Zoya True & Fleck Effect Swatches Spring 2012

    Happy New Year, Dear Reader!

    I'm starting off 2012 with swatches of Zoya's Spring 2012 collections, True and Fleck Effect, which Zoya sent for review.  Both of these collections will be available at Zoya on Jan 13, 2012, the polishes will be $8 each.  Those are the details, so let's get to the swatches.  I used artificial light (an Ott light) for all the pictures in today's post except for two, and I'll mention the lighting for the other two when we get there.

    I'll start with True, which Zoya describes as "slightly muted and unexpected spring shades," a description I'd agree with.  I found all six easy to apply and control, good in two coats, and really unusually shiny without top coat.  The drying time with these seems good (I know for sure it is on the one I wore, but the swatches dried quickly as well).  Here are Zoya's descriptions of the colors:

    • Cho (ZP585): Full coverage, vanilla shimmer metallic
    • Farah (ZP586): Full coverage, latte beige cream
    • Bevin (ZP587): Full coverage, pale sage green cream
    • Skylar (ZP588): Full coverage, silvered slate blue metallic
    • Tru (ZP589): Full coverage, gilded purple orchid metallic
    • Lotus (ZP590): Full coverage, light lotus purple metallic

    The swatches are two coats over base coat, and only one has top coat and I'll point that one out.

    Cho is described as "vanilla shimmer metallic," and I'd sign on for vanilla with a subtle shimmer.  The shimmer shows only in strong light, the secret kind where you need to know to look for it to see shimmer, but it adds a depth to the polish on the nail that works well.  This color really appeals to me, but I think darker skin (which would be anybody's) would work better with it.

    Zoya Cho
    Zoya Cho Nail Polish, Two Coats

    Farah is described as "latte beige cream," and I think that's an accurate description for a good updated beige.

    Zoya Farah
    Zoya Farah Nail Polish, Two Coats

    Bevin is the shade the model has on in the promo picture (I didn't include promo pics just because there are already a ton of pictures here and those will be on Zoya site), and it's a wonderful spring green.  "Pale sage green" is good for Bevin, but there's a touch more color in it than many of the pale greens of the last year or two that sets it apart.  Two coats for a pale green is a bonus, and Bevin was perfect in two.  Check out the shine on the almost-dry polish without top coat.

    Zoya Bevin
    Zoya Bevin Nail Polish, Two Coats

    Skylar, the "slate blue metallic," is a real stunner.  I wouldn't call the finish metallic, but I also don't know what else I would call it.  It's loaded up with sparkly kind of microglitter bits that are just really cool.  Slate blue is a favorite color in general for me, but the shimmer in Skylar really breathes life into it.

    Zoya Skylar
    Zoya Skylar Nail Polish, Two Coats

    Tru, the "gilded purple orchid metallic," is the one I wore as a full manicure, so this one has top coat.  It's a great modern purple, and the shimmer in it is visible in normal light but not overpowering.  It's also where the gilding comes into play.

    Zoya Tru
    Zoya Tru Nail Polish, Two Coats

    Lotus, the "light lotus metallic," is a more muted purple.  It's definitely a modern take on purple, but it stops just shy of the line of looking muddied, which I like.  Again, the shimmer is outstanding.

    Zoya Lotus
    Zoya Lotus Nail Polish, Two Coats

    It's evident in the swatches that Zoya's not using the term "full coverage" loosely.  All six True shades were totally opaque and even in two coats, which is a big plus.  I especially like the fact that all six are very wearable but all are good updates of "safe" colors, and the three shimmers are very strong.  The shine of all six is also outstanding before the addition of top coat.

    That brings us to Zoya's Fleck Effect Collection, described by Zoya as "mylar fleck glazes" (more commonly referred to as flakies), and their descriptions of the three shades are:
    • Chloe (ZP584): Pink tint with mylar green and gold fleck effect
    • Opal (ZP583): Green tint with mylar green fleck effect
    • Maisie (ZP582): Blue tint with mylar green fleck effect

    To looks at the flakes, I swatched them over black first, and have pictures with one coat and with two coats over a black creme.  From top to bottom, they are Chloe, Opal, and Maisie, one coat each.

