In need of a cool down – Essie’s ‘Find me an Oasis’

Ah, summer. You bring with you such gorgeous pastel colors for nails. And so much frustration when it comes to a smooth application of the aforementioned beauties. Last summer’s nemesis was the perfect shade of creamy buttercup yellow, and this year’s successor to that title is the ice cool blue I’ve seen looking so cute in flip-flops around the city. It’s such a perfect hot weather shade – more interesting than plain white and with a bit more edge than the usual pastels.

The shade I really liked and ended up buying in the end was Essie’s Find me an Oasis. Blue is my favorite color anyway, and this icy tone seemed perfect. But man, it’s such a headache to apply. This particular polish still has Essie’s old thin brush, which has me confused – the color is part of the current Resort 2014 collection and I was under the impression that all of Essie’s brushes are now wider and fan-shaped? Oh well.

I found the formula to be quite runny, so first impressions weren’t great. The first coat is a streaky mess and halfway through it had me wondering whether I had wasted my money. Oh, and this is a sneaky formula…even though it is runny, it still manages to dry quickly, so you better have a steady hand applying this one as you can forget about running the brush over the same area twice.

Now to the second coat to cover up the results of the first one. Honestly, I have found it so difficult to even get close to something that resembles an even finish. I had to load the brush with product and sort of  hover just above the nail to distribute it. Imagine a drop of oil or something. The minute I pushed the brush down to properly ‘drag’ the polish across the nail, it just looked awful. So it definitely takes a certain technique to get it just right.

Needless to say, the results were not fantastic. Not as bad as expected, but not great if you want to be picky like me. I finished off with a coat of the superb Butter London Hardwear P.D. Quick top coat. If you have never come across this top coat before, it’s definitely worth checking out (Sephora stock it). I used to love the Seche Vite Dry Fast top coat, but have now converted to this one, as I don’t get the ‘shrinkage’ I used to get with Seche Vite. Hardwear applies like a dream, has a glossy finish and lasts for days. I have worn it for up to seven days chip-free.

Essie find me an Oasis

The color in itself is very pretty and two coats will provide a fairly opaque finish. However, I noticed on closer inspection that the polish on most of my nails was peppered with tiny holes, which are visible on the first picture (second nail from left). I have never had that happen before, and as I have been using the Butter London top coat for over a year I doubt that it’s the culprit. I know, I know…I’m now kicking the Essie one whilst it’s down. I’m such a meanie.

Essie Find me an Oasis

So to sum up, I really like the color (it’s spot on for summer) and I could live with the bubbly finish if I absolutely had to, but I’m just not convinced the application is worth the effort. Yes, you could probably take the polish to a nail salon and see what results the experts get, but I like doing my own nails and if the finish is still uneven, you will have paid good money for results that are not immaculate. I know the perfect pastel formula is out there. I just need to find it 🙂

love, lou x

 

 

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Fresh, Fruity, Fun – Essie’s Peach Daiquiri

Honestly, you try and save some money and then Boots hit you with a ‘Buy One get One half Price’ offer on all of Essie’s colourful delights. How can I possibly resist that?!

Essie always have such bright, fun and trendy colours, which means I could easily walk away with ten bottles at a time! One of my favourite polishes is Essie’s Cute as a Button, a pretty coral pink. Since I’m almost through the bottle (which rarely happens with nail polishes) I was going to take advantage of the offer and replace it, but then two other colours caught my eye – Peach Daiquiri and Too Too Hot (both £7.99 each excluding the offer). Peach Daiquiri is somewhat similar to Cute as a Button, but not as pink. Too Too Hot is a bright coral red. Evidently I’m more into coral nails than I thought! I can’t get enough of them.

So far I have only tried Peach Daiquiri, and I think it’s fabulous! It gives me the same enjoyment as Cute as a Button, meaning I keep looking at my nails as the colour is so eye-catching and pretty. I really can’t see any peach in this one, though. I would describe the colour more as coral with muted pink undertones.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a fan of huge brushes. Essie have upsized theirs and I’ve had a few application struggles since then. Peach Daiquiri has the new, wider brush but for some reason application was a doddle. I’m not sure whether they have changed the design again, whether I’m getting used to wider brushes or whether the consistency of this colour worked particularly well with the brush, but…it just worked.

