Vengeance Will Be Mine!

Londontown Collage

And beautifully manicured nails will also be mine, thanks to a quartet of gorgeous lakur polishes from Londontown that arrived on my doorstep just in time for those first frosty Fall evenings.  I love these lakur polishes – they apply well, dry quickly and wear like the dickens, to say nothing of that megawatt, gel-like shine.  It’s the rare lacquer (and lakur) that handles nail art applications just as well as it does everyday wear.  And as always, these polishes are vegan-friendly and five (actually nine) free.

Londontown very kindly sent me these polishes – hues from Back With a Vengeance, their Fall 2018 collection – for my perusal and use, and so let’s do just that then, shall we?

Londontown Collage 1

First up, we have the showstopper of the Back With a Vengeance Collection, indigo blue creme Iconic.  I adore this colour; it’s so rich, vibrant and lush.  Also the exact hue of Dory the blue tang from the Finding Nemo movies. 😉  For this manicure I used two light coats of Iconic, though I probably could have gotten away with one.  It’s also worth noting that all four polishes brushed on smoothly, self-leveled nicely and stayed put – you don’t realize how important a feature that is in a nail polish until you’ve tried to clean up polish-saturated cuticles with a teeny little detail brush.  So three cheers for a polish that knows its place – on your nails and not your skin!

Iconic Collage

Londontown does pale purples very well, and grey-tinged Jane Austen is no exception.  By all rights, this creme polish should make you look like a cadaver, but somehow, it’s flattering, and so, so delicate.  I can almost picture Elizabeth Bennet wearing a devastatingly cleavage-y dress in this exact hue (rolling her eyes whilst being forced into an afternoon of needlepoint and pianoforte, but of course!)  For this manicure I used three coats of Jane Austen and, like all of the swatches shown here, I forwent the topcoat – no need when the base polish is this shiny and well behaved.

Austen Collage

Next up we have the lone shimmer of the bunch, metallic Kissed by Rose Gold.  I really like these kinds of shimmers, the ones that look almost textured and a bit furry, but I think the name here might be a tad off – this polish is less rose gold and more rose platinum; as against my ultra pale skin tone, it definitely reads more silver than gold.  Here I’ve shown three light coats of Kissed by Rose Gold.

Rose Gold Collage

Saving the best for last, we have cherry red Vendetta!  This deep, almost blood red crimson creme is outstanding – a solid two-coater, and another one that really knew its place (vital when you’re dealing with stainy reds, which come to think of it, Vendetta was not.  Neither was Iconic, and typically nothing stains like a dark blue.  Huh.)  I just love a wickedly vampy red, and Vendetta is one of the better ones.

Vendetta Collage

I’ve been so impressed with Londontown’s products, and here’s another handful of great polishes to join their already quite extensive lakur line – looking forward to seeing what they come out with next. 🙂  If you’d like to check out these polishes for yourself – heck, Londontown’s entire line of lacquers – you can find them here.  Happy polishing!

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Londontown Looks

Lakur Nail Art 1

Closing out the week, as promised, with a couple of easy nail art looks using three of the polishes I received from Londontown, nude Cheerio, hyacinth Briolette and shimmery grey Opal.  These polishes are all so delicate-looking, I didn’t want to mess about with any design that felt too done.  As such, these manicures are very much not my usual!  But I actually love to sport the less-is-less look every now and then; it makes such a lovely change from my usual “It needs more cowbell” approach to nail art (and, indeed, life.)

Lakur Nail Art 2

Included in my nice little package of polishes and other nail care goodies was, in addition to some intoxicating-smelling cuticle oil, a bottle of Londontown’s kur protective topcoat.  I’m quite picky when it comes to my to my choice of topcoat – it’s pretty well Seche Vite or nothing (literally; I’m not sure I ever would have continued on with my first awful nail art efforts had it not been for Seche’s smoothing and soothing influence.)  But Londontown’s topcoat performed beautifully, drying quickly to a hard, glossy shine that didn’t drag on the delicate designs.  A worthy challenger to Seche for my nail art affections, absolutely, and another great product from Londontown.