    Zoya Fleck Effects Swatch
    Zoya Fleck Effects Swatches, One Coat Each over Black

    This is two coats in the same order.

    Zoya Fleck Effect Swatches
    Zoya Fleck Effect Swatches, Two Coats over Black

    Black gives a good look at the flakes, and as you can see the tint doesn't seem to make a big difference here.  However, it does over lighter colors, so I layered it over some of the True Collection to see what it did.  Here's a look at all three over the swatches of Cho, Farah, and Bevin in the same order as above (the pictures are labelled with them as well) with one coat of each Fleck Effect.

    Zoya Fleck Effect Swatches Zoya Cho
    Zoya Fleck Effect Swatches, One Coat over Zoya Cho

    Zoya Fleck Effect Swatches Zoya Farah
    Zoya Fleck Effect Swatches, One Coat over Zoya Farah

    Zoya Fleck Effect Swatches Zoya Bevin
    Zoya Fleck Effect Swatches, One Coat over Zoya Bevin

    The tint in each slightly alters the overall color of the base shade, which is good to know.  I didn't have the heart to cover up the shimmer in the other three Zoya True swatches, so I didn't add Fleck Effects to them.  However, the morning after applying Tru, I was out in great sunlight for a bit, and I decided I really wanted to see what Chloe, the Fleck Effect with a pink base, would look like over it, so I added two coats to my Tru manicure.  Since the sun was shining, I took a sunlight picture and one in the shade of the combination.  With one coat of top coat over two of Chloe, it dried to a remarkably smooth finish.

    Zoya Tru Zoya Chloe
    Zoya Chloe over Zoya Tru, Two Coats Each in Sunlight

    Zoya Chloe over Zoya Tru
    Zoya Chloe over Zoya Tru, Two Coats Each in the Shade

    Chloe's tint changed the color of Tru a bit, and both colors of the flakes really show up well.  Chloe's my favorite of the Fleck Effects, but I think all are cool with the tint added.  The density of the flakes in all three is just right for me, as I'd wear them at either one or two coats, but not more.  Since two coats of a Fleck Effect is totally smooth with only one coat of top coat, they're something I would not hesitate to add to a manicure to change it up for another day's wear.  I'm a fan, and this collection might be an indicator that 2012 will be The Year of the Flakies.

    It looks like 2012 is off to a very good start with Zoya's Spring 2012 collections, and I hope the coming year holds many more great things for all of us.  Until next time, Dear Reader, love and nail polish to you!

    All Rights Reserved, Siobhan@The Nailphile. If you're reading this elsewhere, it's stolen from a real nail polish blog.

Make up favourites of 2011

    I don't really do reviews on the site much less make up but I have a few items I use daily and really love that I thought I would share with you.

    1. Bourjois Detox foundation in 51 (the lightest shade) is a highly pigmented contains no silicones and gives quite high coverage without being a mask. It doesn't need powder on top (my skin is quite oily). If my skin is good I mix it with Garnier BB Cream for a more glowing look in the summer when it is a bit drier. I have used Clinique superfit, Clinique even better, Lancome Teinte Idol Ultra, Lancome Teinte Idol Silky Matt, and Chanel ProLumiere. Only superfit and prolumiere did not oxidise on my skin. Superfit I would continue to use if I hadn't found this Detox and ProLumiere is too dark for my skin even in the lightest shade. I have great difficulty in finding a foundation that does not turn orange after 10-15 minutes on my skin (oxidization) and that does not contain silicones (brings me out in giant cystic spots). Neither look is attractive.
    2. Chanel Les 4 Ombres in 19 Enigma

    As you can see this quad has a pink shade, 2 taupes and one purple. I have used this palette 80% of the time over the last year. I adore it.

    At first the shadows were hard to use and I didn't get much colour payoff (as seen in the faint swatch on my hand) however the more I have used them the better the colour payoff (bottom swatch) I believe this is because they are baked. I have read that you can get better pigmentation scratching them when you first get them. I didn't do that I used Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer which helped and I continue to use as it helps with longevity. The pink is a great pink, most pinks make me look like I have been crying but this is a perfect light pink which acts as a good base of the other colours. I just looked this up for price and it is £37. I just noticed this was part of the Fall 2010 collection so I feel like I should get a back up quickly in case they stop making them!

