- Beauty Journalist & proud Montrealer with a passion for beauty in all its fabulous diversity. "Beauty begins the moment you choose to be yourself" - Coco Chanel
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For Summer 2016, OPI has launched 6 new shades in their Infinite Shine gel-lacquer formula that range from a white-based blush to a soft tan, hues that are not only classics and staples in anyone’s nail polish wardrobe but that also reflect some of the trends seen on the latest runway shows.
The Summer 2016 Collection (CAN $16.95/each) is tailor made for a neutral-lover such as myself; these goof-proof colours not only go with everything but also seems to enhance one’s hands, making fingers appear longer and ballerina-elegant. The Infinite Shine system is a meant to provide that gel effect without the need of any curing via led lamp (it uses natural light to achieve similar results) and is a 3-step affair; to get the best performance from these shades, it’s suggested to first start with the Infinite Shine Primer, followed by your shade of choice, then you finally top everything off with the Infinite Shine Gloss. For review purposes, I skipped both the Primer and Gloss but was nevertheless quite impressed by the natural glossy finish of all shades.
OPI | Infinite Shine Summer 2016 Collection
No Strings Attached | A soft greige-y nude with a pink undertone in a medium-thick formula that shows some patchiness upon the first coat. The only finicky shade of the bunch, I suggest applying 3 thin layers for the best coverage (unless you’re not as anal about things like that as I am, in which case 2 coats will do fine). The bonus is that as the polish sets, it seems to magically self-level imperfections and thus ending out quite even.
Coats: 3 (as thin as I could get them)
Staying Neutral On This One | A white based nude with blush undertones in a thinner formula than No Stings Attached, and therefore much easier to work with. With an excellent flow & opacity, this shade is a fabulous alternative to wearing a straight-up white polish, and I’d say suitable for a broader range of skin tones as well.
Don’t Ever Stop! | A ‘doll-skin’ peachy nude with the same (and easier to apply) thinner texture to the formula as that of Staying Neutral On This One. Warmer-leaning in nature, this shade is still light enough that it will be universally wearable by all; also looks totally amazing as a pedi shade, especially against a light tan.
Can’t Stop Myself | Pale apricot cream nude in a stellar formula: smooth flow, easy application, no patchiness/streaking and coming to a self-levelling glossy finish. I confess that at first I was ready to dismiss this colour as so totally not my type, but there’s this hard to pin down unique look to this shade that I surprisingly & absolutely LOVE! (As a sidenote, Kylie Jenner recently posted pics of herself wearing a shade that looks exactly like this)
Coats: 2 (easy-peasy, at that)
Hurry Up & Wait | A dusky rose nude (antiqued?) in a hybrid crème-jelly formula that leaves behind that plush & cushiony look at the finish. With a better application and colour saturation than No Strings Attached, I have to say that I’m not exactly a fan of how this shade looks on me (might be due to my tan ∗shrugs∗), although I can’t fault how beautifully it applies.
No Stopping Zone | A soft caramel nude in a crème-jelly hybrid formula and while definitely warm-leaning, I suspect it will look pretty amazing against a wide range of skin tones. A great tan hue for the über-fair and the perfect ‘mannequin-hands’ shade for those with medium to darker complexions.
Has OPI redefined the wheel with this collection? Obviously not, but what makes this small range stand out is the formula. With the exception of No Strings Attached (although I do love love love the colour) that didn’t seem to match up to the rest as far as ease of application goes (for all I know, it may have been just a batch issue), these are by far the easiest nudes I’ve worn to date and while the cooler end of the colour spectrum may not be as well represented, my thoughts are that each and every one of these can be made to work on pretty much everyone. An added bonus to using the 3-step system, is that you get super long lasting and chip-free wear … always a welcome touch.
