Layer Cake: A Mini Lush Review

Layer Cake Collage

I suffered a nail break the other day that has cancelled any plans I had for nail art (actually, a nail slice; I grossly underestimated the surgical precision with which my vegetable peeler could excise my nail from my finger) and so I thought I’d turn a beauty eye to the bath instead while my now-nubs regain a bit of their pre-surgery length.

This juicy-looking little chunk of soap is another Lush creation, this time Layer Cake soap, a somewhat recent addition to their multitude of brightly coloured, sweetly scented bath time goodies.  Nomenclature notwithstanding, Layer Cake smells not one bit like bakery. Its ingredient list instead boasts a mouthwatering blend of grape, orange, pineapple, blueberry and raspberry juices, and indeed, its scent is pure juice – not juicy or juice-oid or even sweetened juice cocktail, but freshly-squeezed sunshine, straight from the fruit.  It’s a beautiful, intoxicating scent.

Bar 2

Lush and I have a bit of a love-hate relationship in that I love the descriptions of their products, particularly the scent profiles, but hate that they so rarely match up to the actual item.  Layer Cake is that rare product that matches its description – a lush glycerin soap overflowing with tart fruit juices, straight up.  Very nice.

Poured in five horizontal, multi-coloured layers befitting its name and fruity ingredients, Layer Cake is somewhat oddly also cut on a horizontal, which means each little chunk only encompasses two, maybe three, of the soap’s gorgeous, glassy colours (red, purple, yellow, orange and blue.)  This doesn’t affect the scent at all, as the juices run throughout the bar as one tart, fruity blend, but if you’re dead set on receiving, say, a red and purple chunk like mine or even all five colours, you may be disappointed when you receive a green and yellow chunk.

Bar 1

Layer Cake soap has actually been on offer for some months now in North America, after making the rounds overseas last year.  I purchased my bar from Lush.ca, and so can you!

We Found Love in a Hostess Cake

Hostess Cake Fingers

I know the actual lyric to the Rihanna song is “We found love in a hopeless place,” but ever since the Fug Girls of Go Fug Yourself pointed out that it sounds more like “We found love in a Hostess cake,” I hear nothing else. Love is fleeting, crinkly cellophane wrappers filled with sugary saturated fats are forever.

For these sweet nails featuring the classic Hostess chocolate cupcake and Tallahassee’s nemesis, the Sno Ball (little Zombieland reference for you there), I made great use out of an otherwise pretty limited use polish, OPI by Nicole’s Roughles in Rock the Look. Textured polishes, and the entire stucco-ish Roughles collection, were all the rage a couple of years ago, but have fallen somewhat out of fashion in recent times.  I think that’s because, save for an intrepid few nail artists willing to fashion them into, say, pink coconut shavings to decorate their lacquered Sno Ball designs, textured polishes really have but one use – adorning your nails in a simple manicure, and maybe also snagging the crap out of your hosiery.

Here I sponged Rock the Look, a rosy pink textured polish studded with the tiniest of matte black glitter, over a plain white creme to mimic the highly unnatural consistency and hue of Sno Balls, before adding a couple of nails’ worth of the classic chocolate cupcake (with regrettably uneven scalloped icing.  We’ll call them factory imperfects – best to devour them straightaway.)

Hostess Cake Bottle

Flawless Fingers

Up in Charms Revlon Collage

I’m jumping straight to the point today with a mini review of this fantastic polish, Revlon’s Colorstay Gel Envy in Up in Charms.  If you’re thinking to yourself that Up in Charms looks nothing like my usual swatchables, that’s because you’re correct – there’s no glitter, no holo dust, no gimmicky add-ons, just a rock solid polish in a pretty, neutral colour perfect for everyday – and everywhere – wear (in my head I just said that in the exact same voice as Julian the Orange Shopping Channel Tosser from Bridget Jones’s Diary.)

For my purposes, Up in Charms makes for a fabulous base for nail art.  Smooth, glossy and a touch thick in a way that makes application a breeze, Up in Charms dries down – quickly! – to a glass-like finish that’s best for nail art AND general wear.  These photos actually show this manicure sans topcoat – a never for me; I topcoat all the things – and I think it looks like ultra glossy perfection.  I didn’t even have to clean this manicure up along the edges of my cuticles, as the pleasant thickness of the polish held it precisely in place on my nails, no pooling, no runoff.  The coverage on this polish was also pretty fantastic, reaching full opacity in three light coats.  That’s something of a minor miracle with pale, sheer lacquers like this one that often require four or more coats to reach total opacity. Colour me completely impressed – I’ve got rich, saturated blues and purples that don’t cover as well.

Up in Charms is actually the first gel-type polish I’ve ever tried.  I purchased this particular shell pink colour to use as a skin tone when I’m up to my Disney girl designs, but I think I’ll be taking a closer look at Revlon’s other offerings in the Gel Envy line, and hoping for performance as great as Up in Charms’.  Revlon, one of those legacy beauty brands that has been around since the dawn of time, is available pretty well everywhere, although I purchased my bottle at Walmart.  Happy shopping!