    3. Clinique Redness Solutions Instant Relief Mineral Powder £25 for 25g.

    I use this when my skin is bad and very red. You warm a little powder in your hands and rub it on your face. I found it to be very effective and quicker than using a brush. I really reduces the urge to use a lot of foundation when you skin is red, spotty and generally annoyed. It's a lightweight product which does what it is supposed to. I bought this on a whim and I am so glad I did. I have used Clinique loose powders before and they all have a great lightweight texture just like this one. 

    4. Love, Chloe Eau de Parfum 
    I got a 30ml bottle for my birthday in September 2010 and bought the gift set in January 2011 Sales - the picture shows the 50ml bottle from the giftset and the 30ml box so you can see the packaging. I love this perfume. It smells AMAZING. I could wear it everyday. I have a few others I wear but none that I love as much. I can't describe perfume properly but I like this because it has a powdery quality and is not sweet. Other perfumes I like are Chanel Allure, Chanel No 5, Dior J'dore and Gucci Flora. I also love the original Chloe but that doesn't have the same moreish powderyness that I love about Love, Chloe. 

    5. L'oreal Lash Architech 4D - Love this I don't have any pics but it is amazing. I have good length, thick and naturally curled lashes so everyone always asks what mascara I use and before I tried this it was Lancome hypnose but sorry Lancome L'oreal have beaten you hands down now.  I bought 2 Lancome Doll Eyes mascara with some christmas money as they were £13 each with a mini eyeliner and eye make up remover but I kind of regret it now. L'oreal is better especially for the price (about £10)

    So there you have my favourite non-nail products of 2011. I bought each and every one with my own go to work get paid money and I would happily buy them all again. In fact I did I bought Detox foundation again today from Boots and got a free mascara too. 

    Hope you all have a great new year. I think 2012 is going to be an exciting and fantastic year. I will be starting my own business as a nail technician so hopefully I will have lots of customers nail art to show you, more than there has been lately. 

    I love my puppy but she sure eats into my nail painting time :D, she is growing fast though and I will miss those days soon. I love the picture of her above because she is so tiny and because the brown mark on her side looks like a bone to me :D She still has the mark but it's not quite such a good bone shape anymore :D
    Thanks for visiting my blog and if you would like to win the scrapbook software you will probably win as no one has entered yet!!

    I wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year! 
    Love Stacie xoxox

Sally Hansen Salon Effects Prep's Cool

    Good morning, Dear Reader, and Happy New Year's Eve!

    At the end of the day Thursday, I realized that I'd given my NYE manicure not a single thought as a was gathering supplies to do it, so I ended up with what fit the bill, which was Sally Hansen Salon Effects in Prep's Cool.  I don't recall if these were a holiday pattern or not, but I remembered buying them because they're really a great pattern.  I wanted something fun and I tend to think of metallics for New Year's, and black argyle on silver seemed like a good choice for that.  After the lengthy wear of the last set, the fact that I was applying them right before a trip didn't seem problematic at all, but I was a little bit concerned about application.  When I've had troubles, it's been the shimmery strips, and I'd have to start over if I couldn't get them smooth since I didn't want to bother redoing my nails while away.

    I'm glad I gave them a shot because they were one of the easiest Salon Effects applications I've done.  I started with a coat of nail strengthener, which I let dry thoroughly before applying the strips to minimize its interference.  I found the only time I had to be unusually cautious with these was in peeling them off of the paper backing - it was easy to just pull the tab right off without the strip, and there was a tendency for a little edge on the side to stay on the paper (like when unrolling plastic wrap goes wrong).  However, being careful took care of that, and there were no difficulties in keeping them smooth and uniform when sticking them on my nails.  The bonus was that the pattern itself made them really easy to line up and keep straight.  I noted that they're very shiny and could do without top coat, but I applied a coat of Essie Good to Go for durability.  Here's Prep's Cool under artificial lighting.

