Filed In: Deborah Lippmann

Deborah Lippmann ‘Modern Love’ Fall 2012 (swatches, comparisons & review)


When I think of fall colours, usually deeper hues come to mind; Deborah Lippmann decided to go in another direction and take things down a notch. ‘Modern Love’, one of 2 new shades released for fall 2012 (the other is ‘Let’s Go Crazy’), is an utterly creamy neutral hue, but make no mistake: what might seem like a run-of-the-mill nude colour may just surprise you. Sometimes, a whisper draws more attention than a shout …


‘Modern Love’ is a surprisingly complex crème shade with a mix of dusky rose and earthy mauve, with some grey tints thrown in as well. With a formula that flows somewhat on the thin side, it stops just short of being runny and manages to bear an easy mess-proof consistency. The first coat gave quite decent coverage for a shade this light, applying in a relatively non-streaking manner and laying down quite smoothly, with the second coat displaying more of its mauve leanings. As seen in the swatches below, some lights bring out a more tan side, while others highlight an antique rose hue … very multi-faceted for a neutral. The natural gloss at the finish was quite good, although I prefer how a layer of top coat enhances all of its subtleties. The following swatches are with Seche Clear Base Coat and Seche Vite Top Coat. Coats applied: 3 (for photographic purposes – otherwise 2 would be more than sufficient)

in sunlight

shaded light

with flash

Naked (left), Modern Love (center), & Fashion (right) – in natural light

Naked, Modern Love, & Fashion


I resisted picking up ‘Modern Love’ at first, convinced that it was already too close to the 2 other Deborah Lippmann neutrals in my collection, ‘Naked’ (previously reviewed here) and ‘Fashion’. Naturally, my curiosity won out and upon swatching the 3 together, I’m glad I caved – happy to admit I was wrong and that I really don’t have anything exactly like it! Here’s how they all compared: (all are with 3 coats for consistency, as well as base & top coats)

  • index finger: ‘Naked’ – palest of the three, leaning more peach, similar formula
  • middle & pinkie fingers: ‘Modern Love’
  • ring finger: ‘Fashion’ – the most neutral, beige-toned, the smoothest & best application of the three

in sunlight

shaded light

with flash


Final thoughts: Finding the right neutral/nude hue to work with your skin tone, is not as easy as you’d think; too yellow-toned and your hands wind up looking sallow, too grey-toned and you run the risk of appearing corpse-like, too pink-toned and “mannequin hands” rule … but ‘Modern Love’ somehow manages to combine just enough of all these tones to compliment instead of clash. Against my still summer-tanned skin, the colour appears a lot more rosy and delicate; I’m thinking that once my tan fades, the colour will then appear much more urban and sophisticated, but either way, I’m totally loving its unexpectedly composed look – a refreshing, almost “non-colour” to kick some “vampy” butt!




*Disclaimer: some products provided by the company/PR for my unbiased consideration

Deborah Lippmann – ‘Ray of Light’ (swatches & review)


Playing with effects lacquers, much like this beauty, is probably the closest I’ll come to “nail art”, since my strengths don’t lie in that direction – but that’s where Deborah Lippmann’s ‘Ray of Light’ comes in; part nail varnish & part visual wizardry, this is the grown up way to play with colour and texture on your nails. At once moody and paradoxically vibrant, this is one shade that actually appears to be charged with light!


‘Ray of Light’ is like jewelry for your nails; described as “electric indigo” by Deborah Lippmann, I found it to be so much more than that. The somewhat sheer jelly-like consistency of the formula was a touch on the thick side, with some elastic-y spring back upon application of the first coat, although that was quickly resolved with the good opacity achieved by the 2nd layer (3 coats were done for all swatches here). With a colour that swings through the blue spectrum – at times navy, cobalt and indigo, this shade is filled with predominantly burnt orange & copper irregularly shaped mylar flakes with flashes of green, gold, and blue that all appear to be suspended near the surface of the nail – adding an intense visual appeal. Drying to a high-gloss finish, top coat leaves it perfectly smooth to the touch. Touted as being “3D Holographic”, I think that might be a bit of a misnomer – closer to say that it’s prismatic at best, but gorgeous just the same. Bonus: easy to remove and non-staining.

All swatches are with Deborah Lippmann’s Rehydrating Base Coat and Addicted to Speed Top Coat.

