Friday, February 19, 2016

Nail Polish Haul! - OPI, Zoya, Butter London, & Formula X!

If you've read more than a handful of my blog posts, then it should be pretty obvious that I love nail polish. It's my absolute favorite cosmetic product to collect since it lasts for years without going bad (very few, if any, organisms can survive in nail polish, so it doesn't spoil easily), it's fairly inexpensive and easy to find on sale, and I feel comfortable wearing any color, anywhere (I love unique colors, but I don't always want to wear pastel purple lipstick to Target, especially if I don't feel like putting on any other makeup). Even if my face is completely bare (which it is more often than not), there's something about having on a purple holographic nail polish that makes me feel put-together.

For this post, I want to share with you some of the nail polishes I've picked recently (...and not so recently). I only have swatches of a couple of them, but I've worn most of them at least once by now so I can tell you how they perform and how the color on the nail differs from the color in the bottle.
I think the best way to organize a polish haul is by brand (and then collection, if applicable, but I rarely purchase full collections since there's always at least one or two polishes that I don't like and/or have very close dupes of), so let's start with OPI!
 I end up purchasing a lot of my OPI polishes from Ulta because, A. they have a lot of the colors and collections I want in stock sooner than other retailers, and B. I can use coupons on them and find some pretty good deals/sales. Case in point, this set of Infinite Shine polishes was on sale for less than $15 and I was able to use a $3.50 off coupon to bring the price down to about $12. Which is less than the price of one of these polishes individually (though you can sometimes find special packs of the top and base coat for $20).
The Infinite Shine collection is OPI's version of the "no light needed" gels, and, even though I haven't tried it yet, I expect that it will perform better than the other types I have tried (Sally Hansen and Revlon). Unlike the other one's I've used, this is a three step system that uses a separate base and top coat, which I believe will improve wear time significantly. The color included in this set, Marooned In The Universe, is not a color I would normally purchase/wear, but I mostly wanted this set for the base and top coat; I can purchase and use any other color from the Infinite Shine collection (you need the top coat, or the polish won't cure; I like how OPI made these polishes visually different from the regular ones by giving them silver caps, so you don't end up using an Infinite Shine polish without knowing it) and I can use them with my other, normal polishes to speed up drying time. It's a win-win situation, and it was too good of a deal to pass up.
Around the same time I purchased the Infinite Shine kit, I also purchased a color I've had my eye on, Pineapples Have Peelings Too! (the exclamation mark is part of the polish name).
This polish came out with the Hawaii collection OPI released last summer, and I believe it was the only color in that collection that didn't make it into the permanent line. I wanted this polish from the moment it came out, but for one reason or another, I never purchased it. Then all of a sudden it went on sale and I couldn't find it again. Until now!
This polish looks really weird in the bottle; it looks more like an indie polish than a mainstream one with all the different colors and sizes of glitter. On the nails, though, it's stunning! The base is a beautiful bright gold that looks exactly like the color of pineapple, and the glitter distributes itself pretty evenly (you'd probably have to fish to get out some of the bigger pieces). I think this is a very underrated polish and, if you find it on sale, I would recommend giving it a chance.
Recently, (though it's no longer the most recent collection, that'd be the New Orleans one) OPI released a collection of nail polishes based on Hello Kitty. I have a love/hate relationship with Hello Kitty that's a little too complex to get into here, but I did really like a couple of the polishes in the collection, so I purchased them. I also like it when OPI puts the different plastic wraps on the caps since it makes the polishes seem more unique. One of the colors I wanted was Charmmy & Sugar.
Charmmy is Hello Kitty's pet cat, which is weird because she's a cat and they have the same face, but it makes sense since Hello Kitty is supposed to be a little girl from just outside London (she's not human, though, according to Sanrio. It's kind of like how Micky Mouse isn't a human, but sort of, and he owns Pluto the dog). Sugar is Hello Kitty's pet hamster. Yup. Charmmy & Sugar is a clear base with fine baby pink and hot pink glitter, with bigger pieces of pink, silver, and blue glitter throughout. It's a pretty unique color, and it was mostly opaque in three coats (I could still see my nail line, but only if I looked closely). You could increase the opacity by sponging it on, or you could layer it over another polish (I wouldn't call this a top coat, though, since it's pretty jam-packed with glitter.
The other polish I got from the Hello Kitty collection is Starry-Eyed For Dear Daniel. For how well-known Hello Kitty is, I'm surprised that more people don't know that Dear Daniel is her boyfriend (he's the Ken to her Barbie). Dear Daniel has the same face as Hello Kitty, but he has weird hair and no hairbow. Also, he looks way too old for her, but that's just my opinion.
Starry-Eyed For Dear Daniel is a ton of hot pink glitter in what I think is a translucent hot pink base (it could have been clear at one point and the color bled from the glitter). The glitter is thick enough that this polish is meant to be worn on its own (though you could layer it over another color to help with opacity), and I was good after two coats. You have to be careful since applying it too thickly can make it feel lumpy and gross, so this is another polish that I would recommend sponging on for your second layer.
Next up are the Zoya polishes! If I had to pick a favorite nail polish brand, it would probably be Zoya. Their polishes are top-notch, especially for the price, there are hundreds of colors and finishes to choose from, their formula is 5-free, and there always seem to a special coupon or deal available if you order from their website. Like this deal where I got four polishes of my choice for $15.
Zoya runs a special promo every so often (I think it's usually near the end of the year), where you can get four polishes for free if you pay a $15 shipping and handling fee (some people like to this of it as four polishes for $15 with free shipping, but Zoya specifically words it the other way). No matter how much polish I have, that is way too good of a deal to pass up, so I bought four polishes that have been sitting in my wishlist.
 Also with my order (and with every order you place), I got a booklet with all the colors...

