Friday, 29 May 2015

Kester Black Haul Swatches & Review

A few weeks ago Kester Black announced they were going to start international shipping! I discovered Kester Black when I was living in Melbourne and instantly fell in love with the polishes. When I moved back to the UK I wasn't able to buy Kester Black anywhere! And the worst thing was that they kept releasing new collections!! Finally, after many many months, I can buy them again.

The service was fantastic! The polishes cost $20 each, but for international orders the tax is taken off so they're $18.18. The shipping costs $34.

The polishes arrived after just 5 days. Incredible. They were sent with DHL so I was updated every step of the way and I was given a time slot of when they'd arrive. Super super quick.

I bought a few of the new core shades and a few from the O&M collab collection.

First up is Know Knott.

This is a limited edition colour in collaboration with O&M.

This kind of reminds me of OPI Don't Pretzel My Buttons, I haven't done a comparison, but I think this is a little more orangey blush toned.

I used 2 coats for the swatch. It had a very easy application without any issues.

The polish dries to a semi glossy finish.

More info and swatches after the jump!

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Isadora Haul Swatches & Review

I keep seeing swatches of the brand Isadora on my instagram feed, and I couldn't resist any longer.

Isadora is a Swedish beauty brand. They offer a wide range of make-up, but of course I was only interested in the nail polishes.

They have a wide range of different polishes including a no UV gel line, graffiti (crackle), wonder nail (extra long lasting) and more.

I was mainly interested in the gel lacquer as I've heard such excellent reviews. I placed my order from Fruugo as they shipped internationally.

I didn't test the longevity of the polish as I'm not allowed to wear nail polish to work.

The bottle shape is very unique and not something I've seen before. The cap pulls off so it's easy to hold. The bottles itself are very small and only hold 6ml. That's basically the same size as most minis which is a little disappointing considering the price. I paid £7.95 for the fuel polishes.

The brush is beautiful. It's a very wide flat brush that easily covers my whole nail.

First up is Skyline.

This is the reason for my haul, I saw this on instagram and I literally had to have it.

It's a really beautiful light blue shade with maybe 1 drop of purple.

I used 2 coats for the swatch.

The first coat was slightly streaky, but the second coat covered everything up. It dries quick and glossy.

It is recommended to wear the Gel top coat with these polishes, but for the swatches I didn't apply any top coat.

More info and swatches after the jump!

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Yes Love Swatch & Review (part 1)

I discovered the brand Yes Love through instagram and thought they were gorgeous polishes. After a bit of research I found that they are only €2 each! I believe Yes Love is a Portuguese brand, but I ended up purchasing from eBay (from a Portuguese seller). I bought a set of 6 polishes for only £9.95 and free shipping!!

I have the first 4 to show you today.

They're all crelly polishes with neon hex glitter. It's a very indie thing to do so seeing these types of polishes from a mainstream brand is very exciting. Especially for being so affordable!

The bottles come with a full off cap, which I accidentally discovered when I thought I broke the bottle.

First up is the white base. Unfortunately they don't have names, just codes. This is G11-5.

I swatched this over Barry M Cotton, a white polish. I'm not sure whether these would be opaque on their own, but decided it would be easier to just layer them over similar colours.

It contains 2 sizes of hex glitter in purple, pink, orange, yellow, green and blue.

I used 2 coats for the swatch (over 1 coat of Cotton).

It would have been fine with just 1 coat over a white base, but I wanted to add a bit of depth to the polish.

It looks like a party on my nails. The matte glitter is so bright and it really pops on the white base.

It was very easy to get the glitter on my brush.

Next is G11-4, the pink polish.

I thought this would be my favourite, but it actually turned out to be my least favourite of the 4.

It's a light but bright pink base and has purple, orange, yellow and green matte hex glitter in 2 sizes.

I don't think the colours of the glitter really match with the pink base.

I used 2 coats over 2 coats of Pink Friday by OPI.

Again, 1 coat would have been fine, but I wanted to add a bit of depth.

The glitter was a little tricker to get on the brush. I could easily get the small hex glitter onto my nail, but the larger hex glitters were very difficult to get on my brush. I ended up having to dab the hex glitter off the stem of the brush. I didn't really care too much, but it's just something to be aware of.

This is my favourite of the 4. This is G11-1, the purple polish.

This is a light purple base with pink, purple, blue, yellow green, orange large hex glitter and small purple and pink hex glitter.

I used 2 coats over 2 coats of Go Ginza by Essie.

