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.




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.



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.




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

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Neon Sunset Gradient

Happy Monday, reader! I adore today’s manicure because it’s so bright and busy. The gradient you see was done with Color Club’s Wham! Pow! and Sally Hansen’s Magenta Moves; the glitter topper is China Glaze’s Whirled Away. All nails are topped with Seche Vite top coat. I had a ton of fun doing this look today, so I hope you love it!



Wham! Pow! is one of the best neons I’ve used in recent memory. It was opaque in two coats, dried with a satin finish, and — the best part — did not require a white base for the full effect. It’s almost painful to look at, it’s so bright. This is a seriously fantastic neon and I definitely recommend it to everyone. Magenta Moves, though a bright color, isn’t as neon as Wham! Pow!, so it kind of keeps the gradient from being too loud and creates the smoky-but-still-bright sunset effect.



I fell in love with Whirled Away the first time I saw it. This was back when those black and white glitter toppers were at the height of their popluarity; this was the first one I got, probably also the first one I ever used. My favorite thing — simultaneously the best and worst thing about this polish — is that it sets itself apart from the others by using much larger glitters. I love big glitters, cannot lie, etc., but I feel like it makes the polish go faster. I’ve only used it twice, but the bottle is already half empty. It’s so sad. It’s also kind of a pain to apply, because the slice/bar glitters are so long they sometimes hang off the nail like eyelashes, and sometimes it was hard to get the glitters to spread evenly over the nail, but it still looks cool even when it’s a little lopsided.



Unrelated: I miss swatching! I noticed today that it’s been two months since my Canon broke; I thought it would only be in the shop a few days and now I have no idea when I’m getting it back. I’m so sad, I really miss wearing all those new polishes! I’m kind of afraid to use things now because I can’t document it as easily. Here’s hoping it’ll come back someday soon.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Fun With Neons

Welcome to another Manicure Monday! Today’s manicure accurately sums up my weekend; it was full of bright colors and summer fun! To celebrate the first day of summer, or the fact that a mani I planned ages ago is actually relevant, I’m wearing Julep’s Abbie over white polish with Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s Watch the Walls, as well as Seche Vite top coat.



Abbie is the perfect summer yellow; it’s bright and gorgeous. It’s so bright my hands got a bit of a tan. It’s a chameleon, though; in some lighting it’s flourescent highlighter yellow, but in others it’s closer to lemon. Either way, it’s cheerful and a ton of fun to wear. My only complaint is that it never seemed to reach full opacity, even at three coats, so I put on one coat over two coats of white polish. This way, I got boost in opacity and in color.



When I picked Abbie out of the Helmer, I knew Watch the Walls would compliment her perfectly. Watch the Walls is the perfect mix of neon pink glitters, along with some other fun colors and shapes and the perfect amount of blue-to-purple shifting shimmers. It’s a glitter topper with color, depth, and fun. It absolutely breaks my heart that it’s been discontinued and is now out of stock.


I don’t know if I’ve told you guys, but I probably have, because I’ve only been writing on this blog for two years, but summer is my favorite part of the year. I seem to handle it better than most people, too; I love to sit out on the porch — better yet, the pool — with a drink and a book and just spend the entire day out there. I’ll take sweat and sunburn over shivering and itchy sweaters any day.

Neither Abbie nor watch the Walls are currently in stock on their makers’ websites. Julep is available from Sephora and; Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer is sold from their BigCartel shop.

I bought these polishes myself.

Swatch Sunday: Kleancolor’s Neon Orange

For today’s edition of Swatch Sunday, I’m wearing a new-to-me brand, Kleancolor. I grabbed a couple bottles of Kleancolor polishes during my last trip to Atlanta, and I’m finally trying one of them out. This is Neon Orange; I’m wearing three coats with one coat of Seche Vite.




was on the thicker side, but this didn’t hinder its quality much. It dried quickly and with a satin finish. My one complaint is that it’s still not fully opaque at three coats; it’s not obvious in photos, but my nail lines were still rather visible.




Under a black light!

