Filed In: Nail Polish Comparisons

Essie | Winter 2014 Collection

Essie Winter 2014 opener

 

At first glance, the colour selection of Essie’s Winter 2014 Collection might seem counterintuitive, but if we separate ‘Winter’ from ‘Holiday’, it starts to make sense. There’s white to represent snow and silver for all things tinsel – even a berry red that’s just so seasonally appropriate, but the other three? Well, let’s just say that when Winter has us in a major chokehold, those 3 warm-leaning hues will act as a getaway, as far as my nails are concerned.

 

Essie Winter 2014

Essie | Winter 2014 Collection

 

Essie Winter 2014 macro

Essie | Winter 2014 Collection

 

Essie Tuck It In My Tux swatch

Tuck It In My Tux | A semi-sheer ivory hue in a hybrid crème/jelly formula that applies relatively easy and leaves a glossy finish behind. Two coats provides a translucent effect, but you do need to load up your brush to ensure it falls patch-free. Beautiful on its own, Tuck It In My Tux will also work well as a sandwich shade (i.e.: added as a last layer over a glitter polish for a frosted-glass effect). Coats applied: 3 (thin), plus top coat

 

Essie Jiggle Hi, Jiggle Lo swatch

Jiggle Hi, Jiggle Lo | A brilliant pewter foil/metallic hue with ultra fine bronze flecks that give off a slightly oxidized tone. Highly pigmented, this is basically a 1-coater, with the added advantage of applying in a self-levelling way as well as brush stroke-free. Bear in mind that Jiggle Hi, Jiggle Lo (get it? Jiggle Lo-gigolo. Right) dries fairly quickly, so I recommend you work fast and and with as steady a hand as you can. Coats applied: 2, no top coat

 

Essie Back In The Limo swatch

Back In The Limo | A semi-sheer blush/apricot hue in a hybrid crème/jelly formula. Application is self-levelling and comes to an über-glossy finish, to compliment its plush cushiony tone (looks so squishy/juicy). Two thick-ish coats gives decent coverage, although still somewhat translucent. Even the addition of a 3rd coat doesn’t turn Back In The Limo fully opaque, but provides pretty solid coverage. Coats applied: 3 (thin), plus top coat

 

Essie Bump Up The Pumps swatch

Bump Up The Pumps | A highly colour saturated & ridiculously pigmented pink-based coral crème hue. Self-levelling and glossy at the finish, Bump Up The Pumps is definitely a 1-coat wonder, although I would advise you to not skip applying base coat first, to eliminate any possible staining issues. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat

 

Essie Double Breasted Jacket swatch

Double Breasted Jacket | Another exceptionally colour saturated shade, this is an intense fuchsia hue in a crème format, with blue undertones in the base for a cooler-leaning touch. The formula on Double Breasted Jacket falls a little thick but does not interfere with its application, and as with the previous shade, I advise not skipping base coat here either, to ensure your nails stay stain-free. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat

 

Essie Jump In My Jumpsuit swatch

Jump In My Jumpsuit | A rich berry red crème hue with blue undertones in the base, in a superbly flowing and easy to apply formula. Super pigmented and highly colour saturated, Jump In My Jumpsuit applies in a self-levelling way and leaves a brilliant finish behind. Note: Do not avoid base coat first, to avoid any potential staining. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat

 

Essie Winter 2014 Collection nail wheel

The above nail wheel has the shades of Essie’s Winter 2014 Collection broken down with comparisons:

  1. Tuck It In My Tux
  2. Minimalistic – extremely close both in colour and in texture, a couple of degrees dustier-looking
  3. Blanc – opaque, crème format, whitest
  4. Jiggle Hi, Jiggle Lo
  5. Hors D’Oeuvres – similar underlying base, glitter larger and more olive-hued
  6. Back In The Limo
  7. Resort Fling – similar texture, several degrees deeper & peachier
  8. Tart Deco – opaque, crème format, darkest in the range
  9. Bump Up The Pumps
  10. Cute As A Button – sheerest, jelly hybrid formula, more pink based
  11. Sunday Funday – base hue is similar, sheerer, holds a fine silver shimmer
  12. Double Breasted Jacket
  13. Watermelon – almost identical, a degree or two lighter, a touch less blue based
  14. Style Hunter – slightly more sheer, similar blue base tone
  15. Wife Goes On – sheerer, dustier tone, less blue based
  16. Jump In My Jumpsuit
  17. Head Mistress – a few degrees brighter
  18. Size Matters – deepest and more red-leaning

