It has been an absolute donkey’s age since I’ve purchased a treat for myself (been lean this spring and summer as we recover from all this reno business) and even longer since that treat was nail polish. I think the last new shades I purchased were these Polished For Days lovelies in April of 2018.
But in the aftermath of the renos, I binned a ton of cruddy, dried-out old polishes, some duds I never quite found a use for, but also a few discontinued favourites that simply couldn’t be salvaged. The kind of glitter-intensive polishes I favour don’t hold up very well to the rigors of time and use (and BOY, have I used the heck out of those polishes!) I was sad to see them go, but excited to re-organize my polish collection in this sweet little rolling cart my mom nabbed from IKEA.
Anyhow, it was time to call in some reinforcements on a couple of fallen comrades (been watching Stranger Things much?), so I placed an order with Kitchener company Harlow & Co. for a trio of KB Shimmer polishes, including this indigo blue stunner, Regal-ize It.
Pretty, isn’t she? This polish is Finger Candy catnip, from the lush jelly base, to the rich violet hue, to the smattering of golden holographic glitter that glimmers within its squishy, jewel-toned depths. Brings out in the romantic in me, too. 😉 I also just like KB Shimmer polishes. They’re of really great quality (I tossed just one KB in The Great De-Polishing, and that’s because it was five years old and a dried-out quarter full) and they’re always trying something just a little bit different. Which includes an update to their branding and packaging.
Regal-ize it is just lovely, and a lot more subtle than I was expecting from a golden glitter-studded purple jelly polish. A bit of a chameleon, too, changing from a clear, indigo blue to a velvety purple depending on the lighting conditions and the time of day. So more bang for your buck, and another winner from KB for me. 🙂 Looking forward to sharing the other two with you soon.
Here’s a polish I haven’t given much of a workout, Different Dimension’s You’ve Gotta Be Squidding Me. I have no idea how it came by that name – the only squid I can think of right now, besides the giant dead one I saw moldering behind glass at the Boston Aquarium when I was eight, are those little white ones that flash bright red when they mate en masse, a display of such supreme underwater acrobatics, most of the little buggers fall dead from exhaustion immediately afterward, carpeting the sea floor with their limp carcasses. Then seals eat them. ANYHOW, I’m *fairly* certain Different Dimension didn’t have an out of control sex-squid key party in mind when they named this polish. Here’s hoping!
You’ve Gotta Be Squidding Me is such a pretty polish, but it’s also quite tricky. The jelly formulation is lovely and this polish applies beautifully, but a couple of hours after drying, it does that thing that nearly all jelly polishes do and begins to pull back at the edges of my nails. Visible nail lines can also be an issue, particularly in the sun (I used four coats for this manicure before deciding to call it, nail lines and all.)
The lush coral hue of Squidding Me is gorgeous, though, and this purple flakie-stuffed polish is a fantastic colour chameleon, flashing between a kind of candied pinky-orange, a darker, purple-tinged coral and neon pink. Gorgeous; a perfect summer polish. And not at all evocative of perverted cephalopods boning themselves to death, no siree.
Over the span of about eight overnight hours, my city went from cool, sweetly-scented springtime glory to dank, humid cesspool. Summer arrived in a big, bad way this morning, and it’s already disgusting. And because I live in a condo managed by a bunch of old ladies who never got over the high school urge to mean girl one another, thus leading to many poor fiduciary decisions, such as whatever snit fit led to our heaters – freaking uncontrollable from within our units, by the way – continuing to be cranked to 11 at the end of May, we are sitting in +30 degree weather WITH THE HEATERS ON. So now we have both our air conditioner AND our heat PUMPIN’. Carbon footprint? Pfft. Besides, this is just making up for the snit fit last year that led to the entire building’s heat not being turned on until mid-December. I’m Pauly Shore’s burrito in Encino Man – hot on the outside, icy cold in the middle (“What’s a Pauly Shore?” said so many people.)
Back to the nails? Yes, let’s. This is Contrary Polish’s Beach Blanket, a fitting name for such a muggy day. I’ve had this polish for a while, but I don’t believe I’ve ever given it the swatching treatment before, shame on me.
Beach Blanket is a jelly-type polish, and so it’s quite sheer – this one will require at least four coats if you’re twitchy about visible nail lines. Dusted with fine purple shimmer, Beach Blanket takes on a cool speckled look in the shade – combined with its lush red hue, the overall effect is very juicy strawberry. Lovely.
And I heart this manicure, too! Like stars, hearts are one of those things I don’t free-hand particularly well. But I am powerless to resist a pink, red and white colour combination (here a pond manicure using Nfu Oh’s cerise-hued jelly, JS24) which always calls to mind very Valentiney things, hearts included. So I went all-in, painted on an allover heart design, and in the end I think things turned out quite well. My husband said they look like nail decals (well, he said “decnals” in the vein of the Trailer Park Boys’ Ricky, a man who mangles the English language with tremendous flair) which is just about the best compliment I can think of. 🙂
Continuing with this week’s unintentional theme of autumnal nail delights, here’s a super seasonal manicure that reminds me of the cut-down, Canada goose-filled corn fields I pass every day whilst out and about living my life (and if you’re wondering what kind of godforsaken, bird-plagued borough I live in – the other day it was turkeys, today it’s Canada geese – eastern Ontario!) Those fields are filled with the dried up, broken-off remnants of this summer’s bounty and, of course, about 200 plump geese gorging themselves silly for their flights down south (seems counter-intuitive to me, having a great big meal before a long flight, but clearly they know something I don’t!)