Up in Charms Sun

Christmas in July…in August

Christmas in July in August Collage

I’m getting some major figgy pudding vibes off this limited edition lacquer, Enchanted Polish’s Christmas in July.  With its rich, plum-hued jelly base and smattering of slightly raggedy bronze bits, it’s certainly quite evocative of that fabled holiday dessert we keep demanding our guests bring us (“And a cup of good cheer!” Yes, please, more cheer, slightly less pudding.)  Shame about the blue holographic glitter, though, which, while a gorgeous addition to this polish, is a shade you never want to find floating about your figgy pud.

Christmas in July in August Fingers Shade

Christmas in July…here in the sweltering depths of August…is, annoyingly enough, a limited edition polish, so its time has already come and gone.  But Enchanted Polish does some really gorgeous things with its glitters-in-jelly, and it’s worth keeping an eye out for their other creative offerings.

Formula-wise, Christmas in July is like all Enchanted polishes – pretty darn flawless.  This lacquer applied in three smooth coats, with all the rich depth I’ve come to expect from a glittery jelly, and indeed all of Enchanted’s offerings.  And I have rather high expectations on that front, because, while nearly universally gorgeous, Enchanted’s products are not inexpensive.  Short of splashing out on a ridiculously expensive Christian Louboutin polish/murder weapon/decorative tabletop item, Enchanted is at the high end of the price spectrum, and I expect it to be perfection in a bottle.  Thankfully, Christmas in July comes pretty close.

Christmas in July in August Bottle Sun

Sprinkle Pops

Sprinkle Pops Again

Because every so often I just have to paint my nails like something frosted and sprinkled, preferably both! Donuts are the ideal, but here I used a sweet lollipop nail charm from Daily Charme – I’m indiscriminate about the foodstuffs I’ll top with sprinkles, mostly in nail art, but occasionally sometimes also in life (I CANNOT make a chocolate box cake with tub icing without coating it in about half a cup of rainbow jimmies. Crunchy sugar goodness.) 🙂

Granite and Graphics

Granite and Graphics Fingers

Closing out the weekend with these simple geometric nails featuring two accent nails in a polish that makes everything it touches look a bit like pavement, or a very fine granite counter top, Chaotic by Formula X by Sephora.

Wishing you all the best end to the week, friends.  A demain!

Saturberries

Succulent Strawberries Sun

I’m preparing for a great Saturday night just lounging around at home with my fella – Indian takeaway in the kitchen, Stranger Things on the TV for the I’ve-lost-count time and this sweet strawberry manicure adorning my fingertips.

Facebook recently informed me that three years ago I combined motivation and some not-long-simmering interest in nail art, and out the other side came about 1,500 manicures, and indeed this very blog.  Self congrats aside, for all of the people who have ever been kind enough to comment that I’m quite good at nail art, and they could never turn out, say, strawberries as fine as mine, YOU CAN.  It just takes a bit of practice and a whole lot of patience.  Because you’ve seen where I started out, right?  I mean, check out these lumpy berries!  Sloppy work, terrible photography, and did you even know I had a right hand? 😉

417

Point being, we all start the things we eventually go on to be good or great at from a place of pure suck. Nothing sexier to be done about it than just keep moving forward and aim to improve, but that’s just good life advice, period.

Now off to my Stranger Indian Food Things. 😉

Succulent Strawberries Shade

 

Caribbean Carnival!

Carnival

Toronto’s annual Caribbean Carnival, a three-week bonanza showcasing Caribbean art, culture, music, food and big, honkin’, feather-adorned parade costumes, actually wrapped up last weekend, but its spirit lives on in this manicure, which was inspired by one of the gorgeous feathered headdresses I saw on a fabulously bejeweled (and befeathered) attendee.  You can find great photos of some of the costumed revelers in this CBC article here.  So beautiful – like exotic, turquoise-tinged birds (here a new favourite polish of mine, OPI’s Sailing & Nail-ing.)

A quick word, though, about the pink shimmer/frost/creme hybrid I used here, Pure Ice’s Peony – love the colour, love the way it applies (like silk), hate the fact that it gives my nails lumps and bumps where there are actually none, even after a thick coat of a super smoothing topcoat and base coat.  Bit of a bummer, that.

Drops and Dashes

Drops and Dashes Fingers Sun Straight On

Inspired by the very Vegas-y polish swatch I did the other day, here’s an abstract manicure featuring all the plush, jewel-tone hues of a glitzy and very ritzy casino.  Appropriately enough, the golden base polish I used here is Orly’s Glitz, a micro-glitter holo that packs a super sparkly, fight night-worthy punch.

Drops and Dashes Sun Angle