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For my first layered mani in months, I’m wearing another long standing untried. Lippmann Happy Birthday (my bottle is the “old” version, from Holiday 2009) is a multicolored hex and small square glitter in a clear base. I layered it over Chanel Black Velvet:

Happy Birthday (over black)

Picture taken in sunlight. I used two coats of Black Velvet, and “two” of Happy Birthday, The glitter is actually not that dense so painting in normal brushstrokes will deposit just a very sparse amount on the nail. Instead, I applied drops of glitter and spread it around to make sure I had even distribution, repeating the process twice to get plenty on there. I feel like this is the OG “party glitter;” I think it’s the first one I ever bought. “Party in a bottle” is an accurate descriptor; I see so many colors of glitter, in both the hexagonal and square shapes: silver, yellow, green, orange, blue, fuchsia. I like putting this type of glitter over black to make those colors really pop. This isn’t my favorite of the few party glitters I’ve tried so far; I prefer Nails Inc. Soho Street because it’s more dense at two coats, but I still like this classic. I paired it with Illamasqua Aorta on my toes.



This is another black polish I didn’t want to wait until the fall to try. I wanted to wear this one, especially, sooner rather than later, since I didn’t want it to sit untried in my Helmer for a couple of years like some of its counterparts, Bad Romance and Ruby Red Slippers. Lippmann Cleopatra in New York (Holiday 2012) is a black jelly base packed with different-sized gold hex glitter:

Cleopatra in New York

Picture taken in weak sunlight. The base was really loaded with glitter, so I found the formula really thick. Because the base was sheer and jelly-like, I ended up needing three coats for opacity. With three coats I got so much glitter on my nails but surprisingly the surface feels smooth with just one coat of topcoat. I don’t know why there are so many more black with silver glitter polishes out there, because black and gold is a great combination too! This is a neutral shade of gold; I like that it’s not too warm that it looks yellow, or too cool that it looks champagne rather than gold. I particularly love looking at this one from a distance; my nails look like they’re gilded with gold, and that gold really stands out against a black background. The luxurious look and the name make me think of the 1920s, so somehow I feel right wearing this during the weekend The Great Gatsby opens. I paired this with Chanel Jade on my toes.


This doesn’t fit in with the bright, springy theme but I have just a couple of black polishes I really wanted to try sooner rather than later in the fall. Illamasqua Creator (Generation Q, Fall 2012) is a rich black base loaded with short silver bar glitter and some holographic hexagonal glitter:


Picture taken in sunlight. This applied well; I used two coats with touchups in between for full coverage. When I first applied this I thought the silver glitter was of the tiny, broken irregular flake variety, but I was surprised to see that it’s actually very short bar glitter! I normally loathe bar glitter but here it’s so small that it doesn’t immediately register as being that kind. There are some hexagonal holographic pieces in there but they’re so sparse that I wouldn’t count on getting one on your nails (I managed to get one on my thumb, though.) This has definitely jumped near the top of my favorite black with silver glitter polishes. Despite being loaded with silver glitter, the black base never appears charcoal-looking; it stays this very dark, obsidian-like shade. It’s the best of both worlds, dark and sparkly. I paired this with Chanel Nouvelle Vague on my toes.


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:

Stay the Night

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.


With this mani, I’m finally finished trying all the Hunger Games polishes I have. It’s a small accomplishment but getting through a collection feels nice. 🙂 China Glaze Smoke and Ashes (The Hunger Games Capitol Colors) is a black base loaded with blue-green microglitter:

Smoke and Ashes

Picture taken in sunlight. I wouldn’t say the formula is buttery smooth, but I chalk that up to all the microglitter in the base. It still applied quite well in two coats. In low light this looks like your typical sparkly black. In the sun, though, it’s anything but. Bright light illuminates all that microglitter. There’s so much of it that it gives the overall color a sort of blackened teal cast. The finish definitely has that glowing embers just under the surface quality going on. I don’t think I have another black microglitter that looks quite like this; it’s absolutely stunning and gorgeous. I paired this with Sephora by OPI Teal We Meet Again on my toes.


I’m concluding a week of reds with Lippmann Ruby Red Slippers (“Celebrate” 10th Anniversary Set), a black base with red glitter and hex sequins:

Ruby Red Slippers

Picture taken in sunlight. The black base is on the sheer side but it’s absolutely loaded with red glitter. This applied well, and I managed to get an even distribution of glitter on the nail. I got full coverage in three coats. This requires two coats of topcoat to smooth the finish out, but one is enough to set it nicely. I love how much red glitter there is; it’s definitely not just sprinkled in there! It’s so densely packed that from a distance, it can almost look like a just a dark red glitter. Even without the suggestion of the name, this makes me think of Dorothy’s ruby slippers, with a gothic twist. It seems like a Christmasy color scheme, but I was thinking Oz when I paired this with Barielle Date Night on my toes.


