Tuesday, May 28, 2013

butter London Backstage Basics kit and Knackered nail polish - Review!

Hello! This post is kind of a continuation of my last one in that I want to focus on and review a particular item that I purchased; namely the butter London Backstage Basics kit I got from Ulta!

As I said in my previous post, one of the reasons why I decided to purchase this kit was that I had a $5 off coupon that, even though it technically didn't apply to butter London products because they're considered to be "prestige", the nice ladies at Ulta let me use anyways. I have been interested in getting this kit for a while now, but I always had a hard time justifying the price; $40 including a nail polish. Now that I am more interested in nail polish, spending $40 for a top coat, a base coat, a bottle of remover, a nail polish, and a bonus nail file doesn't seem that extreme (I actually paid around $36 including tax after my coupon). Another reason why I finally got this kit was that my Ulta got the color Knackered back in stock. When I was first exploring nail polish colors and brands, I was immediately drawn to Knackered. It was such a unique color and it looked so beautiful in the bottle, but it always felt too expensive at $15.
When I felt more comfortable purchasing higher end nail polish, Ulta no longer had the color in stock. In fact, when I did purchase my kit, I got the last bottle of Knackered!
This is what the front of the kit looks like. It shows everything you get in it and has a space where you can put in your chosen color of polish. I'm not sure if you can buy this on it's own without picking a color of polish, though I think it's more expensive if you do. The way they break down the pricing is that you pay the full $15 for the polish and then $24 for the kit, which is a pretty good deal considering that, individually sold, the base coat and top coat are $19 each. Averaging the price out, it's $10 an item (I count the nail file as a freebie), so still a good deal (even though you "pay" $2 "more" for the remover if you break it down that way) which isn't bad at all. I didn't actually put my color in the little space provided since it would have to be removed at check-out anyways. From what I saw, all the kits already have their spaces popped open, but since it's a separate space (you can't get into the box through it), everything inside stays safe.
And here's the back of the box. Sorry if the picture is a little blurry, but it just talk a little bit more about butter London. They REALLY emphasize that butter London products are used during Fashion Week; it's basically their whole marketing campagin (besides the fact that butter London is a "3 Free" product, which means it formulated without formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP; though to be honest pretty much all higher-end polishes are).

I'll go through each product included in the box individually, starting with the Nail Foundation base coat.
Erm, sorry that my caps look messy; I used these to test them out, and I still had some hand cream on when I opened them. That's one downside of these black, shiny caps - they're fingerprint magnets. As you can see, this base coat has a color to it, which is not something I'm used to. It's very sheer and very hard to detect when you paint it on your nails, and it creates a beautiful foundation for your polish. It helps even out any nail discoloration and it dries down almost like a matte; on the website, butter London suggests that if you're looking for a barely there look, or just want to protect your nails, you can use it alone. Another thing they suggest is that men can use this base coat if they're looking for a natural, clean look for their nails. I really like this base coat!

Next is the P. D. Quick top coat.
It's your standard, clear top coat. The "P. D." stands for "pretty darn", and this top coat really does dry quick! I was actually surprised at how fast it dried, since I'm so used to waiting ages for my polish to dry. It also gives your nails a nice, glossy finish. I know this technically isn't anything special, it's just a quick-drying top coat, but I could really tell the difference in quality between this top coat and my Sephora by OPI top coat. The butter London top coat was smoother, applied cleaner, dried faster, and even looked stronger and glossier.

Also included in this kit is the Powder Room acetone-free nail polish remover.
It looks like mine has been used before, but it hasn't; it's even still sealed. I don't know if they didn't fill the bottle all the way or if it somehow evaporated or something (though I don't know how that would happen since it's sealed...). I haven't tried this product yet since I already have a few bottles of nail polish remover already (my favorite being the Sephora by OPI nail polish remover. It's purple and it smells like black licorice/anise). I also haven't tried it since I'm a little leery of the scent. I don't like baby powder scents (or powdery notes in fragrances in general), so I don't know how keen I'll be on this product. If it ends up removing my nail polish better than my current favorite, I may bite the bullet and use it. There is another scent available, but it's U.S. only. It's called Royal Punch and it's coconut/mango scented.

Finally, you get a complimentary nail file!
It has the butter London name on it which is cool, and it's apparently shaped to match the natural curve of your nails better. I didn't realize that this set came with a nail file until I got it home and opened it, which is silly because they show a picture of it on the box twice and even SAY that it's included. Shows how observant I am...

Here's the color I got with my set, Knackered, the color that sparked my interest in purchasing butter London products.
It doesn't look like much in the picture, but in real life it's such an amazing color. It has so many different dimensions; it's like a purply-greyish-green duo chrome with tiny holographic (or is iridescent? Which ever one means "flashes all the colors of the rainbow) microglitter throughout. It is a pretty sheer color (I didn't know that when I bought it, but on butter London's website, they do describe it as a "sheer, twinkling oyster shade flecked with microglitter particles"), but you can build it up so it's fairly opaque. I used three coats and got a good, nearly opaque color.

Here it is swatched. I also swatched the base coat since it does impart a color to your nails, but since it's so sheer and light, I'm not sure if you'll be able to see it that well.
This photo is a little lighter than real life since it was taken in natural lighting, but it gives a good idea of what the basecoat and Knackered look like.

Another nice feature of butter London polishes is that, to use them, you remove the square outer caps, revealing a more traditional (and easier to hold), circular cap. They even have a sticker instructing you to do so, which I thought was amusing.
The inside caps are also stamped with different designs.
As you can see here, Knackered has a crow (or a raven) and the top and base coats have crowns. Since these are my only butter London polishes, I don't know if all the caps are different, or if all the colors have the crow and all the nail treatments have the crown. Regardless, it's a nice touch that makes the packaging look more luxe.

Overall, I am VERY pleased with this set and, if you're interested in trying butter London or even just looking to try a higher end nail polish, I HIGHLY recommend looking into purchasing this set. For $40, you get a lot of nice product, especially considering that the base coat and top coat alone retail for $19 each. I noticed a big difference between the quality of these products versus even my more high-mid tier polishes like OPI. In fact, the quality of these products makes me seriously consider editing down my polish collection and getting rid of anything that's mid to lower tier like my China Glaze and my Orly. I would love to get more butter London colors, and I currently have my eye on the new "Royals Collection" they released to celebrate Prince William and Kate's new baby. It includes three purple polishes; "Pitter Patter", a limited edition polish (only available in the U.S., I believe) that's an opaque, aubergine shimmer, "No More Waity, Katie" which is a semi-sheer greige lilac jelly glitter (not sure what a "jelly glitter" is, but I am interested to find out!), and "Lillibet's Jubilee which is an opaque silver lavender foil metallic (it's suuuuper pretty and I'm not sure if you can find it on it's own anymore...).

I hope you found this informative and if you're on the fence about taking the plunge and purchasing this kit, I say do it!

Thanks for reading! <3!

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