Filed In: shimmer polish

CHANEL · Le Vernis Les Indispensables de L’Été, Cruise 2017 Collection

 

I’ve been ready for Summer to arrive since Winter began, and the CHANEL Les Indispensables de L’Été Cruise 2017 Collection (holy moly that’s a mouthful) has just brought me that much closer to the heat I crave. As this is Global Creative Makeup and Colour Designer (another lengthy title) Lucia Pica’s very first Cruise Collection for the brand, she turned to Coco Chanel herself for inspiration, in particular Mademoiselle’s love of bronzed Summery hues and the easy vibe the season imparts. For the record, this thoughtfully curated collection has totally nailed what Summer’s all about: freedom.

 

(more…)

Cirque Colors | Kontiki Collection, Limited Edition

Cirque Colors Kontiki opener

 

Cirque Colors has just recently released three vivid (and limited edition) shades inspired by Summer’s heat: the Kontiki Collection. Filled with colour-shifting shimmer that both captures and reflects light, the formula is not only lushly decadent in appearance, but free of all nasty toxins. Annie Pham, the creative genius behind the brand, has also gone one step further and added essential oils of  lavender and clary sage to the formula; nails are fortified and smell simply divine as the polish dries. First seen in Cirque Colors’ Coronation (reviewed here), all three shades of the Kontiki Collection bear a similar otherworldly glow, giving nails a gorgeous and dangerously hypnotic appeal (don’t drive and stare).

All swatches are were done with the brand new Holdfast™ Base Coat (garlic-infused to strengthen & anchor – and no, it doesn’t smell) and Liquid Laminate™ Top Coat from Cirque Colors, 2 products that I am absolutely obsessed with and which I cannot recommend strongly enough. Seriously.

 

Island scene

an idyllic island scene or where I want to be right now …

 

Cirque Colors Kontiki Collection

Cirque Colors | Kontiki Collection, Limited Edition

 

Cirque Colors Kontiki Collection macro

Cirque Colors | Kontiki Collection, Limited Edition

 

Cirque Colors Kontiki Collection macro 2

Cirque Colors | Kontiki Collection, Limited Edition

 

Cirque Colors Kontiki Collection 2

Cirque Colors | Kontiki Collection, Limited Edition

 

Dear Dahlia | A Popsicle pink hue with colour-shifting shimmer that flashes primarily green & oxidized gold, in a semi sheer jelly-like formula that comes to a semi-glossy finish. Self-levelling and squishy looking, short nails won’t need more than 2 coats for decent opacity, although longer nails could use a 3rd to cover any visible nail line. Personally, I love it with a slight translucency – it seems to elevate Dear Dahlia above your average pink jelly. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat

 

Cirque Colors Dear Dahlia swatch

Cirque Colors Kontiki Collection | Dear Dahlia

 

Cirque Colors Dear Dahlia swatch 2

Cirque Colors Kontiki Collection | Dear Dahlia

 

Thicker Than Water | A vivid turquoise/aqua hue filled with colour-shifting shimmer that flashes primarily antique golden, in a self-levelling jelly-like formula that comes to a glossy natural finish. Slightly sheer, Thicker Than Water can also be applied over “undies” (i.e.: a ridge-filling base coat that offers some opacity), or left at 2 coats for a sea glass-like translucency. As I have a mega weakness for these types of shades, I love that this still manages to be totally unique in my collection. Bonus: non-staining upon removal. Coats applied: 3 (thin), plus top coat

 

Cirque Colors Thicker Than Water swatch

Cirque Colors Kontiki Collection | Thicker Than Water

 

Cirque Colors Thicker Than Water swatch 2

Cirque Colors Kontiki Collection | Thicker Than Water

 

Midsummer Night | Prepare to be wowed: a totally hot indigo/ink blue shade filled with colour-shifting shimmer that flashes primarily dark pink with golden glints, in a self-levelling jelly-like formula with a ridiculously easy flow and glossy finish. There’s this ‘lit-from-within’ glow to Midsummer Night, an especially strong effect seen along the nail centers – truly SPECTACTULAR! I honestly don’t have enough superlatives to adequately describe this beauty. Coats applied: 3 (thin), plus top coat

NOTE: I doubled up on base coat as a precaution before applying the actual polish, as blue shades can be notorious stainers – happy to report no staining left behind upon removal with this method.

