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This is so unlike the polishes I’ve been wearing for the past month, but I really wanted to give this new liquid sand finish a try. OPI Stay the Night (Mariah Carey Collection) is a textured black glitter with pinkish red glitter:
Picture taken in sunlight. This applied well, but it does get cuticle draggy, so I’d advise against doing too many brushstrokes. I got full coverage in two coats, with minor touchups. This dries fast, but it doesn’t set as instantly as the suede polishes. It remains dentable for a little while, but once it’s fully hardened it wears tough. I originally planned to wear topcoat with this after seeing swatches, but once I had it on I changed my mind and decided to embrace the textured finish. When I put down the first coat, I saw the polish contained some bits that glistened just like real sand, so “liquid sand” is a perfect descriptor for this new OPI finish. Once this fully dries down, the black glitter looks matte, and the pinkish-red glitter sparkles through, like glowing embers. The overall look makes me think of volcanoes and black sand beaches. I paired this with OPI The One That Got Away on my toes.
I’ve gotten started on some spring collection polishes, but since the weather is still cold I thought I’d start with the darker shades. OPI Vant to Bite My Neck? (Euro Centrale, Spring 2013) is a dark, cool purple creme:
Picture taken in natural light. This applied well in two coats. I love seeing a deep, vampy purple that isn’t warm-toned or wine-colored! This one lies on the neutral to cool side, but not so cool that it looks blurple. Also, since those vampy wine purples tend to have a jelly-ish finish, I’m glad to see this one looks solid, smooth and creamy. It’s a very rich, regal color. It also makes me think of Ursula from The Little Mermaid! I paired this with Rescue Beauty Lounge Moulin Rouge on my toes.
To change up my color palette for a new month, I have a few more dark colors to try before winter’s end. Illamasqua Rampage is a deep hunter green jelly:
Picture taken in sunlight. (This was actually taken on the second day of wear, but at least I got the clarity from a sunlight photo.) This applied very well, needing three coats for full, even coverage. True to jelly form, you see the true base color on the first coat, then the shade deepens significantly on the second and third. Although the jelly formula always requires at least three coats, the über-glossy finish is absolutely lovely. The sunlight has really lit this up and reflects more of the base color, but in natural light it looks proper vampy. It’s like a slightly less blackened version of NARS Zulu; it’s still very dark but its green-ness is easier to see. I normally like to photograph my manis right after doing them, to capture it in its most pristine moment, but photographing this after wearing it for a day shows me how well it wears; I don’t even have any tipwear! I always thought I’d wear this with short nails, like I saw in a promo image, but I’m really enjoying growing my nails out at the moment (plus I’m really lazy about filing them anyway. ) I paired this with Rescue Beauty Lounge Film Noir on my toes.
After so many reds and pinks in a row, I felt the need to wear a something different, something on the other side of the color spectrum, Lippmann Don’t Tell Mama (Fall 2009) is a deep greenish teal shimmer:
Picture taken in sunlight. This doesn’t exactly have that effortless buttery formula, it still applied well, needing two coats for complete coverage. This was another long-standing untried, and once I had it on I remembered why I wanted it so much. It’s gorgeous! It’s a deep shade, so it looks deliciously vampy in low light. Of course it looks best in the sun, where all the shimmer gets lit up. It’s blue enough to still be considered a teal, but it’s on the green side of things. I like Deborah Lippmann’s description of this as a “mood ring blue/green,” but I look at this and think of beautiful, luxe jewels. I paired this with Nails Inc. Houses of Parliament on my toes.
Happy Christmas! On this occasion I’m wearing another stunning red. Essie Leading Lady (Winter 2012) is a garnet red shimmer packed with ruby red glitter:
Picture taken in sunlight. This applied well, and pretty smoothly for a glitter-loaded formula. I got full coverage in two coats, with some touchups. As soon as I got this polish, I knew I’d end up wearing it for Christmas. I love it; it’s absolutely gorgeous! I didn’t expect the base to be a shimmer, so that was a nice, unique twist. I like that overall, the color looks darker than your typical, Christmasy ruby red. It’s a little vampy! The brightness comes from the glitter, which looks great against the darker red base. It kind of gives the finish that burning ember quality. It has that lit-from-within look as well. This is a glitter, after all, so it has a beautiful sparkle. I can see why this is called “Leading Lady,” it definitely looks glamorous. I paired it with China Glaze Jolly Holly on my toes.