The hay or dried out, fieldy bits (actual technical term) in these nails comes courtesy of China Glaze’s Rest in Pieces, a predominantly copper-hued glitter topper from last year’s Halloween collection. I never really warmed up to this polish – something about the bar glitter (messy!) and the fact that it presents well over virtually nothing. Except for this manicure, where I of course think it looks AWESOME! Really, why did I not jelly sandwich this one sooner, especially when I’ve got Nfu Oh’s rich, butterscotch-hued jelly, JS39, on standby? The clear, lush simplicity of the jelly polish showcases Rest in Pieces beautifully, while tamping down some of the harsh holographic edges that tend to make it look just a tad “too much.” Very nice.
In a few days time it will be Fall proper, and what better way to usher in that gorgeous, fiery season than with this absolutely beautiful and beautifully festive glitter? This little stunner is KB Shimmer’s Leaf of Faith, a polish from last year’s Fall collection that somehow managed to escape my notice. Or, more accurately, I noticed it, decided I didn’t need it, then decided I did need it, at which point it promptly went out of stock until THIS Fall (“need” being a totally relative term, of course.) I picked up this leafy beauty from Harlow & Co., along with a couple of other selections from this year’s Halloween collection.
But back to Leaf of Faith. Oh my gosh, this polish is GORGEOUS! Like two of my other favourite KB polishes, punch-hued Belle of the Mall and kelly green Get Clover It, Leaf of Faith is a jelly-based glitter. I love these kinds of lacquers, because they give the look of a jelly sandwich manicure straight out of the bottle, with tons of depth, shine and much-desired “squishiness.” The formula on these polishes is likewise awesome, applying smoothly in three light coats, with no weird glitter bunch. Gosh, that sounds like a horrible affliction, doesn’t it – glitter bunch? 🙂
Speaking of, the glitter in Leaf of Faith – red, gold and orange in an assortment of holographic hexes – is suspended in a lush, merlot-hued jelly that deepens it to a gorgeous, perfectly burnished smattering of crunchy leaves. A truly stunning polish – be-leaf that.
Or at least Kitty’s iconic bow and glasses. Wait, does Kitty even wear glasses? No, I’ve seen her wear glasses. So does her boyfriend, Daniel. And I *may* have just spent a bit too long contemplating the eye wear choices of two cartoon cats!
Leadlighting is the new-to-me nail art technique I tried with these nails. Leadlighting, a relative of stamping, is meant to look like stained glass windows – vibrant, slightly diffuse colours trapped within a decorative “lead” frame. Sheer jelly polishes really prove their worth in leadlighting, too, enhancing and brightening up an overall design without obscuring the stamping work. For these nails, I stamped a bows-and-glasses design from my Hello Kitty image plate (Fab Ur Nails FUN number 9) over top of a basic white creme. After giving that plenty of time to dry (I’ve found that unless you give your stamped design ample dry time, it will smudge and smear, destroying the effect AND your mani) I then filled in the bows with a detail brush dipped in an assortment of rainbow-hued jellies. If you’re at all familiar with cookie flooding or, more simply, colouring in a colouring book, leadlighting works exactly the same way – you create a border of sorts out of the stamped design and then fill it in with your coloured polishes. Really super easy, and very cool.
You won’t find any traditional feathers in this peacock-inspired manicure, just blended jelly layers in shades of vibrant aqua, blue and purple, tipped in glittering, gilded gold.
For these deceptively difficult looking nails, I used three shades from Mentality’s Glazing Art Set, aqua, blue and purple, and Orly’s glimmering gold Bling. Starting with the aqua glaze (or jelly, or sheer) I brushed on three thin coats and let them dry. Then, taking the blue glaze and starting just a smidge down into the aqua polish, I brushed on one light coat and let it dry. Taking the blue glaze once again, I then brushed on another light coat, this time starting a smidge down from the last blue layer. I then repeated the last two steps with the purple glaze, working my way down my nails, before edging them with a light, brushed-on coat of Bling. You’re building up a type of gradient here by layering and blending the polishes. When you’re finished, you’ll have one layer of aqua, two layers of blue, two layers of purple and the glittery gold cherry on top. Neat, vibrant and super simple – the very best kind of nail art!
Actually, no, that’s a lie; I totally think you’re ready for this jelly! This is Models Own Rhubarb and Custard, a sweetly-scented, strawberry daiquiri-hued jelly sprinkled with ultra tiny white matte glitter. Released last year as part of their candy-scented Sweet Shop Collection, Rhubarb and Custard, a lush, super saturated candy apple red, applies with the typical ease of a jelly, drying down to an ever so slightly textured finish on account of the matte glitter. A coat of Seche Vite tidies that up in a flash, though, lending this polish all sorts of interesting visual interest and depth, with the glitter doing that fun thing where it looks as though it’s suspended in the polish itself.
And what of the scent? Very nice, actually, and fairly unobtrusive. Scented polishes can often be nauseatingly cloying, but Rhubarb and Custard, while smelling neither particularly rhubarby or custardy, is pretty in an unidentifiably sweet way, and not the least bit affected by the addition of a topcoat. You can find Models Own polishes, including this candy-coated beauty, at Nail Polish Canada, Harlow & Co. and Llarowe.