This one needed 2 coats. It was really difficult to get glitter on my brush, as you can tell from the brush shot! I put the bottle upside down, swirled the brush around... tried everything and I had the hardest time getting the large hex glitter out!!

Again I had to dab the glitter on the stem of the brush onto my nail just to get anything on there.

It was totally worth it though, I love this colour combo!!

The last one I tried is G11-3, the blue polish.

It's a gorgeous sky blue with pink, purple and yellow large hex glitter and orange, purple, yellow and green small hex glitter.

I used 2 for the swatch over 2 coats of Essie Blossom Dandy. Blossom Dandy is much more of a mint shade and much lighter.

Again, it was tricky to get the large hex glitter out. As you can see from the brush shot, it's very easy to get the small hex glitter out. I had to dab the large ones off the stem of the brush.

I think this is a really fun shade and something you don't see too often in the indie world.

The other 2 colours I haven't swatched yet are a yellow and a peach.

I'm really impressed with these polishes, I know I used a base underneath them, but I think they're stunning! I had some issues with the larger hex glitter, but I didn't really mind the extra effort. Especially because I bought a set of 6 for only £9.95!!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Kandy Colors Kandy Desserts Collection Swatch & Review

The UK indie brand Kandy Colors has just released a Kandy Desserts Collection. The collection consists of 6 dessert inspired creme polishes. I received two to review Avocado Smoothie and Strawberry & Cream.

You can buy the entire collection from Kandy Colors for £29.79 full size (10ml) or £17.00 for minis (5ml). They retail for £5.45 each for the full sized bottles.

First up is Avocado Smoothie.

I have to be honest, this isn't a colour I would normally buy. That being said, this looked really interesting and I think it's something I'd get a lot of use out of in the cooler Autumn months.

It's a muted grey toned green. It's very hard to describe! It also has a silver shimmer running throughout giving it a bit of a pearly shine. It does not have any visible brush strokes.

I used 2 coats for the swatch.

It was almost fully opaque in 1 coat, and you could easily get away with wearing 1. I decided to add a second coat as it deepened the colour.

It has a very easy formula with a great consistency. It's not too thick or too thin. It dries quick and very glossy.

The second colour is Strawberry & Cream.

This is definitely a little more my style. This is a very pale pinky lilac shade with a stunning blue shimmer running through.

In dull lights you can't really see the shimmer, but in the sun it's very visible. It's a really nice contrast with the sweet colour.

I used 2 coats for the swatch.

The first coat was slightly streaky but the second coat covered everything up.

Again it has a very smooth formula, it's slightly thicker than Avocado Smoothie, but still very easy to work with.

It dries quick and with a bit of a dull gloss, so I did apply a topcoat. It definitely isn't necessary.

The collection also includes Pistachio Delight, Vanilla Ice-Cream, Peach Cobbler and Berry Chocolate. Check out Kandy Colors' Instagram for more swatch photos and details!

xx Elaine

Monday, 25 May 2015

Freckles Polish Swatch & Review

Freckles Polish is a UK based hand made, cruelty free indie brand created by Julieann. All polishes are either 3 free or 4 free. They've just had their first anniversary in March.

I have four polishes from the new Back To The 80s collection due to be released on Saturday the 30th of May.

There are 8 polishes in the collection. Four neon shades and 4 complimenting holos. Spoiler alert.. I'm in love! And I'm definitely getting the other 4 shades when they're released.

I received the pink and green. There is also a yellow and yellow holo, and a purple and purple holo.

First up is Jelly Shoes.

I know I'm not really supposed to start off with my favourite but I literally couldn't help it. This is SO bright and beautiful and I instantly fell in love. In fact, I didn't want to take it off!

This is a neon pink. It's a different shade of neon and exactly what I was looking for this summer. It's a darker toned pink than other neons I own.

The closest shade I have in my collection is Essie Bottle Service, but this is much brighter. I've also compared it to Glow With The Flow by China Glaze, which is much cooler toned.

More info and swatches after the jump! 

Thursday, 21 May 2015

OPI Neutrals Swatches & Nail Art

I am trying to get all of my nail polishes swatched. I don't have an 'untried' pile as I've tried probably 98% of all my nail polishes, but I probably haven't swatched 50% of them. I use a lot of polishes for nail art, and some colours I buy exclusively for nail art.

Since my collection is quickly expanding, I thought it was time to destash. I easily got rid of about 30 polishes, including 10 OPI's and 8 Essie's. Now it's time to swatch the rest and see which ones I really like and actually use.