    Sally Hansen Salon Effects Prep's Cool
    Sally Hansen Salon Effects Strips in Prep's Cool

    These things never do well with picture magnification.  They look kind of bumpy, while in person they were remarkably smooth on their own and are as smooth as glass with top coat.  With that in mind, the picture shows you just how well they applied, and what sets these apart from Konading argyle (which was the one pattern that had me enamored with Konad for a year before buying and which I have yet to perfect) is the perfectly clean, sharp lines.  I've just never been able to pull that off with the Konad argyle pattern (that's me, not the pattern, since I've seen others do it just right), so it's fun to finally have argyle nails just as I wanted them!

    That's my fabulous New Year's Eve 2011 manicure, and I hope yours makes you just as happy.  Until next time, Dear Reader, love and nail polish to you!

    All Rights Reserved, Siobhan@The Nailphile. If you're reading this elsewhere, it's stolen from a real nail polish blog.

Best Nail Polishes of 2011, Part IV

    Good morning, Dear Reader!

    I'm wrapping up my Best Nail Polishes of 2011 (that link will take you to all twenty on one page) today with numbers sixteen through twenty, and I tacked on my favorite manicure of the year as a little bonus.  As before, these come from polishes released in the U.S. in 2011 which I've reviewed and they're in no order.  Let's wrap up 2011!

    16. Orly Flirty is a bright pink, almost neon, that had such a fantastic shimmer in the bottle that I bought yet another pink even assuming that like most amazing-in-the-bottle shimmers, it would fall flat on the nail.  Flirty did anything but fall flat, and the shimmer is just as striking on the nail as in the bottle  It was easy to control and a well-pigmented two-coater as well.  It was such a pretty polish that I was able to leave a bright pink alone, adding no stamping, glitter, or anything else, and I was happy that it came in the giant 0.6 oz bottle.

    Orly Flirty
    Orly Flirty Nail Polish, Two Coats

    17.  OPI Excuse Moi was the pick of the Muppets for me (of the few I tried).  Even though it needed the several coats of top coat that glitters often do, since it provided full coverage in just two coats of color, that wasn't a problem.  It's really an outstanding multicolored glitter, and the reason it's a top pick and the other Muppets I tried and very genuinely enjoyd are not is that Excuse Moi wasn't terribly difficult to remove.  I'm giving you the close-up of this one because the glitter is so cool.

    OPI Excuse Moi
    OPI Excuse Moi Nail Polish, Two Coats

    OPI Excuse Moi Nail Polish Glitter
    OPI Excuse Moi Nail Polish, Close Up of Glitter

    18. Santa's Cinnamon, one of the Sally's exclusive Color Club scented holiday polishes, made the cut even though it was a little high-maintenance.  It needed extra top coat to smooth the glitter and I took the preventative measure of using drying drops over quick-dry top coat based on the drying troubles with its sister (brother?) in the collection, Gingerbread Man.  However, two thin coats made the tiny dense glitter in an opaque red jelly base a stunning holiday polish as well as gorgeous all-purpose sparkly red, and the mild fragrance of cinnamon red hots made it a lot of fun to wear.

    Color Club Santa's Cinnamon
    Color Club Santa's Cinnamon Nail Polish, Two Coats

    Color Club Santa Cinnamon Glitter
    Color Club Santa Cinnamon Nail Polish's Glitter

    19. Wet n Wild Diamond in the Rough over black creme was what I've wanted a million more expensive glitters to look like.  It was gritty and needed a lot of top coat, but the exceptional holo glitter in it made it worth the effort.  It's rare that I literally get distracted an play with my polish in the sunlight while waiting at a red light in traffic, and that actually happened with this one, which makes it a noteworthy polish for the year.  Additionally, only one coat of Diamond in the Rough really did the trick.  Unfortunately, sun was coming and going the day I wore it, so my picture doesn't capture just how fabulous it is.

    Wet n Wild Diamond in the Rough Nail Polish, One Coat over Black

    Wet n Wild Diamond in the Rough Nail Polish, Closer Look at One Coat

    20. My last pick is one I've gone back and forth on a few times, but the final conclusion is that it's really just a super cool rendition of a current color.  Comet's Collar from FingerPaints Merry & Bright Collection is modern, toned down, kind of olive green, with those kinds of greens becoming much more mainstream in recent years, but what's outstanding about it is the very cool shimmer.  The little shimmer bits reflect different colors, and they're too tiny to call microglitter (and I just use the made-up "shimmer bits" when that's the case) and distributed sparsely enough that they're not flashy at all but densely enough that the effect of them is clearly visible.  Yet again, this is a smooth two-coater.  Comet's Collar is the kind of polish where when I see someone else wearing it in person, my first thought it "nice polish," but then I see the sparkle and the thought turns into "Hey, that's cool!" and I pay a compliment if it would make sense in the situation.  Those are polishes worth wearing!

