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Although this polish isn’t so summery, I wanted to continue wearing more long-standing untrieds. Chanel Graphite (llusions d’Ombres de Chanel, Fall 2011) is a silvery gunmetal foil with flecks of gold microglitter:


Picture taken in sunlight. This applied well, though I needed three coats for full coverage. The base is not that pigmented, but is loaded with microglitter, which shines through nicely. Any brushstrokes are totally covered up by the microglitter. This has shot straight to the top of my list of favorite metallics. I already love it for being incredibly sparkly, but it’s also a unique chameleon of a polish. Sometimes I look at it and it seems like a cool, dark gunmetal, other times it looks lighter and more silvery, other times it looks warm-toned, with a greenish-gold cast to it. The microglitter also gives this great, foily texture to the finish that you can see even out of bright light. Overall, it’s simply gorgeous, with such interesting depth and dimension. I paired this with MAC Seriously Hip on my toes.


Since I finally got a day with good sunlight, I took the opportunity to wear a sparkly polish that was released in the winter but that looks pretty springlike to me. China Glaze Running in Circles (Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away) is a bright grass green microglitter:

Running in Circles

Picture taken in sunlight. The base was a bit sheer to let all that microglitter shine through, but it builds to opacity in three coats. I did some extra tip-wrapping to prevent tip pull. This is gorgeous!! The microglitter is of the tiny, irregular flake variety, so you can see it defined on the nail even in the shade.  Of course, it sparkles wonderfully in the sun too. I also love this shade of green! It’s incredibly bright and vibrant, and surprisingly strong in color, for having a relatively sheer base. It may not be as deep as a true emerald, but it still makes me think of Oz and The Emerald City. Oh, and also absinthe. 😉 There’s definitely something hypnotizing about it. I paired this with OPI Pedal Faster Suzi! 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.


It’s been a while since I’ve done a layered mani, and even longer since I’ve done one involving a glitter, instead of a crackle polish. Plus, this polish was the last I had from this collection left to try. China Glaze White Cap (Anchors Away, Spring 2011) is a golden tiny flake microglitter in a milky white base. I typically like to layer over black, but this time I thought I’d go for a winter white look, and I chose to put it over Illamasqua Load:

White Cap + Load

Picture taken in weak sunlight. Load applied as I’d remembered, needing three coats for an even finish. I added two coats of White Cap for a really dense, glittery look over the whole nail. The whole mani does involve a lot of coats but the end result looks so pretty! I like that it doesn’t look bright and stark, since Load is more of a creamy off-white. The golden microglitter looks so sweet and angelic; the tiny, crushed flakes sparkle delicately. I think this would’ve made for a nice holiday look too. Although it’s not snowing now, it seems perfect to wear during these wintry days that have been deathly cold.  I paired this with China Glaze Bermuda Breakaway on my toes.


This is the last of the four polishes I got from this collection, and I definitely like it the most! Color Club Total Mystery (Alter Ego, Keep it Under Cover, Spring 2011) is an electric cobalt with blue, pink and purple microglitter:

Total Mystery

Picture taken in sunlight. This applied well, though the formula was rather sheer. It looked really streaky after the first coat, so before painting the second coat I filled in the bald spots. I needed three coats in all, plus those touchups, to reach full opacity. The multiple coats also results in this rich, gorgeous color. It’s an very bold shade, plus it has this electric quality I’m absolutely mesmerized by! The color is stunning on its own, so I would have been fine with just blue microglitter, but it does have the pink and purple microglitter too, which provides a lovely contrast. This is definitely one of the polishes that keeps me staring at my hands. I paired this with Sephora by OPI Screen Test on my toes. I’m glad I was able to do this mani-pedi in the first place. I was painting while watching Novak Djokovic’s epic five-set win over Stanislas Wawrinka, and I just remember being so nervous that my hands started to shake! This was only to reach the quarterfinals, so based on years past I can imagine how much more amped-up I can get over the next few days.


After weeks of metallic and dark shades, it’s nice to be wearing a bold pop of color. Color Club Ulterior Motive (Alter Ego: Keep it Under Cover, Spring 2011) is a bright fuchsia with blue and pink microglitter:

Ulterior Motive

Picture taken in sunlight. This applied well, but was on the sheer side. To get an even, opaque finish I did three coats with considerable touchups. But all those coats serve well to make the color deeper. The sheerness also allows all the microglitter to shine through. Pink  polishes with blue flashes are not uncommon, but here the blue microglitter is very visible and I love it! It’s so visible that I think it affects the appearance of the color. Indoors it looks practically purple! Either way, it’s a gorgeous, bold color with a lovely sparkling finish. I paired this with FingerPaints It’s an Original! 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.


So far this month I’ve been trying one red polish per week, so I’m continuing the pattern with OPI The Spy Who Loved Me (Skyfall Collection, Holiday 2012), a bright candy apple red with red and gold microglitter:

The Spy Who Loved Me

Picture taken in natural light. (Unfortunately the lack of sunlight doesn’t show off how it sparkles, but with the depth this polish has, you can still see that it’s there.) This applied well; even with the slight jelly-ness of the base, the formula was still pigmented and I got complete coverage in two coats. This type of polish is not unique, but I still get at least one every time the holiday collections roll around because red microglitters are gorgeous! I love how the formula is strongly pigmented but still appears sheer enough to let the microglitter shine through. The depth of finish combined with the smooth and glossy surface makes it seem like I’m looking at the glitter through glass. Perhaps I’m being influenced by the gloomy weather but this looks extra bright and cheery. I can see why this shade of red has the word “love” in the name; in addition to being very holiday-appropriate, it also looks Valentine-y. I paired this with China Glaze Poinsettia 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:

Live and Let Die

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 is the probably the only polish I’ll be trying this month that isn’t from a holiday collection, but it is a green and I wanted to get this out of the way before year’s end. OPI Number One Nemesis (The Amazing Spider-Man) is a smoky charcoal-green microglitter:

Number One Nemesis

Picture taken in artificial light. (In the absence of sunlight, I had to resort to artificial lighting to capture the sparkle at all.) This applied well but was a little sheer so I ultimately needed three coats for full coverage. The main color may be this awesome, murky reptilian green, but there are other colors of microglitter scattered in there, like gold, silver, green and blue. It always has that smoky appearance, but at times I look at it and it seems more green, and other times more gunmetal. I heard that this was a dupe to Chanel Graphite (which I own but haven’t tried yet), but I bought it anyway because these two polishes don’t seem like exact dupes. Graphite doesn’t look green to me, at least in the bottle, while I’ll always classify Number One Nemesis as a green over a gunmetal. Comparisons to other polishes aside, this is a gorgeous polish in both color and finish. I think it’s a perfect representation of The Lizard in the film. I paired this with Sephora by OPI 212-Sephora on my toes.




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