I have already gone through all my Kester Blacks... I'm keeping them all! And my second favourite brand is OPI.

OPI has a fantastic range of nail polishes and constantly have new collections coming out. It's very tempting to buy all the nail polishes that come out, but they also release a lot of dupes (within their own brand) so realistically, I don't need them all...

I decided to start with my neutrals. I'm obsessed with nude nails and I have quite a large range from OPI. I wanted to try something new. Instead of just swatching the polishes I wanted to add some nail art.

I'll start off with the pinky shades. First up is Tickle My France-y.

This is a very pink toned neutral mauve.

I bought this because I saw so many beautiful swatches of it online, but I'm not sure if this really suits me.

I've put it in the maybe pile.

More info, swatches and nail art after the jump!

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

My Top 5 Mani Essentials

I work as a waitress so my hands and nails are easily dried out and damaged. It's very important for me to keep them moisturised and looking at their best.. These are some of the products I'm obsessed with.

First up is cuticle oil. At the moment I'm using this Apricot Cuticle Oil from Essie. I've never been tied down to just one brand. I've used one from Avon, Hema and OPI before. They all do the same thing, they are excellent at intensely moisturising your cuticle area.

What I normally do is use a little concealer brush and apply the cuticle oil around my nails after I've finished my manicure. A little goes a long way, I've had this bottle for a couple of months and you can see how full it still is! I let it soak into my skin for maybe a minute? Then I remove any excess oil with my other hand. It soaks into my skin very quickly and it instantly makes my skin look smoother.

Any time my hands start to feel dry I use my go-to moisturising hand lotion by Crabtree & Evelyn. This is a brand that I'm very loyal to, I've been using it for over a year and have gone through a dozen of these little tubes.

The Citron honey & coriander isn't my favourite scent, but it's the one I had on hand at the time. My favourite one is actually Pomegranate argan & grapeseed. It's amazing and I have gone through too many of those alone! I like buying the small tubes of 25g as they're a lot more convenient to through in a bag and they only cost £5! There is also a new size that I've never seen before of 50g for £9, and there is the large one for £15 which is 100g.

This "hand therapy" soaks into my skin almost instantly and makes a huge difference on my skin.

Another essential for me is a nail hardener. Like I said, I work as a waitress so I'm constantly cleaning and using my hands. My nails aren't too happy with that...

I'm currently using Essie Grown Stronger. I have been using this brand on and off for over a year, but this is the brand I'll always go back to.

I used OPI Nail Envy for a while, but unfortunately that did nothing for me. I also used Sally Hansen Miracle Nail Thickener, which was great but got very thick and gloopy too quickly so I would only be able to use about half of the bottle. Sally Hansen Miracle Cure is another one that was great, but again got really thick and unusable.

I apply this before work every single shift and I also use it as my regular base coat. Of course my nails do still break, there is no way of preventing that, but I only have very small breaks to the tips of my nails. If I forget to put this on before my shift, my nails are guaranteed to break that shift.

This also makes my nails grown incredible quick. I am lucky with quick growing nails and hair anyway, but I've seen a difference when I started using this.

I do a lot of swatching and my absolute go to product is OPI Glitter Off base coat. It is such a life saver! I apply one coat of this onto my nails and wait for it to fully dry (it goes from white to clear). I then apply whatever colour I'm swatching over the top, take a photo and I can  just peel it off! It means I don't have to use any nail polish remover so my skin won't be affected.

I also use this as a base for a lot of my nail art. I can't wear nail polish to work (apart from the strengthener), so I only tend to wear nail art for a very short amount of time. When I'm ready to remove my nail art, again I don't have to use any nail polish remover and weaken my nails.

My final mani essential is liquid nail tape. This is just a little mini bottle but as soon as I finish this one I'm purchasing the full size. This is Mess Free Mani from Nail Mail.

It basically works the same as OPI Glitter Off, but this actually goes on the skin around your nails. I'm obsessed with doing gradients, but the clean up is always very frustrating. With a liquid nail tape like this, you just apply it around you nails, wait for it to dry, sponge on the gradient, and then you can pull it right off your skin. You'll only have the tiniest bit of clean up left.

I prefer this one over other brands because it doesn't smell. My first liquid latex product was great! But the smell was just horrible and very strong. If you get right up close to it, yes it'll smell, but when I'm applying it to my nails I don't smell it at all.

I do have many more mani essentials including a clean up brush (obviously), a top coat, a nail file (amongst other things), but these are definitely right at the top and my most used products.

