Filed In: Holographic polishes

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

OPI – Gwen Stefani Collection, Textures

OPI Gwen Stefani Textures opener

 

While the first half of this capsule collection consisted of more traditional creamier hues – albeit in a new ultra-glossy formula (previously reviewed here), the three lacquers shown here all offer more of a 3D experience with their varying finishes. Somehow, OPI has managed to perfectly capture the many sides of singer/songwriter/fashion designer/mom Gwen Stefani with these shades, at once unique, glam & just the right amount of edge.


OPI Gwen Stefani collage pt 2

Sophisticated glamour: another side of Gwen Stefani (source)


OPI Love.Angel.Music.Baby.

Love.Angel.Music.Baby. – a champagne gold hue with finely ground matching shimmer, in OPI’s new satin textured finish that feels exactly like buttery suede. Opacity was amazing for a shade this light, giving almost complete coverage by the 1st coat while falling in a totally self-levelling way. On me, this shade appears as more of an amped-up nude — and I’m 100% in love with the unique, almost ‘editorial’ tone it gave off. Note: the finish takes a few minutes to fully develop – but it’s so worth the wait. Coats applied: 2, no top coat (best worn without)

The last 2 swatches were done by first applying two coats of ‘I Sing in Color’ (previously reviewed here) and allowing it to dry completely. Using ‘Love.Angel.Music.Baby.’ to created the gilded tips, wipe off most of the polish against the neck of the bottle, then apply in an upwards motion from the nail tip – applying very little pressure. By turning the brush on its side, you can also feather it slightly higher up along the nail. Finish with top coat to form a protective and seamless finish.


OPI Love.Angel.MUsic.Baby. swatch

OPI – Love.Angel.Music.Baby.


OPI Love.Angel.Music.Baby. swatch 2

OPI – Love.Angel.Music.Baby.


OPI Love.Angel.Music.Baby nail art

OPI – Love.Angel.Music.Baby. over I Sing in Color


OPI Love.Angel.Music.Baby. nail art 2

OPI – Love.Angel.Music.Baby. over I Sing in Color


OPI 4 In The Morning

4 In The Morning – a gunmetal hue with a pewter sheen, in OPI’s new semi-matte satin finish that has a slight overall rubberized look and bears an excellent flow to the formula, falling in a self-levelling way and leaving zero brush strokes behind. Non-staining upon removal, once again top coat would only ruin the unique tone of this lacquer. Sophisticated and futuristic at the same time, this is the perfect alternative to black. Coats applied: 2, no top coat


OPI 4 In The Morning swatch

OPI – 4 In the Morning


OPI 4 In The Morning swatch 2

OPI – 4 In the Morning


OPI In True Stefani Fashion

In True Stefani Fashion – a clear base filled with holographic glitter in small & medium round shapes, along with larger square pieces to form an original composition. Best used for layering over other shades (especially darker hues for a stark contrast), but it can be also worn alone for a tinsel-like brilliance. Coats applied: 3 (thin), plus top coat

The last 2 swatches were created by first applying two coats of ‘4 In the Morning’ and allow it to dry well (at least 15 minutes). Place a large drop of ‘In True Stefani Fashion’ on a piece of foil and using the larger head of a double-ended dotting too, apply 3 rows of evenly spaced dots along the nail lengthwise. Using the fine head of the dotting tool, finish by placing dots in between using the finer head of the dotting tool – no top coat was used.


OPI In True Stefani Fashion swatch

OPI- In True Stefani Fashion


OPI In True Stefani Fashion swatch 2

OPI – In True Stefani Fashion


OPI 4 In The Morning nail art

OPI – In True Stefani Fashion over 4 In the Morning


OPI 4 In The Morning nail art 2

OPI – In True Stefani Fashion over 4 In the Morning

 

In my opinion, every single one of these lacquers is a winner; Love.Angel.Music.Baby. blew me away with its stealth “cool-ness”, like adding a matte top coat over a nude gold shade — but better. 4 In the Morning is the epitome of rocker-chic and even impressed my husband (he actually noticed the finish). Glitter is not usually my thing, but by indulging in a little simple nail art, I was able to turn In True Stefani Fashion into original holographic studs – love it!

I’ll hopefully be showing the last shade of this collection, Push and Shove – a brilliant chrome hue (sold as a set with Lay Down That Base) fairly soon – stay tuned!

