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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

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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

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OPI – Mariah Carey Holiday 2013 Collection ‘the sparklers’

OPI Mariah Carey Holiday 2013 pt 2 opener

 

Dividing this fairly extensive collection into three groups was the easy part; ‘the reds’ (reviewed here), the Liquid Sands (coming soon), and this group here that I’ve named ‘the sparklers’, although it should technically be ‘the 5 sparklers & a metallic’, but that just looks weird in a title, no? These six lacquers all have something unique and totally eye-catching to offer – brilliant, sparkling and festively extravagant.


OPI Mariah Carey Holiday 2013 pt 2

OPI – Mariah Carey Holiday 2013 Collection

 

Ski Slope Sweetie – a sheer milky base hue filled with finely ground iridescent/pearlized shimmer that flashes predominantly gold, with pink and green glints seen as well. While the formula leans a bit on the thick side, it still applies ridiculously easy, staying exactly where placed, brush stroke-free and self-levelling (this can also be layered over a similar colour for more depth). Gleaming at the finish, I swear that there’s a magical look to this shade – makes me think of unicorns. Love unicorns. Note that there could be some shimmer migration upon removal. Coats applied: 3 (thin), plus top coat


OPI Ski Slope Sweetie swatch

OPI – Ski Slope Sweetie


OPI Ski Slope Sweetie swatch 2

OPI – Ski Slope Sweetie

 

My Favorite Ornament – a clear base loaded with ultra fine platinum and silver micro glitter (doesn’t it look like teeny-tiny crinkled up pieces of foil?), that’s almost opaque by the first coat — it’s THAT densely packed. With its antiqued/tarnished effect, this shade is insanely brilliant and absolutely spot-on as the perfect festive lacquer. You will probably need a couple of layers of top coat to smooth out the slightly gritty finish – totally worth it, however. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat (2 layers)


OPI My Favorite Ornament swatch

OPI – My Favorite Ornament


OPI My Favorite Ornament swatch 2

OPI – My Favorite Ornament

 

Wondrous Star – a clear base filled with the same platinum & silver ultra fine micro glitter of My Favorite ornament, but slightly sparser and in a thinner flowing formula, as well as the addition of tiny black hexagonal glitter pieces in the mix. Definitely best if layered to bring out its full effect, this shade is ridiculously brilliant as well. Coats applied: 3 (thin), plus top coat


OPI Wondrous Star swatch

OPI – Wondrous Star


OPI Wondrous Star swatch 2

OPI – Wondrous Star

 

All Sparkly and Gold – a smokey semi-sheer taupe base hue filled with bronze ultra fine glitter (the warmer and more golden version of My Favorite Ornament). The gritty feel at the finish seems more Liquid Sand to me, but not as dense, and really benefits from top coat to enhance every brilliant facet. I absolutely LOVE how the glitter seems suspended at the surface level. Coats applied: 3 (thin), plus top coat (2 layers)


OPI All Sparkly and Gold swatch

OPI – All Sparkly and Gold


OPI All Sparkly and Gold swatch 2

OPI – All Sparkly and Gold

 

Warm Me Up – the odd man out of the group shown here, but still part of the same overall colour family, this is a metallic taupe/mink brown hue bearing a silvery/pearlized shimmer throughout. A totally unique colour (at least in my fairly vast collection), this shade is a chameleon – looking pewter in some lights, bronzey-grey in others. Self-levelling, no visible brush strokes and shiny at the finish, it’s also non-staining upon removal. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat


OPI Warm me Up swatch

OPI – Warm Me Up


OPI Warm me Up swatch 2

OPI – Warm Me Up

 

I Snow You Love Me – the “pièce de résistance” of the collection (and you HAVE to love the name!), this is a slightly milky (and relatively thick) base, filled with large round holographic glitter. As this shade is best when layered, I’ve shown it (1 coat only) over 3 distinct finished: over a crème (Visions of Love previously reviewed here), a shimmer (Ski Slope Sweetie), and a metallic (Warm Me Up). Some tips for application:

  • start by keeping this bottle stored upside down, as the glitter is heavy and tends to sink to the bottom
  • don’t try applying this the usual way – you’ll only wind up with the base and no glitter
  • instead, use the “drop, dab, & swoosh” method and work quickly to avoid an uneven surface
  • Bonus: glitter placement is quite easy to do, although you may need to fish some pieces out of the bottle in the first place


OPI I Snow You Love Me swatch

OPI – I Snow You Love Me (over Visions of Love)


OPI I Snow You Love Me swatch 2

OPI – I Snow You Love Me (over Ski Slope Sweetie)


OPI I Snow You Love Me swatch 3

OPI – I Snow You Love Me (over Warm Me Up)

 

I’m not even a glitter person, and yet I am so totally drawn to (most of) these shades. My favourites here are I Snow You Love Me (portable disco balls!), Warm Me Up (you already know how I love these moodier-type shades), All Sparkly and Gold (sophisticated bling, in my eyes), and My Favorite Ornament. I can see Ski Slope Sweetie as a pedi shade, a colour that will translate well even for the warmer season, but Wondrous Star didn’t do it for me – something about the darker bits looked too much like debris for my liking – maybe it just needs to grow on me shrugs.

The six Liquid Sand polishes of this collection will be shown in an upcoming post.

The OPI Mariah Carey Holiday 2013 Collection is limited and available now. For all updates, feel free to follow via: website/twitter/facebook

 

OPI Mariah Carey Holiday 2013 pt 2 closer

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

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OPI – Mariah Carey Holiday 2013 Collection ‘the reds’

OPI Mariah Carey Holiday 2013 pt 1 opener

 

OPI’s Mariah Carey Holiday 2013 Collection, consist of not 12, but rather 18 limited edition lacquers – with 6 of them coming in the brand’s Liquid Sand formula (which I personally love!). I’ve broken it down to three separate groups, in order that they can be appreciated that much better, starting with ‘The Reds’ of part 1 shown here today.


OPI Mariah Carey Holiday 2013 pt 1

OPI – Mariah Carey Holiday 2013 Collection

 

All I Want for Christmas (is OPI) – a rich red crème (the perfect Christmas red!) with blueish undertones in the base making it slightly cooler hued, in a formula with excellent flow & coverage. Highly flattering against all skin tones, the application was completely self-levelling and with a high-gloss shine at the finish. Note that it could be lightly staining, so do not skip base coat. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat


OPI All I Want for Christmas (is OPI) swatch 2

OPI – All I want for Christmas (is OPI)


OPI All I Want For Christmas (is OPI) swatch

OPI – All I Want for Christmas (is OPI)

 

Visions of Love – a cooler-toned deep burgundy/dark chocolate crème hue with dark berry undertones, in a formula that was simply spectacular – super easy flow and perfect opacity. Self levelling and über-glossy at the finish, this shade is nothing short of luxurious vampiness. Seriously. May be lightly staining, so do not skip base coat. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat


OPI Visions of Love swatch

OPI – Visions of Love


OPI Visions of Love swatch 2

OPI – Visions of Love

 

In my Santa Suit – a cool-toned red hue with magenta undertones in the base and pearlized shimmer throughout, giving  the center of the nail that “glowing” effect. Another excellent and easy application – self-levelling & with no visible brush strokes, leaving a shiny finish (not glossy) behind. Such a festive shade – I love how it totally resembles moiré satin ribbon! Non-staining upon removal. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat (top coat necessary here to really bring out the depth)


OPI In My Santa Suit swatch

OPI – In my Santa Suit


OPI In My Santa Suit swatch 2

OPI – In my Santa Suit

 

Sleigh Ride for Two – a unique mix of deep raisin/plum base hue with an inner ultra-fine pearlized shimmer, that comes off as simultaneously filtered (as though seen through fogged glass) and glowing (like the shimmer is trapped just beneath the surface layer). Self-levelling and brush stroke-free, there’s a velvety look to this shade and while it’s not as glossy as the crèmes, there’s a nice shine just the same. Top coat totally brings out all its depths, and another plus is that it’s non-staining. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat


OPI Sleigh Ride for Two swatch 2

OPI – Sleigh Ride for Two


OPI Sleigh Ride for Two swatch

OPI – Sleigh Ride for Two

 