For my clean up brush I use a tiny angled brush I got for free in my Glossybox a few months ago. I think it's supposed to be a lip brush. My favourite top coat at the moment is the quick dry formula from Hema, a dutch store that's recently opened in Kingston.

I hope this post was helpful if you're looking for any specific products.

xx Elaine

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Essie Fragrance Direct Haul

I don't normally buy more than 3 nail polishes at once. Three is the perfect amount to write a well rounded review when I'm buying new products. There are also usually 3 for 2 offers in Boots and Superdrug. So three is my usual number... Not on Fragrance Direct however.

Fragrance Direct is a discount cosmetics, beauty, fragrance etc website. I have written about Fragrance Direct before, I'm definitely not new to the site ;). I have bought a lot of nail polishes from there before including Essie (£2.49) and OPI (£3.49). 

This time I have a 100% Essie haul including 10 gorgeous retired limited addition shades. Some of them are actually pretty recent from last Christmas/Autumn! 

First up is Jump In My Jumpsuit. 

I said the same on my Instagram, sometimes I forget how beautiful a classic red looks. 

This is a slightly darker toned red, my perfect shade of red. 

I think it looks really bold and beautiful.

The formula was incredible. 

I only used 1 coat for the swatch. 

It's really creamy, super opaque and incredibly easy to work with. It dries super glossy.

The Europeans Essie polishes have a very flat wide brush, which makes application super easy.

More info and swatches after the jump!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

CM Handmade UK Swatch & Review

The UK Indie Brand CM Handmade UK has sent me a few more polishes to review. To read all about my first review click here!

This time I was sent a few different bottle sizes and shapes. Two of the four are creme polishes and the others are creamy with iridescent glitter.

I think the two glitters are literally the most difficult nail polishes to photograph in the world of nail polish. I have tried and failed, so these photos will have to do!

I'll start of with the cremes.

First up is Vanilla Bean.

Oh my goodness this one is stunning!!

It's a really nice beige nude shade that has a hint of pink.

More info and swatches after the jump! 

Monday, 11 May 2015

Models Own Polish For Tans 2 Swatch & Review

Models Own has released a second set of colours for the Polish For Tans collection. This line was originally created last year and consisted of 5 bright neon shades. They were super bright, didn't need a white base, had an easy formula and enhanced your tan.

I'm very pale, so this whole tan aspect means nothing for me, but the colours were stunning! Read my review of last years colours here!

This year there are 5 colours again. I picked up these three and there was also a yellow and a pink.

First up is Turquoise Sea.

This is a very bright slightly green leaning blue. It's definitely a blue, but if I compare it to the hypergel Blue Glint, also from Models Own, this is definitely more turquoise.

The formula is very opaque, there are very slight streaks on the first coat, so I applied 2 coats for the swatch.

It's a very smooth polish and it was incredibly easy to apply. It dries glossy.

Next up is Beach Hut.

This is a super bright neon orange. I usually don't like bright pumpkin-y colours on me, but this was so neon I could get away with wearing it.

This was slightly streaky on the first coat, but the second coat covered everything up. Again it dries glossy.

My favourite of the three is Cocktail Hour.

This is a hot neon red toned coral. This is seriously beautiful and so incredibly bright!

It had the same formula as Beach Hut, it was slightly streaky on the first coat, but the second coat covered everything up beautifully.

It dries glossy.

What do you think of the new Polish For Tans collection from Models Own? Will you be picking up any of the shades or do you prefer the ones from last year?

I love these three shades. They have a great formula and they're all so incredibly bright!! It makes me want to go on holiday right now. I wish!

xx Elaine

Friday, 8 May 2015

Mrs Cross' Nail Shop How Romantic Collection Swatch & Review

Mrs Cross' Nail Shop is a new up and coming UK based indie brand. The nail polishes are 5 free and hand made by Leanne. Her Etsy and eBay shops sell her nail polishes as well as other nail art supplies (beautiful glitters!!).

This is the How Romantic Collection. It consists of 5 nail polishes. Each colour represents a different romantic trait. It includes 3 pearly shimmers, 1 glitter and 1 cream with subtle shimmer.

The whole set is currently available for £26.00, and individually they cost £5.90 for a 10ml bottle.

First up is Intense Romantic.

This is a stunning deep shimmery berry red. In the bottle it looked like it would have a frosty finish, but it's all shimmers so no brush strokes!

More info and swatches after the jump!