The OPI Gwen Stefani Collection will be available in stores early January 2014. Find more information via website/twitter/facebook

 

OPI Gwen Stefani Textures closer

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

a-england – Ballerina Collection

a-england Ballerina opener

 

I will just go on the assumption that by now, you’ve all heard of the amazing-ness of a-england lacquers – if not, then I urge you to check out my reviews of this entire range by clicking on the sidebar tab … and I challenge you to not fall instantly in love with everything.

One reason that every collection from this brand is so eagerly anticipated, lies in how founder & creative genius, Adina Bodana, manages to merge a touch of culture & history with every release. Another reason is due to the formula: perfection – in every detail, from the flow to the colours.

This capsule collection draws its inspiration from Dame Margot Fonteyn, easily recognizable as one of the world’s most unparalleled classical dance ballerinas of all time, along with that of her lifelong career partner, the incomparable Rudolf Nureyev. These four shades are all takes on this theme – as ethereal and hauntingly beautiful as that of a perfectly executed pas de deux, with an overall elegance to each that cannot be denied.

A word on the formula: while some prismatic lacquers may need a specific base and/or top coat to amplify their effect, these four a-england shades apply ridiculously easily straight from the bottle, without any visible brush strokes and all ending with a high-gloss natural finish, while top coat seems to enhance, rather than diminish their holographic-ness.

Read all about my amazing GIVEAWAY at the end of this post!


a-england Ballerina

a-england ♦ Ballerina Collection


a-england Ballerina 2

a-england ♦ Ballerina Collection


a-england Ballerina 3

a-england ♦ Ballerina Collection


margot-fonteyn-1919-1991-in-1960-when-everett

Margot Fonteyn 1919 – 1991 (source) c. 1955

Born Margaret Evelyn Hookham on May 18, 1919 to an British father and half-Irish half-Brazilian mother, she quickly rose through the ranks of the Royal Ballet School of London where by the age of 20 she had already assumed 3 leads. In 1956 she was made a Dame of the Order of the British Empire, eventually being appointed Prima Ballerina Assoluta by Queen Elizabeth II


a-england Fonteyn

Fonteyn – pale lavender-tinted silvery holographic hue with a slightly diffused but still linear prismatic effect. An absolutely PERFECT formula that can literally be a 1-coater, applying in a self-levelling way and ending with a glossy finish. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat


a-england Fonteyn flash

a-england ♦ Fonteyn


a-england Fontey swatch

a-england ♦ Fonteyn


a-england Fonteyn swatch 2

a-england ♦ Fonteyn


a-england Fonteyn swatch flash

a-england ♦ Fonteyn (with flash)


Sleeping Beauty MF

Margot Fonteyn As Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty ballet c. 1950 (source)


a-england Her Rose Adagio

Her Rose Adagio – Faded rose hue filled with a scattered (yet still rather dense) prismatic effect. Bearing a slightly thinner formula than that of ‘Fonteyn’, although still ridiculously easy to apply and with the same smooth & glossy finish. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat


a-england Her Rose Adagio flash

a-england ♦ Her Rose Adagio


a-england Her Rose Adagio swatch

a-england ♦ Her Rose Adagio


a-england Her Rose Adagio swatch 2

a-england ♦ Her Rose Adagio


a-england Her Rose Adagio swatch flash

a-england ♦ Her Rose Adagio (with flash)


Fonteyn

Margot Fonteyn as Odette in Swan Lake c. 1945 (source)


a-england Encore Margot

Encore Margot – Palest icy blue-tinted silvery holographic hue with a soft scattered prismatic effect. Cool leaning in tone and bearing a similar formula to that of ‘Her Rose Adagio’ – as well as the same amazing self-levelling & incredibly glossy application. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat


a-england Encore Margot flash

a-england ♦ Encore Margot


a-england Encore Margot swatch

a-england ♦ Encore Margot


a-england Encore Margot swatch 2

a-england ♦ Encore Margot


a-england Encore Margot swatch flash

a-england ♦ Encore Margot (with flash)


Nureyev & Fonteyn

Margot Fonteyn & Rudolf Nureyev in Pelleas and Melisande c. 1969 (source)

