Sep 092014
 

NARS New Nail Colors14

NARS has released a series of reformulated polishes with higher shine, more flexibility, and a longer-lasting formula. There are 43 shades in all, and I have fourteen for a quick preview ($20 each). As with the NARS 3.1 Philip Lim collection (previewed here) (available on Nars.com and Sephora), the new permanent polish range has a wide, flat brush for easy application. These are available at Nordstrom, SephoraNars online, BarneysSaks Fifth AvenueNeiman Marcus, and Bloomingdales,

NARS New Nail Colors30I love the new brush-the shorter bristles and shape allow for quick, foolproof application.

Nars Nail Polish brush2Here’s the brush with dipped in Nars Blow-Up, a bright orange. Some of my favorite shades are these vibrant colors–Paros (red brown), Elbrus (plum), Torre del Oro (cherry red), and Blow-Up (Mandarin orange):

NARS New Nail Colors04Some quick swatches:

New Nars nail polish308Here are the three metallic shades– Pastorale (rose gold), Milos (rich gold), and Amarapura (silver chrome):

New Nars nail polish301Quick swatches:

New Nars nail polish314Here are three dusty, off-neutral shades– Shameless Red (pink flamingo), Zakynthos (beige), and Obscura (lavender charcoal):

NARS New Nail Colors35Quick swatches:

New Nars nail polish310Finally, here are four pastel shades– Ikiru (light blue), Ithaque (sheer, light pink), Thasos (mint green), and Kalymnos (lilac).

NARS New Nail Colors47Swatches:

New Nars nail polish313I”m working on editing some on-the-nail swatches for a more in-depth review. In the meantime, enjoy these lovely colors. These are available at Nordstrom, SephoraNars online, BarneysSaks Fifth AvenueNeiman Marcus, and Bloomingdales,

NARS New Nail Colors03

Nars Cosmetics sent these polishes to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).

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Dec 042013
 

burberry nailBurberry Nail Polish ($21) is currently being rolled out as a new product category for the line. I’ve been impressed with many of Burberry’s formulas, and so I couldn’t wait to try it. Although some of my choices are still on backorder, I wanted to give you a few thoughts on some colors that have arrived– Nude Beige and Oxblood. Both are classic “Burberry” colors, and reminded me of the iconic plaid color that evokes the brand’s neutral aesthetic.

Burberrry nail01

At $21, the price is friendly and the commitment is low. The bottles hold roughly 0.27 fluid ounces of product, which is on the smaller end for a premium polish (Chanel are typically marked at 0.4 oz., and Dior and Guerlain at .33 ozs.). Honestly, I rarely evaluate products on their volume. As the Chanel, Dior and Guerlain come in at a higher price point than Burberry, I suppose that overall the price point seems all in line (as high end beauty goes). Purchasing from outside the U.S., Color Me Loud has more colors in the Burberry line as well as some comparisons.

Burberrry nail02

The bottles use a rich glass etched with the line’s logo, and the iconic plaid on the cap is etched in (just as it is with Burberry’s other fluid products).

Burberrry nail03

When the caps are removed, you can see that the bottle extends upward:

Burberrry nail07

The brushes are slightly wider than normal, which eases application (although not as wide as Guerlain’s or Dior’s). I found the Burberry brush highly workable and the formula was quite easy to apply.

Burberrry nail08

Burberry Nude Beige is a neutral beige with high opacity and high shine (without a topcoat).

Burberrry nail06

I approached this color with some trepidation–indeed, I ordered this color to see how Burberry could handle something so pale. In other brands, lighter whites, pastels, and beiges can go streaky or require numerous coats, which causes them to look too thick once applied. However, Burberry appears to have mastered the challenge quite successfully–this is opaque in two to three coats (depending on how heavily you apply this with the brush). It didn’t streak up or look goopy or thick. Pretty amazing. Burberry Nude Beige on my nails:

Burberrry nail17

Here are some comparisons with some other light neutrals, including Orly Country Club Khaki (a taupe), Rescue Beauty Lounge Plie (a light pink), Chanel Beige (which runs sheer), and Burberry Nude Beige (which is opaque):

Burberrry nails08

Burberry Oxblood is a beautiful rich cool red. I adore this color beyond all reason.

Burberrry nail05

Burberry Oxblood is shiny and opaque in two coats. It is gloriously pigmented. Yes, you need it.

Burberrry nail12

Burberry Oxblood is lighter and more red, compared to some other vampy darks in my collection. Here are comparisons with the very dark Guerlain Vega, the shimmery Chanel Malice, and the dark red/black Chanel Madness, Accessoire, and Rouge Noir.

Burberrry nails09

Overall, Burberry’s nail colors are impressive. The formula so far is excellent, the application is easy, and the overall look is gorgeous. These will fit well within the aesthetic of the rest of the line–excellence in formula, classic colors, and highly wearable and beautiful colors.

Available at Nordstrom, and other Burberry sources.

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Nov 012013
 

NARS Beautiful Stranger31

This is a short review of the Nars Beautiful Stranger Mini Nail Set ($35) so that you have a complete picture of all of Nars Holiday sets before deciding which are your personal must-haves. This set contains small bottles of four shades: the violet-purple Dance, Dance, Dance, a coral red Shameless Red, the lavender taupe Manosque, and the vibrant, assertive Lost Red. Each has 0.25 ounces (a standard bottle of Nars polish has 0.50 ounces).

NARS Beautiful Stranger32

Here are some quick swatches so that you can see the color. I did a few nail looks with Manosque and Lost Red, and found the formula typical of Nars cream formula–very nice coverage in two coats, medium shine, and smooth, fuss-free application.

NARS Beautiful Stranger37

According to the literature provided by the company, this set will be available at all Nars sources as of November 1st.  It is currently available on Nordstrom.com.

