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It always feels nice to finally wear a long-standing untried. This bottle was sitting unopened in my Helmer for four years! Illamasqua Poke is a bright violet with fine, multicolored shimmer:


Picture taken in sunlight. The formula was buttery smooth, but not that pigmented, so I used three thin coats for full opacity. It needs to be a little sheer, anyway, to let all that shimmer shine through. This can look brushstroke-y, but the shimmer and painting straight strokes help cover it up. It’s great that the color still looks as bold as it does, even without a high pigmentation. This is an absolutely gorgeous shade of purple! It looks rich and velvety, yet bright at the same time. The shimmer is fine but adds a very intense sparkle. It’s multicolored, but the color that stands out to me the most is turquoise, which provides a lovely contrast against the violet base color. They are not even close to being dupes of each other, but since they are both purples with greenish shimmer, I’m thinking this is like a cousin to Rescue Beauty Lounge Scrangie. I paired this with OPI Jade is the New Black on my toes.


The odd bird in this collection seemed most appropriate to try now, after the carnage of Day 3 at Wimbledon, dubbed “Black Wednesday.” OPI Vesper (The Bond Girls) is a textured polish consisting of black glitter in a vampy purple base:


Picture taken in weak sunlight. The base was a bit sheer (which I guess is a good thing, to let the glitter come through for a more textured feel), so I needed three coats for full coverage. The color is so strange; on the first coat the purple looks cool-toned, but by the third coat it looks like a wine/raisin purple (but when I hold my fingers right up against the light, I can still see the cool purple tone.) I do like the color, though, it’s deliciously vampy. I also love feeling the texture in this, but I wish the black glitter was more obvious. I think it got obscured because I had to do three coats. It still has a bit of a glisten, though, because of the sand-like particles. Though I wish this was as glitzy as the others in this collection (while still being vampy), I still love it because it suits its namesake perfectly. Vesper Lynd is my favorite Bond girl (and my favorite Bond girl name, too); Eva Green looked so gorgeous and mysteriosuly sexy in Casino Royale. I also tend to associate purple with Vesper because one of her most memorable outfits was a beautiful jewel-toned purple dress. 🙂 I paired this with Illamasqua Scorn on my toes.


For the weekend that Star Trek: Into Darkness opened, I wanted to pick a polish that had a galactic look it. I ended up picking Chanel Taboo (Revelation de Chanel, Spring 2013), a rich, deep purple shimmer with red and blue shimmer:


Picture taken in weak sunlight. (Please click to see more detail. I wish I had more sunlight for a better picture, but this would definitely be one to see in person anyway). This was highly pigmented and applied so smoothly; it could be a one-coater but I did two out of habit and to get a really, really rich color. I can’t come up with enough superlatives for this polish. It’s absolutely gorgeous and stunningly dimensional. To start, the shade of purple is beautiful; it looks very regal. It has this rich jewel tone, yet it’s deep and looks vampy. The addition of the red and blue shimmer makes it look that much more interesting, and is what gives it that multidimensional, galactic feel. I love how Chanel does this specific type of shimmer. It’s sparkly in a delicate way, and its subtlety just makes it look more complex. I paired this with NARS Purple Rain on my toes.

I liked 2009’s Star Trek, but I was really looking forward to and LOVED Star Trek: Into Darkness, and that has to do with Benedict Cumberbatch. I could go on and on about how brilliant he is as an actor and man (seriously, he’s amazing!) If you aren’t already in love with him, go see Star Trek and you will be (then watch all his other work)! Go on, get yourself Cumberbatched. 😉


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:

Vant to Bite My Neck

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.


For the last weeks of winter, I’m trying to wear as many older fall and holiday collection polishes before I really dive in to this year’s new spring stuff. NARS New York Dolls (Andy Warhol Color Collection, Holiday 2012) is a smoky vibrant purple creme:

New York Dolls

Picture taken in natural light. This was highly pigmented and applied very smoothly in two coats. This photo shows off more of the shade’s vibrancy, but in natural light it does look more smoky. I’d expect a color that has dusty qualities to be soft, but I love how bold it actually looks. The high pigmentation definitely contributes to that; it looks so solid and creamy on the nail. It may be “just a creme,” but it’s simply gorgeous. I would expect a polish that’s part of a collection inspired by Andy Warhol to have a nice pop of color. It isn’t your traditional bright, but it still fits the bill! I paired this with Essie School of Hard Rocks on my toes.


