula always pisses me off.  It's more of a stark white when compared to Time-Less is More and the OPI Ridge Filler, but it's not as stark as the Sally Hansen.

I threw Sally Hansen White On into this comparison since I wanted to compare these to a stark white creme.  This is definitely the brightest white of the bunch and it's definitely a creme.  I used three coats for this one, but only needed two.  That's my fault since I messed up my thumb when I was painting so I needed a third coat.

I hope you enjoyed my comparison!
read more "A White Comparison"

Some LA Girl Metal swatches: Pink Steel, Millennium and Metallic Olive

This is one great -- and affordable -- collection for those who like foils and other shiny things. You can generally find these for about $3; they are often on sale on

LA Girl Metal Pink Steel

I don't think the photo properly expresses the awesomeness of this polish. Did you know that every nail polish collection HAS to have a BURNING HOT PINK FOIL? Because I did not know that I needed one until I swatched this beauty. My collection had been unknowingly bereft without it! Three coats here, could have been fine with two. Very smooth application, which is typical of foil polishes. It's retina-searing in the sun. Does not dry glossy though, which may bother some but I like the Suede-like texture of it.

LA Girl Metal Metallic Olive

Dark shimmering green made of nearly-black dark green shimmer, gold shimmer and lighter green shimmer. Three coats. A dark, dusky color that brightens in the sunlight. Me likey. :)

LA Girl Metal Millennium

I liked this one the least out of these three polishes. I guess I'm not a big purple person but there just wasn't anything too special to me about this purple foil. It applies very well though. Two coats.

September 29th (15m cardio).
read more "Some LA Girl Metal swatches: Pink Steel, Millennium and Metallic Olive"

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

OPI Ink - An almost-black I don't like (Gasp!)

Actually, there are plenty of almost-blacks I don't like (even though, in general, I think they're totally underrated).

This is definitely one of those. Way to look like orgasm in a bottle and then be totally flacid, OPI Ink. Ugh. Though, my camera didn't pick up the bottle awesomeness. Which I guess says something.

(2 coats)

It had a duochrome-y around the edges thing happening in the bottle. I'm OK with the fact that there was no sign of it on the nail; it happens frequently. I think it's the blurple factor. There's nothing I detest more than a blurple. I know, sacrilege.
read more "OPI Ink - An almost-black I don't like (Gasp!)"

Monday, September 27, 2010

Quick announcement: new coupon for OCNailArt!

Kathleen, the proprietor of OCNailArt, has kindly given Polish or Perish their own coupon code! Get a FREE Konad image plate of your choice with purchases of $30 or more! Just add the plate you want to your order and enter the code POLISHORPERISH: the price of the plate will be deducted at checkout.

As always, shipping is free on orders of $20 or more in the US and Canada. For all other countries, shipping is free on orders over $40.
read more "Quick announcement: new coupon for OCNailArt!"

Bottle pictures from a new (to me) brand: Picture Polish!

Some informative soul on Nail Board posted about a website that sold Ozotics nail polishes to those living in Not-Australia. And when I dashed to go take a look see, I noticed that this website also had their own varied and interesting line of nail polish, called Picture Polish.

I LOVE finding new brands I've never heard of and so did not hesitate to contact the owners to find out more about their line. Turns out, you can buy their polishes as is or you can do a bit of a private label thing and slap your own label on their polish to sell. They generously sent me a dozen Picture Polishes to review. I haven't had time to swatch most of them (yet!) but I just LOVE the labels on them and wanted to show them off:

Camo green, how I adore you. The photo seems to show it off as more grey but it's actually a bit more green IRL. Is the "u" is in the wrong place there?

I'm strangely attracted to Heavy Metal. I didn't think I would be but it looks like it's gonna be a great glitter polish that won't need too many coats.

Yeah, I'm all over these two. Seriously. My two favorite colors of polishes, yellow and mint cremes!

