The Underdogs

Underdogs Collage

Here’s a couple of polishes I forgot I even owned (renos, man – you’ll misplace every single thing you ever owned, and then spend the next three months trying to hunt it all down again) Dance Legend’s Sun Still Sleeps from their Candy Flakes collection, and Layla’s unfortunately-named CE52.  Both of these polishes are OLD – at least four years – but relatively unused (because I keep forgetting I own them) so they’re still in excellent condition.  I can’t even remember where I bought these (think I got the Layla one from Nail Polish Canada, and I know the Dance Legend one was an import, because DL is a Russian brand.)  I’m sorry, I’m becoming a really crap nail blogger in my advancing years – too many polishes that all vaguely look the same!

Like these two!  The only thing that separates these two polishes, aside from the companies that produce them, is one is blue and one is purple.  Otherwise, they’re both jelly bases (that’s what gives them that squishy sort of look, even when topped with a matte topcoat) loaded with red-to-green iridescent flakes.

Underdogs 7

That red/green combination is a popular one in the world of nail polish, because when it’s paired with darker shades, like this blue and this purple, it creates these incredible linear rainbows that run alongside the bottle, and the edges of your nails.  It’s such a pretty look.

Underdogs 6

But a MESSY look.  After taking this polish off, I remembered why I don’t use these flakie-type polishes very often – because when you do take them off, the acetone will strip off the colour immediately, leaving you with nothing but flakes, all of which will be resolutely stuck to your nails.  So get ready to put some elbow grease into it, because these polishes do not remove easily.

If you’re in love with either of these long-in-the-tooth, probably discontinued polishes, you can recreate this exact look with a blue and purple polish of your choice, topped with an iridescent flakie topper.  Just about every manufacturer has at least one of these fun, colour-changing “effects” polishes, even the drugstore brands, so there’s lots of choice out there.  Enjoy!

Underdogs 1

Blue Flame Grass Clippings

Blue Flame Collage

That’s like some horrible slam poetry/word association misfire there.  But if my last post was a purple flame, that makes today’s, featuring a polish that is its nearly identical twin, a blue flame, right?  Except the kind of red-to-gold flakies used in both polishes – purple CE52 from Layla Cosmetics and this pretty blue gem, Sun Still Sleeps from Dance Legend – look completely different against a dusky blue background, taking on less of a burning embers look and more of an iridescent grass clippings kind of vibe. But very pretty grass clippings!

Blue Flame Fingers 2

I purchased this polish – an import, if you will, from Russian company Dance Legend – a couple of years ago through a now-defunct online stocklist (defunct for a pretty good reason as far as my experience is concerned; I received some abysmal customer service from them the one and only time I ordered.)  That’s a shame, as I now have no clue where to procure Dance Legend’s fun, pretty and vast assortment of lacquered goodies.  So I’ll have to make do with my one and only bottle of Sun Still Sleeps, one of those polishes I made a mad dash to the checkout line to purchase.

Blue Flame Fingers 1

Although now that I’m comparing it to the purple Layla polish (virtually identical in formulation, despite being from an altogether different manufacturer), I prefer the effect of the flakes as against the rich purple, as opposed to Sun Still Sleeps’ deep ocean blue. Sun Still Sleeps also required about four more coats for full opacity than the Layla polish, remaining stubbornly sheer at the tips well into its sixth coat.  Having to paint on umpteen layers of polish is no deal breaker for me when it comes to lightweight jelly polishes, although I will note that this now means there will be that many more flakies to wipe off come removal time, and the type of iridescent flakes in Sun Still Sleeps are a ferocious pain in the arse to remove (said removal actually not being the issue; it’s more that colour-shifting ghost flakies cling stubbornly to your nails and the surrounding skin long, long after you’ve acetoned and re-polished, acetoned and re-polished.  Them flakes be in it for the long haul.  But so am I, because this polish, minor quibbles aside, is just lovely.)

