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Barry M Strawberry Nail Paint review & swatches

This is Barry M's nail paint in 309 Strawberry. Honestly, I feel something like "Cotton Candy" would have been more appropriate, given the type of sweet, light pink colour this is; it doesn't remind me of strawberries at all. Oh well, maybe that's just me. I've bought a few Barry M nail polishes in the past, but I didn't like those much at all. My main issue is with the formula; it's thick, yet not very opaque. It goes on streaky, and you need multiple layers to get full coverage, which then takes ages to dry because of the thickness. Well, that was my experience with the old polishes, anyway. Because of that, I hadn't bought any new ones in like 3 or 4 years, so they could have changed the formula since then. At any rate, I was willing to give this new polish a fair chance.

Sadly, I was disappointed. The formula still has all the same issues listed above. It applied quite streakily, although you can't really tell from this photo. Another thing covered up by the light reflecting of the glossy finish in this photo, but apparent in real life, was that I still had a visible nail line (ie. still not 100% opaque) after three coats of polish. I had tried to keep those as thin as possible, and let the polish dry for a good 15 minutes, but I still completely ruined the polish on one of my nails immediately after taking this picture. (Read: I lightly bumped into the side of my desk, and it completely took off half the polish on that nail.)

In addition to that, it's just not my kind of colour. I prefer shimmers or even glitters to creamy polishes, for one, and I also prefer bolder colours rather than super sweet girly shades like this. Obviously, that's a matter of personal preference, though; this colour might be exactly what you love. Still, I doubt I'll be wearing this again.

Filed under: Beauty: Nails 2 Comments

NotD: Essie Jamaica Me Crazy

I wasn't wearing any nail polish when my Glossybox arrived (shocker, I know)... so of course I immediately had to try out the Essie polish in my box! I had never used any Essie polishes before, but I have to say I kind of love them, now. The brush is pretty wide compared to most other brands, and supple enough to follow the curve of the nail nicely yet stiff enough that it doesn't spread all over the place. The polish itself is just the right consistency: not so watery it runs into your cuticles and is very sheer, not so thick it's hard to apply and takes forever to dry, but simply just right. Together, it makes for a super smooth and easy application.

The polish is also very opaque, probably one of the least sheer polishes I own. I did end up doing two coats because it intensified the colour just a tad bit more compared to one, but you could definitely get away with just a single coat.

The colour is just amazing, and perfect for summer if you ask me. It is a very bright, almost neon pink with cool undertones, kind of like a fuchsia colour. It dries slightly less glossy than most polishes I own, which I'm assuming is because of that neon-ness (true neon polishes actually tend to dry completely matte). It does dry very fast, by the way. I applied my second coat immediately after the first, without letting that one dry first, and the whole thing was still dry to the touch in under 5 minutes, and completely hardened out in about 15 to 20. Oh, and that's without a quick-dry top coat.

You can't really tell in the other pictures, but there's actually very very fine pink and purple shimmer particles in this polish! It is just a shimmer, not actual glitter, so I expect it won't give any problems come removal time. It gives the already bright colour that little bit of extra vibrancy. All in all, a very cool colour! :)

Filed under: Beauty: Nails 1 Comment

Katniss-inspired fire manicure

Last week, I went to see The Hunger Games (more about that in the previous blog post). I wanted to do something fun and Katniss-inspired with my nails, but she actually doesn't wear nail polish throughout most of the book (or film). Except for her interview in the Capitol, where her nails are described as looking like they are on fire. Or something like that, anyway. I didn't actually have the book on hand as I did this manicure and was too lazy to go check, so "on fire" is simply what I went with. :P

I applied two layers of China Glaze Cherry Crystal as a nice red base, first. Then I added a gradient to yellow, using some MNY #749. I created the gradient by applying the MNY polish on top of about 3/4 of the nail while the red hadn't yet dried completely, dabbing it with a spong to lighten and blend, reapplying the MNY but this time only about halfway, blending again, etc, until I reached the top of the nail. Then I let that dry and added another thin coat of the MNY polish at the very top of the nail (this polish is very sheer, so it was still looking more orange than yellow even at the ends). Finally, I covered the whole thing in one layer of Nfu Oh #49. This really helped to make the gradient (which wasn't too perfect, I'll admit) come together, and added to the whole "on fire" effect, since this flakie polish mostly flashes bright orange and gold (like sparks from a fire) depending on how the light hits it.

I think it turned out quite nicely! In fact, this is now probably one of my favourite mani's of all time. What do you think?

Filed under: Beauty: Nails 6 Comments

NotD: Springtime

For me, the combination of bright yellow and green always symbolises Spring. I'm not sure why, but it may have something to do with the fact that it reminds me of daffodils. Today, we had the first real spring-like day of the year, with temperatures reaching 20°C (68F) for the first time, and I felt like capturing that feeling on my nails.

I used two coats of MNY nail polish in 749 as a base, and then applied China Glaze Outta Bounds over one half of the nail. Unfortunately, Outta Bounds is somewhat of a "christmassy" green, so it doesn't fit with the theme perfectly, but I don't have any bright grassy greens. Finally, I applied one coat of Nfu Oh #56 on top to give it a bit of sparkle.

In these extreme close-up photos, you can kind of see the yellow base colour shine through the coat of green... fortunately, this wasn't apparent at all in real life :)

Filed under: Beauty: Nails 1 Comment

Ombre nails – red to blue

I had another go at making a gradient out of my nails. This time, instead of trying to do a three colour thing from medium blue to light blue to white, which ended up not showing a huge colour difference, I decided to go straight from bright red to bright blue.

I'm wearing China Glaze Cherry Crystal on my thumbnail and ChG Blue Paradise on my pinky. I then applied a 50/50 mixture of both on my middle finger, a mostly red mix on my index finger, and a mostly blue mix onto my ring finger.

And another shot, in indoor lighting this time. I like it! It actually transitions from red to purple to blue. When I line up my nails, closely together, it's almost a duochromey effect.

Also, I suddenly discovered the existence of a Photoshop filter that is too awesome not to share:

That's the same photo as up above. In the original shot (at the top), you can see almost half the picture is whited out thanks to the very white natural light (and my cheap pocket camera, which picks it up very strongly). You lose a lot of detail and colour that way. You could try to bring those back by simply lowering the brightness (middle slice), but it's easy to see why that's not ideal: it lowers the brightness of all the values, so the picture becomes dark and murky. The third nail actually loses so much vibrance and shine, it looks as if I'm wearing matte nail polish.

So, rather than using the brightness option, I usually fiddled around with levels, vibrance, variations etc. until I finally got something that looked presentable, whenever a photo turned out like this. And then I suddenly discovered the shadows/highlights filter. I'm not sure how it has escaped my notice all this time. Now, I find the name (and window) kind of suggest it's going to add a shadow or highlight, but in fact, it does quite the opposite: it compensates for excessive shadows or highlights, while leaving the other values intact. You can see the effect in the picture at the bottom: the bright white overlay is gone, almost as well as in the middle picture, while the polish colours are still bright and true to life. <3!

Filed under: Beauty: Nails 2 Comments