It took me a few days to figure out what PMT stood for. I'm so used to it being "syndrome"; I've never heard of someone complaining about PMT.

OMG, greige!

These retail for AUS $9.95 (which is about US $9.90). I hope to have swatches up for you real soon!!

September 25th (30m cardio), September 26th (30m cardio + strength).
read more "Bottle pictures from a new (to me) brand: Picture Polish!"

Layering Love with China Glaze Frostbite

You might want to ask yourself if you are prepared... prepared for a LAYERING EXTRAVAGANZA, that is!

May I please present to you, China Glaze Frostbite (my fave) with a TON of layering hits (and a few misses) -

... aaaaaand, the corresponding bottles!

From left to right, thumb to pinky on my left hand:
*Confetti Tiara (which I think looks dang close to CND Effect Sugar Sparkle, am I right?)
*OPI Catch Me In Your Net
*China Glaze Emerald Sparkle (I know there are two of these and I think I have the crap one)
*China Glaze Medallion with China Glaze Solar Flare (not shown) on top
*Sinful Colors Pink Diamond (ummmm... not pink, btw)

and, the right hand!

Bottle Shot:
Left to right, thumb to pinky:

*Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Lagoon

*Touch Up Paint in Amethyst

*China Glaze in Atlantis

*China Glaze in Medallion with China Glaze Solar Flare (not shown) on top

*Scherer Chameleon in Blue Sky

I love the idea of layering polishes that don't look as if they should be layered - know what I mean? Because of that, I think that these in the photo above were some of my favorites - L to R, Catch Me in Your Net, Emerald Sparkle and the gold glitter combo. They were seriously striking, I wish you could have seen them in person. The first two had such a depth to them, it was lovely! Atlantis was also fairly shocking; it lost all of the turquoisey loveliness but the glitter was fantastic.

As for that Scherer Chameleon in Blue Sky... UGH. UGH. UGH.

What do you guys think? Favorites? Also, do you like this layering madness?

Happy day, all!

read more "Layering Love with China Glaze Frostbite"

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Blog Sale! Nail Polish Grab Bags!

****SOLD OUT (for now -- I'll let you all know if I have any leftover) ****

For those who aren't subscribed to nbmarketplace on LiveJournal, I recently offered up some nail polish grab bags (or rather, "grab boxes") for sale for $15 each.

Here's the text from nbmarketplace, edited slightly:

I spent all summer purging my collection and after selling over 100 polishes through my last grab bag opportunity, I STILL have a TON of polishes that I need off of my hands. I don't currently have time to list and sell all of them individually so I'm going to be selling a bunch by 10-14 polish lots for $15 per lot. They will be shipped in a small USPS priority flat rate box, which usually costs about $4.95 to ship -- this is included in the $15. :)

All the grab bags will contain at least 10 polishes and can contain up to 14; it all depends on the shape and size of the polish bottles, how they fit together in the box and how many I feel that I can safely stuff into one of the small flat rate boxes.

Please contact me (flinty) through MUA OR email I take PayPal (marked as gift) only.

I only have enough for several grab bags. First come, first served!

The polishes have generally only been used 1-2x times though some may have only 70% left. No box will contain more than one or two polishes that are under 90% full. Most (if not all) of the polishes you receive will have only been used for swatching once. There will be some minis in there but those who get minis in their boxes will likely be getting closer to 14 polishes than 10.

The polishes I'm including in these boxes were all purchased for between $1 and $5. No box will contain only $1 polishes. There will be some drugstore polishes (including some DC'ed drugstore polishes) but there are polishes from all over the place represented in these grab bags.

I will try to ensure a variety of colors and finishes. No box will only contain pinks or reds or sheers or greens or blues.

Some of the polish brands that will show up in the grab bags:
Hot Topic
Maybelline (including DC'ed Maybelline)
Revlon (including some Street Wear)
Sally Hansen (including some Nail Prisms)
Nina Ultra Pro
Wet n Wild
NY Summer
Snail Slicks
...and more...!
read more "Blog Sale! Nail Polish Grab Bags!"

