Filed In: Holographic polishes

a-england · Tennyson’s Romance

a-england-tennysons-romance-opener

 

It’s no secret that one of my favourite nail polish brands is a-england, and not just for the absolutely stellar quality of the product. What makes this range a total stand-out for me, is how well thought-out and curated each collection is and the love with which founder Adina Bodana goes about in creating each shade. Inspired by her love of of Pre-Raphaelite art and literature, Tennyson’s Romance draws inspiration from a beloved poem of Adina’s, The Beggar Maid from Alfred, Lord Tennyson and brought to life by yet another of Adina’s favourites, the artist Edward Burne-Jones.

To see all previous reviews from this brand, click this a-england tab

The Beggar Maid (Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

Her arms across her breast she laid;
She was more fair than words can say:
Bare-footed came the beggar maid
Before the king Cophetua.
In robe and crown the king stept down,
To meet and greet her on her way;
“It is no wonder,” said the lords,
“She is more beautiful than day”.

As shines the moon in clouded skies,
She in her poor attire was seen:
One praised her ankles, one her eyes,
One her dark hair and lovesome mien:
So sweet a face, such angel grace,
In all that land had never been:
Cophetua sware a royal oath:
“This beggar maid shall be my queen!”

king-cophetua-and-the-beggar-maid

King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid by Edward Burne-Jones (1884)

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a-england-the-beggar-maid-swatch

The Beggar Maid | A steely grey base with olive undertones and a scattered holographic effect that gives off a slight pink shift under some lights. Self-levelling and almost a one-coat-wonder, this comes to a glossy finish.

Coats: 2, no top coat

a-england-angel-grace-swatch

Angel Grace | A vivid purple with a strong scattered holographic effect. A slightly thinner formula than The Beggar Maid, but bearing the same smooth application and shiny finish.

Coats: 2, no top coat

a-england-king-cophetua-swatch

King Cophetua | Probably the black holographic shade to rule them all, the scattered effect here is beautifully rendered and this is truly a one-coat-wonder. Self-levelling and coming to a glossy finish, there’s no staining upon removal either.

Coats: 2, no top coat

a-england-in-robe-and-crown-swatch

In Robe And Crown | A rich burgundy hue with a scattered holographic effect, with a flawless application, glossy finish, and no staining upon removal. I’m all about the ‘banked embers’ look happening with this shade and love how complex it is.

Coats: 2, no top coat

a-england-shall-be-my-queen-swatch

Shall Be My Queen | A deep rose shade with a strong scattered holographic effect that applies almost fully opaque by the first layer. Self-levelling like the rest and coming to a glossy finish, with bonus no staining upon removal.

Coats: 2, no top coat

 

As passionate as I am about beauty, that also applies to literature and art which is why everything about the Tennyson’s Romance collection resonates so strongly with me. This is a perfect example of all the right ingredients colliding, and no one does that better than a-england. If I were to pick my faves, that would be The Beggar Maid, King Cophetua and In Robe and Crown — primarily because moody shades like that sit right in my wheelhouse. If you’ve yet to discover this brand, you really need to get on board because this is one unbelievably quality product that I honestly cannot recommend enough. Plus, just look at all this gorgeousness, am I right?

Visit a-england for retailers

a-england-tennysons-romance-closer

 

PR samples/As always, all opinions are my own

a-england | Russian Soul

a-england Russian Soul opener

 

Russian Soul, the latest release from boutique lacquer brand a-england, draws inspiration from the ballet, in particular the gliding elegance and technical artistry of renown Russian dancers such as that of Maya Plisetskaya (1925 – 2015), Prima Ballerina Assoluta.

Since its inception, a-england has consistently turned out one incredible collection after another with shades that are not only beautiful & complex but also imbued with a strong sense of history not seen with any other beauty product. Founder Adina Bodana, a woman with one of the most generous hearts I know and whom I’m proud to call a friend, has quite possibly outdone even herself with this latest creation – prepare to be amazed.

*See swatches of more a-england shades by clicking on the tag in the sidebar 

 

Maya Plisetskaya Swan Lake

Maya Plisetskaya, Prima Ballerina Assoluta as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake

a-england Russian Soul

a-england | Russian Soul

a-england Russian Soul 2

a-england | Russian Soul

a-england Katyusha swatch

Katyusha | An oxidized silver hue with a strong holographic effect, displaying an absolutely beautiful flow, density, and coverage (basically opaque at 1 coat). There’s this stunning green and copper shift seen in some lights, alternating to a more seafoam green at other times. LOVE!