 

Surprising, is the best way to describe this collection. Far from the traditional hues associated with Winter, Essie’s take on the season is one that’s full of vigorous colour – a festive collection, in fact, with nary a brooding shade in sight. I adore Tuck It In My Tux – despite its slightly finicky nature, and I’m weirdly drawn to the almost searing tone of Double Breasted Jacket. Metallic nails are so on point this year, and Jiggle Hi, Jiggle Lo bears a fab application to go with the provocative name. Back In The Limo scores major points for being unique, especially in my collection of polishes – something that doesn’t happen often. As I said at the start: surprising … just like all proper gifts should be.

The Winter 2014 Collection will be available starting November. Visit Essie for all information on the brand.

 

Essie Winter 2014 closer

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

Urban Decay | Mrs. Mia Wallace Nail Color (LE), Pulp Fiction Collection

 

UD Mrs. Mia Wallace polish opener new

 

From the movie that spawned a nail polish colour (dark, blood red) that became a world-wide cult trend, Pulp Fiction celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and Urban Decay has recently released a capsule collection commemorating the event. Starring Mrs. Mia Wallace Nail Color, this shade will definitely help you channel your inner mob-girl vamp … or at least, your nails will.

The ingredients that are needed to create a ‘cult following’, are not obvious, but after decades of the same old/same old in the world of nail lacquer (read that as: neutrals, pinks & reds), the beauty world was ripe for something new, something avant-garde … something that would make us all sit up and take notice. What most people don’t know about the by now-iconic vampy hue worn in Pulp Fiction by Mrs. Mia Wallace (portrayed by Uma Thurman), was that it was actually inspired by black marker; CHANEL’s legendary #18 Rouge Noir that was worn in the film, was never seen on the fashion runway as most people believe – although the dark nail trend was born then just the same; at the last minute, models’ nails were quickly coloured in with black marker before hitting the catwalk, which subsequently sparked the birth of a deep & edgy nail shade, #18 Rouge Noir.

The year was 1994 when Pulp Fiction exploded onto our consciousness, and apart from making religious rhetoric combined with foul language fashionable, giving rise to an entire new beauty trend, and getting to see John Travolta dance on the big screen once more (for those of you too young to remember Saturday Night Fever, go rent it), something even more exciting happened to me: I gave birth to my beautiful daughter. Oh yeah, I also bought the first run of CHANEL’s #18 Rouge Noir, which I still have AND still wear to this day – 20 years later, but now Mrs. Mia Wallace will be sharing the spotlight with it.

 

Mrs. Mia Wallace

Uma Thurman as Mrs. Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction

 

UD Mrs. Mia Wallace polish box

Urban Decay | Mrs. Mia Wallace Nail Color (LE), Pulp Fiction Collection

 

UD Mrs. Mia Wallace polish label

Urban Decay | Mrs. Mia Wallace Nail Color (LE), Pulp Fiction Collection

 

UD Mrs. Mia Wallace polish open box

Urban Decay | Mrs. Mia Wallace Nail Color (LE), Pulp Fiction Collection

 

UD Mrs. Mia Wallace Nail Color

Mrs. Mia Wallace Nail Color, Limited Edition (CAN $18.00) | I am obsessed with details and this product pushes all the right buttons: for starters, there’s the instantly recognizable lettering on the box along with a [blood]red interior bearing a printed excerpt from the movie, followed by the bottle cap – adorned with a skull on top – that has been re-issued in a darkly shimmering jet black colour. The lacquer is a deep blood-red hue which bears a cool-leaning blue undertone in the base, and filled with ultra fine shimmer in shades of bronze, copper and oxidized gold to balance it all out, making it suitable for all skin tones. There’s an amazing overall depth of tone to Mrs. Mia Wallace, and the final look is as though nails are lit from beneath – the glow that emanates from the nail centres is mesmerizing, at other times giving off a look of lustrous moiré satin. The formula is medium-thick in consistency which works in this shade’s favour, helping it stay exactly where placed without any pooling along the cuticles or nail edges. Highly pigmented, the first coat shows the bluer base notes which darkens significantly by a second coat – all of it laying down in a completely self-levelling & brush stroke-free way, coming to a high gloss natural finish. Due to the intense colour saturation, do not skip applying base coat first, to avoid any possible staining. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat

NOTE: The brush is long, tapered, and thinner than what we’ve seen lately (most brands seem to be heading to bushier, chiselled, and/or shorter brushes) and according to Urban Decay, is made with ‘a 400-strand brush to pick up & deposit more product’. There’s a flexibility to the brush that had me re-thinking the way I usually apply my polish and even though it felt a little floppier than what I’m used to, the pro is that it makes for a very precise application – something very good to have when dealing with a shade this pigmented.

In deference to Pulp Fiction‘s ‘Nail Polish Hall of Fame‘ status (yes, I made that up but seriously, I can’t think of any other movie that had such an impact on nail polish), I decided to show Mrs. Mia Wallace alongside CHANEL’s #18 Rouge Noir (reviewed here), and included CHANEL’s #637 Malice (reviewed here) due to the closer colour match (see last swatch). How they compared:

  • CHANEL #18 Rouge Noir (2 coats) Same base hue as Mrs. Mia Wallace, but without any shimmer and which appears browner beside the rest (more dried than fresh blood)
  • CHANEL #637 Malice (2 coats) Similar tone to Mrs. Mia Wallace, although several degrees deeper and with magenta ultra fine shimmer

 

UD Mrs. Mia Wallace Nail Color macro

Urban Decay | Mrs. Mia Wallace Nail Color (LE), Pulp Fiction Collection

 

UD Mrs. Mia Wallace polish cap

Urban Decay | Mrs. Mia Wallace Nail Color (LE), Pulp Fiction Collection – skull detail on cap

 

UD Mrs. Mia Wallace polish logo

Urban Decay | Mrs. Mia Wallace Nail Color (LE), Pulp Fiction Collection – raised logo detail

 

UD Mrs. Mia Wallace polish brush

Urban Decay | Mrs. Mia Wallace Nail Color (LE), Pulp Fiction Collection – closer look at the brush

 

UD Mrs. Mia Wallace polish swatch

Urban Decay | Mrs. Mia Wallace Nail Color (LE), Pulp Fiction Collection

 

UD Mrs. Mia Wallace polish swatch 2

Urban Decay | Mrs. Mia Wallace Nail Color (LE), Pulp Fiction Collection

 

UD Mrs. Mia Wallace polish swatch 3

Urban Decay | Mrs. Mia Wallace Nail Color (LE), Pulp Fiction Collection

 

UD Mrs. Mia Wallace polish & comps

Urban Decay | Mrs. Mia Wallace Nail Color (LE), Pulp Fiction Collection vs. CHANEL #18 Rouge Nior & #637 Malice

 

Deep red hues are not that rare anymore, but even in this colour family, Mrs. Mia Wallace stands out; I know that a lacquer is special, when I don’t want to remove it. There’s a pulsating intensity to this shade – a look of freshly spilled blood, if you will – which makes it all the more perfect when you consider the inspiration behind it. The fact that it’s drop-dead gorgeous, doesn’t hurt either. Plus, I love the little skull on the cap.

Available through select Shopper’s Drug Mart stores (Canada), Sephora, and Urban Decay. Find more information:

 

UD Mrs. Mia Wallace polish closer

*Disclosure: Press sample provided by the company/PR for my unbiased consideration

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone Nail Lacquer (Limited Edition)

GA #214 Woodstone opener

 

The Fall 2014 Fade to Grey Collection from Giorgio Armani Beauty, is filled with softly elegant autumnal shades but what makes the products really stand out, is their textures. Of the four limited edition nail lacquer shades, I was sent #214 Woodstone (CAN $32.00) to try and I confess that it was instant love for me … plus I really love the name.

