Swatch Sunday: Shleee Polish’s Beautiful Dreams

Welcome back, reader! I’m excited about today’s swatch; it’s from a brand I’ve been dying to try forever! This is Beautiful Dreams from Shleee Polish; I’m wearing one coat over LA Girl’s Black, China Glaze’s White on White, P2’s French Kiss (pink), and Nails Inc.’s Baker Street (blue).

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Beautiful Dreams is a clear-based glitter topper with a primarily white glitter mix — shapes include stars, moons, hearts, dots, and clouds — with silver moons and stars, iridescent hexes, and a strong blue-to-purple shift. Application was good; I didn’t have to fish for the shape glitters, and the glitters brushed on evenly. Product consistency was also good; it wasn’t too thick or thin. It dried quickly and with a glossy finish; I used top coat for extra smoothness and shine.

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When this polish came out early this year, I jumped on it. This was the first time I’d ever seen the cloud glitters, and I still get so excited about new glitter shapes, I have to buy the polish I see them in first. Beautiful Dreams is a great use for them, too; the overall look is ethereal and celestial, and the clouds just belong. It’s a perfect mix of glitter and shimmer. I am crazy impressed with it, as well as with Shleee in general.

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The following photos were taken in direct sunlight. The shift gets a little washed out — especially in midday — but still looks gorgeous. You may also be wondering why I used a white polish as a base for white glitter. I think there’s something charming about white over white; it’s giving the shift and the silver glitters a chance to stand out.

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Beautiful Dreams is currently not in stock; other Shleee Polishes are available in their etsy shop.

I bought this polish myself.

Manicure Monday: Bridal Gradient

Welcome back to Manicure Monday! I’m excited about today’s look, because the first-ever Wacie Nail Company polish is part of it. I feel like I made this polish a lifetime ago! This is Bridal Bouquet over a gradient of China Glaze’s For Audrey and Orly’s Water Lily.

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Bridal Bouquet was the reason I started making polish. I’d had ideas for polishes and ordered customs from other indie makers, but this was an idea I wanted to do just for myself. I still remember how exciting it was to receive all the glitters and bottles and lacquer supplies in the mail; I still remember the satisfaction of shaking it together, brushing it onto a swatch wheel, and knowing I’d gotten it right. That was two years ago. It feels so good to come full circle.

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To keep the marriage motif, I went for a Tiffany-inspired gradient. For Audrey, everyone’s favorite Tiffany blue, had to be used. In testing, I tried Bridal Bouquet over many blues, but For Audrey was my favorite base for it. As an afterthought, I added Water Lily to create a little bit of dimension beneath the glitter. Though Water Lily is a deeper, brighter turquoise, the gradient is very subtle, barely even there. The glitter is such that the gradient is covered up and on display at the same time.

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The following photos were taken in direct sunlight. When the sunlight is harsh like this, the iridescent glitters get washed out. The gradient looks fantastic, though, and there is a bit of sparkle yet. I’m pretty happy with this look, overall. How long has it been since I last did a gradient? Much too long.

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Follow wacie.com for Bridal Bouquet release info, as well as other Wacie Nail Company polishes. China Glaze and Orly are available in stores nationwide.

I made this polish. Other polishes were purchased myself.

HPB Presents: Project Orion

Welcome to the Hobby Polish Bloggers link-up for the month of July! Each month, this Facebook group chooses a mani theme; it’s up to the participant to decide how simple or elaborate their mani will be. Anything goes as long as it adheres to the theme! July’s theme is space, and I decided to take my mani in a different direction; I attempted to recreate NASA’s Project Orion insignia in mani form. For this look, I used Monster Polish‘s I was Hoping for Minimalism, but I Think I Came Out With Magician as the base, and the logo was done with Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s Terrific Twos (the planet), Sally Hansen’s Magenta Moves (the whoosh), and China Glaze’s White on White (the stars). All nails were finished with Seche Vite top coat and Essie’s Matte About You matte coat.

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It’s probably no secret that I’m a big spaceflight nerd. I follow rocket launches, planetary science updates, and ISS experiments almost as closely as I follow indie polish releases. When Orion was launched for its first experimental flight test in December 2014, you better believe I was watching it online. It was delayed a few times due to weather violations, and once because there was a boat in the launch zone. I didn’t trust myself to not sleep through it, so I just stayed up for three days. It was really the most exciting thing I’d been since Curiosity landed on Mars.

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My interpretation of the logo is a little sloppy, but I think it’s recognizable at the very least. I think the logo is actually pretty clever; the Orion constellation is hidden inside it. My nail wasn’t quite big enough for the whole design, so it’s a little cramped. The Monster Polish I used as the base is the perfect spaceflight blue. I love that the planet depicted is now a mound of glitter. I’m happy, overall, with how it turned out.