Coats: 2, no base or top coat added

a-england Katyusha swatch 2

a-england | Katyusha swatch, Russian Soul

a-england Waltz of the Flowers swatch

Waltz of the Flowers | An iridescent violet hue with a strong prismatic effect to the holographic particles in a slightly sheerer formula than that of Katyusha. Self-levelling and with a natural glossy finish, there’s such an ease to the flow that makes application a dream. Gorgeously regal yet still so classic and modern.

Coats: 2, no base or top coat added

a-england Waltz of the Flowers swatch 2

a-england | Waltz of the Flowers swatch, Russian Soul

a-england Kalinka swatch

Kalinka | A silvered lavender hue with yet another strong holographic presence, in a formula similar to that of Waltz of the Flowers; a slight sheerness with the first coat but becoming fully opaque by the second layer. There’s a hypnotic effect to the prismatic flashes, especially when seen in direct sunlight (don’t drive and stare, please!)

Coats: 2, no base or top coat added

a-england Kalinka swatch 2

a-england | Kalinka swatch, Russian Soul

a-england Polovetsian Dances swatch

Polovetsian Dances | A midnight violet/indigo hue in a formula that is ultra colour-saturated making it almost a one-coat-wonder, with a formula that displays a perfect density, flow, coverage along with self-levelling properties. The holographic particles are more scattered here, with the richness of the base colour providing your nails with that ‘galaxy’ effect (adding a layer of top coat will really make this stand out). BONUS: non-staining upon removal.

Coats: 2, no base or top coat added

a-england Polovetsian Dances swatch 2

a-england | Polovetsian Dances swatch, Russian Soul

a-england Natasha's Dance swatch

Natasha’s Dance/War & Peace | A lush ebonized charcoal hue with a deep violet undertone and a killer amazing formula in all regards: flow, density, coverage, opacity, gloss and evenness. With a scattered holographic effect similar to that of Polovetsian Dances, this shade is a true one-coat-wonder, although I would still add a second layer for more depth. BONUS: non-staining upon removal. By the way, adding top coat to this beauty takes things to a whole other level of gorgeousness (see the last swatch).

Coats: 2, no base or top coat added on the first 2 swatches, top coat on the last swatch

a-england Natasha's Dance swatch 2

a-england | Natasha’s Dance/War & Peace swatch, Russian Soul

a-england Natasha's Dance swatch 3

a-england | Natasha’s Dance/War & Peace swatch with top coat, Russian Soul

 

In case it wasn’t already apparent, I have so much love for this brand – not to mention the highest level of respect for its creator, Adina. For starters, you can just tell that each and every shade is meticulously thought out and developed with uniqueness and quality in mind. This collection is a departure from other prismatic hues in the brand’s range, in the sense that there’s this gorgeous natural glossiness seen at the finish of each shade that I personally haven’t seen before, with stellar formulas just sweetening the deal. Picking one favourite out of them all is not possible and I’m so happy I don’t have to either. I may never be a Prima Ballerina Assoluta, but my nails can definitely channel that elegance thanks to this Russian Soul.

Visit a-engand to shop the collection & to find your nearest retailer

a-england Russian Soul closer

 

These ethereal beauties have been kindly provided/As always, all opinions are my own

a-england | Rossetti’s Goddess

a-england Rossetti's Goddess opener

 

With her passion for art, literature, and beauty, Adina Bodana (aka: the creative mastermind behind boutique nail lacquer brand, a-england), draws inspiration from the life & works of Dante Gabriel Rossetti to bring forth her latest collection, Rossetti’s Goddess – four complex shades that bear a multitonal and magical prismatic gleam.

Rossetti, one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, infused an undertone of sensuality to the medieval-revival style of his art and poetry, most of which was strongly influenced by his life’s personal events that also included his long-running love affair with muse Jane Morris – the wife of his friend and peer, William Morris. With the Rossetti’s Goddess Collection, Adina once again manages to effortlessly marry touches of history to beauty and has single-handedly created a new industry category, or what I like to call: Art/Lacquer. Rossetti’s intense and somewhat brooding artistic undercurrents are clearly displayed with this capsule collection – all done in that impeccable a-england way.

As with other prismatic shades in the a-england family, the four shown here come to a satin rather than glossy finish – which can be a unique look as is, but become so much more elevated when layered with top coat.