The polish is quite creamy and thick, but still has a very good flow to it. The brush is slightly tapered at the end, and I barely had to push down to distribute the colour. Two sweeps is all I needed on each nail to get perfect coverage. As the polish isn’t too runny, I didn’t have any colour bleeding into my cuticles, which can be a real pain. I suggest two coats – the result is a glossy and even colour.

When is a Peach not a Peach?

When is a Peach not a Peach?

Essie Brush

A Close up of the Brush

I finished off with a coat of….ha!! Bet you thought I’d say Seche Vite, as I always say that. But no – this time I finished off with a coat of Butter London Hardwear (£16 for 17.5 ml). I have road tested this new top coat a couple of times now, and I have to say that I’ve been very impressed.

Hardwear is not as thick as Seche Vite, but distributes quickly and evenly, dries super fast and keeps nails chip free for days. It doesn’t quite give Seche Vite’s mega watt shine, but is still gorgeously glossy. I also think there is less shrinkage with the Butter topcoat. I keep switching between the two and I would be hard pushed at the moment to pick a winner. But the fact that I’m willing to even use something other than Seche Vite to finish off my manicures says a lot!

So, Peach Daiquiri has been a real hit with me. It’s just incredibly pretty and flattering. The colour pops, but is not so stupidly bright that you can only wear it with a deep tan. It’s just the right balance. By the way, the offer is still on at Boots. Think I might have to check out a few more colours myself. It’s a way of saving money, after all 🙂

love, lou x

Metallic Aqua – Essie’s Beach Bum Blu

I love, love, love blue. It’s hands down my favourite colour. My wardrobe is full of variations on the theme and when it comes to clothes shopping I’m usually left deciding between two things – something blue and something that is, for a change, not blue. But blue wins. Maybe it’s because I love the sea, or maybe it’s because I was a Smurf in a former life. Who knows.

Since I love blue so much, I’m also a sucker for blue polishes. Even though I like my nails best when they are a shade of red (dark berry red in the winter or bright tomato red in the summer), I enjoy experimenting and find it hard to resist a bottle of gorgeous blue polish. Sometimes I know before reaching the checkout that I will probably only wear a particular blue shade a couple of times but I still have to have it.

Blue nails are absolutely everywhere right now, so there’s an abundance of shades to choose from. There are blue polishes everywhere – how’s a girl to resist?! As is usually the case, I was looking for something entirely different when I came across Essie’s Beach Bum Blu in Boots. The shimmering aqua blue instantly caught my eye and had my imagination drifting to paradise islands. This shade had sea, warm breezes and holidays written all over it.

As much as I loved the colour in the bottle, the quality of the polish was a source of frustration. Let’s start with the brush. I’m really not a fan of Essie’s new, wider brushes. They are far too wide for me, and I found it difficult to get the colour close to the cuticle without smearing over it. It forced me to leave a bigger gap than I would have preferred, especially when I was applying the colour with my left hand. In my opinion, the brushes are somewhat unwieldy.

The polish is on the runny side and after the first coat I was so annoyed at how streaky it was, that I almost took the whole lot off! You also have to be super quick, as it goes tacky so quickly. I persevered with a second coat and after applying my trusted Seche Vite (it’s the best top coat ever and available from Boots for £9) things looked better. The manicure wasn’t flawless, and closer inspection revealed the odd rough patch, but by that point I had invested too much time to start again. Overall, it was alright.

I'm hoping the Colour takes the Focus away from the fact that this Manicure is four Days old!

I’m hoping the Colour takes the Focus away from the fact that this Manicure is four Days old!

I was surprised how metallic the finish was. There’s only a hint of shimmer (the tiny silver specks in the bottle hardly shine through), but the colour is vibrant and almost electric. My nails looked as if I had applied metallic foil on them. I don’t usually do metallic nails – for me, they are the nail equivalent of rhinestones. So at first my nails felt a bit over the top and wrong. But I absolutely love this shade of blue. I look at it and instantly think of sparkling waters and sunshine on my skin. It feels wrong, but yet it has won me over.