Starting with this pre-Christmas mani, I have a slew of reds to try through the end of December. Chanel Malice (Éclats du Soir, Holiday 2012) is a deep, ruby-burgundy shimmer:
Picture taken in weak sunlight. The formula was so smooth and glided on effortlessly in two coats. This is breathtakingly gorgeous! The contrast between the darker red base and the brighter red shimmer is perfect. It’s deep and vampy but not almost-black. It definitely has that lit-from within look, where the color looks brighter in the center and darker around the edges. It also has a subtle metallic glow (the brushstrokes are totally covered up by the shimmer and are imperceptible as long as you paint in straight lines.) I catch myself staring at my nails a lot, especially when the delicate shimmer is illuminated by the light. The name may not be cheerful and holiday-like, but I love it anyway, and I think it’s very fitting for this wickedly sultry color. I paired it with OPI Tease-y Does It on my toes.
Most of the Bond franchise came before my time. When I was old enough to watch the movies, Pierce Brosnan was Bond and I wasn’t really enthusiastic about him. So the first Bond film I watched with interest was the namesake of this polish (and I’m certainly enthusiastic about Daniel Craig ). OPI Casino Royale (Skyfall Collection, Holiday 2012) is a rich plum creme:
Picture taken in sunlight. This was well-pigmented and applied smoothly, giving full coverage in two coats. This color doesn’t really scream “holiday” to me, more fall-like and vampy, but it is refreshing to see among the usual reds, greens, silvers and golds. Although I’d still call this a vampy polish, it’s actually not that dark of a shade. I find it fitting that the polish called “Casino Royale” is a purple, because one of the things I always associate with that film is Eva Green as Bond girl Vesper Lynd, wearing a gorgeous purple gown with a plunging neckline accented with diamonds (I wish I had a photo!) The dress was a cooler royal purple while the polish is a warmer plum, but this still makes me think of it anyway. I paired this with China Glaze Tinsel on my toes.
So far I’ve been mostly switching back and forth between this year’s OPI And Essie holiday collections. After a couple of manis in a row of the latter, I’m returning to the former with OPI Live and Let Die (Skyfall Collection, Holiday 2012) is a blackened forest green with gold and green irregular microglitter:
Picture taken in sunlight. This applied well; the formula was nicely thick and pigmented and I got full coverage in two coats. This is a gorgeous, deep shade of green. Since it’s a forest green, it leans slightly more on the yellow side. It is very dark, so in low-lighting situations it practically looks black. I don’t say this often about greens, but the shade’s so deep that it looks vampy. Naturally, the finish looks best in the sun, where you can see all the microglitter light up. It’s the type of microglitter I love, too, the kind that looks like tiny, crushed-up flaky glitter. I’ve jumped the gun a bit; the official start of winter is still a week away, but this is totally perfect for the season. I paired this with China Glaze Emerald Sparkle on my toes.
This may seem more vampy than festive, but it is part of a holiday collection I’m on track to actually finish this season. OPI Skyfall (Skyfall Collection, Holiday 2012) is a deep brick-maroon creme:
Picture taken in weak sunlight. (The sun kind of washed out the color so it looks more brick red here when it actually look more maroon in person.) This applied well; the formula was thick and pigmented and I got solid coverage in two coats. When I first saw this collection, I wasn’t so wowed by this polish, especially in comparison to the other pretty, sparkly ones. I felt kind of obligated to get it because it is the namesake of the collection and the latest James Bond film. But it ended up looking great on the nail! The solid formulation makes the finish look so smooth and creamy. It’s also a nice vampy shade, and I love having it on my nails at the length they’re at right now. It may not seem that holiday-like because it’s not glittery, but there’s something warm and cozy about it. I paired this with China Glaze 5 Golden Rings on my toes.
I can see why this was included in a spring collection, but I just couldn’t see myself wearing this in warm weather, especially with all the bright colors I had to try at the time. So this is the last piece of the first 12-piece OPI collection I’ve bought in its entirety. OPI Vampsterdam (Holland, Spring 2012) is a deep, raisin-plum shimmer:
Picture taken in weak sunlight. This applied well; although it was slightly streaky on the first coat, doing some filling in of those bald spots allowed me to reach full coverage at two coats. When I heard this described as looking like old school OPI, I thought that was perfect because the finish looks just like my oldest OPI shimmers. It is a little brushstrokey; not frosty but not completely masked by the shimmer. I had to be careful to paint in straight lines. It’s a really fine, almost metallic-like shimmer, so it’s not the type that’s super sparkly, but more of the pearlescent varity. The color is perfectly vampy; it sure lives up to its name (which I also love!) I paired this with Essie Angora Cardi on my toes.