In 1961 when Margot Fonteyn met then-unknown Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev, their rapport was instantaneous and their dance partnership has now become legendary, spanning the rest of their careers with numerous unforgettable performances. In 1962, their first full-length ballet together, Giselle, received 30 curtain calls – an unprecedented achievement


a-england Dancing With Nureyev

Dancing With Nureyev – Violet-blue holographic hue with a formula that can only be described as sublime: a perfect density, opacity, glossiness and self-levelling application. The prismatic effect falls mostly scattered, but with linear hints as well – especially along the perimeter of the nails. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat


a-england Dancing With Nureyev flash

a-england ♦ Dancing With Nureyev


a-england Dancing With Nureyev swatch

a-england ♦ Dancing With Nureyev


a-england Dancing With Nureyev swatch 2

a-england ♦ Dancing With Nureyev


a-england Dancing With Nureyev swatch flash

a-england ♦ Dancing With Nureyev (with flash)

 

When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being of ballerina (and a mermaid, and a princess), so anything classical-dance related has always had the ability to completely captivate me. The four shades of this latest a-england collection manage to make even the often-extravagantly flashy finish of holographic polish, appear elegant, sophisticated, and eminently wearable – at times as delicate as tulle, at others radiating a brilliant intensity as that of stage lights. I may never be a prima ballerina, but I will revel in wearing this magic across my fingers. Applause, welcome.

The a-england Ballerina Collection is available now. Find more information on this brand via website/twitter/facebook/Instagram

GIVEAWAY!

Enter to win one (1) entire set of this a-england Ballerina Collection by the following:

  • Send an email to ommorphiagiveaway@gmail.com
  • Write Ballerina in the subject line
  • Include your full name & address information in the body of the email (all kept strictly confidential)

This giveaway is OPEN INTERNATIONALLY and limited to one entry per person – duplicate entries will be automatically discarded. The contest will run from today (Monday, December 9th, 2013) until Monday (December 16th, 2013) 11:00 pm EST, after which one (1) winner shall be chosen and notified via email. The winner will have 24 hours to respond/confirm, after which a new name/winner will be drawn. All entrants must be of legal age (18) to enter and failure to comply with any of the above rules will result in elimination. Neither myself nor my blog are responsible for any product damages that may be incurred during shipping.

GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE!


a-england Ballerina closer

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

First Look: a-england Ballerina

a-england pre-Ballerina opener

 

Through my social media channels, late last week I previewed the first look at a-england’s latest collection: Ballerina, inspired by the legendary dancer Margot Fonteyn and her timeless grace. This latest offering from the cult brand features four prismatic shades that speak of light & shadows, with the holographic nature representing the complexities of the dance, while the airy colours call to mind the delicate tulle found on tutus.

A full review with detailed swatches will be coming to the blog soon, but for now, enjoy the nail wheel swatches. Note that the swatch photos show the shades in direct sunlight (left) and with flash (right).

 

a-england pre-Ballerina

a-england ♦ Ballerina

 

a-england pre-Ballerina flash

a-england ♦ Ballerina (with flash)

 

a-england pre-Fonteyn swatch

a-england ♦ Fonteyn

 

a-england pre-Her Rose Adagio swatch

a-england ♦ Her Rose Adagio

 

a-england pre-Encore Margot swatch

a-england ♦ Encore Margot

 

a-england pre-Dancing with Nureyev swatch

a-england ♦ Dancing with Nureyev

 

For those of you already familiar with the perfection that is a-england, then I don’t need to say any more. Founder & creator Adina Bodana, continues to wow us with her incredibly refined tastes and keen eye for composition, and the best part? Every collection comes with a storied pedigree, inspired from either great works of art, literature, and history … such as this lovely quartet.

Visit the a-england website to view all products. To order the Ballerina collection, send an email to hello@a-england.co.uk (soon to be available on the website as well).

 

a-england pre-Ballerina closer

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

Cirque Colors – The Arcus Collection pt. 1

Cirque Arcus part 1 opener

 

Having quickly risen to the ranks of one of my favourite boutique nail lacquer brands, Cirque Colors – the brainchild of Annie Pham, brings us her latest offering: ‘The Arcus Collection’. Consisting of 12 shades – 6 of them inspired by the primary colours found in a rainbow, the other 6 insanely brilliant “toppers” – these now come in the brand’s newly revamped packaging of the same square bottles, but with the logo silk-screened on top as opposed to the previous “sticker” version, with each housed in its own clearly-labelled box. The quality of Cirque Colors polishes is nothing short of superb, but it’s the original way that Annie combines colours and finishes that allows her beauties to stand out from the herd. To better appreciate this gorgeous collection, I’ve split it up into 2 parts … get ready to be spell-bound …

