Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year! Milani Gems and Lippmann Happy Birthday comparison

Happy New Year! :D 2011 already. Can't believe it. Years seriously do go faster the older you get. Nothing TOO exciting this year coming up for me: a bunch of weddings (none of them mine), a lot of travel... I am starting out the new year on another continent right now, after all. I'm boarding a flight back to the US in a few hours. It's going to be about a 15 hour flight. And, amazingly, it'll still be 1/1/11 when I land even though I'm leaving Taipei at about 7:30pm local time on 1/1/11. And I'm scheduled to arrive at 2:30pm local time in the US. This is going to be the longest New Year's Day I've ever lived... and to, you know, celebrate that, here's a particularly festive, confetti-like polish:

Milani Jewel FX Gem
I had been out of the nail polish loop for about a month when this came out. I wasn't checking blogs, I wasn't on MUA, wasn't paying much attention to anything besides my work. But when I saw this on a blog, I FLIPPED OUT. Lippmann Happy Birthday is one of my favorite polishes ever and though I'm not willing to plunk down more money for a backup, I was going to run out and buy whatever dupe I could find. So I ran out to buy this... and didn't find it. And then ordered it from the Milani website. And paid shipping. Because I needed it.

So the big question is: how similar are they? Short answer: they feel the same, but they aren't the same.

Lippmann Happy Birthday and Milani Gems comparison
From left to right:
Index - HB, three coats
Middle - HB, two coats
Ring - Gems, three coats
Pinky - Gems, two coats

The first thing I noticed was that Milani Gems seems to have slightly more glitter in it so it's easier to get more of it on the nail with fewer coats. In my mind, this makes the Milani preferable to the Lippmann. But, imo, the mix of glitter is more interesting in the Lippmann. A closeup is better at showing the differences between the two at three coats each (sorry for the blurry one of Happy Birthday).
Milani Gems closeup

Lippmann Happy Birthday closeup
Color-wise, they use about the same smattering of shades: the Lippmann has silver, gold, dark blue, green, red and purple. The Milani is pretty much the same except the blue is a lighter blue. The big difference is in the shape of the glitter: all of the glitter in the Milani is hexagonal, though there are two different sizes. While the Lippmann also sports two sizes of glitter, only the large glitter is hexagonal while the small glitter is square. IMO, square glitter is almost always more interesting to me than hexagonal because it is less common than hexagonal glitter in polishes. The mix of the two types is what makes the Lippmann sort of brilliant. Too bad it doesn't apply as well as the Milani. And too bad it's several times the price of the Milani!

Here's the thing: no one is going to look too closely at your nails and notice, "Hey, those are all hexagonal in shape!" or "Hey, it's a mix of squares and hexagons!" If you don't have the Lippmann (but want it), Milani Gems is totally worth it and few people will know the difference.

OK. Now to continue on the longest New Year's Day ever. At least I'm in business class (or rather, "premium economy") the way back.