Ray of Light

an ethereal ray of sunlight (source)

in sunlight

in sunlight/alternate


angled view



with flash

with flash/alternate

Ray of Light


Final thoughts: With the bottle in my hand (which, by the way, is a work of art in itself), I was held captive by the flakies – FLAKIES! Then I noticed the colour: the deep blue of the ocean, the purple of twilight – and all in a luminous finish that almost seems to pulse with life. The prismatic shards lends this lacquer such movement so that it never comes off as flat or dull. Even though 3 coats gives the fullest coverage, I actually preferred the look with 2 – resembling beautifully translucent sea glass. A limited edition shade released for spring, this is one hue that absolutely should not be missed – unless you happen to dislike totally unique and jaw-dropping stunning nail varnishes!


Deborah Lippmann spring 2012 – Mermaid’s Dream (swatches & review)


Who hasn’t pretended, when floating languorously in the water, to swish an imaginary iridescent fishtail while seaweed-long hair trails obediently behind? Ok, well maybe that was just me, but still … I always wanted to be a mermaid. It’s true; I did.  As I came to terms with my “landlocked” status, I grew out of my childhood desire, but not the exoticness of it all, and now, thanks to Deborah Lippmann’s ‘Mermaid’s Dream’, one of her new spring 2012 shades, I can at least live the fantasy – through my nails!  All swatches are with Deborah Lippmann’s 2 Second Nail Primer, Rehydrating Base Coat, and Addicted to Speed Top Coat.


– A Mermaid (1901) by John Williams Waterhouse

I still regret having missed the Waterhouse exhibit when his collection came here to Montréal, as the above painting is one of my all-time favourite works of his; the ethereal yet absolutely real beauty portrayed in this work, both inspires me and literally takes my breath away.

Mermaid’s Dream – mythically stunning

Mermaid’s Dream macro shot

a magnified look at iridescent fish scales – so surreal (and what about the colour resemblance?!)

‘Mermaid’s Dream’, is nothing short of enchanting; a seafoam green base shade in a pearlized/frosted/metallic format, it is filled with ultra-fine golden glitter dust as well as larger aqua glitter pieces scattered throughout. The formula had an excellent viscosity, flowing neither too thick nor too thin, and while two coats gives decent opacity (especially on shorter nails than mine here), I applied three very thin coats for a richer coverage. There also seems to a shy duochrome effect taking place as well, going from: the palest celadon, aqua, light green, sky blue, to some yellow-gold flashes when the light hits your nails at certain angles. Even though this shade doesn’t exhibit a high gloss, there is this uncanny reflective glow given off at the finish that is seriously mesmerizing. Another plus is the rather quick dry time, although be advised that as with all glitter lacquers, some work is required for removal – but it’s so worth the effort in this case! While the surface is somewhat even at the finish, adding top coat ensures a stunningly complimentary gloss and extra smoothness to the touch.


in sunlight


angle showing some blue tones

alternate angle view

backlit view

in shaded lighting


with flash

with flash, alternate view


Final thoughts: I don’t know how she managed to do this, but Deborah Lippmann has created some serious aquatic beauty with ‘Mermaid’s Dream’.  This is like wearing the lacquer version of iridescent fish scales on your nails, and all I know is that I could NOT stop staring at my hands the entire time I wore this gem! The formula was a touch sheer, but I feel that it actually enhances the entire “oceanic” effect of this shade and keeps it from appearing too “heavy” – an absolutely perfect lacquer to wear for all us mermaid wanna-be’s!





*Image credits 1, 2

Deborah Lippmann ‘Money Now Sleep Later’ (swatches & review)


A few days ago, while early Christmas shopping at Holt Renfrew (Montréal), I passed the Deborah Lippmann display and then literally stopped in my tracks: there in front of me, were several new and unheard of (to me at least) shades of lacquer! The one that beckoned, was ‘Money Now Sleep Later’ – what I thought was an simply an intensely shimmering aqua, until I picked it up and brought it into the light. A duochrome! And not just any duochrome, but a TEAL one with gorgeous purple flashes!  As it was the only bottle available, believe me when I say that I broke speed records getting to the cash register.  The following swatches are with Deborah Lippmann’s 2-Second Nail Primer, Rehydrating Base Coat and Addicted to Speed Top Coat.



‘Money Now Sleep Later’ is hypnotic; in some lights it appears this brilliant peacock shade of blue, then before your very eyes, as you move ever so slightly, it begins to morph into a regal purple, and with yet another flick of the wrist, it becomes an amalgamation of the two, with some silvered lilac hints hovering about it. The formula is a bit of a paradox as well (this lacquer seems shrouded in mystery!), being a touch on the sheer side, yet easy flowing and building to great coverage with ease.  I applied three thin coats for the following swatches, although two thicker coats would most likely yield a similar look. Very smooth and basically self levelling, this varnish also seemed to dry fairly quickly and left a really nice gloss behind.  What I absolutely love, is that although it may vary in intensity, the duochrome effect is visible in every type of light. Absolutely spell-binding!