What seems at first to be a rather ordinary brown shimmery polish, is in fact so much more complex than that – it took even me by surprise. The bottle colour shows #214 Woodstone to be cross between bronze/taupe/brown filled with an ultra fine prismatic shimmer and that’s exactly how it appears on the nail (it actually looks like rich chocolate as well) – with the difference that the final finish is closer to a buttery suede, although the shimmer is still present and accounted for. The formula is highly pigmented (this can basically be a 1-coater, especially on shorter nails) and bears an excellent flow, applying in a self-levelling way which eliminates any visible brush strokes. Giorgio Armani Beauty lacquers are made to be worn without the need for either a base or top coat, although I wouldn’t recommend ever skipping your base coat. The brush is yet another unique aspect of this range: densely bristled but not excessively so, with the rounded tip helping nail polish spread smoothly and evenly along the nail bed. BONUS: non-staining upon removal. All swatches are with 2 coats, top coat only where indicated.

Unlike other matte/satin finish lacquers that seem to dry at the speed of light and make it a challenge to achieve a smooth, brush stroke-free finish, #214 Woodstone takes a couple of minutes to fully develop, which means you don’t need to rush your application. A steady hand is key in achieving the smoothest finish (again, to avoid the possibility of visible brush strokes, something many matte shades can be prone to) but the finally result is so totally worth the your patience.

I personally absolutely LOVE this type of finish as I find it edgy and unique, almost 3D-like due to its fine texture, but for those still not on board with matte/satin nails (but seriously, matte has been seen on all the runways for the past few seasons now and is still going strong — something to consider), you always have the option of adding top coat – 1 coat is enough to achieve a glossy finish (unlike some other textured polishes that literally eat up top coat, forcing you to add layer upon layer). Still, my opinion is that top coat takes something away from the overall effect, but it also manages to bring out all the shimmery bits.

My initial impression on seeing #214 Woodstone, was how much it resembled another favourite, CHANEL’s #247 Haute Chocolat (discontinued), and they are indeed very similar, with the CHANEL being just a few degrees deeper/browner but with both bearing the same unique shimmer. For those who collect CHANEL lacquers and missed out on that beauty, here’s your chance to scoop up something very close in tone & colour.

NOTE: in the last 2 comparison swatch photos, #214 Woodstone is shown with top coat, CHANEL’s #247 Haute Chocolat without top coat

 

STILL_LIFE_FALL_2014

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Fade to Grey Fall 2014

 

FALL 2014 - VAO 214 - Fd Noir

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone

 

GA #214 Woodstone

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone

 

GA #214 Woodstone logo

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone

 

GA #214 Woodstone macro

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone

 

GA #214 Woodstone macro 2

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone

 

GA #214 Woodstone swatch

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone

 

GA #214 Woodstone swatch 2

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone (in sunlight)

 

GA #214 Woodstone swatch 3

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone (in sunlight, alternate view)

 

GA #214 Woodstone swatch with top coat

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone (with top coat)

 

GA #214 Woodstone swatch 2 with top coat

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone (with top coat & in sunlight)

 

GA #214 Woodstone vs CHANEL Haute Chocolat

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone vs CHANEL #247 Haute Chocolat (discontinued) on ring finger only

 

GA #214 Woodstone vs CHANEL Haute Chocolat 2

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone vs CHANEL #247 Haute Chocolat (discontinued) on ring finger only

 

I absolutely love this colour, and even without swatching the other three lacquers of this collection, this would still have been the only shade I would have wanted. Everything about #214 Woodstone — from the name, the colour, to the finish — says ‘Autumn’ to me and almost makes the coming colder weather bearable. My only issue is with the cost; I don’t get how this brand’s lacquers can be $20.00 in the US and yet jump to $32.00 here in Canada, which basically prices them far out of reach of the average consumer. That’s something I hope the company addresses soon (other items from the range are actually significantly less expensive here – go figure), because the quality of these polishes is truly outstanding and well worth collecting.

Available now, be aware that the lacquers are limited edition. Find more information via:

 

GA #214 Woodstone closer

*Disclosure: Press sample provided by the company/PR for my unbiased consideration