Swatch week – manicure edition

My posts have been coming really slowly lately, and I think part of that is because I’m putting pressure on myself to write nice, comprehensive reviews of everything I’m posting about. But I know that when I go hunting for a product on beauty blogs, the thing I’m mostly interested in is seeing the product in use, on/against someone’s skin! Reviews, while useful, are sort of secondary.

So to try to shake myself out of this rut, I’m going to devote the next few posts to swatches and quick comments about many things, rather than trying to go in-depth on a few.

Today, I’m doing a sampling of manicures I’ve worn in the past few weeks. Some were awesome; some were…not. All of them will display my usual utter lack of talent when it comes to cleaning up around my cuticles, so I apologize in advance for that horror.

Avon Purplicious and Rimmel Punk Rock
Avon Gel Finish in “Purplicious” (lighter color) and Rimmel Salon Pro with Lycra in “Punk Rock” (darker color)

I loved the color contrast in this manicure (and both formulas are a long-lasting dream), but it was my first time going back to plain creme finishes after a few weeks of fancy glitters, and I got bored of this quickly.

Sally Hansen Triple Shine - Make Waves
Sally Hansen Triple Shine in “Make Waves” (over L’Oreal “I Will!”)

This was a complete failure. I really wanted to make “Make Waves” work, because that iridescent sort of seafoam greenblue is awesome, but this formula was so. damn. sheer. Even four coats on my swatch stick couldn’t opaque it up, so when it came time to put it on my hands, I decided to try layering it over a white polish. Unfortunately, the only white polish I own is also prone to streakiness. So I piled on two coats of L’Oreal’s “I Will!” trying to get that evened out, and then followed it up with three coats of “Make Waves” for a still-not-completely-opaque finish, and by then I had so many damn layers of paint on my fingernails that they still weren’t dry a few hours later and I dinged them all to hell every time I moved.

So yeah, this lasted about six hours before I gave up and took it off.

Revlon Gel Envy - All In
Revlon Gel Envy in “All In”

This was my first try at Revlon’s new Gel Envy line. I bought this and the line’s topcoat and tried them together.¬†Love¬†this color, a vampy sort of dark blue. The wear time was really good – I think I got a week out of this – and removal, despite the glitter bits, was simple. The only complaint I had here was that the Gel Envy topcoat, which I used instead of my usual Seche Vite, dulled down faster than I would have liked. So the manicure’s shine only lasted me a few days, followed by a few days of “polish still unchipped, but it’s not really popping”. The next time I tried a polish from this line (“Showtime”, a sparkly purple I forgot to take pictures of, sorry!), I topped the Gel Envy topcoat with Seche Vite.

Revlon Moon Candy - Orbit
Revlon Moon Candy in “Orbit”

This is the polish I just took off today. I’d say that while this was brilliant in concept, the execution went a bit wonky. The creme polish in this duo is a really pretty dark blue-purple, but it’s a bit on the thin side, and I got it all over pretty much everything when applying it. On the bright side, it’s pretty close to a one-coat wonder (I did two here just to be sure, but I probably didn’t need to).

The glitter in this is shards, which are prone to sticking up off the nail, rather than thinner, more flexible flakes. I had a small amount of trouble with them sticking up, but really it was less trouble than I expected to have, based on reviews I’d read of this polish. The real problem I had with this glitter is that something about it didn’t play nice with my Seche Vite topcoat. It was almost like some chemical in the Seche Vite (which, for the record, is pretty much a chemical concoction of doom and is neither 3- nor 5-free ) started partially dissolving the glitter shards. It didn’t happen on every nail, or on every piece of glitter on nails it affected, but on some chunks of nail, this is what I ended up with:

Revlon Moon Candy - Orbit - Seche Vite messy
“Orbit”s glitter didn’t get along so well with Seche Vite

See that patch on the upper right? That’s where Vite and Orbit had a fight and I was left with some chewed-up looking glitter. The Seche Vite also didn’t completely even out the finish on this, so my nails looked chunky rather than smooth.