Nars Cosmetics provided this set to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

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Sep 252013
 

Dior Spring 2013 Nail composite

Although I love the convenience of a two-week UV gel cured manicure, I’ve been looking for ways to prolong nail polish wear that doesn’t involve the difficult acetone removal process that UV manicures appear to require. Toward that end, I’ve been playing with some of the “new generation” gel topcoats.  In early April 2013, I gave a preliminary report on Dior’s Gel Coat (reviewed here).

Dior Spring 2013 Nail Polish30

I got amazing longevity using Dior’s gel topcoat. My nails grew, protected by the tough topcoat. I got beautiful, glossy results that lasted for days longer than my usual topcoats. This gives a deep, glossy gel-like coat which dries hard but retains flexibility. In late June, I began to notice that I had used quite a bit of the Dior up, and that it was getting considerably thicker and goopier as the contents of the bottle went down.

Gel Topcoats 21

Around the end of June, I threw my Dior Gel Coat into a drawer and headed for Paris. While in the City of Light, I picked up Guerlain’s Le Topcoat Gel.  I found the Guerlain worked equally as well as Dior–given that the companies are owned by the same parent, they may be the same formula for all I know.  The key is, if you can’t find one, you can get the other and be assured of good results.  The benefit to the Guerlain is that it is $1 less, and has the ball bearings inside to keep the contents stirred.

Gel Topcoats 23

The Guerlain works beautifully, by the way. Although my bottle isn’t old yet, the hardening/goopiness doesn’t seem to be quite as bad with this one (however, I do shake those ball bearings up quite a bit).  To be honest, both of these formulas have given me unprecedented longevity for my nail polish–literally, days longer than normal and very little tipwear.  Still I would, occasionally, get chips with unusually heavy nail wear.

Gel Topcoats 15

Now for the secret sauce. Still not being satisfied with these superb results, I had heard that Revlon’s Colorstay Gel-Smooth Base Coat. The only place that I’ve found this so far is Target (accept no substitute). Using the Revlon Base Coat under my nail polish really eliminated the chipping, giving me near-perfect nails up to 3-5 days. Okay, so far so good with the Revlon Base Coat–but what about the Revlon Gel-Shine Top Coat (also pictured above)?  It is a thinner formula than Dior’s or Guerlian’s. It does does prolong my nail wear somewhat. However, the Revlon does not give me the lush gel-like glossy look of the Dior or Guerlain Gel topcoats. Also, the Revlon Top Coat does not give me quite the longevity and protection of the Dior/Guerlain (even when using two coats of the Revlon top coat).

Gel Topcoats 11

What of that bottle of Dior that was tossed into a drawer prior to Paris?  Regrettably, the contents became a gummy solid in the bottom of the bottle. I thought I’d try to revive it with Seche Restore– for more information about this miracle product, see Scrangie’s post here.

seche restore

I pulled out the old lab notebook like a high school science experiment.

Gel Topcoats 12

Sadly, the Dior was too far gone for this method to work. I basically ended up with a glacial-like substance with bits of liquid Seche Restore creating a little ice floe. My thesis proved incorrect, but that Dior was really far gone when I tried this. Perhaps I’ll try again with a bottle that has more life and get better results?

In summary, I found that using nail polish over Revlon Colorstay Gel Smooth Base Coat really adds wear time to my manicure. Then, adding either the Dior or Guerlain Gel topcoats gave me the closest thing to gorgeous, glossy and protected nails that I’ll obtain outside of a UV cured gel manicure. Using these products, I get 3-5 days of wear (which never happens), and a beautifully glossy, gel-like texture. For me, this wear time is highly unusual. I’ve heard of people getting longer wear but I’ve rarely gone this long. These all remove easily with a standard nail polish remover (no acetone needed). I love it. Of course, the downside is that one wants to use up the bottle that’s been opened (given my experience with the drying out of the Dior Gel). I’m concerned about storage for bottles once they’ve been opened.

Do you have any polish pointers?  Please share them… remember, sharing is caring!

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Sep 092012
 

Oscar de la Renta has released a trio of nail polishes ($22 each/ 0.3 fl. oz., available here) to satisfy the fashionistas who fell in love with these colors during his Fall ’12 runway show. Never one to resist a fashion-beauty collaboration, I bought two in  Aubergine (a deep violet-vamp combination) and Larimar (a sky blue creme).  They arrived yesterday, sent via Fed Ex, with a tsunami of Oscar de la Renta fragrance samples. Impressive.

Oscar de la Renta Larimar and Aubergine on the Fall 2012 Runway

The bottles are a crisp modern design with a metallic blue/purple cap:

Inside the brushes are quite standard and worked well with this formula.

I was extraordinarily impressed with the formula of this release. As you know, Oscar de la Renta has not done a nail polish before (at least in my memory). The formulator got all kinds of things right. Although the nail polish smell was strong, the formula was opaque in two coats with an acceptable shine (most will want to add a clear topcoat, but you could get by without if time is short).

This fall, I’m having a sudden obsession with aubergine toned shoes and other items. I found Oscar de la Renta’s Aubergine seriously nice. It’s deep enough in tone to say “Hello, I’m wearing this great color,” and has an ever-so-slightly jelly finish (it’s not a true jelly, but the color looks alive). True love for Aubergine for Fall 2012. No topcoat:

Larimar is suprisingly workable. It’s a pastel blue (yes, a bit like Chanel Skyline but without sparkle or shimmer). I usually have trouble with light pastels, but I found that Oscar de la Renta’s Larimar went on nice, smooth and opaque in two coats.  Larimar wasn’t quite as shiny as Aubergine, but still quite good.

Bottom line– Yes, yes, yes.  I especially love Oscar de la Renta’s Aubergine–this one will get used up this Fall.

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