Blue Flame Bottle

The A-Team

Without getting too nihilistic on you, friends who come here to see nail art but instead get lured into 1,200-word diatribes on my cats and/or The Lost Boys, 2014 was a bad, bad year. To be sure, there were some lovely, wonderful moments – new babies! an unexpectedly fun road trip! the discovery of Misfits! – but for my family at least, and a distressingly large number of my friends and acquaintances, 2014 was a year defined by loss, grief and hardships great and small. I won’t be sorry to see it go.

Okay, so 2014 sucked. But do you know what didn’t? These nail polishes! Which seems like the ultimate in ridiculous non sequiturs, but really, in a year that’s been as unpleasant as the past one, why shouldn’t we take a moment to appreciate the things that gave us a bit of joy, even those as immaterially material as silly old nail polish? No good reason that I can think of! And so I present to you this photo gallery of the polishes that rocked my world this year, a motley assortment of holos and flakies and industrially chunky glitters that prove that good things – and sometimes good, don’t-hate-the-world feelings – truly do come in small packages. 😉

Sitting atop the heap and not included in this gallery is my pick for polish of the year, Candy Lacquer’s everything-and-the-kitchen-sink glitter, Candy Cane Fiesta. I’ve expounded on its loveliness – some may say at length! – so I’ll say no more before it develops a swelled head.Blue and Green Christmas

The following nine are presented in no particular order or ranking – they’re across-the-board beautiful and so well made, I’ve found uses for them in multiple manis this year, and will continue to well into the new year. Here’s to the little lacquered things!

1. Polish Me Silly’s pink, white and blue glitter topper, Mr. Bubble.Mr. Bubble

2. Smitten Polish’s red shimmer-infused purple jelly, You Saucy Minx.You Saucy Minx

3. KB Shimmer’s Hawaiian Punch-in-a-bottle, Belle of the Mall.Sparkling Strawberry

4. KB Shimmer’s grass green glitter jelly, Get Clover It.Get Clover It

5. Orly’s silver holo of the year, Mirrorball.Mirrorball

6. Dance Legend’s cobalt blue jelly flakie, Sun Still Sleeps.Sun Still Sleeps

7. Candy Lacquer’s super fruity matte glitter, Citrus Smoothie.Citrus Smoothie

8. KB Shimmer’s Frozen-in-a-bottle, Snow Much Fun.Snow Much Fun

9. Polish Me Silly’s pink-to-gold-to-green chrome flakie, Stop Flaking on Me.Stop Flaking on Me

Polish Me Silly’s polishes are available through their Etsy shop. You can find KB Shimmer’s wares through their own site if you’re an American customer, or through Harlow & Co.’s site if you’re an international customer. Smitten Polish’s goods are available through their Big Cartel site, as are Candy Lacquer‘s. Orly polishes are available at brick and mortar Sally Beauty Supply shops, as well as their website. Finally, Dance Legend polishes are best and most reliably acquired through international stocklist Llarowe’s website.

Electric Circus

Electric CircusShow of well manicured hands if you were a Canadian teen in the ’90s who spent at least a portion of your weekends listlessly hate-watching cable channel Much Music’s Saturday night bump and grind-o-rama, Electric Circus. Actually, to be fair to the Circus – on which I was featured in about 1995 regrettably not as a dancer, but as a nabbed-off-the-street interviewer of of-the-moment R&B “sensation” Tony! Toni! Tone!, which really makes no sense because I was super into grunge and quite openly snobby about it – there was very little bumping and grinding. The dancers featured on Electric Circus every Saturday night in Much Music’s retrofitted and black-lit studios were well trained, intense and FOCUSED (very busy work is being a dancer up on one of the boxes, THE sign that you had made it in the ’90s club dance scene.) Even the kids who lined up every week to be chosen as one of the evening’s 50 or so regular, on-the-floor dancers brought their A game, and there wasn’t a whole lot of that gross thing that guys did in the ’90s where they just come up behind you on the dance floor, sock their crotch against your butt, bellow something completely inarticulate and Labatt Dry-scented directly into your eardrum before attempting some pelvic-a-licious dance maneuver, at which point you fake an aneurysm and you and your friend decamp to the bar two blocks down, which is actually just fine because you left your coats there earlier so as to avoid having to check them at the bar up the road, even though it’s -25 degrees out and you’re in your very tiniest, and tightest, baby tee, which isn’t actually yours, but you’ve worn it out so often, your best friend really ought to just give it to you out of the goodness of her heart, because it makes your boobs look really great. True story.) Ah yes, kids, improbably enough, it was a more innocent time!