Kur Topcoat

Take Me to Londontown

Londontown Collage 2

Here’s a bit of excitement in this nail blogger’s world – I was recently sent this lovely package of polishes and nail care items from Londontown, an American company with a mind for natural, botanical beauty.  Featuring a gorgeous collection of vegan, 5-free polishes (“5-free” meaning the formula is free from the five major toxins you’ll commonly find in nail polish – toluene, formaldehyde, DBF, camphor and formaldehyde resin, in case you were curious) and essential oil-infused nail care products, Londontown’s got the natural, ethically-minded mani for you.

And for me!  Times four, as I tested out a quartet of Londontown’s lakur polishes (including two new shades from their summer 2018 collection) and an assortment of wonderfully-scented nail care items.  Later on in the week I’ll have some nail art for you featuring these lovely polishes, but until then, let’s take a closer look at this unexpected manna from the manicure heavens. 🙂

Every good mani requires a healthy start and a strong finish, and Londontown has seen to that as well with their kur line of vegan, gluten-free and cruelty-free nail care products.  I haven’t had much of a chance to live with the nail hardener & base coat or the protective top coat (those will both see a lot more work when I begin putting these polishes through their nail art paces) but I’ve been using the heck out of the nourishing cuticle oil, because it’s light, non-greasy and it smells fan-freakin-tastic – like an herb garden, heavy on the flowering lavender and thyme, warm from the sun.  Infused with what Londontown calls their Florium Complex, a proprietary blend of extracts and oils and other good-for-your-nails stuff, I’d purchase this great cuticle oil in a heartbeat.

Londontown Main 2

And now, on to the pretty colours!  Up first at bat we have Cheerio, a delicate, pale wash of a hue that provides tons of shine while enhancing your natural nail colour – it’s your nails, only tidier!  She don’t look like much, but these kinds of non-colour colours always prove themselves quite useful, in applications ranging from clean, chic manicures to glittery jelly sandwich nail art.  I used three coats of Cheerio for this manicure, and like all of the swatches shown here, it’s presented au naturel – no topcoat to mess up all that lovely natural gloss.

Cheerio Collage

Next up we have Briolette, one of the summer 2018 additions to the lakur polish line.  Briolette (a briolette is apparently a type of gemstone cut, like an elongated pear) is a beautiful pale lilac creme dusted with purple shimmer.  The purple shimmer is not super apparent on the nail, but it does lend Briolette a lovely sort of corona that makes this polish look like it’s glowing from within.  This is two and a smidge coats (the smidge coat representing one obstinate nail on which I always experience polish drag, and it really is such a drag.) 😉

Briolette Collage

Next we have Opal, the second of the summer 2018 polishes.  True to its name, this pale grey creme shines with ultra fine purple, pink and blue shimmer.  Opal is just a beautiful, beautiful polish, and so flattering.  The shimmer is most apparent out in the sun, but in lower lighting, that added bit of visual interest makes this polish look like stucco or plaster or some other hideously expensive wall treatment.  It also applied really well, in two light coats.

Opal Collage

Sparkle and shine!

Opal 5

Finally, we have my favourite of the four polishes, juicy, popsicle red Guilty Pleasure.  This is the perfect summertime colour – lush, bright and so, so shiny!  I’ve been wearing Guilty Pleasure for three days now – a total rarity for me, but I’m carrying out some renovations to my apartment; little time to switch out my manis when I’m wrist-deep in floor leveler – and even without a base coat or a top coat, it’s holding up admirably well, with just the barest bit of wear.  Very nice.

