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PWI: Born Pretty Holo Polish, plus adornments!

Quarter’s drawing to a close.  Good riddance.  I’ve finally piloted my user study on the robot (thanks MK!).  It still needs work but in most ways it’s pretty deployable.  I really need to figure out why the robot’s verbal responses are delayed almost 3 seconds; that part’s just not working.

Stupid robots.

Anyway!  I have been painting my nails, just not blogging as much.  Just busy.  Well, and also Tachyon discovered that if I play console games instead of sitting at my computer, I make a really comfortable lap:

cat

I mean… what am I supposed to do?  I’m no monster.

So that’s been something of a showstopper.  Yeah, my life is hard.

Anyway, I got nail-mail yesterday from the Born Pretty store, a source of cheap stuff that’s based out of Singapore.  (My last two packages had customs labels describing them as “cell phone case” and “electronics misc,” so that’s definitely legal.)  Shipping to the US is free.  All of this means it takes arbitrary amounts of time to arrive.  I basically place an order and forget about it, and whenever it shows up it’s a nice surprise.*

If you’re anything like me, when presented with new toys, you have to try them out right noooww.  This is how I came to be sporting Born Pretty Holo Polish:

rb

It’s magically delicious.

This is a “linear holo,” meaning the holographic excellence shows up along lines defined by the curve of the nail, rather than being randomly spangled about.  I am very excited about future polish!

Unfortunately, the above is about the best holographic presentation I got.  It was taken in the weird cold fluorescent elevator of my 100-year-old apartment complex.  Below is what it mostly looked like in practice.

gray

Gray’s a color.

It was still interesting.  Also, this is a rather low-end holo polish;** I may step it up to an expensive one.

In the meantime, since I still had new things to play with and less-than-exciting nails, I promptly bunged on a ton of stuff.  Behold: stuff.

ad6

Indirect (and failing) sunlight.  This is the closest I came to getting things in focus.  I choose to believe that this is not my camera’s way of opining on the tackiness of just slapping everything on together.

Left to right:

  1. Silver… errr… crown? sort of? stickers.  They were fine, they stayed on, I’ll use more.
  2. Silver rhinestones.  Also fine.  I got to use my new teeny-thing-picker-upper tool!
  3. A black-and-clear 3D sticker.  Iffy.  It tore when I tweezed it off the backing, and subsequently came off the nail in blobs.
  4. Water decal of some generic part of a clock.  If you haven’t built models of aircraft or tanks or (in my case) giant space robots, you probably didn’t know that water decals are the devil.  But I was prepared for it, and I love the designs on this sheet.

Then a bunch of stuff fell off.  But hey, toys!  TOYS.  Expect rather more… er… reasoned adornment pix in the near future.


* Actually this is how I cope with almost all shipped goods.  We order so much stuff from Amazon that we get several packages a week… so why track?  Mr. Fix-It will ask me what’s in an incoming box, and I’m all, “Clothes?  Toiletries?  Electronics?  Cats?”

** Actually, at $7/6ml on sale <!!>, it kind of isn’t!  Should have read the description more closely.  But there are companies who specialize in this nonsense and may produce shinier holographics.

Randomly Not Nail Polish

I’ve been meaning to rant about makeup and academia in general. Well, someone else just did, and eloquently, too. Lesson: if you procrastinate for long enough, someone will get exasperated and do it for you. 😀

I am referring to this post by Sylirael of The Painted Rogue, written in cooperation with Auxiliary Beauty – both also doctoral students. Very much recommended reading. The only thing I would elaborate on: I think one of the big things that makes makeup unprofessional is that makeup is girly. Women may have infested the hallowed halls, but the very least they could do is act like men.

Their posts included “what I’d like to do/what I actually do” pix, and in the spirit of solidarity, so shall I.  And what I like to do most is experiment.

First, since I got the OCC Lip Tars largely because you can make arbitrary colors with them… I did!  I love green, but in retrospect a little more muting would have made it look better on me.  This is pretty crayola.  Nonetheless, experiment 1: informative!  This covered as well as the blue and doesn’t look as outright weird as the yellow.

green lips

I failed to take a picture of my lips with nothing on. It’s better for everyone, really.