OPI items provided courtesy of the team for review consideration
For 2015, OPI has added two new shades to their Designer Series (DS), Charcoal – a colour shifting hue (that also totally reminds me of a gasoline spill looking at it in the bottle – love!) and Imperial – a majestic & royal purple, if ever there was one. Viewing a wall of OPI goodness, it’s easy to spot the DS shades thanks to their silver caps – although you do have to look (and grab) quick, as they seem to sell out lightning-fast.
OPI | Designer Series 2015 Charcoal & Imperial
OPI | Designer Series 2015 Charcoal & Imperial
OPI | Designer Series 2015 Charcoal & Imperial
DS Charcoal | OPI describes this as a “jaded smoke with hints of violet” and while that seems about right, it’s also WAY more than that. To my eyes, this is a rather shifty mix of pewter/grey, purple, teal & bronze, and depending on the light + angle of your hand, you will see one or more of the afore-mentioned colours. With a self-levelling application, as well as perfect density & flow (which means it won’t pool around the cuticles), Charcoal displays an excellent opacity and if you load your brush up, you can probably get away with one coat – although I suggest 2 thinner ones instead for an even better look. The finish is unique as well, with its buttery satin matte tone (so hard to capture in photos, but trust me when I say it’s actually perfectly smooth when seen in person), while adding a top coat (as seen in the last swatch photo) takes things to a whole other level and really brings out the prismatic effect. Bonus: ombré nails without any extra effort. What can I say? There’s a lot of love for this magical shade. A lot.
OPI | DS Charcoal
OPI | DS Charcoal swatch
OPI | DS Charcoal swatch (macro)
OPI | DS Charcoal swatch (alternate angle)
OPI | DS Charcoal swatch (with top coat)
DS Imperial | A deep & rich magenta violet shade, filled with ultra finely ground shimmer (seen in the bottle), that seems to play more of a supporting overall role in the final look. Self-levelling as well, the application is somewhat semi-sheer at first coat, but reaches full opacity by the second – and also comes to the same satin matte finish as Charcoal. I confess that I originally dismissed this shade as ‘been there, done that’ — but that was BEFORE I actually swatched it; then, it was more ‘WHOA’. I’m also a little confused (but in a good way) by Imperial – mainly because once applied, it seems to morph into more than just your average purple lacquer, at times looking vivid then with a flick of the hand, becoming more grape-like and deep. Interesting how OPI managed to create a colour-shifting shade without the usual holographic/prismatic-ness associated with that effect. Like a mood polish, if you will. Adding top coat (as seen in the last two swatch photos) not only brings out that shy inner shimmer, but also creates a moiré pattern. Ok, so I love this one too.
OPI | DS Imperial swatch
OPI | DS Imperial swatch (macro)
OPI | DS Imperial swatch (with top coat)
OPI | DS Imperial swatch (alternate angle, with top coat)
These are both spectacular, and if you can get your hands on them, I say DO IT. Don’t even hesitate, just grab. And yes, as with previous DS shades that OPI has released, both Charcoal and Imperial are limited edition. Le sigh……
Available now through OPI retailers and fine salons. Find more information via www.opi.com
Press samples kindly provided for my unbiased consideration
Press samples provided for my unbiased consideration
Late last October, I was invited to attend a very special event, where I was fortunate enough to attend an early preview of OPI’s Hawaii Collection as well as sit down and chat with Suzi Weiss-Fischmann (you can read about it here), OPI’s founder as well as VP & Artistic Director. With Winter staring us in the face, the sight of all the colourful bottles and Hawaiian Island imagery was enough to instantly put me in a great mood – now THIS is my kind of collection … all about that Summer vibe.
All swatches shown are with 2 coats of polish as well as base coat.
OPI | Hawaii Collection 2015
Do You Take Lei Away? is a smooth nude crème hue with light slight mauve undertones in the base, excellent pigmentation (applies both non-chalky AND non-streaky), self-levelling and comes to a high gloss finish. Something about this shade makes it universally flattering and wearable for all skin tones – now one of my top 3 shades in this colour family. So much Love.
