Mar 262012

One cannot escape that neon pops of color are a prevailing trend for Spring 2012. Although I’m not likely to be purchasing an orange skinny crop jean just to follow along, I have been drawn to the bright nail colors that can tweak an otherwise neutral look.

I thought it would be fun to pull together some brights in a little sketch-type post. This is just a quick, fun one, just to see a few of the choices out there.

Most were purchased in the past two months, and so most should still be available now. In keeping with our Cafe Makeup aesthetic, few (if any) are neons. Instead, I’ve focused on brights that can still be considered wearable. Really, a bright accent–whether its nails, bracelet or other small accent– is something that anyone from age 10 to 100 can pull off. Fabulous nail colors are out there for under $10–I’ve been really impressed with L’Oreal’s new releases (two are pictured below). Click to enlarge:

Here are some informal thoughts about the shades:

  • L’Oreal Check Me Out–a pleasant bright pink that looks expensive. Seriously worth “checking out”
  • Dior Pink Graffiti–Part of Dior’s Anselm Reyle Collection. Awesome formula.
  • Butter London Disco Biscuit–Although this makes many blogger’s “favorite” lists, I found this needs 3-4 coats to reach a vibrant color, so it falls into the “fussy” category.  Try Zoya Layla if you like this blue-pink idea (not pictured because Liz needed it) but want to use fewer coats. Layla doesn’t have as much sparkle, but its a nice vibrant cool pink.
  • CND Poppy Field–This was part of CND’s line last year, a very pleasant vibrant coral-red
  • OPI Red Lights Ahead–Part of OPI’s Holland collection, this creme is very similar to CND Poppy Field
  • Deborah Lippmann Lara’s Theme–An vibrant deep orange
  • Laura Mercier Sizzle–Part of the Spring 2012 collection, this one is limited edition. A sophisticated coral-red.
  • OPI A Roll in the Hague— Another bright from OPI’s Holland collection
  • L’Oreal L’Orange—another delight from L’Oreal’s new line. Two coats to perfect. Nice vibrant opaque formula that is surprisingly good on wear time.
  • Zoya Paz— Matte orange roughly the color of a hunting jacket (or a street cone).  The closest thing to neon in this bunch.
  • Rescue Beauty Lounge Bangin’– I’ve long loved this searing red-coral. Recent twitter traffic suggests that supplies are getting low on this color at the Rescue Beauty Lounge. You’ve been warned.
  • OPI Big Apple Red–This color is a nice true red, I’m only  including it so you can compare the swatches to the coral-reds to see the difference.

Swatches, swatches, swatches:

Who needs an alarm clock when you’re wearing ten of these?  Are you having any fun with brights this season?  How are you wearing them?

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Aug 022011

It always saddens me to post a review of an ephemeral product that sells out before I can do the review.  In this case, it is my sad duty to report that Dior Icone ($21 / #862) appears to have disappeared from the U.S. site.  Part of a three-red set called Les Rouges, Icone was the most complex and interesting.  I’m going to post this nonetheless because I suspect that there may be a few bottles still in some boutiques and international locations.  It is my understanding that Dior Icone was not distributed through U.S. department stores or Sephora.

Dior Icone is a chameleon shade, meaning that it changes dramatically under different light.  A traditional indoor light or outdoors in shade reveals a rich, deep vampy red.  But in full sunlight, multicolored sparkles of red and violet begin to dance in a red jelly finish.  In other words, Dior Icone is enchanted.  Here it is in full sun with flash:

Here, you can see that the nails that are falling into shade are beginning to look quite dark.

Here are some comparisons of Dior Icone with Zoya Blair, Rescue Beauty Lounge Film Noir, Rescue Beauty Lounge Au Chocolate, Chanel Feu de Russie, Chanel Madness, Chanel Metal Garnet, Chanel Strong, Chanel Rouge Noir (euro), Chanel Vertigo and OPI Bogota Blackberry with flash (click to enlarge):

Another, outside with flash (click to enlarge):

Overall, a very unusual and pretty shade.  As with many of the speciality releases, it was gone before we could blink.  You can see The Beauty Look’s reviews of all three Dior Les Rouges here.

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Dec 312010

This year, I discovered new beauty products as never before!  Here were my top ten favorite discoveries of 2010:

1.   Edward Bess:   Which products? Well, everything I’ve tried so far–bronzer, highlighter, blushes, eyeshadows…. I love new brands, and the quality of these products are superb.  These always make me look and feel my very best.