The Hunt For Red (By) October Finale & WINNERS!

It's been a long, arduous experience, but my Red Hunt is finally over - for better or for worse -and just in time for October too! (Check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5 if you missed out!)

Just for kicks, here's a list of the reds I've tried in the Hunt:

Chanel Rouge Fatal
Essie A-List
Essie Bordeaux
Essie Burma Ruby
Essie Fishnet Stockings
Essie Forever Young
Essie Limited Addiction
Essie Love, Beverly Hills xx
Essie Pepperoni
Essie Pouf Daddy
Essie Rock the Croc
Essie Tomboy No More
OPI Big Apple Red
OPI Got the Blues for Red
OPI Thrill of Brazil
OPI Vodka & Caviar

And quite a few more that I can't remember because I only swatched them briefly. You might notice that a large majority of my attempts were Essies. There is no reason for this, other than I just plain adore Essie polishes - they have the best wear time on me out of any brand. Essie also has a huge range of red polishes readily (heh) available.

And the winners are...*DRUMROLL*

In the darker red category: Essie Bordeaux

In the medium red category: Essie Rock the Croc

And an Honorable Mention: Essie Pouf Daddy

Things I've learned on the Hunt:

1.) Don't judge a red by it's bottle.

Ugh. This made this process infuriating. Reds still have me baffled in that they look completely different in the bottle than on the nail. For example, Essie A-List looks more orange-y than Essie Limited Addiction in the bottle, but on the nail it's the other way around. I've found out that you can't see if a red will work from you by the bottle colour - you have to try it. I would have *never* tried Essie Rock the Croc if I thought it would look like the bottle colour!

2.) Lighting is a big deal.

Reds seem to be extra susceptible to lighting conditions. If you want to test a red out, you can't just put it on your nail and then decide if it works or not. Maybe it works in indoor light, but it might look completely ridiculous in fluorescent light or outdoor light. That's why this Hunt took so long - I needed to take them all for a serious test-drive!

3.) Texture matters.

I'm not usually one for making a fuss over cremes vs. jellies. But I've discovered that in red polishes, it makes a huge difference. Most of the cremes I tried would go murky, dingy and dark in lower lighting - an affect I find appalling. However jellies let the light through the various layers of polish which seems to minimize any murk-factor. In the end, both of my two winners were jellies. Cremes are much easier to apply though, and jellies take a little bit of patience to avoid streaking.

4.) There *is* a red for everyone, but it can be elusive.

During this process, I really thought that maybe red just didn't work for me. Sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs to get to the prince. And sometimes it's the one you least expect. Some people can just carry red really well and they can be less picky, but for those of you out there who are like me - I truly believe that there is at least one red for each of us!

5.) Don't give up.

This hunt was so worth it. I *adore* my two reds and I will be wearing them all the time. One of our readers (Sandi) said this - "When you find it, your perfect red will be like that perfect black dress. Something you can always fall back on and know that it's gorgeous and classic on you." She is so right.

So I'm still kind of looking for a lighter red, but my fantastic friend Alison (who is also a reader of the blog!) sent me Chanel Fire as a present (wow, right??) and that is looking really really great and might be 'the one'. Hopefully I can show that to you soon. I am calling this Hunt a success and I'm very happy with my winners and everything I've learned.

To those of you who followed me on this Hunt and offered encouragement, advice, and suggetions - THANK YOU! I would have quit long before now without you and would never have found my red(s). A couple of you even started your own Red Hunt and I'd love to hear how it was going/went!!

But find the perfect grey. ;)

read more "The Hunt For Red (By) October Finale & WINNERS!"

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Color Club Tangerine Scream & Volt of Light... I am in denial that summer is over!

A couple of polishes from Color Club's awesome ElectroCandy collection from a couple of years ago. It's an amazing collection of neons that have contrasting color shimmer. I found mine at Ross for $8.