 

Cirque Colors Midsummer Night swatch

Cirque Colors Kontiki Collection | Midsummer Night

 

Cirque Colors Midsummer Night swatch 2

Cirque Colors Kontiki Collection | Midsummer Night

 

This collection may be small, but it packs a powerful punch: pink, turquoise, cobalt – three shades that we’ve all come across in one form or another, are somehow still made unique by the addition of the colour-shifting shimmer seen here. My favourites are without a doubt Thicker Than Water and Midsummer Night – both are gorgeous and so very eye-catching … not to mention how they totally speak to my beach-loving ways.

Available now, but bear in mind that this is a limited edition collection. Find more information via:

 

Cirque Colors Kontiki closer

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

Cirque Colors – Alchemy Collection pt. 2

Cirque Alchemy pt 2 opener

 

The following is taken from the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

al·che·my

noun \ˈal-kə-mē\

  1. a science that was used in the Middle Ages with the goal of changing ordinary metals into gold
  2. a power or process that changes or transforms something in a mysterious or impressive way
  • a medieval chemical science and speculative philosophy aiming to achieve the transmutation of the base metals into gold, the discovery of a universal cure for disease, and the discovery of a means of indefinitely prolonging life
  • a power or process of transforming something common into something special
  • an inexplicable or mysterious transmuting

I don’t know about you, but I found that all of the above definitions eerily accurate as far as these beauties are concerned. Whereas the first part of the Cirque Colors Alchemy Collection (reviewed here) focused on more ‘sleight of hand’ type of shades, this second half is nothing short of spectacular. Colour shifting, brilliant glitters, and textured finishes define these 5 lacquers and I was captivated by each and every one.

 

Cirque Alchemy pt 2

Cirque Colors – Alchemy Collection


Cirque Alchemy pt 2 B

Cirque Colors – Alchemy Collection


Cirque Alchemy pt 2 C

Cirque Colors – Alchemy Collection

 

Lichen – A perfect example of “alchemy“, this shade bears a charcoal base (surprised?), filled with mossy green, olive & bronze ultra-fine shimmer. The ‘gasoline’ effect is strongest in the bottle, but I do catch glimpses of it on the nails in certain lights. I recommend that you mix the contents thoroughly to avoid any separation and/or patchy coats – otherwise, the application is awesome. Self-levelling and with a brilliant (but not glossy) finish, Lichen has incredibly depth. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat


Cirque Lichen swatch

Cirque Colors – Lichen


Cirque Lichen swatch 2

Cirque Colors – Lichen

 

Stella – A clear base loaded with rose gold (a totally trending colour this season) glitter in a variety of shapes and sizes – all the way from ground, ultra-fine, and fine. Easily layered over a matching base, opacity is quite good even on its own, giving good coverage by the second coat. An effortless application and high-watt finish, Stella has a naturally soft-grit texture that becomes completely smooth once top coat is layered over. Coats applied: 2 (top coat added for final swatch only)


Cirque Stella swatch

Cirque Colors – Stella


Cirque Stella swatch 2

Cirque Colors – Stella


Cirque Stella swatch with TC

Cirque Colors – Stella (top coat added)

 

Ica Valley – The golden version of Stella, in terms of application and formula, but in a cool gold tone, that should suit all skin tones – from the fairest to the darkest … like magic? (sorry – it was too perfect to resist). Be prepared for some glitter migration upon removal. Coats applied: 2 (top coat added for final swatch only)


Cirque Ica Valley swatch

Cirque Colors – Ica Valley


Cirque Ica Valley swatch 2

Cirque Colors – Ica Valley


Cirque Ica Valley swatch with TC

Cirque Colors – Ica Valley (top coat added)

 

Chainmail – Is it just me, or does anyone else think this name is über-sexy? A light grey base filled with ground and fine steely blue glitter, along with fine prismatic particles and more random black specks thrown in for good measure. The formula is the thinnest of the glittery shades shown here, and while layering Chainmail over a matching base is always an option, I love the more complex look on its own. Coats applied: 3, thin (top coat added for final swatch only)


