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

There’s No Business Like Glow Business

Flakie CollageI knew this manicure, a purple-on-black gradient topped with blue-leaning, iridescent flakies, was going to look cool, but I had no idea the little blue flakies would pull so much light from the dark polish and glow neon blue! It’s such a cool effect – like tiny LED lights for your nails – and one that remains that way no matter the angle of your hand, the quality of the light or, apparently, your choice of matte or shiny topcoat. Neat!

Here I’ve shown a touch-too-dark gradient of OPI’s purple Do You Have This Color in Stock-holm? over Pure Ice’s Black Out, topped with the blue flakies from Revlon’s double-ended Moon Candy polish in Orbit. And going for two different looks from the same mani, I sealed the whole works off first with a coat of ultra shiny Seche Vite before finishing up with a coat of Essie’s satiny Matte About You. Either way, the light from the iridescent flakes blazes through, elevating this simple glitter-on-gradient manicure above the of-the-moment flakie fray.

All Matted Up

Radiant BottleThe nail blogging community, myself included, spend a lot of time extolling the virtues of indie nail polishes and polish manufacturers. There’s a lot to like in the indie arena (creativity abounds when a maker isn’t trying to appeal to ALL the polish mavens in the world concurrently), but sometimes it’s nice to take a closer look at some of the easier-to-find – but just as beautiful! – commercial polishes on offer at the local drugstore or big box, fluorescent lit hell hole of your choosing.

Here’s one such polish, Revlon’s glittery, ocean blue (and green and silver) Radiant. Revlon’s one of those venerable brands that’s been beautifying our grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters and drag queen uncles since the dawn of time (1931, actually), and I’d wager that there’s very, very few makeup-wearing people in the world who haven’t had some variety of Revlon product cross their lighted vanity at least once. In fact, here’s a fun Revlon tidbit: At launch, the company offered but one product, a new type of opaque nail enamel manufactured using pigments rather than standard dyes. Fast forward nine years and Revlon is a multimillion dollar company with a full complement of beauty products. The fascinating things you learn in a day, right? And undoubtedly a great motivator for all those indies out there. Just keep plugging away, because you never, ever know where these things might lead.

But back to the task at polished hand. This is Radiant, a watery-coloured collection of blue, green and silver hex glitter in a clear base stuffed with blue micro glitter. Here I’ve shown one light coat of Radiant over a pale grey holo, Orly’s Mirrorball. One coat provides a nice dusting of mermaid-hued glitter, but you could absolutely get this one opaque in three – maybe even four – coats. Super pretty stuff. And just because I’m never content leaving well enough alone, I topped the whole works off with a matte topcoat, Essie’s Matte About You, which completely obliterates the holo effect of Mirrorball, but really brings out the tiny flecks of blue-green glitter. I think this manicure looks a bit like frosted sea glass. Or a mermaid tail in desperate need of a quality moisturizer.Radiant Hand

Jelly Belly

Trouble Maker JellyCirque Jelly

Ooh, I love a good jelly sandwich manicure.  All that lovely, glossy, glitter-embedded squashiness makes for some very pretty nails, the kind that look as though they were much more trouble than they actually were.  As such, it’s a great technique for newbie nail artists who would like to try their hand at a fun, great-looking design without straying too far from the basics.  All you really need is a sheer polish, a favourite glitter topper and a steady hand.  Here I’ve shown two different jelly sandwich manicures featuring four different polishes, although the technique changed not one iota between the two – simply lay down a few coats of a sheer, jelly-like polish (don’t get too hung up on the nomenclature; whether it’s called a sheer, a jelly or a translucent, what you’re looking for is a sheer polish that won’t completely obliterate the glitter you’re laying it on top of), then a coat (or two, or three) of a glitter topper, finally topping the whole works off with one even coat of the base jelly.  What you’re left with is a prettily subdued version of the glitter you used, seemingly nestled and embedded in the squishy-looking jelly polish.  Sounds sort of gross, looks super pretty and requires no more effort than an ordinary old mani, so what have you got to lose? 🙂

For these two jelly sandwiches I used (top) Polish Me Silly’s black-and-neon speckled Trouble Maker between Revlon’s pale pink Sheer Blossom and (bottom) Cirque’s rainbow-in-a-bottle Kaleidoscope between Essie’s off-white Adore-a-Ball.



This manicure, inspired by opals, my favourite gemstone, is a great example of an easily created bit of nail art where the polishes you choose do all the heavy lifting. To achieve this look, I topped two coats of a sheer, slightly shimmery pale pink polish, Revlon’s Sheer Blossom, with two different flakie polishes, Revlon’s Moon Candy in Orbit, a purple-to-green leaning flakie, and Nails Inc.’s The Wyndham, a yellow-to-green leaning holographic flakie. The overall effect is indeed quite like an opal, and would look totally different depending on how much (or how little) you vary up the base polish and the colour of the flakies. And I just realized I’ve used the word “flakie” about 167 times in this single post alone. Flakie flakie flake! And hey look, there’s a cat fur painted into my nails. Again. Must be a day ending in Y.

But one word about flakie (heh) polishes: They do not dry. Not completely, not ever, not even after you’ve sat very still with your hands on your lap doing nothing like a Victorian lady for six hours straight (true story, although I did watch six very worthwhile hours of Buffy the Vampire Slayer during that time.) I don’t know what it is about flakie polishes that causes them to never fully dry (even with a quick dry top coat like Seche Vite over top, they still remain slightly mushy) but of all the ones I’ve encountered, they’ve all shared this similar “quirk.” So use a light touch when applying, and don’t expect your manicure to survive the long haul – this one’s strictly a dazzle ‘n dash.

Sea Glass

Sea Glass

Although I remain somewhat unsold on the utility of flakie polishes (polishes with shards of iridescent or holographic glitter in them,) they do create a beautiful, textured sea glass-like look that’s perfection when layered over ocean-toned lacquers.

Here I mixed and matched a few readily available drugstore polishes, both sides of Revlon Moon Candy in Orbit, a double-ended lacquer featuring a dark purple cream polish on one end and a flakie on the other, as well as Hard Candy’s glittery Mermaid Magic and ’80s standby Wet and Wild’s turquoise Caribbean Frost.

Sparkling Snow

Sparkling Snow

New glittery Sephora polish from my husband + a simple, favourite design + general fatigue with Christmas designs = these nails, and the third time this season I’ve done such a snowflake design.

Here I topped one of my Christmas presents, Sephora Formula X’s Catalyst, with my go-to white, Revlon’s Spirit, and topped the whole thing off with a coat of yet another of my Christmas presents, Seche Vite, the undisputed king of high gloss top coats.

Mmm, Sprinkles!

Mmm, Sprinkles!

Matte glitter toppers are the best, but THIS matte glitter topper is the bestest! This is indie polish maker Candy Lacquer’s Licorice Allsorts over Revlon’s jelly-ish Sheer Bliss. I’d wear it every day if I could, but sometimes you have to make way for new design obsessions, you know? 😉

If you’d also like your nails to look like tiny vanilla-frosted sprinkle donuts, I’d encourage you to check out Candy Lacquer’s super fun offerings. I placed an order with them some months back and was delighted with both the product and their customer service, which was fast and friendly; no fuss, no muss.