Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Polish Preoccupation

I started getting into nail polish in college.  All throughout high school, I had a terrible habit of biting my nails.  I would bite them until they bled, I would bite them in class, I would bite them out at dinner, I would bite them on the bench during basketball games.  It made me look stupid and I hated it but for anyone who was ever a nail biter, you know how hard of a habit it is to give up.

In addition to my nail-biting habit (and my desire to get rid of it!) my mother and I also have something of a compulsive buying habit.  That's how I ended up with this:

the ladder of nail polish


China Glaze! Somehow the focus ended up on the penguin in the background oops

Glitters and Chanels and random brands


OPIs and top coats/treatments


Now as you can imagine, it is very hard to get to using all these colors so I do have some favorites that I will share here.  I definitely have a good enough sample size to be something of an authority!

the basics
  1. Essie Fiji - a creamy pale pink that looks best on tan skin
  2. China Glaze Shocking Pink - a neon pink that makes any skin look tan
  3. Essie Lollipop - bright red creme with the vaguest orange undertones
  4. Essie Masquerade Belle - gorgeous, deep red with slight purple undertones.  Nice and vampy for winter time!
  5. Chanel April - formulated for the upcoming spring month, this is a dark pink bordering on red creme
  6. Chanel Vamp - the original blackened red, complete with the signature Chanel subtle shimmer
  7. OPI A Grape Fit! - made to match a color of Paige jeans, this is a true, light royal purple with equal blue and red undertones.
  8. Essie Neo Whimsical - a pink-toned lavender that looks especially nice on yellow-based skintones

the new classics
  1. Essie Little Brown Dress - a super glossy almost-black brown creme
  2. Chanel Particuliere - a light taupe-y brown creme.  This was a tough call over the similar but more brown-toned Essie Mink Muffs and the similar but more grey-toned OPI You Don't Know Jacques
  3. Essie Playa Del Platinum - the Particuliere for the summer months, a lighter version of the taupe creme classic that resembles sand on your favorite beach
  4. Essie Chinchilly - very vaguely purple-toned, not too dark and not too light - the perfect grey creme
  5. Butter London All Hail the Queen! - a light brownish beige with fine holographic glitter.  You don't know you need this yet, but you do.  Trust me.
  6. Essie Smokin' Hot - a darker, more purple version of Chinchilly that's great for winter months
  7. Essie Power Clutch - a dark but definitely not black true grey creme
  8. Butter London Chimney Sweep - charcoal grey with a sooty metallic finish

the exotics, and my favorites
  1. Essie Lapis of Luxury - gorgeous cornflower blue creme from the collection that brought us Playa Del Platinum
  2. Essie Mint Candy Apple - a gorgeous blue-toned mint pastel creme; this is the only polish I've ever bought twice because I loved it so much, and it's still easily my favorite to wear.  It's from the winter holiday collection from 2009 (same as Lollipop!) but it's amazing year round.
  3. China Glaze For Audrey - meant to be the perfect Tiffany box blue, this comes pretty damn close
  4. China Glaze Of Coarse - this bright blue is one of China Glaze's texture, so it dries like you have sand on your nails and it's kind of weird but I love the color and the texture for summer
  5. Essie Go Overboard - a dark peacock blue creme that's gorgeous in the winter months
  6. OPI Russian Navy - deep navy with gorgeous shimmer
  7. Julep Char - a true navy blue creme without any black, despite the confusing name
  8. Essie Sew Psyched - a greyish green that flatters any skin tone and makes green work appropriate
  9. China Glaze Celtic Sun - a super bright neon yellow-green that needs to be layered over white polish to give you the full effect but literally glows in the dark as I accidentally learned at a very fancy graduation party.
  10. Butter London Trustafarian - holographic sage green that is unexpectedly gorgeous
  11. Essie Navigate Her - light lime green creme
the fun stuff
  1. Chanel Graphite - a super beautiful mostly silver glitter with some gold and bronze thrown in for good measure
  2. Chanel Delight - a limited edition rose gold glitter shade that's gorgeous year round
  3. Essie Beyond Cozy - super fine silver and gold glitter, one of the best glitter formulas you'll find because it's really dense and offers great coverage, and it shines different colors in different light
  4. OPI Glitzerland - true gold metallic with fine gold glitter in the mix
  5. OPI Mad as a Hatter (photo credit: Michelle from [a fellow chemical engineer!!!] and I'm sure you could tell this wasn't mine due to the impeccable cuticles) - this guy was apparently super limited edition so I was lucky to snag it regular price when it first came out since it's selling for $70+ on eBay now.  This is my yearly New Year's Eve polish - tons and tons of glitter in all different colors with the finished product leaning purple/silver.  Awesome coverage in just a few coats but beware that this polish is an absolute bitch to remove.
  6. Chanel Peridot - another limited edition, and also my birthstone, this color is gorgeous because it looks nothing like the real peridot.  It shines green in some light, bronze in others, and is all around amazing.
  7. Chanel Quartz - came in the same fall 2011 collection as Graphite and Peridot and is a beautiful pale brown milky metallic that's subtle enough to go unnoticed at work but pretty enough to make a statement.
And for some of my favorite nail blogs that have great swatches and reviews on pretty much any polish you could ever be looking for:
  • All Lacquered Up - as previously mentioned, the author (Michelle) is a fellow chemical engineer and her science minded reviews are very helpful when you're trying to figure out how the formula of a clearly really pretty color will work for you.  Hers was the first blog I seriously started following and I was so distraught when she took a break from it so I'm so glad she's back.
  • Polish or Perish - these girls are all also similarly highly educated (I wonder what it is about nail polish that attracts smart women?) and offer a great blog to inspire you for what you should do with your own nails.  Their posts are more "manicure of the day" than hardcore reviews of collections so they help in that they remind you to go whip out that polish you have that's been languishing at the bottom of the drawer and show it some love.
  • Polishaholic - great writing coupled with great swatch photos makes this blog a must.  Not only are her nails beautiful but her dedication and polish collection are both super enviable, as well as her self-manicure skills.
What's your go-to polish or favorite category of polishes?

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