Suzi Shops & Island Hops is a candy-coated Barbie pink crème hue with blueish undertones in the base that make it lean slightly cool, in a formula that applies remarkably well for a shade in this colour group: self-levelling, non-streaky/patchy and super glossy. I’m not usually a fan of pale pink, but I confess to liking this on me – so unexpected!
That’s Hula-rious! is a mint green crème hue with seafoam hints in the base that provides depth and a sleekly modern touch. Beautifully pigmented and ridiculously easy to apply (non-streaky, non-patchy, self levelling and über-glossy at the finish), this shade has a dual-personality: simultaneously vivid AND dusty … and absolutely gorgeous.
Is Mai Tai Crooked? is a soft apricot crème hue that is a repeat of everything written above: amazing application, flow & opacity, self-levelling, pigmented and glossy finish. This is a great shade to transition into Summer corals and brights, and will be simply spectacular as a pedi shade against a light tan.
Hello Hawaii Ya? is a dusky purple/mauve hue with all the awesome properties of the shades before, but in a hybrid crème/jelly formula that adds an almost squishy overall look and gives new meaning to glassy shine.
Lost My Bikini In Molokini is the violet/purple version of Hello Hawaii Ya?, and one that is almost impossible to properly capture in pictures (my camera kept wanting to turn it blue). With a good balance of both cool & warm tones and just bright enough to be vivid without going overboard, this shade stands out for its universal wearability.
Aloha From OPI is an electric coral crème hue that manages to steer clear of neon territory (like magic) in a formula that flows a touch thicker than the rest and thus making it basically a 1-coat-wonder. Highly colour saturated, self-levelling in application and ridiculously glossy at the finish, there is a stain potential here so I suggest doubling up on base coat first.
Just Lanai-ing Around is a dusty mauve/rose hue with ultra-fine pearlized shimmer, in a formula that displays excellent pigmentation, flow, self-levelling ability and glossy shine at the finish. A true throwback shade with a 70’s retro vibe, it’s the type of colour grows on you and makes you appreciate how unique it is in the world of lacquers. Pretty cool, actually.
Go With The Laval Flow is a warm leaning rose/pink hue with ultra fine glass-flecked pink/fuchsia shimmer (what a long description, right?!) of the type that seems to float just at the surface level of the nails and gives off that banked embers look. To reiterate: excellent formula/application and glossy shine at the finish. Bonus: non staining upon removal.
My Gecko Does Tricks is a semi-sheer acid green hue with ultra fine line green shimmer and displaying a slight iridescent flash at certain angles. For a truer depth of tone, it’s best when layered over a similar shade – really brings out its extroverted nature. While a decent opacity is reached at 2 coats, on longer nails you might still see some translucency at the tips (a third coat takes care of that, although I prefer the slight transparency).
This Color’s Making Waves is a stunning teal metallic hue with irregularly shaped bronze flat glitter specks, in a semi-sheer formula that has nonetheless great flow & coverage. You do need a steady hand in application, in order to minimize any visible brush strokes (although they do seem to smooth out somewhat once applied), but it’s so worth the extra little effort for the rich jewel tone you’re left with. Bonus: non-staining upon removal.
Pineapples Have Peelings Too is a golden yellow shimmer hue in a semi-sheer formula that’s filled with an assortment of multi-coloured metallic hexagonal glitter pieces, ranging from ultra-fine to medium large in size. Overall, there’s just way too much going on here and I’m not quite sure that I’m on board with it all – but there’s no denying that this combination is unique (and strange) and will certainly appeal to some people. I will say that the name cracked me up.
OPI has effectively captured AND bottled the colours of these tropical islands with their Hawaii Collection, and as far as quality goes, these are some of the easiest applying shades to be released yet. The crèmes are all phenomenal (in particular the paler hues – not always an easy thing to accomplish) and even the shimmers all bear a unique twist on their particular colour. And while a hot mess like Pineapples Have Peelings Too (still laughing at the name – I can be ridiculous like that) might leave you confused, it certainly is a conversation starter … even if it does look like there’s mashed up confetti in it. Surf’s up!