I’ve been meaning to wear this polish in the month of February for the past two years now. I don’t recall what sidetracked me then, but this year I thought I’d better try it straight away to start off the month. Lippmann Bad Romance (fall 2010) is a black base with fuchsia glitter and hex sequins:

Bad Romance

Picture taken in weak sunlight. The black base needs to be a bit sheer to allow the glitter to shine through, so I needed three coats for full coverage. It’s best to avoid doing too many brushstrokes or not waiting long enough between coats because that will push the hex glitter towards the free edge. One coat of topcoat leaves it pretty smooth, but you need two to achieve that glassy feel. I was surprised that I didn’t get as many hex pieces on the nail as when I tried Across the Universe, the counterpart in the collection, but I still love this polish anyway. Black with fuchsia glitter isn’t that unique of a combination, but it’s one that works so well. Black works well as a background to almost anything, but I really love it with fuchsia because it’s a little bit girly and a little bit dangerous. I think the look represents its namesake well. It makes me want to listen to “Bad Romance,” which I haven’t heard in a long time! I paired this with MAC Baby Goth Girl on my toes.


I’m wearing this polish to complete trying the set, but it turned out to be the perfect festive mani for the championship weekend of the Australian Open. After watching Victoria Azarenka prevail and defend her title and World No. 1 ranking on Saturday, this morning I watched Novak Djokovic win his third Australian Open championship in a row, and fourth overall, for a total of six grand slams so far. 😀 Nails Inc. Soho Street (The After Party Set) definitely reflects my celebratory mood. It’s a multicolored, different-sized hex glitter in a clear base. I was already wearing Disco Lane, and after two days I had virtually no tipwear, so I saved myself some time and just layered the glitter over it:

Soho Street

Picture taken in sunlight. I added two coats of Soho Street to my full mani of Disco Lane. It’s definitely a rough, glittery surface but I still just used one coat of topcoat. Two or more would be needed to smooth it out. I haven’t yet tried all of the “party glitters” I own, but this is definitely already one of my favorites. It’s actually pretty dense, so after two coats I got a nice, even spread of glitter all over the nail. I think the coverage is pretty impressive, because I don’t see the type of small, regular glitter that would fill in the spaces, only two sizes of hex glitter. I love the true multicolored-ness of it all. When I look at it, even from a distance, I see all the bright pops of color (especially against the black background.) This one definitely doesn’t look silver overall. There’s pink, blue, red, and green glitter, with just a bit of silver and gold. No one color dominates, so I don’t even know what category to put it under. This is definitely another one I can’t help but stare at; it’s just so pretty! It makes me think of those Australia Day fireworks. 🙂 I paired this with OPI Festive Fuchsia on my toes.


After trying Covent Garden Market and loving it so much, I definitely wasn’t gonna let too much time pass before trying the rest of the set. Nails Inc. Disco Lane (The After Party Set) is a black with holographic glitter:

Disco Lane

Picture taken in sunlight. This applied well; I used two coats for full coverage. I normally use topcoat anyway, but this polish definitely needs it for appearance’s sake. On its own it dries to a very dull, flat finish. The topcoat illuminates all that holographic glitter. If you prefer a glassy smooth-feeling surface, more than one coat of topcoat would be needed, because with just a single coat it’s still rough. I still like this polish, but am a bit disappointed that it didn’t quite turn out as cool as it looks in the bottle. I knew from the start that this was only a holographic glitter and not a linear holo (as it appears in the bottle, somehow). What I was expecting was it to be more glittery, because it seems absolutely loaded with the stuff. I think perhaps the creamy black base is too opaque. It’s great that I only had to do two coats, but I don’t think it lets the holographic glitter really shine through, and that’s why it looks bumpy. All things said, this is still a lovely polish, when viewed in the light. The different colors of holographic glitter really look great when they catch the light, and especially against the black background. I paired this with Nails Inc. Trafalgar Square on my toes.


Though I’m not really in a festive mood, I went ahead with a Halloween-themed mani/pedi for today. OPI Metallic 4 Life (Nicki Minaj Collection) is a black base loaded with different-sized silver hex and square glitter:

Picture taken in natural light. Considering the type of formula, this was pretty easy to work with. The first coat went on a bit sheer so I ended up needing three for full coverage. Surprisingly the mani doesn’t look super-thick. The finish looks a bit dull on its own but topcoat remedies that. A single coat should be fine to set it and make  the finish less rough, though you’d need to add more if you’re after that glassy-smooth feel. The sparkle factor is high; the black base is absolutely loaded with high-contrast silver glitter. I see three types in there: medium and small hex glitter, and tiny square glitter. It’s not a unique color combo but it does work so well. The use of “metallic” in the name is misleading; I’m glad this is a lovely glitter as opposed to a frosty metallic. I paired this with OPI Hot & Spicy on my toes.




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