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In previous years I’ve reserved January for trying dark colors that seem apt for the cold season. That didn’t happen so much this year, but I thought I’d harken back to that theme with this polish. It’s not new but I finally picked this up in my most recent haul, so it’s relatively new to my own collection. China Glaze Stone Cold (The Hunger Games Capitol Colors) is a matte charcoal with silver microshimmer:

Stone Cold

Picture taken in weak sunlight. I had forgotten how awesome mattes are, particularly this “suede” variety. True to a matte formula, you have to work fast when you paint or risk major cuticle drag.  This one flowed very smoothly. It could have been a one-coater due to its high pigmentation, but I ended up doing two coats, just to ensure coverage of bald spots. I’m sure this looks gorgeous with topcoat as well, but I embraced the suede finish and let it be. It dries and sets really fast, and is pretty hard-wearing, especially for a mani that’s without the protection of a topcoat. I also love the texture of the finish; often times I would find myself running my fingerpads over my nails. Another plus of the finish is that the shimmer is clearly visible even in low light. The charcoal color is great; it’s at a level of darkness that really makes the silver microshimmer stand out. I wish more new suede polishes would come out, because I’m falling in love with this finish all over again! I paired it with RGB Cosmetics Steel on my toes.


To conclude this lovely collection I have Illamasqua Prosperity (Rubber Brights, Summer 2012), a vivid, rich purple creme (originally with a satin finish):

Picture taken in sunlight. This applied well and was nicely pigmented; I got full coverage in two coats. I think Illamasqua has improved on their satin formula; with this collection I noticed the polish didn’t bubble up on me, like it did when I tried last year’s Theatre of the Nameless collection. I may have converted all of these to cremes but the colors were what grabbed me about this collection in the first place. They’ve all been so vivid and vibrant, this one especially so. It’s such a saturated shade, and it’s definitely become one of my favorite purple cremes. I like that it’s just purple; not blurple, reddish, fuchsia-toned, or greyed. Although it’s not a royal purple, there’s something about its richness that makes it look very regal, very fitting for the name. I paired this with Misa Dirty, Sexy, Money on my toes.


The weather has begun to cool down a bit, but I’m determined to finish trying this collection, and I’m one step closer with Illamasqua Optimist (Rubber Brights, Summer 2012) is a bright, sunny yellow-orange creme (originally with a satin finish):

Picture taken in sunlight. The formula was not as stellar as the others in this collection, but it still applied pretty well for a yellow-toned polish; I used three coats. With the other rubber brights I’ve tried so far, I’ve said that they look great in their original satin form, too, but I can’t say the same for this one. For me, I really needed topcoat to make everything appear smooth. As I’ve been wearing these polishes with topcoat I don’t see it as a drawback. I think the color really fits the name; it just seems like a happy-feeling shade. I can’t even decide if it’s yellow or orange, so I’m calling it both, but it tends to look more orange in low light and more yellow in bright, direct light. I wish it was more of a radioactive neon, but I still like its brightness. I can tell I’m hungry as I’m typing this, because the color just reminds me of egg yolks (of good eggs that come from free-range hens) and boxed mac and cheese. 🙂 I paired this with Misa Push Upon It on my toes.


I was too devastated by the US Open to post this yesterday, so since I’m putting that match in my rear view, here is Illamasqua Devotee (Rubber Brights, Summer 2012), a bright candy pink creme (originally with a satin finish):

Picture taken in sunlight. (This looks way brighter and more vibrant in person!) This applied well, though I ultimately needed three coats for complete, even coverage. This may be a lighter shade of pink but it has a colorful impact on the nail because of its high pigmentation and vibrancy. I feel like it’s approaching that neon pink highlighter shade, but although it’s very bright, it just doesn’t have that telltale retina-searing glow. It may not be a true neon but I still love it for reminding me of candy. I paired this with Misa Right Here Now, No More Later on my toes.


Since I have more to try, I’ll keep wearing blues through the end of the US Open. Although I’m only halfway through this collection, I’m really loving it so far. Up next is Illamasqua Serenity (Rubber Brights, Summer 2012) is a vibrant sky blue creme (originally with a satin finish):

Picture taken in sunlight. (I wish the sky looked like this today! It’s been cloudy and rainy but I managed to find a spot of sun.) This applied well, needing just two coats for complete coverage. While I was applying this I felt a little bit of déjà vu, then I realized it’s because I wore NARS Koliary exactly two weeks prior. These two are similar, but they’re not exactly dupes. They”re both sky blues, but Koliary is a darker and bolder shade, while Serenity is lighter and even more vibrant. I feel like I could own many more sky blues and I still wouldn’t tire of the color. This shade is made even prettier by its bright vibrancy, and I think topcoat makes the color pop more, though it did look pretty nice without it too. The name is totally perfect; I feel like this color epitomizes calmness and serenity, which is something I need right now with all this sports watching! I paired this with Misa Stop Rewinding, Just Fast Forward on my toes.