In this sunlight photo, the hidden inner purple core darkens the teal somewhat and adds a beautiful new depth to the shade overall.


This second sunlight photo changes the look entirely; notice how the teal takes center stage, while the purple limns the outer edges of the nails…stunning effect!


Attempting to capture ‘Money Now Sleep Later’s’ elusive duality is not easy, but note how this side angle manages to do exactly that, displaying both of its beautiful tones.


This forward facing angle now reverses the shades, giving the mauve more prominence and the blueish-teal more of a complimentary role.


I love how this angle lends a true ombré effect across the nails.


Seen in indirect light, the vivid teal base comes to the fore and literally holds you captive in its darkened depths.


Like the ever-shifting hues of a mood stone, the opalescent fire of ‘Money Now Sleep Later’ moves as if with a life of its own.


In this shaded/backlit view, the teal takes on a greener tint and reflects vividly back from within a lavender cocoon.


A final view taken with flash, displays the brilliant shimmery finish of this shade, and gives a sly nod to its secondary purple-y hue.


Final thoughts: Deborah Lippmann does not disappoint; in a way, I’m glad that I hadn’t heard of this shade before, as this way I was treated to an incredibly welcomed surprise – not a common occurrence when you’re a beauty blogger! My very first duochrome lacquer, was another Lippmann shade, ‘Wicked Game’ (previously shown here) and as that surely started my interest in these polychromatic lacquers, ‘Money Now Sleep Later’ cements that appeal. An excellent formula and a truly original shade, almost defying description, I understand that this was made exclusively for Barney’s (in the US) and Holt Renfrew (here in Canada) and if so, it’s definitely worthy of hunting down!


Reader Request: Dark Grey Comparisons (swatches & review)


Across the horizon, deeply ominous clouds are massing, but you might call this the “Perfect Storm” instead!  Fall 2011 has seen the release of a plethora of deep, near-black grey lacquers, with most of the major players in the industry launching their own version of this shade.  Being naturally curious, I needed to know what, if any, set them apart and so combing through my stash, I chose these four to compare: China Glaze’s ‘Concrete Catwalk’ – Fall 2011 Metro Collection (reviewed here), Deborah Lippmann’s ‘Stormy Weather’ – Fall 2011 (reviewed here), NARS’ ‘Galion’ – Fall 2011 (reviewed here), and OPI’s ‘Suzi Skis In The Pyrenees’ – Fall 2009 Collection de España.

In order to better understand the differences (and similarities) between them, the following swatches show these shades with one coat of lacquer, no top coat (top photos), followed by  two coats of lacquer and top coat (bottom photos). Further breakdowns are listed in a easy point format.  Please note that all swatches were done with Seche Base Ridge Filling Top Coat, as well Revlon’s Quick Dry Top Coat for the second set.

  1. Index finger: China Glaze ‘Concrete Catwalk’
  2. Middle finger: Deborah Lippmann ‘Stormy Weather’
  3. Ring finger: NARS ‘Galion’
  4. Pinkie finger: OPI ‘Suzi Skis In The Pyrenees’


  • The most similar formula ie: consistency & application – ‘Concrete Catwalk’ and ‘Stormy Weather’
  • Most opaque formula: ‘Galion’
  • Thinnest/sheerest formula: ‘Suzi Skis In The Pyrenees’
  • Closest in colour: ‘Concrete Catwalk’ and ‘Stormy Weather’
  • Glossiest finish: ‘Stormy Weather’
  • Lightest in tone: ‘Stormy Weather’

Sunlight, one coat of lacquer – no top coat.


Sunlight, two coats of lacquer and top coat.


Indirect light, one coat of lacquer, no top coat.


Indirect light, two coats of lacquer and top coat.


Shaded light, one coat of lacquer, no top coat.


Shaded light, two coats of lacquer and top coat.


With flash, one coat of lacquer, no top coat.


With flash, two coats of lacquer and top coat.


