The Polish Influenza

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Green and Brown Water Marble!

Hi folks!

THE POLISH INFLUENZA IS MOVING. CLICK HERE TO BE REDIRECTED.

I hope that all of my US readers had a fantastic Thanksgiving, and that all of my Jewish readers are having a fantastic Hannukah! The holiday season is all about bringing family and friends together in celebration, and it was wonderful seeing my extended family last night. I’m so thankful for all of the wonderful people I have in my life, and I’m most certainly thankful for the support I’ve gotten since starting The Polish Influenza. You all are amazing, and I can’t thank you enough for the amazing feedback I’ve gotten. I hope you’ll continue to enjoy my nail reviews and designs through the holiday season and into the new year!

For Thanksgiving weekend, I wanted to do a water marble in order to bring some festivity to my hands. I recently picked up Essie’s Shake Your $$ Maker, a bright green, from Walgreens for $4 (a bargain for Essie, I know), so I knew I wanted to incorporate it into the design. I thought that a dark, coffee brown would go well with the green, so I settled on Rue Beauté 063. Unfortunately, I soon found out that Shake Your $$ Maker would not spread in the water. I still wanted to use it, though, so I devised a plan.

I painted my nails with a base of Ulta’s Snow White, and then painted two coats of Shake Your $$ Maker overtop. Once that dried, I marbled 063 and OPI Topcoat in the water, so that the clear part of the marble would show the green. It worked wonderfully, and I’m super happy with the result! Pictures below are with OPI topcoat sealing the design.

Sunlight

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I am so happy with this design, I especially love the green! What do you think of the design? And what are you doing this holiday weekend? Taking advantage of any of the nail polish Black Friday sales (Zoya has some AMAZING deals on their website!)? Let me know in the comments below!

~Beth~

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Hunger Games Nail Art!

Hello tributes!

Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor! In honor of tonight’s release of the new Hunger Games trilogy movie, Catching Fire, I decided to pay homage to the popular series with a little nail art! The Hunger Games is honestly one of my favorite book series of all times. I read all three books while I was recovering from surgery last spring and it kept me engaged and distracted from the pain. I’ve heard good things about the second movie, and I love Jennifer Lawrence (such a classy lady), so I can’t wait to see it sometime soon!

The most well known symbols of the Hunger Games series are the mockingjay and fire, since Katniss is “The Girl on Fire”. On all my fingers except for my ring finger, I painted two coats of China Glaze Smoke and Ashes, a smoky black with a subtle blue and green duochrome, and is appropriately part of last year’s Capitol Colors Collection (the District 12 shade!). On my thumb, I used a toothpick and a small dotting tool to freehand Katniss’s iconic mockingjay pin using Body Central Gold. On my ring finger (which I painted with 1 coat of e.l.f. Sunflower), I created a flame inspired gradient, using Ulta Ruby Slipper (the red), OPI A Woman’s Prague-ative (the orange-y gold) and e.l.f. Sunflower (the yellow). On the rest of my nails, I used a medium sized dotting tool with Gold to create a line of dots across the sides of my black nails. I’m super happy with how this turned out! Pictures below are with OPI topcoat.

Artificial, indoor light

Artificial, indoor light

Artificial, indoor light

Artificial, indoor light

I’m getting so much better at freehanding things these days, I’m quite pleased with myself. I hope I get to wear this to the movies- I always take off manicures so quickly in order to blog. Guess I’ll just have to go see it tomorrow! What do you think of my Katniss Everdeen nail art tribute? Let me know in the comments!

~Beth~


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MOTD- Zoya PixieDust “Carter”

Hello there!

I hope you all have had a nice relaxing weekend! I had my annual piano recital on Saturday, and though I’m happy that I played well (I played Debussy’s First Arabesque), I also feel really sad since that’s probably my last piano recital with my current teacher before college. She’s been with me since the very beginning 11 years ago, and I wouldn’t be the pianist I am today without her incredible guidance (and patience- especially about my long nails!). Here’s to many more years of music where these have come from!

Today’s polish is one that I’ve been meaning to share with you for quite some time but have never managed to getting around to photograph. I know I’m WAY late on this season’s Zoya PixieDust collection, but they’re so gorgeous, how could I not jump on the bandwagon? A while back, I picked up Carter from my local Ulta as a joke (my sister has a friend named Carter) and ended up being completely floored by how fantastic the polish is.