Whilst Beach Bum Blu (£7.99) might be a bit OTT for the office, it’s eye-catching and the perfect shade for a holiday mani/pedi – it screams flip-flops and fun. I will definitely use this on my toes as soon as I have a spare hour. And to make the most of it, I think I should also book a holiday. What…nobody’s booked a holiday to fit around a nail polish before?! 🙂

love, lou x

Oh la la! Revlon Colorstay in ‘Delicious’

You know how you feel naked if you leave the house without your favourite makeup staple? For lots of women it’s mascara. For me, it’s definitely blush and a bit of brow powder. However, I had to dash out earlier this week with ‘naked’ nails and let me tell you – it felt completely wrong.  It was like missing a shoe and now I know that nail colour is definitely one of those things I need to wear to be seen in public. I love sporting a glossy manicure when I hold my coffee (it really is the simple things in life), so on my way to get my Americano I popped into a nail salon to get some much needed colour on my nails.

Okay, I am now done with dark colours until autumn, and fancied a bright pop of something red to herald spring. One colour that caught my eye was Essie’s ‘Clambake’, a bright orange-red. It wasn’t 100% opaque, even after two coats, but the lady at the salon did a fantastic job and I skipped out with my perfect manicure. I loved the colour so much, that I decided to pop into Boots on my way home and pick up a bottle.

I do wonder if the security guys in Boots ever get suspicious of me or whether women regularly spend hours staring at nail polishes. I’m sure I’m not the only one. After all, my husband can watch hours of Top Gear without passing out and all the colourful bottles of polish are so much more exciting. As it turned out, Boots didn’t stock this particular shade. Looking online later that evening I realised why – this shade is older than the pair of Converse I bought over three years ago. I didn’t want to leave empty-handed, so I started looking for a dupe. After a (very) long time, I decided to buy Revlon Colorstay in ‘Delicious’ (£7.99 for 11.7ml)

I can’t remember ever owning a Revlon polish and I didn’t have any high expectations, to be honest. I just really loved the colour and thought it was worth a try. I applied the polish today and it was instant love!!! Wow. This is one pretty darn good polish.

Glossy and fresh - love it :-)

Glossy and fresh – love it 🙂

First, there is the superb consistency. It’s thick, almost like a gel, yet very fluid. It applies like a dream and there is no streaking. None. Just lush, glossy colour. It settles beautifully. And the brush….oh, the brush. The brush is perfection. It’s small to medium size with just the right resistance. Whoever designed this brush, deserves a medal. The tip of the brush is ever so slightly domed and it allows for immaculate application. I always worry about starting the colour too close to my cuticles, as most polishes end up ‘travelling’ onto them. So I start a little bit further up, even though I prefer the colour to be as close to my cuticles as possible. With this brush I easily and confidently started close to my cuticles, as the polish just stayed put. The design of the brush made it so easy to drag it round and up the sides of the nails. It’s the first time I managed to do such a great paint job with my left hand! And drying time is impressive, too.

One coat is enough, as the colour is so dense and glossy. I love it! It’s more of a tomato red with a touch of orange (a bit less orangey than the Essie one) but it’s so fresh and pretty. Perfect for spring. I’m so happy with it! Oh, I did also order the ‘Clambake’ one from lookfantastic.com. I just couldn’t resist 🙂

Have a fab week-end

love, lou x

Sweet Start to the Week – Essie’s Mint Candy Apple

I reckon it will be some time before I tire of pastel coloured nail polishes. I absolutely adore them and with this summer’s selection all pastel fans are truly spoilt for choice. I read today that mint green will also be big in the coming season, which reminded me that I still had Essie’s Mint Candy Apple in my drawer, a polish I had bought a few weeks back but hadn’t tried yet. Sometimes I get so carried away buying polishes that it’s not unusual for the odd one having to hang around a bit for its debut.

The name carries a slight ‘yuck’ factor me, as I absolutely hate anything sweet that has been flavoured with mint. I will never see the appeal of having a perfectly delicious cheesecake and ruining it with mint. Fresh mint on a fruit salad is great, but when it comes to desserts, I prefer them 100% mint-free.

Still, the colour does look good enough to eat – a very pale and creamy mint green with undertones of turquoise. In certain lights it really echoes the iconic Tiffany blue. The colour is part of Essie’s diffusion line, stocked in Boots and Superdrug and retailing at £7.99.