    FingerPaints Comet's Collar
    FingerPaints Comet's Collar Nail Polish, Two Coats

    Since I'm a math geek, I figured I'd point out the overall themes here in terms of numbers (that's really the only objective way I can think of to evaluate a subjective list, really).  I would have acknowledged that I'm fond of pink before making this list, but am surprised that five of my choices are pinks.  I noticed that theme early on and reviewed each to see if any could be booted for more variety, and I couldn't honestly knock any of them out.  In my choices for the summary, I was struck by how many blues there are, six including the FingerPaints Asylum manicure, because that was a surprise.  I like blue, but I wouldn't have said it's a favorite, but evidently it is, and even more surprising to me is that my favorite color in general, purple, doesn't show up at all.  I think that's because I was thinking in terms of outstanding polishes of the year, and no purples jump out at me as exceptional.  What shows clearly in today's post is true overall: I love glitter.  Seven of my picks were glitters and there are lots of sparkly shimmers, but I have always loved glitter.  I'm also aware that I'm more fond of novelty polishes than most, and using the strictest definition of them, only the ones that have an element not normally in polish (sometimes holos and flakies are called novelties, I'm not including those), there are three, two scented and one magnetic, and it's only three because I allowed myself just one choice from each scented collection (I set the limit because otherwise I'd include more than were reasonable just because I'm enthusiastic about them).  The last thing I noticed that was surprising to me in putting this together is that FingerPaints is the most represented brand with four of my picks, which is fully 20% of my favorites of the year.  I knew I liked them a lot and that recent releases have given me the sense that they're getting even better, but that was more than I'd anticipated.

    That wraps up my Top 20 of 2011, which was an absolute blast to do.  Along the way, I was able to pick a favorite manicure of the year as well.  I chose several others to compare to it and be sure it's really #1, but there was no second guessing it alongside anything I put up against it.  This is not my most perfect polish application ever, I got a bit on a cuticle when I applied the base color and I don't Photoshop that kind of thing, but even in light of imperfection I love it.  This is stamping plate D09 over Nubar Marble Tower.

    Nubar Marble Tower Nail Polish with Nail Art Stamping Plate D09

    That wraps up 2011 but for my New Year's Eve manicure!  I actually wrote this whole post yesterday while still wearing my Christmas Eve manicure because I'm leaving town this morning to spend NYE with one of my favorite people in the whole world ever, so my hope is that I'll have polish changed and a picture taken to schedule that post for tomorrow.  If not, it'll keep until I get back, but it felt kind of jerky to leave for a few days in the middle of a series wrapping up the year so I wanted to be sure to get this finished up.

    I'll wish you a happy and safe New Year's Eve and a 2012 filled with all good things now on the off chance I don't get one more post in.  Until next time, Dear Reader, love and nail polish to you!

    All Rights Reserved, Siobhan@The Nailphile. If you're reading this elsewhere, it's stolen from a real nail polish blog.

Best Nail Polishes of 2011, Part III

    Good morning, Dear Reader!

    Today brings the third entry in my Best Nail Polishes of 2011 series with the eleventh through fifteenth choices from my top twenty polishes of the year.  The details of assembling my list are at the beginning of Part I, but the bare bones info is that these are my twenty favorites released in the U.S. in 2011 which I've reviewed presented in no particular order.  After the long explanation in the first post, I didn't offer much explanation for the inclusion of each polish, and after doing so yesterday, I think that's information I'd want to have reading someone else's list, so I included that again today for you to either read or skip.  Let's get straight back to looking at the list!