Carter is a dark, amethyst-toned violet texture polish with magenta sparkles flashing throughout. Once applied to the nail, the base becomes blackened, while the magenta and violet shimmers pop against the deep purple base. It’s such a stunner! The matte nature of the PixieDust line really brings out the sparkle (seemingly oxymoronic, no?). It’s a bit lumpy to apply, but most textures are, and dries super quickly. The first picture below is Carter without topcoat, and the following is with one coat of OPI Topcoat!

Artificial, indoor light

Artificial, indoor light

Artificial, indoor light

Artificial, indoor light

The topcoat just adds more depth to the otherwise stunning polish. However, I think I prefer the matte original version. This polish is just a unique gem that shouldn’t be marred by topcoat. What are your opinions on this gorgeous lacquer? Let me know in the comments!

Zoya PixieDust polishes retail for $9.00 a bottle (slightly more expensive than their regular formula counterparts) and can be found at beauty supply stores, select salons, and on their website, here. Oh yeah, and be sure to follow them on twitter (@ZoyaNailPolish) for some awesome giveaways, and their weekly Tune Tuesday competition!

~Beth~


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MOTD- Essie “The Lace is On”

Hiya!

Whew, has it been a busy day. That seems to be my M.O. recently- I’m always busy doing something. It’s tiring, but I like being on the go. It’s much more exciting than just sitting around!

Today I have a gorgeous polish to show you from Essie’s fall 2013 “For the Twill of it” collection. I know I’m a bit late showing these fall polishes, but hey, better late than never, right? I actually used this color recently in my cotton candy water marble, but I’ve never shown it on its own. The Lace is On (the color du jour) is a deep purple/magenta metallic. It’s almost blackened in some light on the nail, which adds a great 3D depth to the manicure. But there’s also some subtle pink shimmer running through the polish, as well. It’s definitely a stunner. Formula wise? Um… definitely not a fan. First of all, the brush seems to be really stiff. I’ve never had that problem with an Essie polish before, so I have to wonder if it’s just a bad bottle. The polish was also kinda gloopy and hard to apply (which you can tell by my swatch pictures). It’s pretty uneven and kinda patchy, even after the second coat, and it’s so thick I wouldn’t want to apply a 3rd. It’s a shame, because the color itself is such a stunner. Pictures below are 2 coats of The Lace is On, no topcoat.

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I wanted to hide some of the imperfections of the polish, so I decided to layer a glitter over it. I picked OPI’s Lights of Emerald City, which is a matte white square glitter with iridescent small square glitters interspersed. I’ve reviewed it before, here. I really like the combo. Pictures below are one coat of LOEC over 2 coats of TLIO.

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I like how the iridescent squares look firey red against the magenta base of the Essie polish. So, I guess all in all, it is a win-manicure today. Have you had the same issues with The Lace is On as I have? Let me know in the comments.

Essie polishes retail for between $7-$9 a bottle, and can be found at most drugstores, beauty supply stores, and on their website, here.

~Beth~


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NYC In a New York Color Minute Topcoats Review and Swatches

Press Sample

Hi everyone!

Recently, with my busy schedule, I have not had the time to do my usual nail art on my nails. There just isn’t time between schoolwork, extracurriculars, and work to take time out of my day for an artistic manicure. It’s disappointing, because there’s nothing I like more than having an intriguing design on my nails. I’m not the kind of person who likes to wear a “plain” manicure (though there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that!) Fortunately, the new NYC In a New York City Special Effects Topcoats provide a quick and easy element of pizzazz to any  manicure, in a flash!

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Today, I have two “effects” to show you: the Sparkle Topcoat, and the matte topcoat called Matte Me Crazy. Both come in 0.33 fl. oz. bottles, which should last for PLENTY of manicures. Each has a thin application brush for precision, which especially helps in the glitter placement of the Sparkle topcoat. I was so excited when these came in the mail, so let’s get to the review!

