imperfectlyperfect: Text: I like being weird. Weird's all I've got, that and my sweet style (Sweet Style)
[personal profile] imperfectlyperfect
Another mixed bag of manicures. Seriously, this feels like some kind of archaeological reconstruction. I know these pictures represent from Nov 28 to Dec 3, but as they're copies from Carbonite, the metadata that told me what day these pictures were taken on no longer exists. They're all marked whatever day I redownloaded them from Carbonite. But THEN, I remember I can use my Instagram account as a calendar to tell me what day I posted which manicure.

SO. ABSURD.

Anyway. Along with Charla and Zuza, I also got Zoya Jem, a gorgeous duochrome that shifts purple, burgundy, brown, with hints of gold.



This is 2 coats of Jem. The formula is consistent with Zoya: silky, neither thick nor thin, easily controlled, good self-leveling, pretty fast dry time. You can see how it grades from brown to purple in the bottle and that does translate to the nail, though I couldn't adequately photograph it on the nail.



Here, you can see more of the gold shimmer and more of a burgundy lean. I see the burgundy the most looking horizontally at my nails; vertically, the shift is mainly between purple and brown...but it also depends on the lighting. This is one of those polishes I kept doing a double take, because the color would be very different each time I looked.



And here, you can see the hints of red, especially on my index and middle finger. Jem is a gorgeous color by itself and I would've been happy to wear it alone, but then my Julep box for the month arrived, full of glitters. Need I say more?



This is Harper. It's blue, aqua and gold microglitter and hexes in a clear base. On the one hand, the formula was really thick and sludgy and had a tendency to adhere to itself, making spreading it out a little difficult. On the other hand, as I was only doing tips, it did help me keep it just to the tip and to adjust when the polish went a little too high or low. I'm less sanguine about what it'll be like when I try and do something across a wider area.



I really liked how this one turned out and, though not overtly holiday-ish, there was something about it that reminded me of garlands and sugar plums, while not hitting me over the head with it. It's also something I felt absolutely comfortable I could wear at other times of the year without anyone telling me "Oh, that looks kind of Christmassy."

Kind of a side note: that being said, I canceled my Julep membership shortly after this shipment. YMMV, but personally, I find that:

a) the formula on Julep is super inconsistent, and more often bad than good,

b) Julep doesn't really have any colors that I feel like I MUST HAVE, the way Zoya, OPI, China Glaze, etc. do (and for cheaper).

c) I think Julep's priorities in regard to the customer base are all over the place, and they're more busy chasing new customers than showing their loyal membership paying fan-base that they're valued.

So, if you ever find yourself looking to me for advice, that's my final thoughts about Julep.



Next, we have another Lilacquer Fifth Element polish: Zorg Industries.



When I first heard of Lilacquer, it was their Fifth Element series and the polish I MOST wanted was Zorg Industries, a duochrome GRAY (OMG!) polish that leans silver and green and blue, and even a little hint of orange, similar to one of the Jean-Paul Gaultier outfits worn by Gary Oldman in the movie. Alas, at the point I discovered Lilacquer, Zorg Industries wasn't available.



However, I spoke to Lilacquer's creator on an unrelated matter and she said she would soon be re-making and restocking her store with some of her old polishes, along with some new things and I put in my vote for Zorg Industries. Which then turned out to be one of the first polishes she re-released. I WAS ON THAT like a hawk on a rat.

So needless to say, I was super excited when my bottle of Zorg Industries arrived.



Zorg is the best of what Lilacquer does well; it's an AMAZING color, absolutely like nothing I've ever seen before. The formula was good: smooth, silky and self-leveling, with Lilacquer's characteristic lightning fast dry...but not SO fast you can't adequately get it on the nail before it starts to gum.



Though it's a sheer color, there was no balding, and none of the bubbling problem I had with Super Green.



And then there's a quality to Lilacquer's polishes that I can neither photograph or describe well, but there's a luster to them that translates to my eye as almost a kind of inner glow that I find incredibly lovely.



I kept thinking that I should do something with Zorg Industries, but, at the same time, I didn't want to 'sully' it with anything or obscure it in a way that would take away from its loveliness.

I've noticed with a lot of duochromes that combining them with other polishes seems to pin their color to a particular place on the spectrum, and I really wanted to enjoy all the different shades of Zorg.


When Cult Nails came out with their Behind Closed Doors collection, Coveted was one of the polishes I was most looking forward to.



It's a deep holly green jelly with green foil shards and green shimmer dispersed through it. I love green polishes and I thought the foil, in the swatches I'd seen, gave it some cool visual interest.



Unfortunately, as with the other polishes from the collection, the formula on this was rather watery, which made it too thin to adequately carry the flakes onto the nail, which meant that it was much harder to get flakes on my nail and there were a lot fewer flakes per nail than I was expecting and, in the end, the flakes weren't as visible through the very dark jelly as I was hoping for.



As well (and you can see this on my middle finger especially), the shards don't lie flat, once you've put on multiple coats, and you can/will/do end up with some sharp jags on your nail. Not a deal breaker, many shard and/or glitter polishes have this problem, but the polish wasn't as nice as what I'd been hoping for, and I didn't love it as much as I thought I would.