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Part of the reason I did this mani was to raise awareness of what’s going in modern spaceflight. It’s disappointing to me that more people either don’t know about or aren’t interested in the gains we’ve made in the past few years. There’s so much happening now: science is done on the ISS every day, SpaceX is continually innovating, and missions to Mars — likely on the Orion spacecraft — will be inevitable. This is like near-Disneyland levels of excitement to me.

This is an Orion model at Kennedy Space Center. It was a little more convincing in person.

This is an Orion model at Kennedy Space Center. It was a little more convincing in person.

I was Hoping for Minimalism, but I Think I Came Out With Magician and other Monster Polishes are available in their online shop. Terrific Twos was a BEGL limited edition and has since sold out; other Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquers are for sale in their online shop. Sally Hansen and China Glaze are available in stores nationwide.

I bought these polishes myself.
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Swatch Sunday: Seche’s Collage Overlay

It’s Swatch Sunday again! Today’s swatch is Seche’s Collage Overlay! This is a serious glitter topper. I’m wearing one brushed coat over China Glaze’s Pelican Gray, Essie’s Fiji, and Ciaté’s Sugar Plum, as well as one coat of Seche Vite top coat.

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Collage Overlay is a clear-based glitter topper with holographic pink bar and hex glitters in various sizes, as well as large white hexes. Application was tricky with this; there’s so much glitter and it tends to clump together, making it a challenge to get even coverage. The bar glitters are pretty long in this polish and can be difficult to work with as well. You can see them sticking off the edges of the nail and into the cuticle. On the plus side, it does dry quickly with some chunky glitter texture. I used top coat for shine and smoothness.

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So I really wanted to love this look. I really loved it the first time I used it; I paired it with a hot pink jelly for a sandwich, and it made a really great look. I love the glitters in this mix; I love how it’s holo glitter, but it’s not much like any holo glitter I’ve ever seen. The color is unique. I love the white hexes as a monotony breaker. I just wished it brushed on a bit better. It’s a mess.

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I took some photos outside, and let me tell you, this is blinding in direct sunlight. Look how washed out these sunlight photos are. This will give you some indication of how shiny it is. It was kind of painful to look at.

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Collage Overlay might have been discontinued by Seche. Other Seche products are available in stores nationwide; I got mine from Sally Beauty Supply.

I bought this polish myself.

Swatch Saturday: Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer’s Belladonna

Happy Saturday! My Saturday swatch this week is Belldonna from Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer. This polish was a limited edition gift-with-purchase that was only available if you bought the whole What Wouldn’t I Do collection as a set. I’m wearing Belladonna over China Glaze’s Pelican Gray, Ciaté’s Electronica (pink), and Essie’s I’m Addicted (blue) and with one coat of Seche Vite top coat.

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Belladonna is a clear-based glitter topper; the colors are primarily white and black with noen blue, green, pink, and yellow. Shapes include stars, flowers, bows, squares, and diamonds. Application was good; it was a bit tricky to spread the glitter evenly, because there’s just so much of it. While this means you can get too much glitter, it’s not very hard to get the bigger shapes. The product consistency was smooth and easy to manipulate with the brush. The polish dries quickly and with a bit of texture. I used top coat for smoothness.

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I like Belladonna. I like the toppers that are largely white glitters with some color scattered in. The white means it can be worn over pretty much anything, and the small bits of color ensure you get a fun look. This does feel a bit like a take on the black and white glitter fad from a few years ago, but the range of added shapes and colors keep it fresh and current.

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These photos were taken in direct sunlight. There’s no shimmer in this base, so there’s nothing that really comes to life in the sunshine. I took a ton of macros, though,  so you can really see the variety of glitters.

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Belladonna, unfortunately, was an LE from 2014 and is no longer in production. Other Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquers can be found in their online shop.

I bought this polish myself.

HPB Presents Dusty Watermarble

Welcome back, reader! Today’s post is a special Hobby Polish Bloggers link-up post! Every month a theme is selected by the group, and this month’s theme is dusty colors. The look itself is up to the blogger; as long as it adheres to the theme, it can be as simple or elaborate as the blogger wishes. I like to raise the difficulty a bit and use only untried polishes, but this month I couldn’t, because I have very few unused polishes that fit the theme. For this look, I used Essie’s Spin the Bottle, Sew Psyched, and Marathin, Zoya’s Bevin, Ciaté’s Pillow Fight, and China Glaze’s Fairy Dust.

