Manicure Monday: Radiant Gradient (What’s Green is Gold is Green Again)

Happy Monday, reader! I have to preface this post by stating that I’m aware this isn’t my best work. I’m new to using nail vinyls and I’m still learning how to use them. I thought I’d given my polish enough to time to dry, but the vinyl still pulled a lot of it up, and I tried to paint it back on, and that’s why it’s a little messy. If any of you are seasoned nail vinylists, give me your tips! Anyway, for this look, I used a base of China Glaze’s Rare and Radiant, and the gradient is Blue-Eyed Girl Lacquer‘s Too Many Misters and We’re Vincible. The vinyl is the Zig Zag Zip design from Ribbits Stickits.

I started with the base of Rare and Radiant. I love this polish because it has such a dramatic shift, but I always have a hard time using them as a base for nail art because of it. It’s always easier to throw some glitter on top, which was what I almost did, but I decided to challenge myself. I almost feel a little bad for covering it up.

Working my way through my Indie Shop haul has been fantastic. I’m trying so many new things! I’m trying not to use my vinyls up right away, but I’m really excited about having them. I’m just going to need to get better at using them. I was sure an hour between applying the base and sticking the vinyl on would be enough; that’s how long I wait when I use Scotch tape and I rarely have my polish come up with that. I’ll do better next time for sure. My gradient turned out well, at least. BEGL cremes are becoming my new favorites!

China Glaze is sold in stores; this bottle is from Sally Beauty Supply. BEGL polishes are sold in their online shop, which is currently on hiatus. Ribbits Stickits vinyls are available on their website.

I bought these products myself.

Manicure Monday: Monochrome Duochome

Happy Monday, reader! My first proper manicure of the year was done with Ciaté’s Starlet and Hard Candy’s Black Tie Optional. Opposites attract, right?

Starlet is a beautiful sheer black duochrome that shifts from purple to green. The shift is pretty intense, which I love. It is a little on the thin side, and it took three coats to achieve any kind of opacity. Next time I’ll layer it over a black creme base. I almost felt a little bad about covering up the shift, but it’s strong enough that the glitter doesn’t completely obscure it. I wasn’t sure about this combo at first, but the more I look at it, the more I like it.

I know that the black and white glitter toppers are out now, but I never really spent any time with them when they were popular, so I’m still a fan of the look. I think I’ve only ever used two before this, actually. I chose Black Tie Optional for this look because these toppers look good over everything, including, apparently, duochromes. The glitter adds texture and variety to each nail while the base adds fun shifting color. I can’t believe this combo actually worked.

In the sunlight, you can see how thin Starlet is on my tips. That’s frustrating to see, I thought I’d covered all the streaks! The shift is very strong out here, look how bright the green is! I am having so much fun wearing this look.

Starlet may be discontinued by Ciaté; other Ciaté polishes are available at Sephora. Hard Candy polishes are sold at Walmart.

I bought these polishes myself.

Manicure Monday: Freehand Grey

Welcome back to Manicure Monday! As you noticed, I took the holiday weekend off from swatching, so we have some nail art to check out this week. My base color is Wet ‘n Wild’s Gray’s Anatomy, and my freehand painting was done with a striping brush and OPI’s We’ll Always Have Paris. All nails are topped with one coat of Seche Vite top coat.



I’ll just get this out of the way: I don’t know how I feel about the freehand. I’m a little embarrassed that I still suck at hand-painting, but in a way, it’s sort of charming. I wanted something simple but uniform, but it’s a bit irregular. It doesn’t look as irregular in real life as it does in photos, so I feel a little weird about that. I never do this stuff, so it’s really no wonder it’s not perfect. Maybe it’s okay that it’s not perfect. It looks arty-crafty and like it was done by a real person.




We’ll Always Have Paris lends a lot to the DIY mani look. These burgundy/wine polishes are always a little translucent, and I guess that’s why there’s a lot of unevenness. I just wanted a dark color, something that was as severe as black, that would complement the color shift in the base polish. I think this one worked pretty well.




The shift in Gray’s Anatomy is the focus of this polish, as it should be. You can totally see past the wonky freehand painting and really enjoy the colors. The writing on the label wore off a long time ago, but I almost forgot this is a Wet ‘n Wild Polish. I paid two dollars for it at the most. Not bad for two dollars!

I bought these polishes myself.