All swatches shown are with 2 coats of lacquer (each) and top coat.

a-england Rossetti's Goddess opener 2

a-england | Rossetti’s Goddess

a-england Rossetti's Goddess

a-england | Rossetti’s Goddess

 

a-england Rossetti's Goddess macro

a-england | Rossetti’s Goddess

a-england Rossetti's Goddess 2

a-england | Rossetti’s Goddess

a-england Rossetti's Goddess 3

a-england | Rossetti’s Goddess

 

Rossetti's Jane Morris portrait 1868

Portrait of Jane Morris, Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1868)

 

a-england Jane Morris swatch 1

Jane Morris | A slate/steely grey shade with strong violet reflects and light silvery glints. The prismatic effect is quite evident when seen in person, but can be rather camera-shy unless taken with flash, all of which serves to nevertheless add a stunning dimension of tone. The formula falls on the thicker side (the thickest of the 4, in fact) and is basically opaque at 1 coat – a plus if you’re in a hurry.

 

a-england Jane Morris swatch 2

a-england | Jane Morris

 

a-england Captive Goddess swatch 1

Captive Goddess | An icy cerulean blue with aqua reflects and a scattered, but still clearly visible holographic effect. The formula is a bit of a contradiction; relatively thick in flow but with a sheer-leaning application, but still very easy to apply and which becomes completely opaque by the 2nd coat. The paler hue of this shade makes the prismatic part of it appear to pool along the sides and tips of the nails (more so than the middle), which only adds to its uniqueness.

 

a-england Captive Goddess swatch 2

a-england | Captive Goddess

 

Rossetti Jane Morris as Proserpine 1874

Jane Morris painted as Proserpine, Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1874)

In Greek (and Roman) mythology, Hades – God of the Underworld – falls in love with beautiful Persephone (Proserpine), daughter of Zeus and Demeter (Goddess of Agriculture & Fertility, also known as Ceres) and kidnaps her to become his wife. Demeter in her anguish to have her daughter returned, refuses to allow any crops to grow until Zeus intervenes on her behalf and manages to convince Hades to release his reluctant bride. Told not to eat or drink anything in the Underworld or risk staying there forever, Persephone rashly eats a few pomegranate seeds in gratitude of her upcoming release,  which then binds her forever to Hades for part of each year. Demeter to this day, continues to grieve for her missing daughter during that time – Winter – and refuses to permit anything to grow upon the land, relenting only when the two reunite once more each Spring.

 

a-england Proserpine swatch 1

Proserpine | A smoky deep teal with a multi-layered scattered holographic effect. The formula here is nothing short of amazing: self-levelling, perfectly opaque at just 1 coat, and stays exactly where placed without pooling along nail edges or cuticles. While deeper lighting dims the prismatic flare to a certain degree, sunlight brings it to absolutely gorgeous and brilliant life. BONUS: non-staining upon removal.

 

a-england Proserpine swatch 2

a-england | Prosperine

 

a-england Incense Burner swatch 1

Incense Burner | The undisputed Pièce de Résistance of the collection, this shade almost defies description; an aubergine/olive multichrome hue with a strong topaz flash and a formula that can be described in one word: STELLAR. The first coat lays down a rich eggplant purple, and while that seems to be the general colour of this shade, that changes depending on one’s angle of vision and the light – at times calling forth a greener hue, then morphing into a more mauve/brown/amber tone. Truly hypnotic and very unique in my collection, I can assure you.

Trying to capture the many facets of Incense Burner (inspired by the actual incense burner seen in the lower left hand corner of the above painting of Proserpine, symbolic of her attribute as a Goddess in her own right) can prove tricky at best, so I’ve included a few extra photos to portray its gorgeousness as accurately as possible. Enjoy!

 

a-england Incense Burner swatch 2

a-england | Incense Burner

a-england Incense Burner swatch 3

a-england | Incense Burner

a-england Incense Burner swatch 4

a-england | Incense Burner

 

No more words are really needed, are they? Following the tradition of putting forth an amazing product, Rossetti’s Goddess from a-england is a collection worthy of both its historical inspiration and the brand itself, known for quality above all else. My favourites here are hands down Incense Burner and Proserpine (dark, mysterious & brooding shades get me every time), although Jane Morris and Captive Goddess are simply perfect for the season now and will no doubt transition beautifully once the weather starts to cool again, faithfully completing the cycle of the myth itself. Bravo & well-done, Adina.