I have a few spring polishes left untried from last year, so instead of waiting until the weather turns warm(and since I know there will be more new spring releases to try at that time), I’m going to wear them now, in the month of Valentine’s Day. 🙂 China Glaze Gothic Lolita (Electropop, Spring 2012) is a medium-light warm purple with subtle red and blue shimmer:

Gothic Lolita

Picture taken in sunlight. This applied well, giving full coverage in two coats. The shimmer is hard to pick out, even in this macro shot. The finish doesn’t look sparkly, but instead the shimmer gives it a sort of pearlescent glow. The color seems more Sweet Lolita than Gothic Lolita to me, but it is lovely. I’d call it a lighter purple, but it’s more of a light bright and definitely not lavender/lilac pale. It’s relatively bold, but still looks delicate and springlike. To bring a little more goth into the equation, I paired this with Chanel Black Velvet on my toes.


I don’t have many polishes from this brand, and this was the only bottle I  hadn’t tried yet, so I’m glad to have finally ticked it off my list, while I’m on this “getting things tried” kick. Borghese Stellare Notte (Fashionista, Spring 2010) is a shimmer that shifts between blackened teal and smoky purple:

Stellare Notte

Picture taken in artificial light. (Regrettably, there was no sun for this photo.) The formula was not very buttery smooth, but still applied pretty well. It has a slightly metallic finish so there are slight brushstrokes that you can’t really see anyway because they’re covered by shimmer. I used two coats plus touchups for full, even coverage. Even more regrettably, I couldn’t get this to photograph as it appears in real life at all, so I’d say this is just one to see in person. It looks like a deep, blackened teal straight-on, then as you angle your nails upward it turns into a charcoaly gunmetal, then finally a smoky purple. The duochrome effect is definitely strong; it constantly color-changes as you move your fingers. Sometimes you can see two colors at once; teal in the center and purple around the edges. It’s gorgeous and kind of makes me think of peacocks! I paired this with Sally Hansen Deep Purple (Xtreme Wear) on my toes.


Normally this is the time where I’d be doing Australian Open manis, but I’m forgoing that for now to get more of these untried collections tried. Color Club Alias (Alter Ego: Keep it Under Cover, Spring 2011) is a color-shifting dark purple with purple microglitter:


Picture taken in artificial light. The formula had the same consistency as Alter Ego, a little cuticle-draggy and on the sheer side but building to opacity in three coats plus touchups. It also takes a while to fully set and harden. The color seen straight-on is lovely, a deep purple with lots of brighter purple microglitter. In different lights it can look more cool or warm-toned. This has quite an interesting color shift. At a certain angle it looks brown with rose microglitter, but it mainly shifts to this murky ivy green. It’s unexpected but I’m glad to see the big difference in duochrome colors. I paired this with Color Club Rule Breaker on my toes.


I started off the year by wearing a whole collection I should have tried long before that, and I’m continuing in the same vein with my next few manis. I don’t have this whole collection but I’ll start off with its namesake, Color Club Alter Ego (Alter Ego: Keep it Under Cover, Spring 2011), a smoky purple with golden shimmer:

Alter Ego

Picture taken in natural light. The formula was on the sheer side, but otherwise applied well. To reach opacity I needed three coats with some touchups. Even with a quick-drying topcoat, this could still be dentable for a while. I don’t mind the sheerness so much because it lets all that shimmer come through. It gives the finish a sort of metallic look without having the brushstrokes of an actual metallic finish. It isn’t just champagne gold shimmer in there either; I see blue and purple too. The smoky purple shade would lean more cool, but the golden shimmer warms it up a bit. I almost forgot this is part of a spring collection, but it seems like more of a cold weather color anyway. I paired this with Revlon No Shrinking Violet 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:

Casino Royale

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.




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