Cute Little Vixen – a cool leaning magenta base hue with purple undertones in the base, filled with pink & silver finely ground glitter and pearlized shimmer throughout that gives this shade a gleaming look. Self-levelling and with a brush stroke-free application, once again top coat is necessary to bring out all its depths. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat


OPI Cute Little Vixen swatch

OPI – Cute Little Vixen

 

OPI Cute Little Vixen swatch 2

OPI – Cute Little Vixen

 

Underneath the Mistletoe – a deep ruby base with some brownish tints, filled with pink & silver glass-flecked glitter particles in a jelly-like formula. Gorgeously glowing & kind of squishy-looking (in a good way), the flecks look like they’re floating at the surface level — this also reminds me of raspberry jam! Self-levelling in application, this was the least glossy of the 6 – definitely needs top coat to really bring it out. Could be lightly staining, so do not skip your base. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat


OPI Underneath the Mistletoe swatch

OPI – Underneath the Mistletoe


OPI Underneath the Mistletoe swatch 2

OPI – Underneath the Mistletoe

 

OPI certainly knows how to do “red”, and of the six shown here, the stand-outs for me were the 2 crèmes (although Visions of Love is my hands-down favourite), Sleigh Ride for Two (because I’m a total sucker for anything “dusty-looking”), and Underneath the Mistletoe (it’s squishy…need I say more? It’s also the pedi shade I wore when I met Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, post found here), and even though I wasn’t too partial to In my Santa Suit or Cute Little Vixen, I can’t deny how pretty the finish looks – just not for me.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this collection, to be shown in an upcoming post.

The OPI Mariah Carey Holiday 2013 Collection is limited and available now. For all updates, feel free to follow via website/twitter/facebook


OPI Mariah Carey Holiday 2013 pt 1 closer

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

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Illamasqua – Facet Nail Varnish (Sacred Hour Collection)

Illamasqua Facet opener

 

Some things are just meant to be; when I happened to step into the Illamasqua boutique at the downtown Montréal Hudson’s Bay store a few weeks ago, I was checking out the brand’s latest collection – Sacred Hour – and I naturally gravitated towards this one particular shade: Facet. Gorgeous, unique, like nothing I own in my vast collection of lacquers, limited edition … and so totally sold out. Insert major sad face here. But happily, I was able to order it online through The Bay’s website – free shipping too!


Illamasqua Facet

Illamasqua – Facet Nail Varnish


Illamasqua Facet 2

Facet (CAD $17.00/15 ml) – a muted grey base with mauve undertones in a mid-sheer formula, filled with irregularly shaped bronze shards as well as sparser pink & green flecks. As with every other Illamasqua lacquer I own, the flow and density was spot-on perfect, applying in a self-levelling way and becoming fully opaque by the second coat. This odd combination of colours (grey with antiqued gold) in theory shouldn’t work at all — but for some reason here, it just DOES. Depending on the light and your angle, this shade might pull deeper grey then morph into a bronzite hue, but no matter which colour it appears, there’s this eerie murky effect that’s prevalent – almost as though it’s being viewed through a veil. With a gorgeously glossy shine at the finish and bearing an easy removal, this shade is pure LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat


Illamasqua Facet 3

Illamasqua – Facet Nail Varnish


Illamasqua Facet swatch

Illamasqua – Facet Nail Varnish


Illamasqua Facet swatch 2

Illamasqua – Facet Nail Varnish


Illamasqua Facet swatch 3

Illamasqua – Facet Nail Varnish (detail)


Illamasqua Facet swatch 4

Illamasqua – Facet Nail Varnish


Illamasqua Facet swatch 5

Illamasqua – Facet Nail Varnish

 

I couldn’t be happier that I was able to add ‘Facet’ to my collection – not because this shade is a limited edition item, but because of how incredibly unique it is in terms of colour — something that’s becoming harder and harder to accomplish in the already overcrowded world of nail polish. That the formula is perfection, is just the icing on this cake. Oh yeah … us Canadians don’t have to be gouged by Sephora’s inflated prices on this brand anymore, since one can now purchase Illamasqua products through The Bay (in-store Illamasqua boutiques at select stores, or online). Sweet, very sweet.

I ordered Facet through The Bay online.


Illamasqua Facet closer

 

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