Final thoughts: Before actually viewing all four shades together, I was convinced that they would be duplicates. Once I had gathered the bottles, however, I immediately saw several differences, but of course, the application that would be the final determinator.  When OPI released ‘Suzi Skis In The Pyrenees’ back in the Fall of 2009, I was drawn to this shade, even though I wasn’t sure if I would wind up wearing it.  Fast forward two years later, and it seems that dark grey is the “couleur de choix” on everyone’s list, from regular folks all the way to fashion designers. What I did not expect when I applied the four shades, was that the OPI would turn out to be so much sheerer than the rest, requiring a third coat if I wanted to achieve the same opacity as the rest (I stuck with two coats though, to keep things equal).  The other interesting feature that I noted was that although ‘Concrete Catwalk’ was the closest to ‘Galion’ in terms of depth of tone, it actually shared a similar blueish base with ‘Stormy Weather’ versus ‘Galion’ and ‘Suzi Skis In The Pyrenees’ more greener base.  I had a difficult time choosing which was the glossiest, and to be honest, ‘Stormy Weather’ only won by a hair, with ‘Concrete Catwalk’ breathing hungrily down its neck.



I thought I had covered all the brooding greys lurking in my stash, until the lovely Latoya of Beauty-Obsessed innocently inquired how yet another similar hue compared….I had completely forgotten Essie’s ‘Power Clutch’ – Fall 2011 Collection (reviewed here), and so back to the drawing board….er, kitchen table (!) I went to swatch them all again, minus the OPI this time.  I should also mention here that the chicest “frugalista” I know, Liz from Beauty Reductionista, had also asked if ‘Stormy Weather’ was a close duplicate for Dior’s ‘Gris Montaigne’, but as I forgot to include that beauty, there just may be another dark grey comparison post in my near future…!

This second edition includes the following four lacquers:

  1. Index finger: Essie ‘Power Clutch’
  2. Middle finger: China Glaze ‘Concrete Catwalk’
  3. Ring finger: Deborah Lippmann ‘Stormy Weather’
  4. Pinkie finger: NARS ‘Galion’

As with the first group reviewed, I have broken down in point format what their various differences and/or similarities are.  Wanting to add a new slant to these shades and being somewhat fascinated by the modern and chic vibe given off by a satin finish, I chose CHANEL’s recently released ‘Mat Velvet Top Coat’ (review forthcoming) to layer on top.  Please note that all the following swatches were done using Deborah Lippmann’s Rehydrating Base Coat.

  • The most similar formula, ie: consistency & application: ‘Concrete Catwalk’ and ‘Stormy Weather’
  • Most opaque formula and darkest in tone: ‘Galion’
  • Thinnest formula and lightest in tone: ‘Power Clutch’
  • Thickest formula: ‘Concrete Catwalk’
  • Closest in colour: ‘Concrete Catwalk’ and ‘Stormy Weather’
  • Bushiest brush: ‘Concrete Catwalk’
  • Glossiest finish: ‘Stormy Weather’


Sunlight, two coats of lacquer, no top coat.


Sunlight, two coats of lacquer and Mat Velvet Top Coat.


Indirect light, two coats of lacquer, no top coat.


Indirect light, two coats of lacquer and Mat Velvet Top Coat.


Shaded light, two coats of lacquer, no top coat.


Shaded light, two coats of lacquer and Mat Velvet Top Coat.


With flash, two coats of lacquer, no top coat.


With flash, two coats of lacquer and Mat Velvet Top Coat.


Final thoughts: Grey, in all its tonal qualities, from soft dove all the way to a smudge of charcoal, bears a very sophisticated aura.  Not quite as disturbing as gothic black, which, while immensely interesting to sport on your nails, is not necessarily the most wearable shade, nor as washed out as the lightest grey hue in the spectrum, these versions of dark grey are all immensely pleasing to the eye, and give your nails a very unique, urban, and elegant sophistication. This time around, I observed that in most of the swatches, ‘Concrete Catwalk’ once more looked most similar to ‘Stormy Weather’ with ‘Galion’ frequently completing the triad. I did not expect ‘Power Clutch’ to be as light, but next to the others, it seemed almost like their shadowy version. It should be noted that ‘Galion’ could also very well be a one-coater if applied thickly, but I prefer the evenness and control that two coats gives.  The other notable fact, is that once you take all these lacquers into shaded light, you would be hard pressed to tell them apart, but the natural gloss they all share, is outstanding.  What it all boils down to is a) your preference, b) availability, as some (like ‘Galion’) are limited edition and thus will be pulled from the roster once the season ends and c) cost, with China Glaze being the least expensive, followed by Essie at a mid range price, and lastly Deborah Lippmann and NARS as the two most expensive.

Mysterious, seductive, alluring….deep dark grey shades like all of the above, are an enigma, and I for one, just love keeping them guessing…..





*Disclaimer: some products were provided by the company/PR for my unbiased consideration

*Photo credit