Long tangent short: These nails, Dance Legend’s neon glitter topper, Rio #1, over OPI’s silver foil, My Signature is “DC”, remind me of the vibe and look of Electric Circus – lots and lots of neon and shiny, dancing stars.

Clowning Around

Clowning Around

Ultra bright-on-white gradient nails fit for a girly clown.

Here’s some fun nail art where the glitter topper, Dance Legend’s star-packed Rio #1, does all the heavy lifting AND gently sands off the rough edges of one hella poor gradient.  Despite being one of the first nail art techniques I ever tried, gradients and I just don’t get along.  I suspect I’m using too heavy a hand with my sponging, and coupled with my shorter-than-most nails, the resulting design always looks a tad messy.  Still, I try, and when you’ve got a glitter this bright and beautiful, you’d be a fool to clutter up its gorgeous clutter with anything more than just a simple – if slightly lopsided – gradient.Rio #1 Bottle

Best. Polish. Ever.

Sun Still Sleeps Outside

There is no arguing that amongst the nail blogging community, we tend to utilize a lot of hyperbole in our writing and reviews.  This is the best freaking that and that’s the most amazing this and this is the most lustrous, super wonderful thing in the history of things…you know how it goes.  And we’ve all got our own personal preferences (glittery pinks tend to be my jam), so technically none of us are wrong when we go to the mat for a favourite polish.  One big lacquered love-in, man, and all that hippie jazz.

Except you’re totally wrong if you love anything other than this polish, Dance Legend’s Sun Still Sleeps from the Candy Flakes Collection.  I mean, it’s really sweet of you to think you’ve found the holy grail of nail polishes, but you haven’t, because this is it.  And it’s not even glittery pink!  Sun Still Sleeps is a gorgeous cerulean jelly loaded with fine green-to-blue-to-copper-leaning flakies.  It dries a touch textured (nothing a good top coat can’t fix) and thankfully, owing to the tiny flakie bits, isn’t afflicted with that thing its larger-flaked counterparts often suffer from where giant pieces of glitter stick up off your nail and you destroy your manicure within two hours of application because like your cat, you can’t stop nattering at your claws.  It applied beautifully, and three coats gave my nails a gorgeous layered look that was difficult to tear my eyes away from.  It’s one for your inner magpie, that’s for sure.

I don’t often recommend products because a) in the parlance of Nirvana, I’d rather not be a baby-kissin’ corporate whore (pfft, whatever – idealism is for people in their 20s; show this old broad the money!) and b) if it doesn’t work out, I’d prefer it if you didn’t blame me, but most of all, because c) I don’t like to share, and if you find out how awesome it is, you might buy it all and then I’ll have none. 😦  But I’m feeling magnanimous in my advancing years, and who am I to hog all the glory?  One love, man, right?!  And so I’ll share – I got mine from Llarowe, along with another couple of polishes, my first Dance Legend purchases.  I nabbed mine during a recent bolt-to-the-checkout launch event after which I breathlessly – here we go with the hyperbole again – announced to my husband, “Wow, that was INTENSE!”  He rightfully looked at me like I was a loon.  I have no doubt it’s sold out as we speak, because it’s just one of those polishes, but check back with Llarowe periodically, as they update their launch lists frequently. 

Here’s Sun Still Sleeps in the late afternoon sun, at an angle to show off its beautiful colour-shifting flakes.Sun Still Sleeps Sun