...and a swatch panel of the Whispers collection! I love getting these swatch panels since it makes it much easier to decide if you want to purchase a polish from a new collection, without first being able to see it in person. I also love these since the other side is usually blank, so I can use it to swatch my other colors if I want to. If you purchase polishes at full price, you will also get freebies, such as nail polish remover, but Zoya typically doesn't include those with discounted orders.
 Feifei, along with Daul, is a polish that I have had in my wishlist for about as long as I've had an account with Zoya. People rave about this color and it is quite stunning. Zoya describes it as a "medium steel blue base with heavy gold and blue iridescent metallic sparkle".
I've been reluctant to purchase it, however, since I already have a lot of similar colors in my collection; the one I would compare it to specifically is Hazel, also from Zoya. Feifei is a bit darker and has multi-colored glitter whereas Hazel is mostly silver. Because of the extra flashes of color, Feifei has more depth,which means I can totally justify having it in my collection.
This is Aurora, another polish I've had in my wishlist forever. And I have no idea why I didn't buy her sooner because she is stunning.
Zoya describes Aurora as a "full coverage, medium sugarplum purple flecked with a high concentration of micro fine diamond holographic glitter". It's one of three (I think; there may be more now) holographic polishes that Zoya makes, and after seeing this one in person, I want Zoya to make more. The plum color itself is gorgeous. but the holo adds so much sparkle and shine. Oddly enough, I don't have a lot of holographic polishes in my collection; they seem to be a little harder to find in mainstream polish lines, and a lot of indie polishes use SpectraFlair, which I'm not 100% comfortable with putting on my nails. The formula of this polish is on par with other Zoyas, and it was opaque in two coats. The only complaint I have is that the brush in my Aurora is super thin; it's almost half the size of the brushes in my other Zoya polishes. I'm not sure if it's a factory defect, or if it's a feature of this polish (maybe Zoya wanted to give people a more precise brush since holos can be really, really annoying to clean up), but it did not negatively affect me when I applied this polish.
I'm going to sound like a broken record here, but this is yet another polish I've had in my wishlist for ages. This is Daul.
Daul is described as a "medium red-toned purple base with heavy purple and gold iridescent metallic sparkle" and is from the same collection as Feifei. If memory serves, these two polishes are named after drag queens. Like Feifei, I've been reluctant to purchase Daul because of how similar it is to other polishes in my collection (such as Faye, from Zoya), but again, like Feifei, there's a lot more going on with Dual so I can easily justify purchasing it.
Last up (at least in this order) is Tangy, a "bright apple green shimmer with peachy-orange duochrome". This polish was a wild card, and something I picked out because I wanted something different.
I don't have many greens in my collection that are bright like this (or deep, like a forest green. Pretty much all my greens are mint, pastel, or on the aqua/blue side), and since I got such a good deal on these polishes, I felt like I could afford to get something a little extreme. The color looks interesting in the bottle, but I think it really shines when it's on the nail. Not only is there the duochrome, but there is also a fine shimmer the runs throughout. This polish does have a tendency to show brush strokes, so if that's something you're concerned about, then you'll want to be extra careful on your last coat, but I find that they're hardly noticeable in everyday life.