2. Burberry Beauty:   Introduced during 2010, this full line of luxury cosmetics has been a real pleasure to explore.  Coincidentally, I’ve been able to keep up with the line through the fabulous assistance of Kristy, the sales manager at Nordstrom at San Francisco Centre.  Yes, the packaging is gorgeous but the quality of the products is excellent.  My favorites so far:  Lipsticks, lipglosses, foundation and eyeshadows.  Next year I’ve heard rumors that we should see their beautiful brushes for sale, concealers, more lipstick shades, and eyeshadow palettes.

Continue reading »

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Dec 182010

Rescue Beauty Lounge’s Scrangie ($18) is a color that I’ve been meaning to wear for months.  After choosing a shimmery silver-gray top for dinner tonight, I decided that this cool toned polish would be a perfect compliment.

Scrangie of the blog by the same name helped design this tinted purple with an iridescent blue-green shimmer “like the wing of a beetle.”

This is a beautiful, unusual color–this is three coats, no base or topcoat.  Rescue Beauty Lounge makes beautiful polishes-while you are there, check out some of the reds.  Gorgeous!

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Dec 062010

Something about winter weather brings out my love of vampy nails.  Deep reds, purples, deep browns, which can looks so pretty next to fair skin.  Some polishes are deep pools of color, others have shimmer and glimmer buried below.

Here’s a very quick sketchbook-type post reviewing a few:

  • Zoya Kalista, a deep brown-red shot through with warm gold shimmer
  • OPI Bogota Blackberry, a cool deep red with shimmer, similar but not as shimmery as Zoya Isla (see below)
  • Rescue Beauty Lounge Film Noir (reviewed here), a deep, very dark red creme in the tradition of Chanel Rouge Noir/Vamp
  • Chanel Rouge Noir, the deep, dark creme that lives up to its name–literally, “red black” in French.  Said to be the closest color to Chanel’s original Vamp released in 1994.  Rouge Noir is part of the regular line in Europe, and sometimes available as a special purchase or part of holiday sets in the U.S.
  • Zoya Paris, sold for only $7, this is an impressive 3-free creme that applies like a dream and bears a respectable resemblance to Chanel Rouge Noir.  No, not an exact match–Paris is slightly less red, and doesn’t have quite the je ne sais quoi of Rouge Noir, but Paris is still extremely beautiful
  • Zoya Casey, is a deep purple version of Rouge Noir/Vamp.  It’s a deep and mysterious violet-purple-black.  Lovely.
  • Zoya Blair, one of my all-time favorite Zoya’s.  A rich, deep red with a reverberant shimmer. Love. This. Red.  Applies so beautifully in two coats, and has a glow without glitter.  Gorgeous.
  • Zoya Isla, is a truer red with shimmer and glow.  Beautiful–it leans a bit cool, in a way that looks nice on warm skin tones.
  • Zoya Yasmeen, is a purple-red with glowing shimmer.  See also, Nars Purple Rain.
  • OPI Merry Midnight, from last year’s Holiday collection, this is a deep purple with colored flakes of purple and red.  Really pretty and I’m glad that I’ve brought this out for the holidays.


Thanks for looking at my little sketchbook entry.  Which deep reds are your favorites in your collection?

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Oct 042010

Rescue Beauty Lounge’s Fall 2010 Collection “The Housewives of Tudor England” was designed by its artistic founder, Ji Baek, based on the wives of Henry XIII inspired by “the opulent fabrics, quiet luxury and return of ladylike fashions.”  Each of the four color is named after one of the wives–Catherine, Catherine H, Jane and Anne–sells for $18.  According to Baek. “The more I learned of the queens’ wardrobes—the layers of embroidery, embellishments of pearls and fur and rich jewel toned fabrics” the more she saw parallels in this Fall’s fashion trends.

I’m a great admirer of Rescue Beauty Lounge–I believe in Baek’s philosophy that nail polish acts as an accessory.  It creates an undeniable impression–consider speaking to someone wearing bright red nails, then picture her with a light pink sheer, or no polish at all.  As Baek explains in her excellent book Rescue Your Nails, the color makes a subtle, but certain, difference.

Baek’s release process was interesting–she pre-released it three bloggers (the NailPhile, Scrangie and All Lacquered Up), who posted pictures in July  just be pre-orders could be placed.  When I saw the pictures, I pre-ordered all four although I wasn’t entirely sure that all of the colors would work for me.