Guilty Pleasure Collage

As stated off the top, and because we have to do these sorts of things now, lest the Internet police come for all that sweet, sweet bloggin’ money I keep hearing so much about, Londontown very kindly sent me these items, presumably for my review and enjoyment, although they made no requests that I do either (“WE DEMAND THAT YOU LOVE THESE POLISHES!”)  So nobody’s holding a nail file to my kidneys to get me to say that I really liked these polishes, and I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase more.  Looking forward to seeing what this quartet can do in the nail art arena very soon.

Londontown Collage 1

If you’d like more information on Londontown – their business practices, their backstory – or to peruse their large collection of lakur polishes and kur nail care products, click here and tell ’em Finger Candy sent you!

Bubble Bubble, Suds and (Some) Trouble

Main Soap Photo

Continuing my unfortunate streak of items I wish I had exercised a bit more caution in purchasing, here’s the back half of my large Rhinestone Housewife order, this time a quartet of spooky suds from Dreaming Tree Soapworks.  I noted in a post last month that I had had some trouble with the colourfastness of one of those bars of soap; it was a dark chocolate brown, and in combination with the soap’s plush, but slightly oily, composition, it had the rather gross tendency to leave fatty-looking bits of brown sludge behind on everything it touched.  To the point where I tossed the bar a few days after writing that post.  And not without some regret either, because I really love these olive oil-infused soaps in use; they’re incredibly lush and leave my skin feeling super soft and moisturized.

Soaps in Coffin

Some of these spooky soaps regrettably suffer from the same problem as that chocolate (brown) bar, particularly Monster Mash (a perky fruit punch fragrance) and The Pumpkin King (a spicy squash.)  Using Monster Mash is particularly distressing, as it suds-up into a bloody sort of pink that kind of makes shower time feel like Carrie-on-stage-at-the-prom time.  Which is both seasonally and thematically appropriate, but maybe not the greatest, cleanest-feeling way to start the day.

Soaps in a Row

Ah, but they’re pretty, and they all smell so lovely.  One of the things I do really love about these soaps is the way they really hold on to their scents; they remain strong and true week after week.  Which means if I can get over the kinda gross factor, I’ve got months and months to enjoy Monster Mash and The Pumpkin King, as well as Fruit Fool (far left), a scrumptious apple-blueberry scent, and Poisoned Apple (far right), a zippy, caramel (crab)apple fragrance.

Soaps in the Sun

So I’m well, well covered in the soap department.  Now I just have to turn around this bad shopping juju that has plagued seemingly every retail transaction I’ve made in the past two months.  This, however, delighted the crap out of me (and my husband, who was likewise impressed) – this American Psycho-worthy business card from The Rhinestone Housewife.  We seriously Patrick Bateman’d all over this thing – look at the card stock!  That sucker must be a quarter of an inch thick!  And yes, we really are that easily amused. 🙂

Card

Sudsy Fandom Fun

Fall Fandom Closeup

Or a Hobbit sandwich on Harry Potter bread. 😉

Here’s a cute trio of fandom-minded soaps from Dreaming Tree Soapworks inspired by the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter movies and books.  I nabbed these luscious, olive oil-infused soaps from The Rhinestone Housewife, who deal in Dreaming Tree Soapworks’ large collection of beautifully made, gorgeously themed soaps.  I picked up quite a few selections from their Halloween release; I’ll share those with you as we get a little closer to the haunting season.  But of the remainder, I just knew I had to try the fabulously foodie trio of LOTR’s Hobbiton Banana Bread paired with Harry Potter’s Butterbeer and Cauldron Cakes.

Of the three, I’ve only had a chance to try Cauldron Cakes.  On its site, The Rhinestone Housewife describes Cauldron Cakes as smelling like “Devils Food chocolate glazed cakes stuffed with buttercream toasted marshmallow filling.”  Which, holy lord, sounds just frickin’ amazing; can I get some right now?!  After using my bar of Cauldron Cakes for about a week or so now, I can’t say whether it smells like all those delicious things – I mainly get a rich, true chocolate scent, which is really quite scrumptious and pleasing; I ain’t gonna kick it out of the bath.