This isn’t a bad little polish. It’s pretty well-pigmented and the neon is as bright in person as it is in photos. It makes my hands tan, and it really lights up under a black light! Unfortunately, neon cremes are pretty easy to come by these days, especially within the indie polish community; this Neon Orange isn’t your only option, but it’s a good option if you can find it.



I bought this polish myself.

Manicure Monday: Summer in Springtime

Good evening, reader! After all the festivities of the day, I’m just getting around to posting today’s Manicure Monday offering. I’m wearing three coats of Color Club’s Warhol and one coat of Nails Inc.’s Chelsea Embankment Gardens with one coat of Rica‘s Glossy Glam top coat.



It’s been a long time since I’ve worn a good neon. Warhol is an incredible polish. I’m a little weirded out by how different it looks in the bottle and on my nail; it’s a little more reddish after putting it on. I mean, not that I care, I think it’s gorgeous. It’s just not what I expected. I can’t stop looking at it, though. It’s so bright and big. I think I want to be this polish.



Chelsea Embankment Gardens is a mouthful. It’s also a unique little polish. Part of Nails Inc.’s Floral glitter topper collection, it pairs pretty pastels with large and dense glitter. This particular shade — sadly, the only one from the collection I own — is packed with fine baby pink hexes and mini bar glitters, as well as the five-petal daisies in pink, blue, and yellow. The collection was the first time I’d ever seen this glitter shape, so I bought one just to try them out. I really wish I’d bought more. My favorite Nails Inc. polishes are the glitter toppers, because they make the best color combos.



It was maybe a little unorthodox to mix neon and pastel, but I like the way it turned out. They both stand out away from the other. Each polish gets its due attention. It’s also seasonally appropriate; the flowers say springtime, but the neon says unofficial first day of summer. It’s two extremes put together. It’s also the best of both worlds.

Color Club is sold at; I got mine at an outlet store. Nails Inc. is sold at Sephora and Ulta.

I bought these polishes myself.

Swatch Saturday: American Apparel’s Neon Violet

It’s Swatch Saturday, and I’m wearing the last of my American Apparel Neons. Of course, this one is the weirdest I’ve worn yet. Neon Violet is a gorgeous color, but changes dramatically in every lighting condition. In the studio and outdoors, it’s a cool magenta, but in others it’s a very dark purple. I’m wearing three coats of it with one coat of Seche Vite.




Since this is such a dark color, the application was easy with this one. The first coat went on opaque, which didn’t happen with the rest of the neons. It’s so dark and opaque that my white under-coat was completely unnecessary. As with the other neons, Neon Violet dries matte.





Outdoors, it’s even brighter than in the studio. It’s weird, isn’t it? The photos after the outdoor shots were taken in my kitchen, and the color shown here is much more representative of what it really looks like. This color is the one I’m more likely to see, because I’m rarely in harsh light like in the studio. This color change is odd, and while I usually notice a change, it’s never this drastic.

Outdoors, overcast

Outdoors, overcast



Indoors, incandescent light


Next week is the last of my American Apparel haul, so stay tuned if you feel like it.

Swatch Saturday: American Apparel’s Neon Green

Swatch Saturday is a little late today due to World Cup and oversleeping. I’m almost done swatching all of the American Apparel polishes I bought while I was on vacation, and this is my penultimate neon polish. This is Neon Green at three coats; two nails have two coats of white polish under them. All of them are topped with one coat of Seche Vite. Note: I put this on in a hurry, and so it’s not my best work. There are some dings in the polish; those are entirely my fault.




Neon Green is awesome. Seriously. It is crazy bright, probably visible from space. Compared to the other neon polishes, this one was a little thinner than the others, but it’s not too bad at the third coat. It looks really nice at three coats, and the color really pops. Neons are the best!



I put white polish on my ring and pinky nails, as I have with every other neon review so far. I’m not sure how obvious the difference is with this one. The ones with white undies aren’t all that much brighter than the ones without. It’s almost not even worth doing.



I took a couple photos outside, even though it’s gray and stormy outside. The color looks amazing outside, but in the photos it’s not much of a change.