The OPI Hawaii Collection is available now at fine salons and retailers nationwide. Find more information via www.opi.com
OPI has just recently launched their limited edition Fifty Shades of Grey Collection (CAN $11.50/each) in collaboration with the movie of the same name that comes out in theatres this Valentine’s Day. While the book that inspired the movie (that also spawned a billion other Fifty Shades-related marketable items) left me unmoved (check out my original ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ post here for a much better read in this genre), I happen to have a major weakness for the colour grey, so for that reason alone I would have fallen for this collection anyway.
And while not exactly all 50 shades (thank God, or I’d probably still be swatching), the five greys shown here are all luscious & gorgeous representatives of this somewhat ephemeral colour, all grounded by that one sensual red note for even more visceral appeal.
OPI | Fifty Shades of Grey Collection
OPI | Fifty Shades of Grey Collection
Cement the Deal | With its blueish undertones in the base hue, Cement the Deal can appear either concrete grey or more of a softer dove grey hue. The formula is simply superb: a hybrid crème/jelly that applies in a self-levelling way, finishes ultra-glossy, and displays an excellent opacity. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat
Embrace the Gray | With a formula that is basically identical to the one above, the main difference here is that Embrace the Gray falls a few degrees darker in tone, making this more of a sealskin grey. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat
Dark Side of the Mood | At first glance, this appears as just another blackish hue, but it is well named, for it has a slightly moody nature. Dark Side of the Mood is a deeply smoked charcoal colour with tiny, sparse silver flecks throughout that make occasional appearances. The formula is jelly-like in texture and semi sheer at the first coat, but becomes completely opaque with the second layer. There’s a subtle moiré pattern you can see at some angles – total LOVE. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat
My Silk Tie | An utterly brilliant white-based silver foil/metallic hue. Not as quick drying as other metallic shades (which works in the formula’s favour), you do need a steady hand in application to minimize any visible brush strokes – although they do seem to level out on their own to some degree. My Silk Tie comes to a fully opaque gleaming finish at 2 coats
TIP: for the smoothest finish, start with base coat followed by your first coat of polish, then apply a layer of matte top coat, finishing with your second coat of polish. For a foil/metallic texture like this, top coat is optional, as it only adds protection and no extra shine factor (in fact, it may even dull the natural brilliance).
Shine for Me | Complex doesn’t even begin to cover this; Shine for Me is a semi-sheer pearlized base hue with navy coloured fine and ultra-fine hexagonal glitter bits. The formula is another surprise, with an excellent density that means it will stay exactly where placed (no pooling into cuticles or running along the sides of nails) and while 2 coats are more than sufficient to reach full opacity on shorter nails, longer lengths might need a third layer (or simply left at 2 coats for a different take altogether). Relatively smooth to the touch with a top coat, an extra plus is that no major effort is needed for removal either (at least, not compared to other glitter polishes). Coats applied: 3 (thin), plus top coat
OPI Fifty Shades of Grey Collection | Shine for Me (detail)
Romantically Involved | Let me begin by saying that OPI sure knows how to do red. With its balance of both blue and brown undertones in the base of this crème/jelly hybrid formula, Romantically Involved appears rather cool-leaning with the first coat, but then takes on a much warmer tone with the application of a second layer. Lush, seductive, and somewhat carnal (which is what OPI was definitely going for, I’m guessing), the best part is that this shade is 100% non-staining upon removal. And absolutely, ridiculously glossy. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat
Shine for Me & My Silk Tie nail art | A simple, yet effective nail art look (especially if you’re nail art-challenged like me): Start by applying 2 coats of My Silk Tie and letting that dry completely. Take Shine for Me and wipe of most of the excess off the brush, and starting at the cuticle end of the nails, apply in a downward motion, feathering & fading it out as you go (leave the nail edges free of any glitter). Repeat with slightly more at the top for added depth. Finish with top coat to seal everything in and smooth out any delineation marks.