The Sparkle topcoat is a small blue and pink hex glitter mixed with a very fine silver glitter, all in a sheer pink base. It looks very similar to Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear’s Supernova in the bottle, but Supernova isn’t nearly as glitter-dense as this NYC beauty, and Supernova doesn’t have a pink base, either- it’s base is clear. Since the base of the polish is pink, I thought it would look best over other pink polishes (though I also wanted to see it over a blue since there is blue glitter in the polish itself). The colors I chose to test the Sparkle topcoat with are below:

From thumb to pinky: Ulta "Fuchsiamania", Love and Beauty "Pink", Claire's "Hot Stuff", NYC "Empire State Blue", Revlon Scented Parfum "Cotton Candy"

From thumb to pinky: Ulta “Fuchsiamania”, Love and Beauty “Pink”, Claire’s “Hot Stuff”, NYC “Empire State Blue”, Revlon Scented Parfum “Cotton Candy”

Then, I applied one coat of Sparkle topcoat over all of them…

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Holy glitter Batman! I love this over all of these combos except over Hot Stuff. I think the base is just too coral-y for the cooler pink and blue to really stand out. Now, over Revlon Cotton Candy, this glitter is divine! I also love how the pink is played up over a blue polish base. I can’t wait to experiment with more color combos! Overall, the glitter requires minimal placement, if any at all, and looks great in one coat, though, the more coats you add, the more of a “punch” you’ll give your nails! Formula was nice, not too thick or thin. Love this!

Matte Me Crazy I will admit I was dubious about. I have an Ulta matte topcoat that I got for about $10 in a set of 4, and I really hate it. It turns my nails satin, not matte at all- the shine still peaks through. So when I found out this polish was under $2 at drugstores, I really had my doubts. Nonetheless, I decided to give it a whirl. To fully test it, I picked some really shiny base colors to layer it with:

From thumb to pinky: Fresh Paints "Dragon Lady", Revlon "Scandalous", OPI "A Woman's Prague-ative", Love and Beauty "Peacock", Essie "For the Twill of it"

From thumb to pinky: Fresh Paints “Dragon Lady”, Revlon “Scandalous”, OPI “A Woman’s Prague-ative”, Love and Beauty “Peacock”, Essie “For the Twill of it”

All are super pretty on their own, but let’s see what mattifying them with Matte Me Crazy does…

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Um, wow. Just wow. I have no words. THIS IS FANTASTIC. Look how matte they all got! I love it over Love and Beauty Peacock because it really brings out the subtle purple duochrome of the polish (which my camera refused to pick up on, but I promise it’s there in real life). And please, do NOT get me started on how much I love Matte Me Crazy over Revlon Scandalous. It really emphasizes the pink hex glitters against the black jelly background. I really love every single one of these pairings! Formula-wise, Matte Me Crazy is pretty identical to Sparkle Topcoat, easy to apply, not too thick or thin, and super fast drying because of its matte nature. A real winner, easily beats Ulta as my favorite topcoat of all time.

I’m in awe at both of these polishes. They seriously blew me away, and far exceeded my expectations of a drugstore brand. They’re worth every penny (and they don’t cost that many pennies, either!) Applause to NYC, you very well might have made me a matte lover. And that is not an easy task to do.

So what do you think of these two special effect polishes? Will they be making their way into your stash in the near future? And are you a fan of nail art? Let me know in the comments!

NYC polishes retail for $0.99-$1.99 a bottle, and can be found at drugstores, Target, and on their website, here.

~Beth~

Product featured in this post was sent to me for review by a brand representative. For more information, please see my Disclosure Policy.


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MOTD- OPI “Live and Let Die”

Hello everyone!

It’s been a good day today, Zoya retweeted my tweet! It’s not really THAT exciting, but hey, I got some attention from a big brand, it’s like reinforcement I’m doing a good job! Every comment/criticism I get helps me improve my blog for YOUR reading enjoyment, so please, keep on reading! I hope you continue to enjoy what I post!

I feel like I’ve been on an OPI kick recently, and more specifically, a James Bond collection kick. So when I decided to pick a green color for today’s mani, I figured I may as well continue the trend and go OPI. The color I’m wearing is called Live and Let Die, and it’s a deep evergreen color. It’s definitely on the blue side of greens, and looks almost navy or black in some lights, but has a beautiful green glow from within. There’s also some gold shimmer under the light which really gives the polish an extra dimension. It applies like a dream and is almost opaque in 1 coat, but I used two for pictures below, no topcoat.