    11.  Color Club Space Case from their Starry Temptress Collection was a real hit with me, so much so that the picture here is from the second time I wore the same manicure with it last Spring (I prefer this picture, sometimes swatches of whole collections include a few I wish I'd done better but am too painfully tired of swatching to repeat).  Color Club does excellent neon polishes in general, but what I especially like is when they do neons with a fun twist, like shimmers, scented, or in the case of Starry Temptress, loaded up with glitter.  Space Case is the super vivid Barbie pink from that collection.

    Color Club Space Case
    Color Club Space Case, Two Coats, with One Coat Color Club Starry Temptress

    12. For the same reasons as in #11, Color Club Wicked Sweet, the namesake of the Wicked Sweet Collection, had to be on my 2011 list.  I had a hard time restricting myself to one favorite from Wicked Sweet for this list, as I really loved several and specifically recall enjoying them, but when I did Wicked Sweet was it for a couple of reasons.  First, it was a two coater, and for a very vibrant blue shimmer (it's arguably a neon, but I'm using the more inclusive "vibrant" to avoid debating the point). That alone is an impressive feat, but then on top of that the shimmer completely glows and it smells like Juicy Fruit gum if the sickly sweet factor of the actual gum has been removed.  This year, Color Club's scented polishes have been far more creative than others I've used with nontraditional fragrances that smell really good and are not overpowering by any means, and the two collections in this post really impressed me and bumped up my interest in Color Club.  For the record, they're also two that I purchased and didn't have press info about.

    Color Club Wicked Sweet
    Color Club Wicked Sweet Nail Polish, Two Coats

    13.  China Glaze Skyscraper is a really outstanding silver glitter in a navy base.  I reconsidered including this one simply because silver glitter in a navy base has been done so many times before, but Skyscraper remained in my top twenty picks after I thought about the other takes on that which I've used, and this one is simply extremely well done, quite possibly the best of them (since I haven't compared it to others, that's all the commitment I can give!).  While I did need a third coat to even out the color, that seems reasonable given that the base polish can't be terribly pigmented if the glitter is to show through well, and since the glitter really showing in this one is an outstanding feature, I'll take the trade off.  Additionally, Skyscraper was very smooth for all the glitter in it.

    China Glaze Skyscraper
    China Glaze Skyscraper Nail Polish, Three Coats

    14.  Nails Inc Whitehall is a top choice for 2011 because the Nails Inc's magnetics are the best I've used (with Lancome, L'Oreal, and LCN being the others) by a lot, and Whitehall was the most unique shade in the set of three I bought (with the purple that disappointed as a result of promo picks overstating the color and silver being the third).  I know that the color choices of magnetics are limited as a practical matter, since it's the use of iron based pigment that makes them work, so again it's simply a trade off, but Whitehall's shade is really striking in person.  Additionally, as I mentioned in the posts for the two I've worn, the design of the magnet on the Nails Incs is genius, definitely the easiest to use well. I only wish I'd had sunlight for this picture, but alas, I didn't.

    Nails Inc Whitehall Magnetic
    Nails Inc Whitehall Magnetic Nail Polish, Two Coats

    15.  Nubar Boyfriend Jeans, the dupe for Chanel Blue Boy, also had to make my list.  I got Les Jeans des Chanel as a birthday gift, and was kind of surprised when examining the bottles how appealing Blue Boy was to me, enough so that it was the first one I wore even though I knew there was more interest in swatches of Coco Blue, and I recall that I kept peeking at it while wearing it.  When I compared Nubar Boyfriend Jeans to it, I found the Nubar to be easier to apply (it's a jelly and evenness can be a problem sometimes) and one heck of a color match.  One of the two had to make the list as a result, and given cost and availability, Nubar Boyfriend Jeans made the cut.  One nail here is Blue Boy, so I included the picture where that nail is labelled as well.