All that being said, it was opaque in 2 coats, so it's not like I had to glob and glob and glob; the color is beautiful and rich, appropriate for the holidays, obviously, but also for any time of the year. I almost wish I could get a bottle without the flakes, because I really loved the jelly itself, but I do like the polish as it is (though I've pretty much damned it with faint praise).

The flakes and the intense color make this polish especially pernicious to remove, however. I do recommend using the tinfoil method, just as you would with a glitter bomb polish, FYI.


I ended up wearing A England's Lady of Shallott because, just as I was about to do my nails, my husband asked me out to the movies and I didn't want to go out naked (yes, that's what we've come to *sighs*) but I didn't have time to do something fancy or that was going to take a long time to dry.



Lady of Shallott is part of A England's Gothic Beauties collection; a black base with deep, intense blue shimmer throughout. On the one hand, I feel like the online swatches of the Gothic Beauties polishes that I've seen have been incredibly deceiving, because I've found the polishes are a LOT more black on the nail than the swatches would lead you to believe. You can see here how the blue, while very visible in the bottle, is mainly only seen in the highlights on my nail. I find that much more true to life.



That being said, I really love these polishes anyway. They don't give a lot of bang for the buck to the casual viewer, but the color is there and very intense under the right conditions, like a secret.



The formula on all the A England polishes I've tried so far has been consistent and wonderful. This is two coats. It's very fast drying, has perfect thickness, is easy to control and levels like a dream. I put this on about 15 minutes before we left the house and, though I got a slight wrinkle on one finger between the house and the theater (freaking seatbelts, man), the polish otherwise dried amazingly fast and hard and looked great. The paint job was fast and sloppy enough and the wrinkle annoyed me enough that I ended up taking it all off shortly after getting home, but I really liked the polish and spent plenty of time angling my hands to the light and admiring it. I can't wait until I can afford to snaffle some more of A England's polishes.


And then last, but not at all least, we reach my favorite manicure of this period. This one, I liked so much, I actually gave it a name:

Last Ember on a Cold Night.


This manicure was an experiment; after taking off Lady of Shallott, I was just messing around, but it came together so beautifully, I can barely stand it. I didn't get a picture of the base polish by itself, stupid me, but I started with China Glaze's Bizarrely Blurple, part of its 2012 Wicked collection.

The color of Bizarrely Blurple is great, an intense midnight blue/purple, but the formula was less enchanting. The polish was very thin and watery and incredibly streaky in the first coat. I also had a lot of trouble with bubbling, though that might have only been because I shook the polish beforehand (a big no-no) to adequately mix the color.



Over the base of Bizarrely Blurple, I sponged on Pretty Serious Into The Night (a gorgeous grape-purple I've used before) and the last of the cult Nails Behind Closed Doors polishes, Bitten.

Bitten was a last minute add; I didn't want a color too intensely red, but Bitten kind of straddled the line between red and purple and I hadn't tried it yet. It's superficially similar to Zoya Blaze; they both have a raspberry jam look to them, a red-purple jelly base with gold shimmer/microglitter. The formula on Bitten was not great: like the others, watery, flooding and streaky. I ended up going over just the tips a few times to get a good, even application.

BUT WOW, WHAT AN OVERALL EFFECT!



The glitter in Bitten and its intense color gave a fiery ember-like quality to the nail tips, one that was fully visible just in general, but even more so when I'd move my hands.



The gradation of color, from the deep cold of Bizarrely Blurple at the base of my nails, where my body heat would be strongest to the fiery warmth of Bitten out at the tip, was really just kind of magical and unexpected. The colors were so intense and blended so well, that it was just really visually striking.



I was so in love with this manicure, you just don't know. I couldn't stop staring. It was heartbreaking when I had to take it off. As a side note, I didn't have any problems with staining from Bizarrely Blurple; I came off cleanly, and Bitten didn't require any extra application of remover, either, it came off like any polish.

FAVORITE.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-12-17 10:26 am (UTC)
velithya: (Default)
From: [personal profile] velithya
oh my god, that last manicure is amazing.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-12-17 10:56 am (UTC)
dastiel_gal: (Misha)
From: [personal profile] dastiel_gal
Oh, that last one is *gorgeous*. All three colours are right in my favourite palette, and the effect of using them together is stunning, and that little sparkle on the tips is just the icing on the cake!

(no subject)

Date: 2012-12-17 02:09 pm (UTC)
nilchance: Picture of a pomegranate with spilled seeds, text "I think you're confused, I'm not Persephone" (Default)
From: [personal profile] nilchance
"... truly truly truly outrageous,
oh whoa Jem, the music's contagious (outrageous!)"

That is going to be stuck in my head for hours now.

I love Last Embers so so so much.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-12-17 06:33 pm (UTC)
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (Default)
From: [personal profile] brigid
Oh my GOSH that last manicure is INCREDIBLE.

One of the things I really like about your posts is the way you discuss how the polish applies and you're pretty frank about negative stuff. A lot of nail polish reviews I read are blandly positive, but yours feel very informative and balanced. I really appreciate that.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-12-17 08:52 pm (UTC)
teaotter: a dark haired woman in sunlight (Default)
From: [personal profile] teaotter
Your posts really make me want to try Zoya polishes.

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imperfectlyperfect: Close-up of fingernails painted dark purple with white nail art. (Default)
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