Fall Fandom Soaps

However, Cauldron Cakes – the dark brown bar – contains unrefined cocoa butter.  I’m going to assume that because the ingredient list does not include any sort of dye, the chocolate brown colour and gorgeous, true-to-life chocolate scent are coming from the unrefined cocoa butter.  And so I think because of its natural ingredients, Cauldron Cakes is not colourfast (if a bar of soap could be said to be such a thing.)  As such, its rich brown hue “runs” when wet; it suds up into a pale mocha hue and leaves rusty-looking water droplets all over your soap dish, counters and towels.  And like all bars of soap, it leaves bits of itself behind in the dish in between every use.  Gummy soap build-up is kind of gross; I submit it’s extra gross when your soap sheds oily shards of brown gunge with every pass, even if that gunge smells like sharp, slightly boozy chocolate.  It just looks like a wet log of poo sitting there in my soap dish, for real.  NOW I’m kicking it out of the bath.

I really hope the other two don’t succumb to Cauldron Cakes’ problem of too-much-hue, although neither Hobbiton Banana Bread (a slightly spiced and lightly fruity bakery blend) nor Butterbeer (fizzy cream soda) contain much pigment, so we shall see.  Fingers crossed, because they both smell so lovely, and overall, I just adore the consistency and formula of Dreaming Tree’s soaps; my skin feels so lovely and moisturized, without the need for additional lotion, and they suds up so satisfyingly.  I just wish those suds weren’t the colour of (wait for it, Jessica!) cat poo.

Fall Fandom Pumpkin

Turn on the Northern Lights!

Northern Lights Sun Collage

It recently occurred to me that I haven’t done a swatch post in quite some time.  That’s because for the most part, I’ve suspended my informal nail polish procurement program (also known as me sitting in front of online stocklists at two in the morning going, “Ooh, that looks nice!”)  Things had just reached the point where I had no more room to store these things.  But more than that, it seemed like there was nothing new under the sun, and did I really need ANOTHER holographic, purple-to-teal multi-chrome?  TL;DR: I haven’t bought – or swatched – a new polish in a very long time.

But I am now, with this lovely, lustrous lacquer, OPI’s Infinite Shine 2 in Turn on the Northern Lights! Northern Lights is a beautiful, beautiful polish – a thick, gel-based purple polish shot through with fuchsia-to-green micro shimmer.  This polish positively glows in the sun, but in a subdued sort of way – Northern Lights is no disco ball, although I think its gorgeous, jewel-toned purple hues are perfect for a disco Fall. 😉

Northern Lights Bottle Sun

If Turn on the Northern Lights! is part of any sort of gel system, I have no idea.  I know, I know, bad, bad nail blogger, get your facts straight!  But I applied this polish as you would any other – three coats and one layer of a quick dry topcoat – and it produced one of the longest lasting and most beautiful manicures I’ve had the pleasure of wearing in ages (I remove my manis indecently fast, in part because they begin to chip and show wear quickly.)  But these Northern Lights shone brightly, through three days of wear and two trips down to the highly chlorinated pool!  Impressive.

Like all shimmer-laden polishes, Turn on the Northern Lights! does its best work in the sun, although it also looks beautiful in the shade, where you can really see the little bit of chartreuse pixie dust running along the bottom edge of the bottle.  I wish this effect was more pronounced on the nail (or pronounced at all; I saw no trace of the green shimmer in this polish, not even along the very edges of my nails) but I love the glowing, plum-to-purple effect enough that that’s but a tiny nit to pick.

Northern Lights Bottle Shade

 

Sunny Days: A Little Haul Post

Sunny's Main Photo

I’ve sung the sweetly scented praises of Sunny’s Body Products before – they’re a favourite indie bath and beauty shop, and their cuticle oils are the only product I use on my nails. Seems we’re both low tech AND brand loyal here at Finger Candy HQ!  Then again, Sunny’s has given me no cause to stray – their products agree nicely with my skin, I’ve never received anything less than stellar customer service, and in combination with their absolutely gigantic scent list (over 650 wide-ranging fragrances) securing a new favourite is practically guaranteed.