Wouldn’t this look make for a spectacular ‘Ice Queen’ mani?
The book, Fifty Shades of Grey, may have had me reeling in laughter (true story: I ultimately committed the most blasphemous thing a book-lover can do; I actually ∗gasp∗ threw away all 3 books of this series), but OPI’s Fifty Shades of Grey Collection has me ooh-ing and ahh-ing in appreciation … redemption. An entire collection of grey lacquers may have turned out, well, rather boring – but the little twists & turns of this grouping is a winning combination, in my opinion. Go ahead: surrender to this collection. You know you want to.
Available for a limited time through fine salons and spas nation wide. Visit www.opi.com for more brand information
press samples provided for my unbiased consideration
Last Friday, I had the privilege of attending the launch of OPI’s Spring/Summer 2015 Hawaii Collection, held at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, Toronto. This occasion marked the finale of a whirlwind 2 days of events that began with the Elizabeth Arden Spring/Summer 2015 launches, followed by the Nicole by OPI Spring/Summer 2015 launch.
Upon arriving, I was greeted with gorgeous island-themed displays featuring the collection – a welcoming sight indeed, considering how gloomy the weather was that day. After quickly reconnecting with several familiar faces and some who were only names to me up until that day, I headed to the manicure stations where I chose That’s Hula-rious! – a fresh mint hue – as my mani du jour, a shade that turned out to be overwhelmingly popular with several attendees, from what I later noticed.
The tempo really picked up once VP and Artistic Director of OPI, Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, arrived and after welcoming us all to the luncheon, we sat down for a delectable Hawaiian-themed meal (which unfortunately I barely did any justice to, as I was hit with the migraine to end all migraines — still not sure how I survived the flight back home a few hours later). Capping off the day, I was able to sit down once again (see my previous interview here) with Suzi for a quick interview and to get the scoop directly from her on what we can expect to see from OPI.
I hope you enjoy the preview photos and interview.
Thank you to my wonderful hosts for inviting me to be part of such an incredible event
Welcome! Tell me about this latest collection
What was I going to do for Spring? I alluded to it when I spoke earlier and mentioned how women have arrived – we want to be more relaxed and comfortable, a common theme I also noticed from the Spring runway shows. Hawaii was the perfect inspiration; it’s an exotic locale and makes you feel wonderfully relaxed and alive at the same time – from the climate, the people, the food, the music and the colours.
As seen all over the various fashion shows, neutrals were once again dominating but with a twist; the new ‘midi’ look was shown where you leave the moon of the nail bare. Another way to wear neutrals is with a differently coloured free edge, or even applied as just one graphic line down the nail. The 70’s free-spirit vibe is represented by a mauve hue, a shade OPI hasn’t featured for quite some time, mint – very on trend and a perfect representation of Spring/Summer, the lavenders, purples, corals and pink – must have a pink, of course! Gold which I’ve also shown for the Holiday 2014 Collection, and metallics – which I’ll be showing more for Fall 2015. Rounding the collection out, are a lot of classics such as crèmes – which also happens to be the trend that I’m seeing coming up for future collections.
How do you go about selecting a country/city for a collection?
It usually begins with predictions/trend books from Milan and Paris, that look at the direction of colour in fashion, which in fact begins on the streets by observing people – a type of historical summary of colours and fashion, if you will. Then it’s up to the individual to translate this information to their own application, whether it’s in furniture, fashion, package design, colour cosmetics, or nail colour.
How does this process differ from celebrity collaborations?
To begin with, selecting a celebrity to collaborate with is not trend-driven, but more of my own personal choice. With Gwen Stefani, for example, she’s very much a part of the entire process and she personally chose the colours and finishes for the collection, even going as far as selecting individual glitter shapes from an assortment presented before her, for the creation of some shades.
The OPI shade names – how do you go about creating them?
