Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Smokey Purple - Chanel Charivari

I probably should have shown you Chanel Tenderly today. I'm in a purple mood and I know that one is new and all, but the fact that companies are releasing Spring collections earlier and earlier is starting to irk me. I'm one of those traditional people that just isn't in the mood for pastels and brights until the sun is out and the air is warm!

Today, the sun is out, but the air is decidedly not warm, so I was in the mood for something a little smokier, and I chose Chanel Charivari. You would think this dark purple with a hint of grey would be easily dupe-able, but I don't have anything else like it in my collection.

I somehow remember this being lighter, but I'm admittedly loving the richness of it.

I hope all of you affected by the snowstorm in the northeastern US are staying safe and warm!


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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tickling My Fancy - YSL Beige Leger

After trying out YSL Gris Deco and falling in love, it really was only a matter of time (days) before I purchased my next YSL polish. Unfortunately, none of the stores near me sell YSL polishes in the flesh, so I have to rely on online swatches to choose my colours. I was a little dubious about this one - YSL Beige Leger.

Many people have likened this to OPI Tickle My France-y, which I hated on me. I think I called in "vomit-inducing" in this post. It was just too mauve/purple/cool for my skin tone and really did make me feel a little sick to look at. But I loved the IDEA of the colour. (Yes, I see a therapist.) Luckily, I found a comparison of the two in this particular blog post. Beige Leger looked exactly how I had hoped Tickle My France-y would have looked on me! She even compared them, and the OPI was more mauve, while the extra touch of warmth in Beige Leger made it harmonious with the skin.

TL;DR - I bought the polish.

Turns out a hint of added warmth can make a HUGE difference. I don't feel revulsion when I look at my hands! Depending on the lighting, Beige Leger can look more fleshy pink, more cafe au lait nude, more skin-like peach - but in my opinion, it always looks polished (ha!) and a lot more modern than the standard white-based neutral pale colour.

Count this as added to my all-time favourites.


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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Chanel Provocation & A Recipe for Chip-Free Chanel!

I very rarely repeat polishes within the same month, but this is an exception. Chanel Provocation is an excellent vampy colour that straddles the boundaries of cool and warm, making it work beautifully with almost any outfit - camel, grey, cranberry, navy, black, etc.

(OK, so maybe I don't wear much colour...but the point remains. It's neutral. And delicious.)

Chanel polishes are notorious for chipping extremely easily. Which is atrocious considering the price-point, and was certainly true for me. Until recently, when I discovered this cocktail of base coat and top coat. Now, my Chanel polishes last a week with zero chipping! A WEEK. I obviously do get tip-wear, but no chipping or peeling. Which is madness.

The base coat in question is Essie All in One. As you can see, it is well-loved by me. I find that it works well with many different polish brands. Surprisingly, the top coat that locks everything in place is Seche Vite. While a classic, it is laden with non-B3F chemicals that typically make it play not-so-nicely with B3F polishes. What can I say though, it works like a charm!

Disclaimer: Yes, I know. Body chemistry is individual, and this might not work for everyone! I just thought I'd share because I know that so many people share the same problem with Chanel polishes, so I thought maybe this might be the solution for at least a few of them.

These little gems are readily available and I'm willing to bet that quite a few of you have them hanging around. If you have a Chanel chipping problem, I say give it a shot! (And report back, I would love to know if this works for anyone else!)


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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Lady in Grey: YSL Gris Deco

My first-ever YSL polish! I have contemplated purchasing this for months. Gris Deco is a soft grey colour with the barest hint of shimmer not only appealed to me somewhere deep in my neutral-loving soul, but is also completely unique in my collection.

This stuff is expensive. Chanel expensive.

However, application was a dream. I was concerned the huge brush would be unwieldy and messy, but it turned out to be perfect. If it were any larger it would have been too big for my pinky, which required only one swipe. I used three thin coats, and the effort was minimal because of how few strokes were needed. Lovely.

The colour is outstanding - a delicate grey with near-invisible shimmer that just manages to give the polish a porcelain-like quality on the nail. I adore this. It's an office-appropriate neutral that isn't a boring sheer (and I LOVE boring sheers), or one of my typical taupes. I also happen to think it pops beautifully against gold rings. The combination of the warm gold and the cool grey is reminiscent of the luxe packaging and just makes my heart sing. (My rings are from Henri Bendel. The harness ring looks to be sold out, but they have other versions available. The midi rings are here and on sale at the moment!)