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Sunlight

Sunlight

Of course, since I’m addicted to stamping right now, I had to see what this looked like. I used the random linear design from the M64 Konad plate I showed in yesterday’s post with Sephora by OPI’s Bring on the Snowflakes, a bright, opaque silver shimmer. I love how it turned out! The gold in Live and Let Die and the silver in Bring on the Snowflakes blend together like a metal alloy, I adore it! Pictures are without topcoat.

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So what do you think of this polish and this design? Are you a big green fan for fall? Let me know in the comments!

OPI polishes retail for about $9 a bottle, and can be purchased at beauty supply stores, some drugstores, and on their website, here.

~Beth~


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Nail Art- Homecoming Nails!

Hello ladies!

So, today is my birthday! I’ve had a great day so far spending time with my family (I got an Oracle Team USA America’s Cup t-shirt!!!), and to top it all off, tonight is my school’s homecoming dance! Of course, I can’t go out with naked nails, so I’ve put together a really fun, sophisticated and EASY design that you too can use for your school dances!

To create this design, you’re going to need nail art (also known as bullion) beads. They generally come in a little wheel like this:

2BZABlSSWGW71OLRq-EpBGTdFoSU4exxKDn1ufX1BMM

I bought mine from Dollish Polish, but you can get them from most beauty/nail supply retailers.

I started by painting my nails a base color of red, except for my accent nail (ring finger), which I painted a shimmery black. The red I used was OPI’s The Spy Who Loved Me from the Winter 2012 James Bond collection, and the black was Ulta Salon Formula nail lacquer in Little Black Dress. Once that dried, I used my old, thick bottle of Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Nail Lacquer in Flawless as a glue for the beads. I used a damp toothpick to pick up one bead at a time, and arrange them in the pattern I wanted. I used black beads on my red nails, and red beads on my black nail (alternate colors).You could create anything you want with the beads, it’s all up to interpretation. Once the “glue” is dried, apply a heavy layer of topcoat (I used OPI topcoat) to seal in the design. Without that topcoat, the beads fall off. Expect some beads to fall off anyway if you’re going to be dancing, but the topcoat reduces the bead “shedding”. Pics are below!

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I also did my sister’s nails in the same design, but with navy and gold instead to match her dress! The navy I used was Rue Beauté in 043 and the gold was an unnamed Body Central color. Her pics are below!

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I hope you guys like the design- it took almost 2 hours to do both of us! The process of patterning the beads is extremely painstaking, but worth it if you have the time, because it isn’t difficult to achieve. I even was able to copy it on my right hand, which I usually can’t do because I’m right handed!

So what will you be wearing on your nails this homecoming? Will you be using my design? Let me know in the comments below! I had a great birthday, and it was made even better by you guys. Thanks so much for reading, I love you all 😀

~Beth~


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OPI Gwen Stefani Winter 2014 Collection!

Hi everyone!

Big news! Gwen Stefani and Suzi Weiss-Fischmann of OPI have teamed up to make a dynamic collaboration collection to be released this coming January! This collection features 5 polishes inspired by Gwen Stefani in what OPI is calling “Breakthrough Finishes” Two of the polishes will be a “satin” finish (which I believe will be something like half-matte with some sheen left to it), two will be “creme glosses” (maybe similar to their “sorbet-like finish” of the Texas Collection coral color Guy Meets Galveston?) and the last will be a sparkly glitter topper. There will also be a 6th color, which has been named (it’s called Push and Shove) but the color has yet to be released. Executive VP of OPI Suzi Weiss-Fischmann describes the collection as follows:

OPI wanted to create a collection as dramatic, diverse and glamorous as its namesake. With crème and glitter hues, new satin matte texture, a mirrored chrome and SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS, Gwen Stefani by OPI presents the latest in pigments and finishes, while combining elements of haute couture and street fashion.”

Here are some press photos below!

Pictures are from http://www.everything2k.com/

Gwen Stefani By OPI Color

Screen shot 2013-10-07 at 6.07.29 PM

In addition to these amazing shades, OPI will also be releasing a signature Gwen Stefani LE red, called Over & Over A-Gwen, which will be packaged and sold similarly to the gold leaf topcoats that have been released for the James Bond Winter 2012 and the Mariah Carey Winter 2013 holiday collection. The box will include the limited edition polish, and nail studs and gems to punk-ify your manicure just like Gwen Stefani herself!