Let’s walk through them.  First, Catherine, a dark gray purple with subtle multi-colored sparkles.  As with many of Rescue Beauty Lounge’s polishes, the quality of this polish is excellent.  Smooth application and excellent pigmentation.  I liked Rescue Beauty Lounge’s deep take on this Fall’s smoky purple trend.  This is two coats without a topcoat:

Anne is a dark, deep warm green.  Like Catherine, the quality of Anne’s formula is excellent.  I was glad that Rescue Beauty Lounge did a deep intense green, and found the warm sparkles a nice touch.  This is two coats with no topcoat:

Catherine H. is a medium blue with subtle sparkle.  Although this is a pleasant color for clothing, I’m not sure that it works for me for nails.  When I wore the color for about a day, the color still seemed a little startling even at the end.  I would love a shirt or scarf this color, but I wasn’t enamored with with this shade of blue for nails.  This is two coats with no topcoat:

Jane is an oyster greige with a slight sparkle that comes off as a pearl once applied. I found Jane a little difficult to apply.  Although there is plenty of pigment, the texture was thinner than the other Tudor’s and I needed three coats to get rid of the patchiness.  No topcoat:

This is a lighter, warmer and pearlier version of some of the greige tones we’ve seen this season.  By comparison, Lippman’s Waking Up in Vegas ($16) is far easier to work with.  Although Lippmann’s greige is darker and cooler, Waking Up in Vegas applies like a dream:

Overall, I’m still in love with Rescue Beauty Lounge and the inspiration that drives its founder Ji Baek.  I found her Summer 2010 Surf collection brilliant, and Bangin’ unquestionably deserved to win the Allure award.  As a summer color to wear outside in bright sunshine, Bangin’ is that good.

By comparison, the Tudor collection feels a little unfinished–I wasn’t sure that the rich fabric tones were perhaps too literally translated–particularly, Catherine H. and Jane.  Their formula did not seem fully refined for either Catherine H. or Jane.  All of the Tudor polishes really benefit from a topcoat, which is unusual for my other Rescue Beauty Lounge polishes.

I realize that I had a good opportunity to look at the posts by three excellent bloggers before ordering, and I did have a hesitation about some of these colors–an instinct that I should have listened to.  Were I to do it over, I would have gone with Catherine and left the rest.

Perhaps some of you are more enthusiastic about the collection?   Which of these do you like (you can vote for up to four):

[poll id=”12″]

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May 102010

Rescue Beauty Lounge–the edgy niche nail polish brand–has released Diddy Mow, the third of its surfer-themed polishes for Summer 2010.  As the site describes–the name is a “surf term for a harsh wipeout, is a putty green, the color of sand through sea water, the moment before you eat it!”

This green is not moss, it’s not forest, it’s not Shrek-green.  In fact, it has so much grey in it that it is the color of seaweed through cloudy water, a color that evokes the summer of the cooler northern climates.  The pearl is barely noticeable unless the light hits it just right.  It’s a nice toned-down color that is going to look amazing with all of the corals that we’ve seen this season:

Here is a quick re-cap with the other two Rescue Beauty Lounge colors for this season, in case you are thinking of a single order:

360 is reviewed here:

Bangin’ is reviewed here:

The formula on all of these is divine–one to two coats maximum, easy to work with.

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Jan 012010

After the bright blingy New Year’s Eve manicure of yesterday (that’s so last year!), I’m welcoming in 2010 with open arms and dark nails.  This one is Rescue Beauty Lounge’s Film Noir, which typically retails for $18 but which I picked up at their recent sale for half price.

Film Noir is the movie genre that was began in the 1940’s and is, I would argue, still echoed today in such places as AMC’s Mad Men.  These films are characterized by black and white cinematography, heavy on dark shadows and hard-bitten characters with devastating crime (usually murder) thrown in for good measure.  The dialogue seethes with emotion, although delivered in fast-talking monotone.  Consider this from “Hollow Triumph,” released in 1948:

He:  You’re a bitter little lady.

She:  It’s a bitter little world.

Dark enough for you?  Okay, so let’s go back to talking about nail polish now….

Film Noir is a deep dark black-burgundy jelly that lets in just enough light to show some color.  Evocative of Chanel’s early 1990’s Vamp, Film Noir looks absolutely fabulous when wearing blacks.  Vamp did, so does Film Noir.  A black-burgundy always has, and it always will.  Classic.

In the picture swatch here, I applied two coats then topped with a thick coat of Poshe’s fast-drying Topcoat.  I might use three coats, but I wanted to make sure that some of this rich color would show on the blog.

Rescue Beauty Lounge Film Noir

Because this is a dark jelly, this is not a polish to try for the first time while in a rush.  The deep color is very pigmented, so mistakes tend to show.

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