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As I mentioned, I don’t have a lot of colors in this dusty family, so I’m using a lot of polishes I’ve used in the past. I think Spin the Bottle and Sew Psyched were unused, but the others were probably only used once, so it’s not really a big deal. It took a lot of digging through the polish looking for the right colors; I have a lot of pastels and a lot of deep colors, but not too many in between. Marathin was actually the first polish that came to mind, and after a little bit of trial and error, I found a great combination, as well as the perfect way to wear them together.

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Watermarbling is one of those things I want to do all the time, and yet, I rarely do. I’ve done a few marbled accent nails here and there, but it’s usually as an afterthought; when I’m planning a mani, I usually just pick a glitter topper that pairs well and that’s it. A lot of the time, I’m working with polishes that don’t seem conducive to marbling. I don’t want to use anything with fine glitters or shimmers because it may not spread well, I don’t want to use anything rare, discontinued, or expensive, and I don’t want to use anything with a really unique finish, like a holo. If I’m creating a look around a creme, I’m rarely thinking about other cremes. It’s a shame, because I love cremes; I think the glossy creme finish is the most underrated of them all, and yet I rarely take advantage of them. Even with all these beautiful creme shades and the marbling, I still had to top it with glitter. Fairy Dust counts as a dusty color, right?

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The following photos were taken outdoors in direct sunlight. The colors are a bit washed out here, making the dusty colors look lighter and more pastel. Fairy Dust looks overwhelmed as well. On the plus side, I was able to get macros of all my favorite swirls. My ever-elusive right hand even makes an appearance.

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From left to right: Left thumb, left ring finger, left middle finger, right thumb

From left to right: Left thumb, left ring finger, left middle finger, right thumb

Essie, Zoya, Ciaté, and China Glaze are all sold in stores nationwide; mine are from Walgreens, Ulta, Sephora, and Sally Beauty Supply respectively.

Also, remember this is a group project, and there are links below to the other dusty manicures done by members of the group. Show them some love, too!

I bought these polishes myself.
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Manicure Monday: Marshmallow Sandwich

Happy Monday! Today’s look is an experiment with opacity and color. It’s also a lesson in making the best of an unusual polish. For this look, I used China Glaze’s Create a Spark between layers of L’Oreal’s Satin Starlet, topped with Seche Vite top coat.

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So I started this mani wondering why a polish like Satin Starlet exists in the first place. It’s this sheer, milky white that doesn’t seem like it’s good for much. It might be okay as the sheer shade in a French manicure, but even then, there are colors much better suited for that purpose than white. It would take a staggering amount of polish to get it opaque, so it’s out as a tip color, too. It’s hard to apply without streaks and bald spots. Even after having this manicure on a while, I still have no idea what I would use this polish for if I didn’t do nail art. I don’t think a person who wears one polish at a time would find this polish useful. I got this polish in a big L’Oreal set from an outlet store; it’s not something I would have purchased alone.

I used one coat of Satin Starlet as a base, sponged the glitter on with an eyeshadow applicator, and finished with two heavy-handed coats of Satin Starlet and top coat.

I used one coat of Satin Starlet as a base, sponged the glitter on with an eyeshadow applicator, and finished with two heavy-handed coats of Satin Starlet and top coat.

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Create a Spark is a clear-based glitter topper with holographic pink and black and blue metallic glitters. This one was a little hard to use, but seems pretty typical of the mainstream chunky glitter topper; there’s so much lacquer in the bottle that the glitter drops right off the brush, and if you try to brush it on, you get like two pieces of glitter and a whole lot of clear polish, which is not ideal. To prevent this, I sponged it on with an eyeshadow applicator; it soaks up all that excess lacquer and helps you position the glitter where you need it. This is my favorite way to get a lot of glitter without having super-thick coats of polish.

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I chose Create a Spark because I thought big glitter and bright colors were best suited to offset the sheer white. Though they pair well, Create a Spark was done no favors in this mani. You can see the shine in some of the edge glitters; the black glitters are dark and shiny, and the pink ones have a really intense holo finish. Satin Starlet kind of sucks the life out of it. Here are some sunlight photos, and this look doesn’t really look much different from in the studio. It just looks like Funfetti. Also, despite everything I said about Satin Starlet, I love the shine it kept. It has a really glossy original finish, and Seche Vite keeps it smooth and shiny. Sometimes it goes on glossy and then dulls, I’m glad that didn’t happen today.

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Satin Starlet is discontinued by L’Oreal; other L’Oreal polishes are sold nationwide. I got mine from an outlet store. Create a Spark may be discontinued by China Glaze; other China Glaze polishes are sold in stores. I got mine from Sally Beauty Supply.

I bought these polishes myself.