Also, this stained my nail beds hot pink, even though I used base coat under it. Why hot pink, for a dark purple polish? Dear reader, I have no more idea than you do; just keep it in mind if you decide to pick this up.

Sally Hansen Color Foil "nail makeup" in "Purple Alloy"
Sally Hansen Color Foil “Nail Makeup” in “Purple Alloy”

This is what I put on today after taking off Orbit, so I have no real idea how it’s going to last, though I suspect it will chip quickly (I’ll keep you guys informed about that). The biggest things I noticed about this polish are

1) That it’s labeled “nail makeup” rather than “nail polish”. For no particular reason, I suspect this to be code for “it’ll last about as long as you leave on face makeup, rather than as long as nail polish does”. The label also explicitly notes that you should “touch up as needed”. Yeah, I don’t think I’m going to get a week out of this baby.

2) You know how all nail polish tells you to “shake well” and you’re like “yeah uh-huh, looks fine to me” and you maybe give it one halfhearted shake and call it good? Yeah, no, you can’t do that here. When they say to shake they mean it, because the purple pigment and the silver “foil” pigment separate, and if you don’t give it a good five-second shaking, you’re going to end up with some purple streaks and some silver ones.

Oh, also I got this one everywhere when trying to put it on, too. Yay me.

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Revlon Parfumerie Orange Blossom = fail

I’ve been having crazy amounts of success with Revlon products recently. I’m in love with their various types of balm lip crayons, I adore their new Gel Envy nail polish line, and their Parfumerie nail polish line made me wonder why I ever doubted the idea of scented nail polish.

Until today. Today, I decided to hop aboard the summer neon trend and paint my nails with one of my newer Parfumerie acquisitions: Orange Blossom. This is a gorgeous, full-bodied orange color that smells, at least to me, like an orange creamsicle. A creamsicle, guys! What could possibly go wrong?

Revlon orange blossom in bottle
Mmmm, creamsicles

Unfortunately, and very uncharacteristically for this line of polishes, it turns out a lot can go wrong. And by “a lot” I mean “all the streaks. All of them.”

Revlon orange blossom polish
That accent nail, by the way, is also Revlon, this time their new Leather finish in “Leather Skinnies”. Love!

I could not get this polish to even out. It just has no self-level, at all. I tried with base coat, I tried without base coat. I tried thin coats, I tried thick coats. I tried slapping the polish on quickly to avoid dragging, I tried applying it painstakingly slowly. I tried slathering Seche Vite on top to even things up, but all that did was make photography more difficult because of the shine. Nothing worked; no matter what I did, my polish looked like it had been put on by a two-year-old.

Revlon orange blossom polish 2
This is the best photo I was able to get of this hot mess

These photos don’t quite do the mess justice; in real life, the streaks were much, much more evident, but the glare in the pics masks it a bit. It looked so bad, even from a distance, that I didn’t even bother to clean it up or try it on my other hand. I just called it a loss and acetone-d the whole thing into oblivion.

(Comic relief: my husband just came into my work room and asked if I’d painted my nails. I told him that I had, but it looked so bad that I had taken it right off, and offered to show him a picture. I showed him the first swatch from this post, and his response was “Well of course it looked bad, you painted your fingers two completely different colors!” Ah, men.)

My results with Orange Blossom were really, really disappointing, not only because I’ve found that Revlon products are usually very high-quality, but because this particular line of polishes has otherwise proven to be so great for me. The other Parfumerie polishes I’ve tried have applied with no problems at all, and lasted for nearly a week before the first chip. Other than the frosty-finished ones (which tend toward sheerness), many of my Parfumerie polishes have been one-coat wonders, or close to it. The only other Parfumerie polish I’ve had trouble with has been Apricot Nectar, a paler orange, which was also very streaky. I find myself wondering if something in Revlon’s formula for oranges has gone very wrong.

Don’t let this stop you from trying out Revlon Parfumerie polishes, guys. In general, they’re awesome. Just…maybe avoid the oranges if you’re not into streaks.