The reason this took so long to post: I did a coordinated eye look, and it was a total failure.  Specifically, it looked interesting, but it photographed terribly.  That’s what research is, right?  Trying things and having them fail?  I tried to convince myself to post failpix (researchers are terrible about publishing negative results), but in the end, no.  So. Now it’s later.

IMG_1613XIMG_1616

Silver liner, silver shadow with green accents, plus mascara.  It’s hard to show, but it’s VERY sparkly, which is really all that makes it interesting.

Not, I hope you will agree, particularly over the top (despite the sparkling).  But I wouldn’t wear it interviewing or to a conference for fear of the dread Not Being Taken Seriously.  Not because I think engineers are allergic to silver (that would suck for our robots) but because it is quite noticeable that I’m wearing makeup.

Am I saying I want to wear green lipstick to work and have sparkly eyes all the time?  Nope.  Mr. Fix-It dislikes makeup on me, and mornings are always tight. It would be very occasional.  Plus, you know… when I bitch, I always think about Amanda at Pretty Girl Science, who has to wear nail polish (!) that is “conservative and simple,” with no other guidelines.  (Aka, I know it when I see it, and I’ll yell at you then.  Written rules are not always better than unwritten.)  But you know, that’s pretty much garbage too.

In summary, Dear Academia: I’m training up to be an engineer and a researcher, and it annoys the fuck out of me when I’m not allowed to try new things.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.†


* A note on coverage.  I complained that this stuff feathers; the internet’s answer is “you’re using too much.”  I am not.  I can spread the most opaque color so thin you can clearly see skin through it, and it feathers.  Gr!

† Oh, almost.  At heart, I will always be both a costumer and a HUGE ham, and I had tools out, so this happened. IMG_1603

Shinyyy!!! …I mean. Review. Yes. That’s what I meant.

I got a request (I love requests!!) to opine on super-shiny nail wrap things.  As far as I can tell, there are 4 (maybe 3?) options:

  • Minx (the original).  Heat-shrink stickers, applied in a salon.  Lasts: a week or so.  Costs: $50+!  Aaaand we’re done.
  • Non-Minx heat-set nail wraps.  I’d have to try them to know what the hassle factor is (which is why I’ve already ordered them).  Costs: 19¢/nail.  Also, at least in pictures, 100% identical to…
  • These stickers.  These are probably less hassle than heat-shrink nails?  Costs (from this site now): 50¢/nail.  Also, what I’m about to review. 🙂
  • Push-n-Shove, with its concomitant babying and less-mirror finish.

Okay, first, let’s get this out of the way, because it’s going to distract me until we do:

photo 4
ohmigosh so shiny sooo shinyyy I am a cyborg from the future here to destroy you!†    *pant* *pant*  …ok. Done.

What.  As I’ve said before and will say again, I see nothing wrong with wanting to look like I’m from the future.

Okay!  Review time!  (This is gonna get long, so feel free to skip out.)

High Level

I love these.  Love.  They are mirror-shiny and futuristic, and they made Mr. Fix-It say “Wow.”††  They’re priced for special occasions, but that’s okay; sometimes there are special occasions.

That said, here are the nits and the picks.

What you get

Here’s the package, plus the remnants when I was done:

photo 5  photo

 I’m sorry these images are all mis-aligned and weird.  I’m still working on bending WordPress to my will.

So.  16 stickers.  I only needed to cut two to size (my index fingers were between sizes).  These are long and my nails are short, so I could probably have cut them in half lengthwise to get 2 applications; that said, if you decide to do that, do it before you pull them up and get finger grease all over the long ends.  Unlike me!  Which is why I only have 6 left that I could cut into useful shapes.

Application

They’re stickers.  You know how to use stickers.  So, pretty easy?  My hands are shaky – sleep dep, caffeine, rhinovirus, stress, you name it – so it took some time, maybe 20, 25 minutes at my usual slow-loris pace.  This involved a fair amount of carefully re-placing stickers until it looked right, which will affect longevity.