Swatch Saturday: Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer Prototype BBD1.0

Happy Saturday! It feels so good to be past our third anniversary. I still can’t believe we’ve passed such an important milestone, it’s crazy! For this week’s Saturday swatch, I’m wearing Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer Prototype BBD1.0 over Nails Inc.’s Eaton Terrace, China Glaze’s Pelican Gray, and LA Girl’s Black, as well as Seche Vite top coat.

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Prototype BBD1.0 is a clear-based fine glitter topper; the glitter mix is predominantly purple holo glitters, but also contains holo reds and blues and matte lime green glitters. Application was easy; the glitter brushed on without any problems, and the product consistency was very workable. It dried quickly and with a smooth finish. I added top coat for extra shine and protection.

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This a really fun polish to wear. I used neutrals for this look because I wasn’t sure how the glitter would look over other colors, but the glitter is so fine and so varied in color that it would probably look good over anything. I’m actually impressed by how it looks over black; you get the flashes of color without the speckled effect the lighter colors get. I thought it would be boring over black, but I think it’s my favorite of all of them. The lime green satin glitters feel a bit out of place, but I don’t dislike them; I think it breaks up an otherwise monotonous (but still quite pretty) glitter mix.

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Here are some sun shots. The glitter looks amazing outside; you can really see the variety of colors in the glitters here. The following photos were taken in direct sunlight.

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Prototype BBD1.0 is a one-off prototype, and I have the only bottle. Other Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer polishes can be purchased from their online shop.

I bought these polishes myself.

Swatch Sunday: Nina Ultra Pro’s Solar Flare

Hello reader! It’s still Sunday somewhere, so let’s a have a look at this Sunday’s swatch! This is Nina Ultra Pro’s Solar Flare; I’m wearing one coat of Solar Flare over a base of China Glaze’s White on White and with a coat of Seche Vite top coat.

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Solar Flare is a highlighter yellow neon polish. It’s one of those translucent neons; even at three coats, it never achieved full opacity, so a white base is imperative with this polish. Because it’s so translucent, one must take care to avoid streaks when applying; because it never becomes opaque, streaks and imperfections are never covered. Product consistency is thin yet manageable. It dried quickly and with a matte finish. I used top coat for shine and protection.

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Blogger’s note: Let me preface this by saying that since this is an older bottle, I may have an older formula. Newer bottles may have a newer, improved formula. However, since this is what I have, this is what I’ll review. I’ll just go ahead and say it: this is not my favorite neon. It was just really tricky to work with, and I’m not really happy with the result I got, even when being really careful and meticulous. Even over the white base, I still see streaks, though I didn’t notice them until after I was working through the photos. A second coat over a white base might have done some good. Even though the potential is there for a super neon look — this was way brighter in person, believe me — there are just so many better neons out there, neons that do reach opacity and do not require a white base, this polish is rendered obsolete.

For informational purposes, I’ve included photos without the white base. Here’s three coats of Solar Flare alone and without top coat. I’m not really a fan of this look; it really needs the white to pop and to cover the visible nail line. However, I won’t deny the potential for a neon jelly sandwich.

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Solar Flare and other Nina Ultra Pro polishes are sold at Sally Beauty Supply.

I bought these polishes myself.

Swatch Sunday: Nails Inc.’s Cornwall

Welcome to Swatch Sunday! Today’s polish is Cornwall from Nails Inc. I’m wearing one coat over China Glaze’s Pelican Gray, Essie’s Good Morning Hope, and Julep’s Bess. All nails are topped with one coat of Seche Vite top coat.

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Cornwall is a clear-based glitter topper with matte blue and white short bar glitters. Application was easy enough; the glitters stick to the brush well, and the base consistency is such that the polish doesn’t drip off the brush or pool on the nail. However, this means it also doesn’t spread evenly, which makes the glitter drag and clump on itself. This can result in a heavy application in some cases. The bar glitters are short, so they don’t lean off the edge of the nail like the longer ones do. The polish dries quickly and with a textured finish. I used top coat for smoothness and shine.

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I have to admit, I have a hard time calling this a glitter polish. I think that’s what made the feathered topper trend so successful, albeit short-lived. Even though there was nothing new about either glitter toppers or bar glitters, this was still a pretty unique look that anyone could achieve. I still think it’s a cool look. It’s a shame these polishes didn’t really make it past 2013.

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The sun’s been good to me; I’ve been able to get direct sun pictures for the past few posts. These photos were taken outdoors in the late afternoon. I’m grateful; it’s helping me improve my macro game.

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The shimmer you see here is from Pelican Gray, not Cornwall.

Cornwall and the other Feathers polishes seem to be discontinued by Nails Inc. Other Nails Inc. polishes are available at Sephora, which is where I got this one.

I bought this polish myself.