Available now through a-england, where you can also find a complete list of stockists for your location.

a-england Rossetti's Goddess closer

Press samples kindly provided for my unbiased consideration

Trust Fund Beauty – The Holographic Collection

Trust Fund Beauty opener

 

Montréal-based newcomer to the field of bijoux nail polish, Trust Fund Beauty, wants you to celebrate your inner “rich bitch” and make a statement with your nail lacquer, no matter what your financial situation may be. When I was recently contacted by the brand to try out their products, my choices were made that much more difficult by the wide and varied array of colours and finishes, but it was their latest offering, The Holographic Collection, that totally drew me in. With ingredients sourced from Denmark and the US, it’s obvious that this is a brand that wants to spoil and pamper their clientele – which is exactly up my alley.

A few notes about the formula and application:

  • CAN $15.00 each 17 ml/0.57 fl.oz
  • 5-Free (no toluene, formaldehyde, lead, nickel, or pthalates), vegan and cruelty-free (not tested on animals)
  • each shade ended with a suprisingly glossy finish
  • the application leans more on the thin side, but is also totally self-levelling. The advantage here, is that they can all be easily layered over a matching solid base shade for more depth, if desired
  • relatively quick-drying
  • 4 of the 6 were semi-sheer and required 3 coats for full opacity (Don’t be Shady, Jail Bait, High Maintenance, and Filth & Glamour), but shorter nails can definitely get away with 2 coats – it depends more on your personal preferences
  • the brush wand is longer than I’m used to, but still easy to manipulate and the brush head while not overly thick, has a good balance of flexibility and density of bristles
  • avoid applying top coat, as it will only dull the prismatic effect – plus the glossy natural finish of each would make it redundant in any case

 

Trust Fund Beauty

Trust Fund Beauty – The Holographic Collection

 

Trust Fund Beauty 2

Trust Fund Beauty – The Holographic Collection

 

Don’t Be Shady – A pale silvery grey base colour bearing a diffused/scattered holographic effect. Coats applied: 3, thin

 

Trust Fund Beauty Don't Be Shady swatch

Trust Fund Beauty – Don’t Be Shady

 

Blue Blooded – A cool/icy blue base colour with a more pronounced linear holographic effect. Coats applied: 2

 

Trust Fund Beauty Blue Blooded swatch

Trust Fund Beauty – Blue Blooded

 

Jail Bait – A chainmail/gunmetal charcoal grey base shade with a strong & visible scattered holographic effect. Coats applied: 3, thin

 

Trust Fund Beauty Jail Bait swatch

Trust Fund Beauty – Jail Bait

 

High Maintenance – An antiqued beige gold base colour with a strong scattered holographic effect. Coats applied: 3, thin

 

Trust Fund Beauty High Maintenance swatch

Trust Fund Beauty – High Maintenance (in sunlight)

 

Like Royalty – A burgundy/berry base colour with a strong scattered holographic effect and bearing a slight dusty quality – very unique tone. Coats applied: 2

 

Trust Fund Beauty Like Royalty swatch

Trust Fund Beauty – Like Royalty (in sunlight)

 

Filth & Glamour – A lime green base colour with a softly diffused/scattered holographic effect. There’s a fresh, yet complex tone to this shade that makes it unique in my collection. Coats applied: 3

 

Trust Fund Beauty Filth & Glamour swatch

Trust Fund Beauty – Filth & Glamour (in sunlight)

 

I love supporting local talent, but when that is also combined with quality and an aesthetic that I can stand behind, it makes my job even sweeter. The attention to detail is another factor I look for with new brands, and Trust Fund Beauty is definitely hitting it out of the park in that department as well, starting from how carefully the products are packaged for shipping (with fun & colourful zigzag paper confetti to cushion them) to their narrow rectangular-shaped bottles which are easy to store and lovely to look at, each housed in their own individual box. If you take a stroll through the website, I’m fairly certain you’ll be smiling at several of the names – all while drooling over the shade selection, no doubt.

Not sure which colour to go for? Then you can always opt for the Sample Trio Packs (CAN $10.00 each). Another way to indulge, is by joining their Monthly Exclusive Club, where you get to pick 1 shade out of the 2 to have delivered to your door. Find more information via:

 

 

Trust Fund Beauty closer

*Disclosure: Product samples provided by the company/PR for my unbiased consideration

Cirque Colors – Alchemy Collection pt. 1

Cirque Alchemy pt 1 opener

 

The realm of the occult and medieval experiments in alchemy is the inspiration behind this latest manifestation by Cirque Colors, and as these are subjects that have captivated me since my earliest memories – combined with my love of nail lacquer – all I can say is that this collection pushes all the right buttons for me. Every.Single.One.