Whilst I love the colour on my nails, the actual manicure was somewhat frustrating. Essie’s new brush is flat and a lot wider than its predecessor, which makes precision painting quite awkward. Looking online, a lot of people really like the wider brush, but I wasn’t that keen myself. I guess it’s like Marmite, you either love it or hate it. Personally, I was very underwhelmed and got on much better with the old brush. I’m hoping my view will mellow the more I use it.

Love the colour, hate the application

I wasn’t particularly keen on the thickness of the polish, either. It felt quite gloopy, application was pretty streaky and the varnish dried as soon as I had applied the colour, which made it very difficult to correct mistakes. Two colours are needed for an opaque finish.

Overall the finish is quite glossy and once I had applied my Seche Vite top coat the manicure evened out and actually looked quite good, although the edges are not as neat as I’d like them to be. So it’s good, but not perfect – like a yummy dessert ruined with mint 😉

love, lou x

Cute nails for a sunny morning

I love waking up to glorious sunshine and since I have had to make do with grey skies and endless drizzle over the past few weeks, I’m in a particularly upbeat mood today. The sun is shining and I wanted a pretty colour on my nails to go with it.
I decided on Essie’s Cute as a Button, which has to be one of the most flattering colours I have ever bought. It’s a bright pinky coral which looks impossibly cute – it real does justice to its name, which is the perfect description for it. I have medium fair skin with warm undertones and this polish is an instant pick me up. It’s so bright and fresh, but without being garish.
I keep going back to this polish since I bought it a couple of months ago as I just adore wearing it on my nails. It’s such a great summer colour, very eye catching and makes for an cute pedicure. It’s a colour made for walking through a meadow, dipping your toes into a pool or eating pastel coloured macaroons. I can dress it up for summer evenings and dress it down for lazy afternoons. I also find it makes for a great pop of colour when paired with a white t-shirt.
The consistency is rather creamy and, if I have to be honest, achieving a completely smooth and opaque finish is a bit of a challenge. Even with two coats of colour, coverage is not flawless. I do find however, that applying a coat of Seche Vite on the still wet polish vastly improves the finish and makes it even glossier. I generally get about four days of chip free enjoyment. Last time I wore this, there was a small chip on day five, which meant it was time for a new manicure.

I’m posting two pictures, as depending on the light the colour is more pinky or more towards coral.

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20120712-122513.jpg

Ah, well…in the time it has taken me to post this it has already started raining again. At least I have sunshine on my nails. And I’m still in a good mood 🙂

love, lou x

Tah dah! Essie’s Bikini so Teeny

I’ve been lusting after this colour for a while now and the wait is finally over. This morning, the postman delivered what is in my opinion the prettiest colour of Essie’s summer collection.

I first saw the advert for this in a US magazine at the end of May and it was love at first sight. Blue is my all time favourite colour, so I have a real soft spot for all things blue, anyway. And this pretty cornflower polish had a bit of sparkle to boot, making it that much more covetable. I couldn’t wait for the collection to be launched in the UK.

Getting my hands on this has been somewhat tricky, as it seemed to be sold out in most places as soon as it hit the shelves. I’m not surprised it’s hugely popular – it’s summer’s must have shade.

My nails are now dipped in pretty cornflower and I’m ready to give my verdict. Application was not completely fuss-free, if I’m honest. I find that Essie’s polishes can sometimes have a somewhat ‘watery’ consistency, which requires a very steady hand to avoid streaking. I also found this to be unforgiving when it comes to mistakes. The colour sets so quickly, that things got messy if I had to go over the same brush stroke again. Super quick drying time is a huge bonus once the manicure is done, but during application it often gives me something to grumble about. Especially when it’s not a fool proof polish which makes for a fast and streak free application.

However, with the second coat applied the colour settled evenly and had a beautiful glossy finish. What I missed was the sparkle, as it really isn’t that discernible. I expected the colour to be a bit more playful than it turned out to be. I’m still trying to make up my mind whether the high gloss finish makes up for the AWOL sparkle. It probably does, as it really is a very pretty colour with a fantastic finish.

A teeny Bikini you can wear after a three course meal. Genius.

I think the more I look at it, the more I like it. And I keep looking at it a lot 🙂

love, lou x