    Nubar Boyfriend Jeans
    Nubar Boyfriend Jeans Nail Polish with One Chanel Blue Boy Nail, Two Coats Each

    Nubar Boyfriend Jeans and Chanel Blue Boy
    Nubar Boyfriend Jeans and Chanel Blue Boy Comparison, Two Coats Each

    One shortcoming I'm aware of in presenting an honest assessment of my favorites of the year is that I don't have a whole lot that most people could wear to work.  I think only the last one today would even be an option for many, so I thought I should point out that my own experience has been such that a great deal of freedom has been allowed.  In office work, being the only woman on a team of more than twenty people has been a recurring theme, and I haven't dealt with anyone outside of the organization at all (other than interviewing applicants or consultants).  What I wore on my nails was simply never an issue, although when an office-wide "The Board of Directors will be in the office [this day], business attire is required" email went out, I had the good sense to wear a polish that pretty much made my nails invisible, and if the window for interviewing others was brief I'd go with a traditional red or something, but otherwise nobody has ever cared at all.  The same is true now that I'm in grad school - I was the only woman to complete one of my courses (the one with the most students, no less), and I just don't think the men care at all.  If they notice, they have no clue whether something's currently fashionable or whatever, so I've always been able to just do my own thing.  However, my sister was a district sales manager for a pharmaceutical company, so I have seen the other side where personal presentation is a big part of a professional position, which makes me aware that my preferences are far from universally appropriate.  I just wanted to point out that I'm aware that the loud and novelty polishes are heavily represented amongst my picks and why that is so it's clear that an authentic list of my favorites is coming from a particular frame of reference.

    Wow, this got long and chatty!  I have lots to do before tomorrow, when I take off for a fun New Year's trip, so I'll just wrap it up!  Until next time, Dear Reader, love and nail polish to you!

    All Rights Reserved, Siobhan@The Nailphile. If you're reading this elsewhere, it's stolen from a real nail polish blog.

Best Nail Polishes of 2011, Part II

    Good morning, Dear Reader!

    Today brings the second installment of the Best Nail Polishes of 2011 (that's a link to see all the posts for this on one page, although as of now there's only the one other).  They're just my picks and in no particular order, and all the details of how and why about the list are in the beginning of Part I.  I'll spare you the lengthy recap and get right back to the list and pictures!  Here are numbers six through ten.

    6. The second appearance of FingerPaints Palette of Petals Spring 2011 Collection is with Dahlia My Number, the light orange shimmer (and only shimmer) in that release.  It had to make the list because literally every time I see the bottle, I wonder what that gorgeous light orange shimmer is and look at it, then laugh at myself for my zillionth check of what that color is.  It's a softened light orange with a strong shimmer that's just this side of frosty, and it was non-brushstroke-y perfection in two coats.

    FingerPaints Dahlia My Number
    FingerPaints Dahlia My Number Nail Polish, Two Coats

    7. Orly Stone Cold from their Mineral FX is a vivid, sparkling, non-staining blue that was incredibly easy to apply, and again good in two coats (that seems to be an emerging theme!).

    Orly Stone Cold Nail Polish from Mineral FX, Two Coats

    8.  I really loved Zoya Kennedy from the Feel Collection for its clean simplicity.  That whole collection was a good one for me, but Kennedy is a great updated neutral for my coloring and it applied really beautifully.  This one was kind of a surprise for a top choice of the year for me in that I tend to wear more flamboyant colors much of the time, but office-appropriate or not, I found Kennedy to be a noteworthy polish to wear.  It felt elegant.

    Zoya Kennedy
    Zoya Kennedy Nail Polish, Two Coats

    9. FingerPaints appears again with Asylum from the Special Effects.  A unique, cool, affordable, and versatile flaky top coat kind of has to be included on my list.  FingerPaints might be the most represented brand on my Top 20 (I haven't checked that nothing else makes more appearances), but each of the polishes I've included from them is genuinely outstanding from 2011 for me, so that seems right. For this one, I included both pictures from the original post since the detail shows how cool the flakes are.  Asylum is also unusually smooth as well as easy to remove for a flaky.

    FingerPaints Asylum
    FingerPaints Asylum Special Effects, Two Coats over Navy Shimmer

    FingerPaints Asylum Swatch
    FingerPaints Asylum Special Effects, Closer Look at Two Coats over Navy

    10. Color Club Hot Like Lava from their Foils Collection was also a memorably good one to wear. Right between pink and red, a great foil finish without streaks, and easy to apply - what more could I ask for?  I think it was fun to wear because the overall color is kind of girly and the effect of the finish is kind of unexpectedly badass, so the two rolled into one is just plain cool.

    Color Club Hot Like Lava
    Color Club Hot Like Lava Nail Polish, Two Coats

    That wraps up Part II of my Top 20 Polishes of 2011, so until next time, Dear Reader, love and nail polish to you!