If you’re unfamiliar with this artisanal brand, then you’re in for a wonderful experience: with each hand-made batch, founder Annie Pham actually does seem to create magic, combining pigments and finishes in unique ways using only the finest ingredients, and leaving no detail overlooked – from the logo, bottle design, packaging, and imagery. Another little-known fact, is that each shade is scented with essential oils of lavender and clary sage that lend a subtle (and almost mood-enhancing) fragrance to your nails once the polish dries – like I said: magic.

I have divided this 10-piece collection into 2 parts, the better to showcase each and every beautiful varnish. Feel free to indulge and enjoy!


Cirque Alchemy pt 1

Cirque Colors – Alchemy Collection


Cirque Alchemy pt 1 B

Cirque Colors – Alchemy Collection


Cirque Alchemy pt 1 C

Cirque Colors – Alchemy Collection

 

Mink – A dark taupe base with blue flashes and a strongly scattered prismatic effect, that appears more linear in direct light. The formula is a touch thick density-wise, but still applies in a completely self-levelling way with a satin finish at the end. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat

Meaning: a semiaquatic animal renown for its luxurious fur


Cirque Mink swatch

Cirque Colors – Mink


Cirque Mink swatch 2

Cirque Colors – Mink

 

Magnum Opus – A tungsten steel base hue with obvious mauve undertones, bearing the same strongly scattered holographic effect (that also appears more linear in direct light) as that of ‘Mink’. Super easy application due to the amazing formula – comes to a satin finish. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat

Meaning: the greatest achievement of an artist


Cirque Magnum Opus swatch

Cirque Colors – Magnum Opus


Cirque Magnum Opus swatch 2

Cirque Colors – Magnum Opus

 

Baptisia – UNBELIEVABLE. A rich (and true) indigo base hue with plenty of sapphire shimmer and more scattered silver flecks thrown in. The application couldn’t be more perfect: mega colour saturation, amazing flow, self-levelling, and a shiny (not glossy) finish which benefits from top coat to bring out its depths. Intense, luxurious and somewhat regal – this is that shade of twilight sky moments before it turns dark. LOVE. Bonus: non-staining upon removal. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat

Meaning: a wild indigo plant (Eastern United States) with blue flowers

NOTE: This shade is much more dark purple leaning than my photos show (trust me; if I knew how to adjust the settings on my camera better, you’d understand)


Cirque Baptisia swatch

Cirque Colors – Baptisia


Cirque Baptisia swatch 2

Cirque Colors – Baptisia

 

Chrysopoeia – A goldenrod yellow with gold and silver finely ground shimmer and a mild scattered holographic effect (what a mouthful). The formula fell on the sheer side, but still gave surprisingly good coverage just the same, self-levelling and with a satin finish at the end. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat

Meaning: to turn an element into gold (transmutation)


Cirque Chrysopoeia swatch

Cirque Colors – Chrysopoeia


Cirque Chrysopoeia swatch 2

Cirque Colors – Chrysopoeia

 

Arcane Fire – Where do I start … A magenta base hue with crimson undertones and super-fine pink, gold & bronze shimmer in a jelly-like formula. What starts off as dark rose colour then transforms (like magic?) into a more ruby/maroon hue with violet flashes along the nail edges seen in some lights. With its satin finish, top coat does all sorts of wonderful here. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat

Meaning: “arcane” mysterious, known only to a few


Cirque Arcane Fire swatch

Cirque Colors – Arcane Fire


Cirque Arcane Fire swatch 2

Cirque Colors – Arcane Fire

 

Creating something original is the rather crowded world of nail polish, is no easy feat and yet, Cirque Colors manages to bring us something new. If forced to choose a favourite amongst the 5 here, I would have to say that Baptisia takes top honours (but then again, I do have a weakness for darkling shades), with Arcane Fire and Magnum Opus not far behind. Adding a holographic touch to Mink elevates this shade from ordinary to extra-ordinary and while I was left unmoved by Chrysopoeia (It’s a personal preference: anything yellow-based really clashes with my skin tone – nothing to do with this shade), I must admit that it’s one of the most complex yellow hues I’ve seen.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this collection, coming soon.

The Alchemy Collection is available now – find more information via website/twitter/facebook

About Cirque
Cirque is an artisanal line of hand-blended nail polish made in New York. The name Cirque, meaning ring or circle, represents the color wheel and the endless color possibilities in the continuum. Creator, Annie Pham, sought to develop colors that transcend those of conventional brands by experimenting with unique pigments and raw materials. Cirque nail polish is 3-free, which means it does not contain toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate.

 

Cirque Alchemy pt 1 closer

*Disclosure: Product samples provided by the company/PR for my unbiased consideration