Color Club Tangerine Scream
Take that, autumn! I defy you with three coats of neon orange with ridiculously bright shimmer!

Yeah, okay, I'll go do my homework now. Boo. Maybe one more swatch?

Color Club Volt of Light
Neon yellow with teal shimmer. This one is one of my favorite colors ever... except that this is five coats, possibly six. And is that VNL I see?! Still, it went on so thinly and smoothly that it wasn't painful at all to do all those layers, just a tad time consuming. Didn't take forever to dry either, surprisingly with all those layers! I wish I had gotten a shot of this outside rather than just in the lightbox.

OK, now I'll really go do my homework. It's my last quarter EVER with homework! After how many years of schooling? (13 K-12 + 4 college + 1 master's + 2 PhD = 20 years worth of homework... plus many summers worth of academic camps.)
read more "Color Club Tangerine Scream & Volt of Light... I am in denial that summer is over!"

Friday, September 24, 2010

Essie Jelly Apple

It's my mom's birthday today! In honor of that, I'd like to share her all-time favorite polish with you.  I originally posted this on Little Music Boxes for Mother's Day, but I couldn't wait to share it with you now.

We moved here when I was seven.  I'm originally from New York (about an hour north of Albany), but since my dad used to be a mailman and he couldn't stand delivering mail in the snow, we moved "out west" back in 1987.  I commend my parents for making such a difficult decision to move away from all our relatives (who all pretty much still live back east).  I couldn't imagine packing up one's entire life and moving clear across the country and away from everybody you know.  It must have been really scary.

My dad had a job set aside for him at the post office here so my mom, sister, and I used to bring him to work in the morning (we only had the one car) and we'd pick him up in the evening.  I'm sure my mom was looking for work, but I remember that first summer here was spent running errands, hanging out at the apartment pool, and trying to get to know people.

My mom had always bitten her nails.  When we moved out here, my mom decided to treat herself to acrylic nails.  I remember going with her to the nail salon that very first time.  She chose a bright red polish and she loved it so much that she bought a bottle for herself.  To this day, it's her favorite nail polish and she's probably gone through more bottles of it than I could ever go through.

So what's the name of that polish?  It's Essie Jelly Apple!  So today I decided to swatch my mom's favorite polish for you.  I used four coats of this vivid red jelly and whenever I see it in my collection, I instantly think of my mom.  This picture was taken in the shade.

This next picture was taken in the warm, evening sun.  Sorry about the fingerprint smudge on the bottle!  I usually try to wipe those off before snapping photos.

My mom still gets acrylics and she sometimes branches out to other colors of polish, but her go-to favorite is Jelly Apple.  My mom doesn't read nail blogs, but I still wanted to share this little bit of my life with you.  It's a good memory of mine.  :o)  Happy birthday, Mom!
read more "Essie Jelly Apple"

KleanColor Holo Chrome

A warning for all those who want to find this beauty and make it theirs: IT STINKS TO THE HIGH HEAVENS.

I don't know why but the smell of this polish was so strong, I started coughing while applying it. I have a pretty high tolerance for nail polish scents -- I actually kind of find them soothing and sniffing nail polish in a store while I'm in a different city calms me and makes me feel at home... I may have problems -- but this one was nearly unbearable. But the prettiness made me keep going! What's a couple of hundred brain cells when a holo is this pretty?

KleanColor Holo Chrome

Lots of pics at different levels of blurriness to show off the holo. It actually photographs pretty easily for a holo too. It is slightly more purple than this. It went on really easily but took awhile to dry with Diamont tc. It's hard to tell but there are several dents in this mani because of its long dry time. Unsurprisingly, it dries pretty bumpy because of ALL THE GLITTERS but nothing a couple layers of topcoat won't cure. This is three, stinky coats. Wore it for three days with nary a chip.