Because Zoya knows how to get my money, they had another "too good to pass up" deal shortly after the first one; a $15 off any purchase coupon with free shipping if you spent $30 (after the discount). I had been avoiding purchasing any products from the Naked Manicure collection because I have a tendency to not use nail treatments consistently (and thus I have a ton of them just taking up space), but there has been so much talk about it, that I figured I might as well give it a go.
So I bought the Mini Professional Kit, which includes mini sizes of all nine treatments. Normally, I don't like mini sizes (I used to prefer them, but now I know better), but I wanted five of the products and it was less expensive to do it this way than it would be if I purchased the full sizes; there are other kits as well, but this mini set was still cheaper, at $35 before the discount. There is a set of all full sizes, but it's $98 and I'm not ready for that kind of commitment. I'm going to do a more in-depth post on this collection shortly after this one, so I won't go into too much more detail here, but I will say that, after using this system a handful of times, I have a favorable opinion of it. If you want to see everything included, along with my full first impressions, keep an eye out for a additional post.
In order to get up to the $30 for free shipping, I had to add another nail polish (so it's kind of like getting $5 off and a free polish, if you want to look at the deal that way). This is Gemma, a "a light muted olive green with an overlay of blue and violet duochrome shimmer".
Like Tangy, I purchased this polish because it's so dissimilar from everything else in my collection. It's a lot more subtle than Tangy and the duochrom isn't obvious unless you're in bright/direct light. It's one of those fashionably ugly colors, and it performs like a standard Zoya polish (it also doesn't have the visible brush strokes like Tangy is prone to).
I have a love/hate relationship with Butter London nail polish; I like the colors and the names are amusingly English, but the formulas can be hit or miss and at $15 a bottle, I think it's a bit over priced. But if I can find them on sale, as I often do at Marshall's and Nordstrom Rack (which is where these bottles are from), I'm happy to purchase them. This first color is The Black Knight.
Butter London describes this color as a "glitter fusion [that] contains black, pink, blue, and silver suspended in a black base". This is a cult favorite shade from Butter London, and I'm actually surprised that I found it on sale for $5. Surprised, and happy! This polish is meant to be opaque on its own, and because it's such a heavy glitter, it does have a bit of texture, even after you apply a top coat.
I also found Wallis for $5! Again, I was surprised to see this on sale for $5, since it's still a part of the permanent line. I've actually had my eye on this polish for a while; it's one of those "so ugly it's beautiful" colors.
This color is described as a "tarnished, metallic olive gold", and the name is  appropriately English and references something that I am completely unaware of (Butter London provides this mysterious blurb: "DEFINITION: In honour of the Saucy Yank who ran away with the king's heart.").
Regardless of its name and origins thereof, this color is amazing and if you're looking for something really unique, look no further!
Along with Zoya and OPI, Formula X is another of my favorite brands of polish. I was initially sad when the OPI for Sephora line was discontinued, but I'm very happy with the Formula X line and am glad Sephora decided to pick it up (I'm actually not 100% clear on whether or not Formula X is an independent brand that makes polish for Sephora, or if Sephora owns it and produces it as an in-house brand, similar to Kat Von D). As much as I like Formula X polishes, I very rarely pay full price for them, since they're so easy to find on sale. This is Dazed, from the recent Technicolor Silks collection (it's not the most recent collection, though; that'd be the Divine Stardust collection, which is also gorgeous) and I was surprised to see it go on sale on the website so quickly.
I'm not sure this was just a very unpopular color, but it looks like it was dropped from the line (it's no longer available), since all the other colors are full priced and this color is no longer listed. I missed this polish the first time it was on sale and sold out, but I signed up for e-mail notifications and purchased it as soon as it came back in stock. This polish is a sheer, lavender/pink duoschrome and it makes for a very pretty transforming top coat. I'm not sure if you can wear this polish on its own and get good opacity (from what I've seen online, it takes four coats), but if you layered it over a similarly colored base, you could fake it pretty easily. Not sure if this is worth the full $12.50, but I think this polish is definitely worth the $6.25 I paid.

And that's it for this polish haul! Again, nail polish is my favorite thing ever, and I could talk about it forever, but I will stop here before I bore you to tears. I hope you found this helpful, and at least a little interesting!

Thanks for reading! <3

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