I cannot comment on wear right now, because I just applied this last night. My fingers are crossed that it doesn't go all chippy the way some more expensive polishes have on me in the past. (Speaking of which, I have an exciting post coming up sharing the top/base coat combo that makes my Chanels chip-proof!) If wear time is solid, you can bet I will be purchasing more YSL polishes.

Have you tried YSL polishes? What are your favourite unique colours in the line?


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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year! (from the missing blogger, kittytokaren)

Hello PoP readers!

If you are a new-ish reader, you will have no idea who I am. If you have been around longer, you may not remember me! Hi, I'm kittytokaren, aka k2k. I love simple, elegant manicures, Essie polish, and colours most would consider 'boring'. I gravitate to nudes and darks, and generally fear colour and glitter (with a few exceptions...). I rock short nails, and am constantly looking for better ways to keep my cuticles and hands from drying out.

I disappeared these last couple years in to the vortex of cancer and academia. As I'm sure many of you will understand, it is maybe not the healthiest thing in the world to ditch ones hobbies in the face of a mountain of stress, but it happens.

Now, at the end of 2014, it all came together. I was declared (almost - pending one more check-up!) CANCER-FREE, I finally (and surprisingly...interesting story) graduated with my PhD in Genetics & Molecular Biology, and life is going to be VERY different in 2015! I'm both scared for and excited about the future.

I wanted to share my NYE manicure with all of you, to ring out the wild and wonderful year that was 2014, and to say hello to 2015. I thought of you all when I applied it - I combined an old favourite, Essie Jazz (reviewed in this post with my favourite title of all time), with a gold glitter gradient using the classic Essie Golden Nuggets (also seen here and here) and newly released Essie Rock At the Top.

I don't know what my career is going to look like, I don't know where in the world I'm going to end up, but I do know that I want to take better care of myself in 2015. That includes indulging in the hobbies that I love, like writing on PoP, interacting with all of you, and sharing the polish love! I may not keep up with new collections as much as I used to, but I want to share my manicures and my passion.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I sincerely hope that each and every one of you have an amazing 2015.

Much love xx,

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Essie Eternal Optimist


(2 coats) 

This is from the Spring 2009 collection. I've been doing a lot of boring nudes and vamps for the most part for the past year or so. This is about as crazy as it gets these days. But it is a super gorgeous pink for you warm-toned ladies. The formula is just OK (there was some drag).

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

White/Teal/Turquoise Nail Art :)

I did this particular manicure for a contest held by cutepolish on YouTube back in December. I'm really happy with how it turned out :)

Polishes used:
China Glaze For Audrey
Elevation Polish Jengish Chokusu
Sephora by OPI Read my Palm
Zoya Wednesday
Pahlish Colder Than a Wave (the glitter on the ring finger)

As for the giveaway, I think it'll be of polishes I currently own. I haven't picked the polishes yet, but it'll be at least 10-15 polishes and possibly a gift certificate. I'm still figuring out, I'm sure I'll be more inspired in the following days as it is finals time :) At least 1 prize, up towards 3. It may be a long running contest, though, as it may take me a while to decide on which polishes to part with!

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Friday, April 25, 2014

Belated Easter Mani: Happy Hands Motherboy jelly sandwich and a return?

Hey guys and gals! so I'm trying something new! I downloaded the blogger app so that I can make posts away from a computer, lol. 

So today's post is about my Easter manicure. It is a jelly Sandwich with OPI Don't Touch my Tutu with Happy Hands Motherboy. One coat of the OPI below the glitter and 2 over, to make the pastel glitter a bit more pastel :) It was really delicate and cute. Happy Hands has sadly shut down but a dupe to Motherboy can be found at Rainbow Polish, named Taffy.

Hope there is some interest in this blog still! I'm considering doing a return to blogging giveaway,  comment to let me know if it would be worth doing!  Til next time~

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Essie Topless & Barefoot / Fake nails are the most fun thing ever

I got fake nails again from Valley Nails on Elizabeth in the LES. I did it before about this time last year. This time I went for something longer and almond shaped (passé I know, but I wanted to try it!).