 

Cirque Arcus part 1

Cirque Colors Arcus Collection

 

Cirque Arcus part 1 macro

Cirque Colors Arcus Collection

 

Sanguine – where to start describing this shade? A mid-sheer tangerine/pink duo chrome hue with a gorgeous bronze-y glow seen in some lights, in a formula with a good density, albeit on the thin side, which applies in a self-levelling way and winds down to a satiny finish. Can definitely be layered over a matching solid shade for more impact. Coats applied: 3 (thin), plus top coat

 

Cirque Sanguine swatch

Cirque Colors Arcus Collection – Sanguine

 

Cirque Sanguine swatch 2

Cirque Colors Arcus Collection – Sanguine

 

Cirque Sanguine swatch 3

Cirque Colors Arcus Collection – Sanguine (indirect light)

 

Vesuvius – a molten hot raspberry hue with blueish undertones, displaying a scattered prismatic effect in a semi-sheer formula that bears an easy flow and excellent pigmentation – ending in a totally unusual and unique bright satin finish. The holographic effect is spectacular, especially in sunlight. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat

 

Cirque Vesuvius swatch

Cirque Colors Arcus Collection – Vesuvius

 

Cirque Vesuvius swatch 2

Cirque Colors Arcus Collection – Vesuvius

 

Bejewelled – a blueberry version of ‘Vesuvius’, this hue bears an interesting paradox: while the first coat may appear somewhat sheer upon application, it becomes 100% opaque by the second layer. Stellar, vivid, intense — these are just a few of the adjectives that only begin to describe this beauty. Another shade that comes to a satin, yet super bright finish, and completely non-staining upon removal. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat

 

Cirque Bejewelled swatch

Cirque Colors Arcus Collection – Bejewelled

 

Cirque Bejewelled swatch 2

Cirque Colors Arcus Collection – Bejewelled

 

Erda – a luxurious emerald green hue with a jewel-like intensity and depth of tone, bearing golden olive undertones and a glass-flecked shimmer within. There was an odd “bounce-back” effect upon application of the first coat, which was quickly resolved by subsequent coats. This non-staining and self-levelling formula falls a bit on the thin side as well, making it ideal to be layered over a solid base colour. Bright satiny look at the finish. Coats applied: 3 (thin), plus top coat

 

Cirque Erda swatch

Cirque Colors Arcus Collection – Erda

 

Cirque Erda swatch 2

Cirque Colors Arcus Collection – Erda

 

Helios – appropriately named after the Greek Sun God, this is a clear base that is brimming with fine gold glitter and slightly larger hexagonal prismatic glitter pieces, falling in a self-levelling manner and with an utterly brilliant (and high luxe) look to its natural finish. With so much going on, I expected it to feel rather chunky, but adding top coat makes it relatively smooth to the touch. Coats applied: 3 (thin), plus top coat

 

Cirque Helios swatch

Cirque Colors Arcus Collection – Helios

 

Cirque Helios swatch 2

Cirque Colors Arcus Collection – Helios

 

Queen Majesty – a clear base loaded with purple/violet and blue fine glitter, with some of the pieces giving off a prismatic effect and an overall 3D appearance to the finished look. The epitome of majestic royalty in its über-brilliant tone & colour, this shade can easily be layered over a matching mono colour for more depth, or left as is – hypnotically beautiful! The semi-matte look at the finish, does nothing to distract from the intense sparkle. Coats applied: 3 (thin), plus top coat

 

Cirque Queen Majesty swatch

Cirque Colors Arcus Collection – Queen Majesty

 

Cirque Queen Majesty swatch 2

Cirque Colors Arcus Collection – Queen Majesty

 

Last word: I”m not one to usually wax poetic over either glittery shades or super-vivid colours, as my tastes usually run towards more brooding-type hues (unless it’s white polish, which I’m currently slavering over) but I think I must have stopped and stared at every.single.one of these babies for hours – mesmerizing, I tell you! I absolutely adore how no detail is overlooked – from the font used, to the packaging, to the literature and the story behind every collection, and you can just see that each hand-mixed bottle is made with pride and love. Then there’s the formula, the colours, the finishes … don’t get me going …

The Arcus Collection is available now through the Cirque Colors website, with a full list of stockists for your convenience. Feel free to follow the brand via twitter/facebook for all upcoming news

 

Cirque Arcus part 1 closer

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