Closeup of Holo Chrome

Video of Holo Chrome
Wanna hear something funny? After I got this camera and used it the first few times to do HD videos, I forgot that it had a macro mode... which is why all my videos have been blurry (until today)! Man, I am such a spaz. How I managed to remember enough to graduate from middle school is beyond me.

September 21st (15m cardio), September 22nd (40m cardio), September 23rd (60m cardio + weights).
read more "KleanColor Holo Chrome"

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sinful Colors - Velvet Diamond

Well hellllo, layering polish! How long have you been hiding in my little Helmer? THAT LONG? Oh. Ummm. Errrrr. Sorry.

Sinful Colors Velvet Diamond over Ulta Envy

When you've had a polish so long that you need to thin it down before you use it for the first time... well, it's sort of embarrassing. I'm sorry, Velvet Diamond. You are lovely, I promise I will not ignore you again.

I've been on a layering kick lately, so I've been yanking some polishes out of my stash that I think will either enhance my manicure, or, let's be honest, make it look a little different for ONE MORE DAY so that I can convince myself that I don't have to remove my polish every fifteen minutes because I am bored. This lacquer looks fairly blah in the bottle, but on the nail it transforms the base color into an almost holo-like finish. Shown above is Ulta Envy with only one coat of Velvet Diamond which really changes the entire look, if you ask me.

One question, though... what's with the name? Hey, I'm in the Arts, I know that titles can get a little crazy, but Velvet Diamond? What the hell is a Velvet Diamond?
(for the record, this comes up when you google "velvet diamond" - a coffin-shaped drum stick holder. no thank you.)

On another note, have you found any layering polishes that you love?

Happy day, all!
read more "Sinful Colors - Velvet Diamond"

A Classic: 'original' OPI Bubble Bath

After all this red-hunting I've been in serious need of a palette cleanser - something clean, neat and quiet to refresh myself after all the intense shades of tomato, cherry and crimson.

OPI Bubble Bath definitely fits the bill! Keep in mind that this is the 'original' Bubble Bath - a polish that is a 'pink shade of white' - the perfect YNBB shade from before OPI messed with the formula. The Bubble Bath of today is quite a bit pinker than the original and frankly, looks like a sticky candy mess on my skin. My own personal 'original Bubble Bath' is a black label OPI in all its stinky glory, but I have heard reports of people finding green label bottles with the original formulation. You just need to keep your eyes peeled!

Ahhh...sigh of relief right? So cleansing, and goes with anything. Really, a perfect shade in my arsenal.

I normally don't put glitter over things, but I was in a goofy mood! This is OPI Bubble Bath plus Essie Silver Bullions. (This shot was taken later in the day so the lighting is more blue! I usually photograph in the morning because well, my skin is cool-toned enough already!)

Have you tried any of the versions of OPI Bubble Bath? What's your favourite? Are you as annoyed by companies changing formulas as I am??

read more "A Classic: 'original' OPI Bubble Bath"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Maybelline Fall

I know these polishes came out last month and I am posting them a bit late (you should know this by now =P) I only picked up two shades from Maybelline's latest release. A dark green creme (of course) and a grey shimmer. First up is Gray-T Glamour, the grey shimmer, in natural lighting and then again in full sunlight. This applied very well and was perfect in two coats. The shimmer just didn't want to photograph, sorry!

Gray-T Glamour

And here is Grand in Green which is a very very dark green that looks almost black. Why do I do this to myself?? :( Don't know why it looks like there is shimmer in this picture, but I guarantee you that there is none and is indeed a creme. This also applied well in two coats.

Grand in Green

The rest of the collection had a few other colors that looked almost black which I passed on. There was also a brick red that was in the same collection as Gray-T Glamour, but I already have a favorite brick red. I like that Maybelline has been coming out with more trendy colors this past year. Definitely gives the drug store shopper more options than usual.

Anyone else catch this recent collection from Maybelline? Which are your favorites?
read more "Maybelline Fall"