(2 coats)

Freshly done.

8 days later. You can see they've lost their lovely point and have dented up (I chew!). With a heavy battering, these nails have turned oval shaped but never chipped.

(1 coat American Apparel Hassid)

12 days later. Last night I painted them with one coat of black in order to refile them into an almond shape which took a little bit of time but they turned out rather well. This morning they amazingly look almost presentable!

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Girly Bits Jini Goes Indie!

I'm not usually a huge fan of multicoloured glitterbombs, but I couldn't resist trying out the matte cheerfulness of Girly Bits Jini Goes Indie! I tried to tone it down a bit by using Hello Darling Sage Advice (dark olive) and Essie Da Bush (light olive) for the base.

Verdict? I like it! I wouldn't say I *love* it - the irregular glitters didn't like lying down flat on my nails, and a lot of top coat was required to flatten it out. But it's gone in my "use again soon" drawer.

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Shades of Phoenix We're All Mad Here

Here's a polish I knew I had to buy the moment I saw it - Shades of Phoenix's We're All Mad Here, inspired by the colours of the Cheshire Cat from the Disney version of Alice in Wonderland.

I've always loved Lewis Carroll - Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass are such timeless books. I've been re-reading them since I was about 7. They never get old.

This polish is not quite opaque enough for me to wear on its own - I've layered 2 coats of this over ulta3 Flirty Bikini. I really like the contrast between the orange/yellow hexes, and the subtlety of the furry little purple bars!

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Gold leaf nail art over Mckfresh Angel

Mckfresh Nail Attire is one of my favourite Aussie indie brands, made by a pretty damn cool chick. The Sunnydale collection was one of my favourites last year, and Angel in particular was one of most unique. It's a blackened purple base, with tiny silver specks and big blue iridescent bars, which are super thin and don't have any of the won't-lay-flat, looks-like-hair crappiness of many bar glitters. You can check out the swatch of Angel alone in my original post on the Buffy collection, but today I wanted to show you an experiment with gold leaf from Born Pretty.

I don't actually own a gold leaf topper yet, so I tried to make do with some shredded gold foil from Born Pretty. I used larger pieces in a mani for Artsy Wednesday a while ago, and it turns out that using smaller pieces is both better AND worse. Better, because you can pulverise the crap out of the foil. Worse, because it's super fiddly to apply. I used a cotton bud, much like the way I do glitter gradients, but since the foil is dry, I painted a slow-drying top coat over the original manicure first, to give it something to stick to.

Overall? I like the effect, but it seems like it would be so much faster just to cave and get a gold leaf top coat! I'm also considering dropping some of the foil into polish and seeing how stable it is - I've seen some nasty concoctions made from not-real-gold foil corroding in organic solvents though. We'll see!

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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Tony Moly Shooting Star

Here's one I love but haven't posted - Tony Moly Shooting Star. It's one of their Revlon Whimsical-looking line - a purple creme base with rainbow glitters. I used this combo in one of my first jelly sandwich manicures, so it was nice to finally pick it up in one-pot form from the Tony Moly stall in Sydney's Market City.

I love the pastel prettiness, and the cheerful multicoloured glitter! I think I'd prefer a slightly bluer purple though.

I've been really impressed with all the Korean polishes I have so far, which makes me think I should really buy more - they're affordable, and have lovely formulas!

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Monday, January 6, 2014

Lab Muffin's Top 13 Polishes of 2013 Part 2: Indies

A few days ago I posted my favourite mainstream and boutique polishes that I discovered last year. I'm back now with my favourite indies! The indie market grew exponentially in 2013, especially in Australia. In 2012, I'd only heard of about 4 Aussie indie brands - now, according to the Lacquerheads of Oz Indie Directory there are almost 30! So it's no surprise that the indies crowded the mainstream polishes out of my top 13, and I had to split hairs and move the boutique polishes to the mainstream section because it looked too lonely.

Now, I realise most of the Polish or Perish audience aren't Australian, and you therefore thought your wallet would be safe - think again! International stockists now have a metric shitton of Australian indie brands (I know, I've seen photos of some of the makers' shipments). For specifics of where to get what you can look at the Lacquerheads of Oz Indie Directory, but some of the stockists that ship overseas and have a few brands include Femme Fatale Cosmetics, Color4Nails, Harlow & Co, Norway Nails, Llarowe, Mei Mei's Signatures and Ninja Polish.