But with the exception of a limited edition, Fall-themed box of bath and beauty items I bought some years ago, I’d yet to try any of Sunny’s products that weren’t cuticle oils.  So with a hot little discount code burning a hole through the ones and zeroes of my digital wallet, I marched off to Sunny’s aaaannnnnndddddd…promptly bought a dozen mini rollerball cuticle oils!  What can I tell you, you buy what you know. 😉  Also, eight of these are for friends (hence the unsightly hockey tape still snugly securing some of the lids.)

Sunny's Rollerball Lineup

Staying here with me (where I will give them a very good home) are the four rollerballs in the middle, Balsam & Citrus (astringent fir trees and juicy citrus; I’m really looking forward to using this one at Christmas), Poison Pie (an old favourite that smells like blueberries, cinnamon apples and flaky, buttery pastry), Pumpkin Crunch Cake (another oldie-but-goodie that smells like spiced yellow pudding cake) and Vanilla Snowflake (a take-my-money combination of icy peppermint, coconut flakes and sweet sugar cookies.)

The rollerball applicators themselves are lightweight, but sturdy enough you can stand them on their ends without them all toppling over.  Inside, the light combination of almond, jojoba and avocado oils mingle with just the right amount of fragrance oil, creating a skin-nourishing treat that I frequently press into double agent action as an allover fragrance.  As always, though, the best thing about these rollerballs – all of Sunny’s products, actually – are the labels.  I can’t imagine the work that must go into compiling all of these custom orders and then matching up the graphic design to each individual fragrance, but I do know I really appreciate the effort.  Half the fun of opening up a Sunny’s order is guessing what adorable labels will be wrapped around your items. My favourite from this go-round was Poison Pie, and yes, those are martini glasses and mason jars filled with eyeballs. 🙂

Sunny's Poison Pie Rollerball

But I didn’t just stop at the cuticle oils this time, adding a whipped soap and a donut-shaped bar soap to my order as well.  You know, for quality testing purposes!  It simply won’t do to have a control group of nothing but cuticle oils.  Simply won’t.

Sunny's Order Wrapped Donut

Scented with my all time favourite Sunny’s fragrance, Blueberry Cheesecake, both the whipped soap and the donut soap are sublime.  I’ve actually yet to break into the whipped soap (I have quite a backlog of bars to plow through first) although I like the frosting-like consistency of the glycerin-based blend.  And the scent?  Oof, it’s so delicious, and true to both the cuticle oil and the bar soap – the scent thankfully does not change from product to product.

Sunny's Blueberry Whipped Soap

And what of the adorable little donut-shaped bar soap?  About two days from retirement. Plans to go on a round-the-world trip with its wife once it finishes this one. final. JOB! Oh wait, sorry, think I’m getting my bath and beauty and police procedurals all mixed up.  A-gain.  But the soap *is* nearly finished.

Anyhow, if you can consider yourself to be any such thing, I was actually proud of this little donut – perched at the side of the bathroom sink, it lasted for three weeks, sudsed up nicely, moisturized well, remained scent true (and strong, such a rarity in a cold processed soap) and didn’t disintegrate into a soapy, goopy mess as it neared its final days.  Also, Sunny was kind enough to solicit requests for icing colours, so I went with the rainbow sherbet-like hues I use to decorate our apartment.

Sunny's Soap and Towel

So there we have it, another little Sunny’s order to enjoy alone AND share with friends.  I can’t wait until they get their cuticle oils – I’ve no doubt they’re going to love them, maybe enough to seek out some sweet little donuts of their own.  But no matter the recipient, this was another fantastic order from Sunny’s Body Products, and absolutely not my last.