I’ve been looking forward to next week’s swatch for a long time now. I can’t wait to show it to you guys.

Swatch Saturday: American Apparel’s Neon Yellow

I’m taking a brief break from the Summer of Untrieds Challenge to bring you the regularly scheduled Swatch Saturday. I’m still working through my American Apparel neons haul, and I’m still having a ton of fun with them; I like each one better than the last. This week, I’m wearing three coats of Neon Yellow. My pinky and ring nails have white polish beneath the neon. All nails are topped with one coat of Seche Vite. Photos were taken indoors and outdoors.




So this polish is a little different from the others I’ve worn so far. This one has the most discernable difference between the nails with the white undies and the ones that don’t. This difference is especially visible in my outdoor shots; on the index and middle nails, it’s duller, more greenish, and more transparent than the other two. It’s like lemon and lime. While the white undies makes a difference, though, I’m not sure which I like better. The white foundation gives the color some solidity, but I like the color of the foundation-less nails.





This is the best neon yellow I’ve used so far. All the ones I’ve tried before have been really thin and streaky and basically require three coats over white polish. This one has a great formula and covers well, even though I think it’s a little thinner than the other neons from this line. Despite that, you still get a great look. If you buy any neon yellow polish this summer, make it this one. Seriously, I can’t stop staring at these. They’re so loud!



This photo is the one that, I think, shows the best difference between the white undies and no undies.

This photo is the one that, I think, shows the best difference between the white undies and no undies.

I really love these neons a lot. I’m a little sad I only have two more to go.

Swatch Saturday: American Apparel’s Neon Coral

Swatch Saturday is right on time this week! We’re on the second bottle of my most recent American Apparel haul. This is called Neon Coral, though I think it’s really more of an orange. It’s the perfect polish to wear today, too; it’s 97 degrees outside and this polish looks the way the weather feels. I’m wearing three coats of Neon Coral with one coat of Seche Vite. As with last week, the pinky and ring finger nails have two coats of white polish under the color.




I am really into these neons! I am so glad I bought all the ones I didn’t have. The formula is a bit thin, but is still easy to work with and covers well. The color payoff is huge, even without the use of white polish. It’s so bright, my fingers look instantly tanner. It’s delicious. These neons absolutely cannot be beat.





I find it interesting that the use of white polish makes such a small, almost undetectable, difference. I’ll continue to do this with the rest of the neon polishes, just to see if it really is unnecessary. It seems like this was always the disadvantage to neon polishes; the colors are beautiful, but they don’t cover and require white polish. If all six of these manage to break that trend, I will be incredibly pleased.

Swatch Saturday: American Apparel’s Neon Red

This week, I’m taking a break from swatching my Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer collection to try a few I bought while I was on vacation. I had a habit of shopping at places just because I could; my city doesn’t have American Apparel stores, so when I saw one in Philadelphia, I had to stop in. The first time I’d ever been to one was on my birthday trip to Atlanta last year, and I bought six polishes, one of which was a gorgeous neon pink. I was so impressed with it that I swore to myself, if I ever see another American Apparel store, I’m going to grab all the rest of their neon polishes. Well, here we are. Today I’m trying Neon Red. I’m wearing three coats with one coat of Seche Vite.





Neon Red isn’t really that red; it’s more of a bold coral. It’s a beautiful color, certainly. As I did when I reviewed Neon Pink, I put down a coat of white polish, to see how much of a difference it makes. If you look closely at the middle and ring finger nails, you’ll see there’s a very slight difference in color. On my ring and pinky finger nails, I’ve got the undies coat. On the first coat, there was quite a visible difference, but as I added the next coats, the coverage built up and narrowed the gap. I wouldn’t say the white foundation wasn’t a total waste; in some lighting conditions, I can still my nail line on the no-undies nails. The white gives it a little more solidity, even if the polish doesn’t really need the pop.





I’m so happy I grabbed these. For neons, they’re pretty high-quality; you get great coverage and huge color payoff without a lot of white polish. I can’t wait to show you the rest!