Swatch Sunday: MAC’s Neptune

Happy Sunday! I’m excited to show you today’s polish; it’s a souvenir from one of the coolest vacations I’ve ever taken. This is MAC’s Neptune, and it was purchased from the Macy’s flagship store in New York City. I’m wearing three coats with one coat of Seche Vite top coat.




Neptune is a metallic burnished gold polish. Application was easy; coverage was buildable, and it took me all of three coats to achieve this level of opacity. The consistency was thin but smooth and cooperative. It dries quickly and to a semi-glossy finish. There’s a slight duochrome effect to this polish; it leans slightly green when in certain lighting conditions. I used top coat for shine and to accentuate the shimmery finish.




I mentioned before that this polish is a souvenir, and it is. Last year, I had the opportunity to tag along on a road trip from Jacksonville, FL to Niagara Falls. We passed through New York City, and being sentimental and a shopaholic, I stopped in every flagship store and bought at least one thing, just so I could say “Yeah, I got this from the Herald Square Macy’s”. I almost wonder if that wasn’t the whole reason I wanted to go to New York.



I really like this polish. Apart from its being a vacation buy, it was one of my first MAC polishes, and probably also one of my first makeup-brand polishes. I tend not to buy those since they’re so easily dupeable, but this had been a special occasion, and sometimes it feels good to overpay for something. It feels like a luxury.

Neptune was part of MAC’s long-gone Aquatic Allure collection and is discontinued. Other MAC polishes are sold at counters and stores nationwide.

I bought this polish myself.

Swatch Sunday: Indigo Bananas’s Suneater

Welcome to Swatch Sunday! I get to swatch a holo today. I haven’t worn one since March; yes, I went back to check. Now that we’re in the summer months, the sunshine is abundant except on the days I wear holo polish. This is Indigo Bananas‘s Suneater, worn at three coats, with one coat of Rica‘s Glossy Glam top coat. All photos were taken outdoors in partly cloudy conditions.





Suneater is a metallic gold/cool green duochrome linear holographic polish. There’s so much going on! Application was easy; the product consistency was on the thin side, which I sometimes find harder to work with. I made a mess with it a little, but it wasn’t too bad. The coverage is still a bit sheer, even after three coats; I still see a little bit of visible nail line. The holographic effect is strong outdoors, and less so indoors, though it’s visible in most lighting conditions. In dim lighting, or in the shade, the green duochrome effect is more obvious. The polish dries quickly and with a smooth texture; I added top coat to add shine and really bring out the holographic effect.





Indigo Bananas is still a pretty new brand to me, even though I’ve had a few of their polishes for a while. I bought four at once about a year ago and this is the first time I’ve used one for a full mani. If only I’d known what I was missing! Suneater is a gorgeous polish; even just as a metallic gold, it’s pretty and interesting. The green shift and the linear holographic effect are just cake.



Suneater and other polishes are available from the Indigo Bananas website.

I bought this polish myself.

Swatch Sunday: Color Club’s Wing Fling

For this week’s Swatch Sunday, I’m wearing a brand I’m a little new to: Color Club! I scored a few collection sets in outlet stores, but I’ve worn all of two since then. I see this brand everywhere, so I’m excited to join the club. Pardon the pun. The beauty I’m wearing today is Wing Fling; I’m wearing three coats with one coat of Ciate’s Speed Coat Pro.



None of the bottles in the set had name labels, so I had to improvise. Behold my terrible handwriting!

None of the bottles in the set had name labels, so I had to improvise. Behold my terrible handwriting!

Wing Fling is a sheer and shimmery magenta. Some of the shimmers even shift from pink to orange, giving it just a hint of duochrome fun. Coverage is buildable; I got okay coverage by coat two and good coverage by three. Four might be necessary if you want full opacity. This polish did dry quickly, though, and though it dries with a nice gloss, a top coat is definitely required to bring out as much of the shimmers as is possible. It even looks a bit metallic/foil-like after top coat application. The lacquer consistency was thin, but left no streaks or holes in the coverage. Application was very easy.


I adore this color. It’s very deep and bright, but it’s not wildy bright or tawdry. I feel like this could be a polish for everyone; there’s just the right amount of sparkle, shine, and color to appeal to everyone and no more.




Wing Fling is part of the Take Wing collection from 2012, and is still available on Color Club’s website.

Swatch Sunday: Ciaté’s Love Letter

For today’s Swatch Sunday, we’re looking at more delicious shifty goodness. This is Ciaté’s Love Letter. I’m wearing three coats with one coat of Speed Coat Pro top coat, also from Ciaté.