Cirque Chainmail swatch

Cirque Colors – Chainmail


Cirque Chainmail swatch flash

Cirque Colors – Chainmail (taken with flash)


Cirque Chainmail swatch with TC

Cirque Colors – Chainmail (top coat added)

 

Vectors – Meant to be a “topper” (as in, applied over the base of your choice), this is a clear base filled with black bar, small round, medium & larger hexagonal, and diamond shaped glitter, with the addition of finely ground holographic glitter throughout. Each brush stroke yields a good variety of glitter, with no “fishing” necessary – although you may need to nudge some of the bar pieces into place, especially if they fall near the nail sides or free edge.

I’ve opted to show Vectors two ways: over a light base such as CHANEL’s Eastern Light (previously reviewed here), the white backdrop serves to enhance every detail, while layered over the more intricate look of Magnum Opus (from the Alchemy Collection pt. 1, previously reviewed here) the entire look seems to take on a more 3D tone. The options are literally limitless with this topper.


CIrque Vectors swatch over Chanel Eastern Light

Cirque Colors – Vectors (over CHANEL’s Eastern Light, previously reviewed here)


Cirque Vectors swatch over Eastern Light 2

Cirque Colors – Vectors (over CHANEL’s Eastern Light)


Cirque Vectors swatch over Magnum Opus

Cirque Colors – Vectors (over Magnum Opus, previously reviewed here)


Cirque Vectors swatch over Magnum Opus 2

Cirque Colors – Vectors (over Magnum Opus, taken with flash)

 

I can’t say it often enough: for all nail-philes out there, Cirque Colors is a brand that you need to sit up and take notice of. The originality, formula, and detail that goes into every single bottle of lacquer, is undeniable. From this second half of the Alchemy Collection, I am hard-pressed to choose a favourite, as I found something to love about them all, but I confess that Chainmail has my number. Considering that I’m not glitter’s biggest fan, I found that I couldn’t stop staring at my nails when wearing both Stella and Ica Valley, and while top coat does all kinds of wonderful to these hues, I love the edgier look without – adding a tactile sensation to polish brings it to a whole other level, in my opinion.

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 2 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

Dior Vernis #995 Minuit (LE) – Golden Winter 2013 Collection

Dior Minuit opener

 

To look at Dior’s Golden Winter 2013 Collection, is like looking into the jewelry box of Marie Antoinette; filled with tones of pink & gold, this collection takes its inspiration from Versailles at midnight. No need to add any more … that romantic imagery is more than enough for me. I first fell for the retro shape of these chubby bottles when they were introduced with last year’s Grand Bal holiday collection (previously reviewed here and here) – the ultimate in refined femininity. Plus they’re just so darned cute.


Dior Minuit

Dior – #995 Minuit


Dior Minuit 2

Dior – #995 Minuit


Dior Minuit 3

Dior – #995 Minuit


Dior Minuit 4

#995 Minuit (limited edition) (CAN $27.00) – a deep bordeaux/prune base hue filled with rose-gold, copper & bronze ultra fine glitter. With its sublime formula – perfect density, flow, self-levelling capacity, and super glossy finish – this shade is nothing short of totally luxurious. Dark enough to satisfy my need for vampy shades yet still shy of looking like yet another blackened lacquer, the shimmery bits here look like they’re literally floating just under the nail surface – LOVE! Coats applied: 2, plus 1 layer of Dior Gel Top Coat


Dior Minuit swatch

Dior – #995 Minuit


Dior Minuit swatch 2

Dior – #995 Minuit


Dior Minuit swatch 3

Dior – #995 Minuit


Dior Minuit swatch macro

Dior – #995 Minuit


Dior Minuit swatch 4

Dior – #995 Minuit

 

 

I have fallen very hard for this lacquer, and it has quickly risen to the ranks of one of my all-time favourite shades. The fact that the formula is ridiculously easy to apply (even the brush isn’t the usual paddle style that Dior favours with their regular lineup of lacquers, neither is it of the thinner variety – densely packed & flexible bristles, and just enough width enough to work comfortably with), makes it more than worth the heftier price tag. I’m already planning on getting a back up of this limited edition beauty … how can I resist?


Dior Minuit closer