First, I create the shades and then there are about 6 of us – from Nicole by OPI, Creative, Marketing, Purchasing, even Customer Service, basically the same team for many years now, that get together. We gather in a room with food representative of the country/city the collection is themed after, and then we brainstorm. The process can take an entire day and is very democratic; we all need to agree on the final name, but we also have fun with it.
I can just imagine the names that do NOT make the final cut!
That’s for off-camera! The blooper reel! We’ve have many good laughs over the years, believe me!
Can you briefly tell me about the creative process behind bringing forth a collection?
Taking the Hawaii Collection, for example, the entire process was very personal for me as it’s a place I’ve visited many times with my family. I was inspired by the ocean, the hula skirts, even the smells of the island that evoke images and which spark colour ideas in my mind. I also have to factor in which shades/colours the consumer will be attracted to as well as make sure it works in harmony with the current fashion styles. Don’t ask me to try to pin it down exactly; all I know, is that for 25 years this method has just worked for me.
This continued success and longevity just confirms that you’re doing something right!
[laughs] I hope so!
What territory, with regards to nail polish, has OPI not yet explored?
Definitely China, as I believe Chinese women are starting to explore and embrace beauty much more. With India, and while we previously released an Indian-themed collection, there’s a new middle class that is becoming more interested in – along with buying – beauty products as well. Another country is Brazil – latin women love and indulge in beauty products, and outside of North America and Europe, I feel that we need to venture out and include these women who have made beauty such a huge part of their everyday lives.
As a woman whose talent, drive and creativity is so highly admired in the industry, can you tell me what trend(s) you forecast next?
I continue to see textures; you’re going to see some new mattes from OPI for next year, as well as a continuation of this classic theme – such as crème hues. Shades such as mauve will be making a comeback and you’ll be seeing new shades in our Fall 2015 collection that have not been shown from OPI – or other brands – for a long time now. Nail colour continues to be important in women’s lives and it always amazes me how a bottle of nail polish can engineer a feeling of empowerment with women. Not everyone can afford a designer wardrobe, but a shade inspired from luxury fashion makes you feel a part of the entire experience.
Finally, do the rumours of a ’50 Shades of Grey’ collaboration have any truth to them?
Yes! The movie is being released on Valentine’s Day 2015, and the collection will include 6 shades – and not all grey, but a beautiful collection just the same! As with other collaborations, the author of the book was very hands on in the development and creation of these shades. This movie is not so much about sexuality, as it is about exploring our emotions and in the case of the collection, it also ties in with how colour affects our emotions as well.
I thank Suzi Weiss-Fischmann for taking the time to speak with me – it’s always such a pleasure!
BEAUTY SCOOP! So, you heard it here first and directly from Suzi Weiss-Fischmann herself: get ready for a 6-bottle 50 Shades of Grey Collection collaboration (and not all grey!), new textures and mattes for next year, as well as retro shades making a comeback for Fall 2015.
fuel to start my day: Belgian waffles with fruit compote & lemon cream … and plenty of coffee
my look: Banana Republic cream vegan leather skirt, Denim & Supply bone oversized cowl-neck sweater, black over-the-knee socks, black Prada suede high-heeled boots and my beloved Theory moto jacket
the gorgeous Autumnal display in the lobby of The Thompson Hotel, Toronto
the venue: Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, Toronto
Introducing: the OPI Hawaii Collection
what’s an event without the ubiquitous candy bar?!
it’s not easy for me to sit back and have someone else to do my nails #controlfreak
the shade I chose: That’s Hula-rious! (the name, right?!)
Welcome speech given by Suzi Weiss-Fischmann
Pineapple-Hawaiian style slaw
chillin’ with my friendly neighbourhood mani-geek, Karen
matching tips with Marta of ChitChatNails
ignore my frown face – I swear that I was really enjoying the conversation
Apparently our hosts all got Suzi’s memo and wore coordinating outfits!
My box/bottle of OPI’s Don’t Speak 18k Gold Top Coat personally autographed by Suzi