Love Letter is a clear polish — I think it’s a clear base, it’s either clear or very, very lightly tinted — with a boatload of gold to pink-shifting shimmer and pink glitters. I think maybe this was meant to be a glitter topper, but I tried it at three coats to see what I would get. At three coats, I have full and even coverage. Application was easy. Drying time was very quick, and the finish is smooth and unexpectedly, delightfully metallic.





Yeah, I was not expecting this at all. I didn’t think the coverage would be so full, and I didn’t think the shift would be so pronounced. I am completely gobsmacked. Seriously. I don’t think I have anything else to say, except that I don’t think I ever want to wear this as just a topper. That would be cheating it.



You can find Ciaté’s Love Letter online at Ciaté I happened to get my bottle from Sephora, but I longer see this particular polish on their site. They do still carry Ciaté, though.

Swatch Sunday: China Glaze’s Rare and Radiant

China Glaze’s Rare and Radiant is our Swatch Sunday polish. Great way to start the week, right? I’m wearing three coats of Rare and Radiant with one coat of Ciate’s Speed Coat Pro top coat.




Rare and Radiant is a duochrome that shifts from gold to emerald green. It’s very shimmery and almost somewhat metallic. The shift occurs very easily and in just about all lighting conditions. Application was pretty nice, but the consistency is on the thinner side, so three coats was necessary to achieve full opacity. Visible brush strokes do occur in fewer coats. Drying time was pretty quick. The dried finish was semi-glossy. It’s very nice to apply and wear.




I love wearing shifters and multichromes even more now that I know how to actually capture the effect. It used to be like “Oh, there’s a shift, you can’t see it, but it’s there, I wouldn’t lie to you”. I am so glad to be past that bit of amateur nail photography. The shift in Rare and Radiant is so beautiful. They never quite look the same any time I look at them. They go from bronze to green patina anywhere you are. It is magnificent.



I know there’s a series of these duochromes from China Glaze, and I’m sorry to say I don’t have any of the others. I really want the rest, and I’ll definitely keep my eyes peeled for them.

Summer of Untrieds Day 20: Multichrome/Shifter

Day 20 of the Summer of Untrieds calls for multichromes and shifters, and I decided to use Yes, Master from Digital Nails. It’s a magical dark teal duochrome that goes all the way from green to pink. I’m wearing three coats with one coat of Seche Vite.





Yes, Master is easy to apply, though the consistency is a little thick, probably due to all the shimmer and fine little sparkles in it. It does dry quickly though, which is definitely a plus. Cleanup is easy, too; usually polishes with teeny little sprinkle glitters are a pain to clean up with a brush. Overall, this is a really well made polish as well as beautiful.





Man, this is gorgeous! That shine, that shimmer, all those colors… It’s magnificent. That’s all I’ve got. Just… man.


Manicure Monday: Minimalism with Color

I really love this week’s Manicure Monday. I paired these two together on a whim, not really knowing if they went together or not. This is one dabbed coat of Literary Lacquers‘s My Secret Garden over three coats of Revlon’s Barely Blush, topped with one coat of Seche Vite.



As you can see, Barely Blush is a polish I’ve had for a long, long time. I’ve raved about Revlon’s Sweet Nothings collection before, and how easy they are to wear; even though they can be layered over anything and still look amazing, I’ve only ever worn them alone. I love the pearly, subtle shimmer over bare nails so much. Barely Blush is a sheer nude with a pink-to-purple shift and tiny iridescent glitters. I love it. I can’t get over it.




My Secret Garden from Literary Lacquers is a clear glitter topper with pink, lavender, blue, yellow and green matte hexes with iridescent sparkles. I was afraid the glitter would overpower the softness of the base color, and that the base color wouldn’t be a strong enough foundation for it. I’m so glad I was wrong. The bright glitters definitely stand out, but I don’t think it takes too much away from the rest of the manicure. It also looks very nice over Barely Blush: the twinkly glitters in My Secret Garden and the pink pearl shimmer in Barely Blush lift each other up quite well. It’s like a marriage made in polish heaven.

Outdoors, sunlight

Outdoors, sunlight



I’m also going to say this counts for the Summer of Untrieds Challenge, since this is the first time I’ve used My Secret Garden, and it’s the first time I’ve featured Literary Lacquers on the blog. Everybody wins.