Ravishing Raspberry

Rose Bower CollageGood grief, this polish is a knockout and a half! This is A England’s Rose Bower, a polish I have thus far neglected to give the full swatching experience for what I can only now conclude are totally bogus reasons, because it’s STUNNING. Like its purple holographic sister, Crown of Thistles, Rose Bower is a shimmer-infused one-coater that positively glows from within. You can really ramp up that lit-from-within effect, too, by adding one more coat of Rose Bower to deepen the colour and a final coat of Seche Vite to pull out the shimmer. But Rose Bower is equally lovely on its own, drying down nicely to a smooth eggshell finish in one easy coat. And not for nothing, but bearing the label “one-coater” is actually something pretty desirable in a red nail polish; they have a tendency to stain the skin around your cuticles and nails if you colour too far outside the lines, so the less monkeying around you have to do with a red polish, the fewer chances you’ll have to dye your mitts indelible pink!

And what of that red colour? Well, it’s fabulous, of course! Variations on tomato red still set the standard for red nail polish, but I actually prefer berry red hues like Rose Bower, which is rich and lush and vampy in all the very best ways. Gorgeous!Rose Bower Fingers

Thistle Have To Do

COT Bottle CollageI thought I’d kick off the weekend with a porny post of an absolutely stunning polish from my very small untrieds pile, A England’s holographic Crown of Thistles. A England is one of those brands I tend to discount for no good reason whatsoever, because their polishes are always drop dead gorgeous, with flawless formulations and exquisite branding. Yet Crown of Thistles, a polish purchased in a ferocious post-holiday binge, has to date somehow remained undetected, caught up in a storm of glitterier, Springtime upstarts. So I thought I’d give this polish its due and finally let it do its beautiful thing.

And so how did it do? WOWZA. Crown of Thistles is a stunner, a beautiful, rich orchid holo stuffed with a coppery-rose shimmer that gives this polish gorgeous depth and visual interest. Holos always do their best work in direct lighting, but Crown of Thistles positively glows in the sunshine, throwing off tiny, copper-tinged rainbows. Like another favourite A England Polish, Rose Bower, Crown of Thistles is a true one-coater, and dries to a satiny, eggshell-type finish (although in the interest of full disclosure, I used two coats for these photos and one coat of Seche Vite, because I always do.) This polish will make a fantastic background for nail art, but with its one-coat formulation, vibrant, jewel-toned colour and stunning holographic effect, it’s the perfect polish for someone who just wants a perfect polish, no fuss, no muss. And while it’s not quite as pronounced as Cirque’s sweet floral scent, A England’s lacquers smell not altogether horrendous, a minor miracle in the world of nail polish. Lovely – a big recommendation on this under-the-radar beauty.COT Hand CollageCOT Fingers

Gilded Raspberry-Chocolate

Gilded Raspberry-ChocolateThis manicure, which by the title of this post alone you should be able to guess reminds me of gold-flecked, raspberry cream truffles (when does a manicure not remind me of food?), started out life as a ruffian, a type of mani in which you polish over a rounded strip directly in the middle of your nails, leaving a half moon of base polish up by your cuticles that stretches down both sides of your nails. Sounds complicated, but it’s really not – just imagine your nails sporting one of those ridiculous mustaches that drop straight down off a man’s face and that’s a ruffian.

But over the course of ruffianing it up, I got a little overzealous and accidentally lacquered over the elongated sides (which had nothing to do with the fact that I really hate those mustaches and everything to do with my willy nilly approach to polish application), turning my wee chocolate-raspberry ruffian into a proper reverse French manicure, which, given that it was a giant mistake in the first place, seemed as good a place to stop as any.

Here I topped Smitten Polish’s dark brown holo, Seasonal Lattes, with A England’s raspberry red holo, Rose Bower, and then added a smattering of gold glitter, Ardene’s Golden Child, because no nummy truffle is complete without at least a sprinkling of luxurious golden flakes.

Tape It Off

Tape It Off

While on an unrelated errand today, my husband ventured – solo! unaccompanied! by his ownself! – into a local beauty supply shop and purchased me a multi-pack of rainbow hued striping tape (and a glittery emery board he spotted up at the cash, because he has the mentality of a six-year-old when it comes to impulse purchases.) Sounds like a strange excursion, but as it turned out, I needed a new emery board, just as I needed some striping tape, a why-didn’t-I-buy-this-sooner purchase. See, folks, this is what nearly 10 years of marriage will get you – someone who can read your mind so well, he’s wandering into predominantly ladies-only locales to buy you beauty products you didn’t even know you needed. Well, that and about 30 extra pounds. 😉

This manicure, a design I’ve been meaning to try but for my lack of striping tape, represents my first go at taped nail art of any description; I typically do all my work, including my stripes, freehanded. But when you want a crisp, clean line that only tape can achieve, I concede there’s no substitute. Like most things related to nail art, it takes a few hand-shaking moments to get the technique down, but it turns out that wrangling little strips of tape is not actually as unpleasant as I was anticipating. So call me converted – Team Striping Tape all the way.

To get this look, I polished my nails with one coat of A England’s holographic Rose Bower and waited 10 or so minutes for them to dry. Once they were no longer sticky to the touch, I laid down my bits of tape in a modified plaid-type design, gently pressing them into place to work out any lumps and bumps. Then I topped the whole works off with one thin, even coat of OPI’s Stay the Night, a black textured polish shot through with hot pink glitter from the Liquid Sand Collection. Finally, after a few moments of dry time, I removed the strips of tape, revealing the clear, sharp lines beneath. Beautiful and so easy!

Red Velvet

Red Velvet

Two new-to-me polishes came my way this week, A England’s holographic Rose Bower and my first Zoya polish, Godiva from the Pixie Dust collection. In the interest of saving a bit of time in testing, I thought I’d put them together into one manicure featuring a little sugar-dusted gradient work and some freehanded hearts. The end result is something highly reminiscent of red velvet cake, ubiquitous mainstay of most modern bakeries, coffee shops, grocery stores, patisseries, donut shops…seemingly there’s a red velvet for all occasions, including your nails!