There will also be a special base coat released with the special colors Over & Over A-Gwen and Push and Shove, called Lay Down That Base. While OPI has not specifically stated what the purpose of this is, I’m interested in seeing how this base coat varies from their standard fare.

So what do you think of this upcoming collection? Are you excited to try out these new colors? I’m super intrigued about the glitter In True Stefani Fashion, but then again, I’m a HUGE glitter fan! This collection is currently scheduled to be released to the public in January of 2014, so stay tuned for more details!

~Beth~


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100th Post! MOTD- OPI “Golden Eye”

Hi ladies!

First of all- 100 POSTS! WOO! I’ve enjoyed writing every single one of them, and I hope you’ve loved reading them! Thanks for your continued support- here’s to 100 more!

We’re getting the remnants of a hurricane here today, so it’s ugly and rainy outside :/ Mondays are rough enough already, but add rain and tornado watches on top, and you get an extremely miserable day. To combat the gloominess outside, I wanted to make sure my nails sparkled like the sun! And what better color than gold? More specifically, OPI’s Golden Eye, from the Winter 2012 James Bond collection!

Golden Eye is a brilliant gold glitter in a gold-tinted base. It sparkles like a newly polished piece of jewelry- the glitter just dances in the light! The gold glitter particles are very fine, and give nice, even coverage. It’s a little patchy on the first coat, but 3 coats will plate your nails in rich liquid gold. You’re going to have Midas fingertips while wearing this polish! It’s nice and liquid and easy to apply. A showstopper in a bottle! Pictures below are 3 coats of Golden Eye without topcoat (yes, all that shine is WITHOUT TOPCOAT!)

Natural, indoor light

Natural, indoor light

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This polish also works great as a shimmery topper. I used one coat here over Sinful Colors’ Let’s Talk, a rich royal purple that I though would look perfect with my regal-themed mani. I used one coat of Let’s Talk and one coat of Golden Eye below!

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I seriously love this polish. I’m really sad I only got a mini bottle. OPI, if you’re reading this, I’d love another bottle of this fantastic lacquer! Or really a bottle of any of OPI’s colors- they really have one of the best formulas and selections of colors of all the nail polish brands out there! What do you think of this polish? Let me know in the comments!

OPI polishes retail for $8-$9 a bottle (although the mini sets are usually 4 bottles for $12.95, like the one I got Golden Eye in) and can be found at select drugstores, beauty supply stores, official salon retailers, and on their website, here.

~Beth~


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MOTD- OPI “A Woman’s Prague-ative”

Hi there!

While I’m so ready to embrace fall right now, the weather is just not letting me! It was even hotter today than it was yesterday here in the 302- 87˚ F! I’ve got a whole pile of fall nail polishes out in my room ready to be reviewed and the weather is like “nope, it’s still summer”. Well, sorry weather, but in all technicalities, it is fall, so let the autumn themed MOTD continue!

Today I have a GORGEOUS burnt coppery orange color for you from OPI called A Woman’s Prague-ative. Just to clear things up, this was part of the 2013 Euro Centrale collection, hence the central European inspired name (and it’s soooo cute!). I actually have used this color on my blog before, it’s in one of my 31DC2013 posts, here. A Woman’s Prague-ative is such a gorgeous, in-depth shimmer, I don’t even know how to start describing it! It has a very orange glow to it, but when the light hits it, it flashes gold and copper, and even a bit of subtle red. The shimmer is intense, guys. It really packs a punch, and I like it that way! This is a really unique polish- I’ve never seen any other polish quite like this. It’s a total stunner! Formula-wise, it’s also a win. It’s thin, but not so much that it’ll flood your cuticles, and the OPI brush is very effective at applying the color evenly. It’s a bit sheer, but opaque in 3 coats. Pictures below are 3 coats of A Woman’s Prague-ative, no topcoat.

Artificial, indoor light

Artificial, indoor light

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So what do you guys think about these colors? I know this was an OPI spring release, but I feel like it fits into the fall color scheme better, at least in my opinion! What about you? Let me know in the comments!

OPI polishes retail for about $9, and can be found in beauty supply stores, salons, and on their website, here.

~Beth~