    All Rights Reserved, Siobhan@The Nailphile. If you're reading this elsewhere, it's stolen from a real nail polish blog.

Best Nail Polishes of 2011, Part I

    Good morning, Dear Reader!

    For the first time ever, I'm doing a Best Of year-end wrap up.  It's always been an idea that appealed to me, but quite frankly it just seemed like a daunting task.  However, over the weekend Stephanie from Imperfectly Painted made a mention in passing on Twitter about doing hers in several parts, one of those brilliantly simple notions that never fails to elude me, and that got me thinking about it.

    I decided four parts seemed workable (I added a Best of 2011 label so I could give you a link to all posts from each of them for viewing all twenty polishes on one page), and that if I limited the scope of my selections to polishes I've reviewed that were released in the U.S. in 2011 (only nail polish, nothing UV cured, strips, etc.) and did not order them in any way, I could just go over post titles on the right of the page and look at the ones that jumped out at me as memorable and have a good list.  I started with the goal of a Top 10, but that began getting too involved with the wheel spinning of rethinking over and over that made the task of a Best Of seem daunting in the first place, but when I expanded it to twenty I just had to swap out the final two selections a couple of times, and that tells me I'm solid on my picks.  The length of my nails is inconsistent over the year, lighting isn't always the same, and in a perfect world the details would be perfectly uniform but they're just plain old not. Of course, this list would more accurately be named  The Best Nail Polishes of 2011 According to Me, but that seemed redundant since this is a blog and essentially everything here falls into the According to Me category.

    So that's how my little list came into being.  In choosing each to confirm that I really was as fond of each as I recall, I looked over my reviews and I'm including links to the original reviews, which include whether the polish was sent by the manufacturer or not.  That had zero bearing on my choices, which you'll see, and linking to them gives you more information about any that might strike your fancy in addition to giving you that information.  That's all I can think of that I'd want to know looking at someone else's Best Of list, so I'll move on to them and just let you ask anything else you'd like to know in the comments.  Again, I'm presenting my choices in no order at all, although I've picked my favorite manicure of the past year to tack onto the final entry.

    1. SpaRitual Knowledge is Power, the bright pink creme from SpaRitual's Spring 2011 Truth Collection.  I rethought this one several times (it seemed like a boring choice), but it's really just an exceptional vivid pink that appeals to me in a great formula, and I used it a few times last spring.

    SpaRitual Knowledge Is Power
    SpaRitual Knowledge Is Power Nail Polish, Two Coats

    2. Revlon Copper Penny, an easy to work with metallic that really looks like copper.  When Revlon does a good one, they really do a good one.

    Revlon Copper Penny
    Revlon Copper Penny Nail Polish, Two Coats

    3. FingerPaints Chrysanthe-mum's the Word from their Spring Palette of Petals Collection, the super happy not-quite-lime green creme that's almost a one-coater.

    FingerPaints Chrysanthe-mum's the Word
    FingerPaints Chrysanthe-mum's the Word Nail Polish, Two Coats

    4. Glitter Gal Marine Blue, which became readily available in the U.S. this year, is just an amazing blue holographic.  It's so vivid and so holo that it absolutely had to make the list, and it was really easy to work with as well (a huge bonus for a holo).

    Glitter Gal Marine Blue
    Glitter Gal Marine Blue Nail Polish, Two Coats

    5. This entry was rethought a few times because I didn't want to like it enough to include it, but I do so I have to.  Chanel Graphite is gorgeous and looks like fabulously sparkly graphite in just two coats.  It's painfully expensive, but I do not regret buying it.

    Chanel Graphite
    Chanel Graphite Nail Polish, Two Coats

    That's the first batch of my Top 20 Polishes of 2011, and since they're in no order anyway I figured I'd mix up the presentation a bit to offer some variety in the posts.  You'll see a couple of personal preference themes emerge by the time all twenty are posted, and I'll point out the ones I've observed that have an explanation at the end.

    Until next time, Dear Reader, love and nail polish to you!

    All Rights Reserved, Siobhan@The Nailphile. If you're reading this elsewhere, it's stolen from a real nail polish blog.

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