8 January 2012

My name is R, and I am addicted to nail polish.

Nail polish has been my cure for nail-bitingitis.  I've always envied girls who have naturally beautiful hands and nails (Jen, I'm looking at you, even with your crazy pinky! ;))  My nails were so chewed-down, I never thought that I would be one of those girls who wore pretty nail paints.  One fine day, I decided enough was enough: I applied clear polish on what was left of my fingernails.  Since I had no desire to eat nail polish, I stopped biting.  My nails, bless their souls (because they do have souls), are actually in decent shape, given the beating they've taken.  

And so it began.
This was what I had after roughly two years of hoarding nail polish.  (My apologies.  I took this picture with my first-generation iPhone.  I'm still using it, but you probably won't see it anywhere else other than an antique store or a museum.)
This is how it currently stands, a year and a bit later:
As much as I love nail polish (and cosmetics in general), I always laugh at how they are photographed in blogs.  I mean, these inanimate products are photographed with such reverence: propped up on a pedestal against a backdrop of lush, vibrant foliage whilst glistening under the sun's golden rays.
The pictures below will be just as absurd.  That is, I have photographed them in a ridiculous fashion that would cause any normal person to think, "You know you're taking pictures of...nail polish...right?"  Except, instead of a pedestal, it's my bookshelf.  And instead of foliage, it's my stark-white wall.  Oh, and it's lit by my desk lamp, rather than the sun.

So, yeah.  As I mentioned in my Vegas Haul, my holy grail base coat is Deborah Lippmann's Turn Back Time and my cuticle-remover of choice is Butter London's Melt Away Cuticle Eliminator.

This is a brief overview of my experiences with a handful of brands.  I haven't tried other favourites, such as China Glaze, Orly, or Zoya, so I can't comment on how they compare to the below.
The Red-headed Stepchild.
MAC - $18 CAD
Let me just say that I don't understand why redheads get such a bad rep.  I think girls with red hair are hot.  Still, it doesn't stop me from using this hilarious expression.  In fact, I learned this expression for the first time on an episode of Survivor: Redemption Island, in which this guy was the pariah of the island and referred to himself as such. 

I digress.  MAC is the red-headed stepchild of nail polishes because, well, no one really likes their nail polishes.  They're often too runny/sheer and require a fragillion layers for the colour to show.  I myself only own this duochrome number, which came out with their Venomous Villains collection.  Honestly, it's cool, but I've never worn it.  I've applied it on a couple of nails with the intention of wearing it.  In the midst of application, however, I'd think, "Not feelin' it," and choose another colour.  Sorry, kid.  Maybe next time.
Blame YouTube/Beauty Blogs.
The brand is not available in Canada, but I was curious about their polish because Christine declares their formula to be one of her top five favourites.  I don't tend to reach for these.  I can't remember for what reason.  I think it was a combination of the brush being flimsy and not being able to evenly distribute the somewhat runny consistency.  That was helpful, wasn't it?
The Bay just started carrying Butter London during Christmas and I was pretty excited.  Then again, I'm not sure why I was.  I bought this bottle about a year ago from Nordstrom, and I wasn't particularly impressed by the flaccid brush.  It's not terrible, but I'm not sure if a $17 bottle of nail polish that's just 'okay' (to me, anyway) makes sense to me.  They do have some awesome colours...
I Hate the Brush.
DIOR - $24 CAD  
To be fair, Sabrina of The Beauty Look Book finds that the tapered brush makes for an easier application,  although it was a challenge at first.  Cafe Makeup also appreciates it in all its tapered glory:
Seeing as I haven't found the magic technique to master this stupid thing, I hate it.  I find it impossible to apply evenly across the nail bed above the cuticle.  And really, I'd prefer not having to work very hard at it.  Ergo, despite all the gorgeous colours with which Dior have come out recently, I have not been tempted by them.  If the brush don't work for me, it don't matter how pretty the shade is.
Um, HOW Much Is This?  And yet I have 4. 
I think these were still $24 CAD when I bought them.  Why they decided that this was not sufficiently expensive such that they needed to tack on three extra dollars is beyond me.  Maybe these have unicorn tears.  Nevertheless, the Chanel reds are quite beautiful.  But one has to be in a certain mood for them, as they have an air of maturity to them.

By the way, with these fancy pants brands that are double-capped, the inner cap is often quite difficult to unscrew with your bare hands.  I've found that an easy solution, no matter how tightly it's screwed on, is to place the outer cap halfway over the inner cap (so that its ridges lock with the inside of the outer cap) and then twist.  That probably did not make any sense.  I tried. 
Best I've Ever Had.

Hands down the best nail polish I've ever used.  My mom got these for me when she went to Italy.  There is no comparison.  Their brush is easy to manoeuvre whilst being equally easy to control.  Their formula is everything that other nail polishes wish they could be.  Namely, they are opaque in one coat, they are saturated with colour (the cobalt is freakin stunning), they dry quickly, and when they do dry completely, they are extremely smooth and rock-hard.  Best of all?  They're affordably priced.  My mom said she got them for a few dollars only.  I wish they ship to Canada.
Favourite Colour Selection.
ESSIE - Varies
Love their colours, but their formulae are hit-and-miss.  Some have really poor colour payoff, while others are beautifully opaque in one coat.  Nevertheless, there is something about their colour selection that reads more 'modern' than OPI.  I can't put my finger on it.  Perhaps OPI's colours are too 'literal', if you know what I mean. 

Favourite Brush.
OPI - Varies
Y'all know where to find OPI.  I know many have voiced their distaste for the width and overall girth of their brush.  I, for one, appreciate it and find that it makes for easy, no-fuss application.  Large stroke down the middle, then two small ones on each side--OF THE NAIL.  Get your mind out of the gutter.  Anyway, like I said earlier, I wish their shades were more...I don't know!  Innovative?  There is something that holds it back from having that certain je-ne-sais-quoi, that complexity and breathtaking quality that cause a stir of beautyblogasms.  They certainly achieved that with Mad as a Hatter (in the last picture below) from the Alice and Wonderland collection.  Maybe I just wish they had more of the pastel variety, à la Essie.  That must be it!  OR NEON!!  I'd really like to have colours that are neon to the power of 30 highlighters.

One last thing: if you've been having trouble removing glitter nail polishes, Allison came up with the genius idea of using scrap pieces of felt instead of cotton pads.  I haven't used glitter polish for a long time because it's just too much of a pain to remove, fun as it was to not only discover the glitter to be stubbornly unyielding, but to have strands of cotton stuck to the nail.  But, if you're a frequent glitterholic, you may do well to buy some felt from the dollar store, soak it in nail polish remover, and removing the glitter that way.  I haven't yet tried it myself, but it sure sounds helluva lot more logical than cotton.

- R

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