So here are my top 8 indies of 2013...

Gloss 'n Sparkle The Huntress is a new find of mine - I've always been a sucker for deep, complex jellies, and this is in one of my favourite polish colours, green. It's also included in my 2nd anniversary giveaway.

Alanna Renee Reptar is an incredibly cool, unique shade. I love these out-of-left-field shades - they're so satisfyingly interesting even without nail art.

Celestial Highgarden was my favourite from the Game of Thrones-themed collaboration between Color4Nails and Celestial. I love a special effects shade, and this has both holo and thermal colour change effects! This shade inspired me to write this sciencey article on how thermochromic colour change pigments work.

Brown and green is such a pretty colour combination in my books, but so few polishes contain this colour combination. Sayuri Mori has this rare foresty look, and is lovely over a golden base.

Arcane Lacquer Erudite Dreams is a pretty blurple creme with pinkish gold shimmer. I really love Arcane's elegant but pretty polishes - very work-safe and wearable for all occasions, without being plain.

Powder Perfect Decorate a Palm Tree is a very shimmery dense microglitter in a fetching shade of grass green. I especially love how the green jelly base means that the glitter in the lower layers are a deeper colour.

I posted Loki's Lacquer Omicron Persei 8 here in April, but it deserves revisiting! It's the most amazingly unexpected smorgasbord of sparkles, and jaw-droppingly stunning in the sun.

This one's a bit of a copout - I'm nominating the entire Mckfresh Sunnydale Collection as my #13! The Buffy-inspired vampy collection just looks so good together. But if I had to pick one polish, it would probably be Xander (top right hand corner) - the blue-green duochrome is so pretty, even though Xander is a bloody irritating character.

There you have it - the best indies I tried this year! I'm sure there are some glaring omissions I'll kick myself for a bit later, but I've agonised over this list long enough that I really just needed to hit the "post" button and walk the hell away. 

I realise that this list is ridiculously biased towards Australian indies, and that's simply because I had enough to try within Australia that I didn't feel the need to pay premium shipping prices for overseas polishes! I will endeavour to try out more overseas brands in 2014, but to be honest, given how the Australian indie market is growing, I think I already have my nails full.

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Lab Muffin's Top 13 Polishes of 2013 Part 1: Mainstream and Boutique Brands

2013 was a big year of swatching for me, and it was the year where I think Australian indie polishes really blossomed. It was very difficult to pick just 13 polishes that I loved, but I certainly tried! I limited myself to one polish per brand only, and to polishes that I discovered in 2013 (though they weren't necessarily released last year). Here we go, with the mainstream and boutique (i.e. small company but not hand-mixed) picks...

First, I obviously have to mention my collaboration shade, piCture pOlish Ultra Violence. The literary amongst you will know that the name is inspired by Anthony Burgess's book A Clockwork Orange. I love the holo iridescent glitter against the rich purple! I've included a bottle of Ultra Violence in my 2nd blogiversary giveaway here.

I blogged about the stunningly pretty Pretty Serious BSOD here earlier. What happened next was that while wearing it, my laptop did actually have a heart-stopping BSOD moment, in the middle of thesis-writing! Luckily I didn't lose anything, but Kaz was too sweet, and in her usual above-and-beyond customer service style, she sent me a few polishes to dull the pain.

OPI Keeping Suzi At Bay is a gorgeous blue creme that is both interesting and elegant. It may be my favourite creme shade ever. I think dark blue is actually quite work safe, but definitely not boring.

ulta3 Triple Threat was a big surprise for me. This is a complex holo glitter jelly that's indie-worthy, but comes at the ridiculously budget-friendly price of $2.

Orly Digital Glitter is one of my top 5 Orly polishes, ever. I usually think of Orly as a brand which does salon-friendly classic polishes well, but whenever they come out with something a bit different it's usually ridiculously cool (Fowl Play! Space Cadet!). I love the unlikely brown/purple/red combination - it's a bit steampunk in my opinion, and makes me think of Neal Stephenson novels. To top it off, the purple shimmer is duochrome.

I will be back soon with some of my indie picks of 2013 - hold onto your wallets!

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