Returning to this collection, and continuing with the reds and blues over Labor Day weekend, I’m wearing Illamasqua Aorta (Rubber Brights, Summer 2012), a bright scarlet red creme (originally with a satin finish):

Picture taken in natural light. (I wish I had sunlight for this one! It looks redder in real life.) This applied well; I needed just two coats for full coverage. It always feels nice to be wearing a red creme again. 🙂 I’m inclined to say it leans a little warm-toned, but it doesn’t look overly orange or coral; it’s decidedly red. This also looked quite nice in its original satin form. I may have converted this into “just another red creme” with the addition of topcoat, but I don’t mind. The formula is very smooth to start with, but topcoat just smooths out the final mani that much more. I think I’m being influenced by the fact that it dries to a satiny/rubbery finish, but this is probably the closest thing to a true red neon I’ve tried. It’s not exactly glowy, but, fitting with the name of the collection, it is very bright. I also love the name; it’s my favorite of all six polishes. I paired this with Misa On the Edge on my toes.


Since I spent a good chunk of summer manis on metallic polishes, I have a bit of a backlog of brights. I didn’t think I would buy more satin finish polishes, but the colors from this collection were too nice to pass up. Since I didn’t have a green to try in my last round of brights, I’ll start with Illamasqua Nurture (Rubber Brights, Summer 2012) is a vibrant neon green creme (originally with a satin finish):

Picture taken in sunlight. This applied well; I needed three coats for full evenness and opacity. Like last year’s collection of rubber polishes, the formula is nicely thick and pretty smooth, and goes on like a regular polish, then dries to the satin finish. I have all the polishes from this collection, and I’ll be presenting them all with topcoat. I do like the look of the satin/rubber finish but I don’t like its impracticality. In my past experiences with this kind of polish I’ve found that they dry to the touch quickly but still get scuffed up so easily because they take a while to harden/set completely. By adding topcoat I’m sacrificing the finish but preserving the condition of the mani. I like the color so much I was okay with making that tradeoff (and the color appears to pop more with topcoat)! This is definitely the best neon green I own, in terms of both formula and color. The formula was non-sticky and not overly thick so I experienced none of the tip pull I got with other neon green cremes. This is also much more pigmented, so the color looks extra vivid and vibrant.  It’s considerably more green compared to other neon greens I have, which look significantly more yellow-toned when I view the bottles side-by-side. I’ve said how neon greens remind me of frogs, but this one truly does, like those tiny ones that are really poisonous. I love how apt the name is for the color, too, as it’s totally lush and green. 🙂 I paired this with Misa Speed of Life on my toes.


I kept putting this polish off ’cause I’ve had issues with most satiny matte polishes I’ve tried so far, but I’m finally wearing it now. Orly Viridian Vinyl (Plastix, Fall 2010) is a bright greenish teal satin creme:

Picture taken in weak sunlight. This applied well, like a regular creme polish, in two coats. After a few minutes it starts drying to the satin finish. I actually love the leathery satin look, but only when it turns out smooth! Too often, I find that this sort of finish gets bubbly on me, so I have to work slowly and with thin coats. (I actually had to redo a couple of nails before taking this photo because there were too many bubbles.) I was afraid this wouldn’t last the day so after taking photos I threw on topcoat. It defeats the purpose of the finish but I’d like to go about my day without immediately messing up my nails. (I don’t know how long it takes these satin polishes to truly harden and set, but in the past I’ve messed up my nails even after waiting a considerable amount of dry time.) I still like the teal color so I didn’t mind sacrificing the vinyl look. I paired this with OPI Pamplona Purple on my toes.


Now that it’s March I wanted to switch up my color palette, plus I wanted to try the last of these polishes from this collection. Illamasqua Faux Pas (Theatre of the Nameless, Fall 2011) is a bluish medium purple satin creme:

Picture taken in natural light. (I wish I had sunlight for this photo! I tried to pick the one that turned out the most purple.) This applied well; it was nicely pigmented and I got full coverage in two coats. I’m not sure why, but this is not the shade of purple I was expecting. I bought it, put it away in my Helmer, and didn’t look that closely at it until I used it for my mani. I assumed this was a dusty purple shade, but it’s actually a pretty rich, vibrant color. Kind of like a fall version of something like China Glaze Grape Pop. I know there’s an Orly polish out there in the same vein (I don’t have it but I know they’re not exact dupes), and because of it I can’t get the phrase “purple pleather” out of my head whenever I look at this color and finish combination. Like this would be the exact shade of a purple leather jacket…with zebra trim. I put on topcoat soon after taking the photo, and I didn’t mind sacrificing the satin finish because the color is great, too! I paired this with MAC Light Affair on my toes.


For a change of pace from all the bright reds and pinks I’ve been trying this month, today I’m wearing Illamasqua Kink (Theatre of the Nameless, Fall 2011), a bottle green satin creme:

Picture taken in sunlight. This applied well and went on smoothly. Knowing that my last few satin manis have ended up a little bubbly, I avoided that this time by working slowly and doing three thin coats (resisting the urge to fill in bald spots along the way.) Looking at my nails and having the name in mind, I immediately thought of liquid latex body paint. 😉 While I admire the lovely satin finish, I knew it wouldn’t stay pristine-looking so after I took the photos I put on topcoat. Regrettably, it takes away what this polish is all about, but my mani will at least last a couple of days without getting totally wrecked. I love the color so I didn’t mind making that compromise. It’s an intriguing shade of green; it seems to have an extra hint of blue that keeps it from looking like a pure green, but it’s not obviously blue-toned. Illamasqua calls this “bottle green,” a description I adore and can’t get out of my head. Now I can’t describe this color any other way, especially after looking up “bottle green color” and seeing that it looks just like this polish! I paired this with MAC Beyond Jealous on my toes.




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