You have to cut off the extra length, which they suggest doing with teeny scissors.  After experimentation, I eventually settled on using scissors to get it close to the end of the nail, but nail clippers to cut the rest off.  They’re shaped for exactly this problem, it turns out!  I left a good 2-3 mm overhang, so there was a big chunk to poke out of my clippers with a toothpick, instead of tiny little pieces.

Still, no matter how careful I was, I ended up with wrinkling at the tips.  Nails bend lengthwise as well as widthwise (imagine putting a flat sticker on a globe), and the wrinkles caught on every little thing.  You can see it in that first picture above.  The instructions suggest stretching it to make it smooth, which makes the problem so much worse, why do you lie to me.

What eventually worked was cutting my nails to the quick when the sticker was already on.  If, like me, you trim your nails to nubbins semi-weekly, this is a good answer; otherwise, it is not.

So here’s the post-trim, no-snag version:

photo 2 photo 5

 same sad disclaimer 🙁 augh WordPress augh 🙁 dangit

Cleaner, tidier, much less prone to snags.. and still shiny enough to apply lipstick with. 😀

Longevity

Well.  I only put them on tonight?  So this review is probably a little premature.  (But I was so excited!)  So, I will post new updates with back-links, if it helps.

The instructions say to “trim the cuticle” and “buff your nails.”  This is two things you should never do!  Ever!  (Rant coming soon, probs.)  You’d probably have equal luck cleaning your nails with an alcohol wipe beforehand, anyway (without the “screwing with your body’s immune system” issue.)  Of course, I didn’t do either, leading to…

I’m a terrible person to ask about this.  Playing with nails is a soothing nightly ritual for me. I very rarely wait for peeling between changes (younger-me is having an amazing belly laugh right now).  I am enabled by peel-off base coat.  But with something specialty like this, I think “makes it til morning” and “makes it to the following night” are valid benchmarks.  I will keep you informed on status when I (gasp) don’t avoid things like washing my hair anddoing dishes.


† I am pretty sure future cyborg destroyers won’t say ohmigosh, if it helps.

†† YMMV, depending on spouse.

PWI twofer: Essie Penny Talk and OPI Gaining Mole-mentum

I know a lot of you reading already know this, but I have something of an obsession with copper.  It’s not my fault!  It’s genetic!  Passed from my grandmother through my mother to me.  

I like lots of copper.

I like amazingly new, weirdly super-pink copper.  I like more often-encountered, beautiful oxidized copper.  I even think verdigris is pretty cool, personally.  Not surprisingly, this has joined forces with my nail polish obsession.  I will buy pretty much any damn thing that is copper, or coppery, or copper-ish, or SAYS copper.  Sadly, in nail polish as in life, there’s a shockingly lame level of access to copper things!  (give me more copper earrings or give me death)

ANY way.  I started seeing things on the nail-o-blaggityblog-o-sphere about a copper polish,  Essie Penny Talk, which is outside my usual price range but cooopperr.  So I ordered it, got the bottle, and it was clearly gold.  I mean look:

Essie Penny Talk:

I even whined to Mr. Fix-It, and
he was all “Uh…hm. Gold is nice?”
So I put it on my nails.

So I put on my new gold nail polish.  Which did go on gold …until it wasn’t.  Like the weirdness of Push’n’Shove, over about a minute or two, it slooowly changed (cured?), until I was looking at this:

Totes copper.  Specifically, the very pink color of brand
new, totally untarnished copper.  *happy sigh*

What the hell, y’all,  Chemistry is magical.

So I really like Penny Talk!  But I didn’t top coat it, and like most foils, it chips if you move your hand through oxygen molecules, and after a day the edges were all ragged and sucky.  So I added

OPI Gaining Mole-mentum:

Up close you can see that it’s made of little shard glitters in gold, silver and copper.

From a little further away you can see that
it’s just sort of… confused sparkle?

I dunno.  When I did Rouge Rush, also with shard glitter, I liked the depth and the almost-flaky-level glow?  So I thought I would give this a try.  But I’m not so sure.  Also, layering it over copper made the copper glitter vanish, which I did not care for.  So I’ll try it over something else before I do anything drastic.

PWI twofer! OPI: Vant to Bite my Neck? and SOPI: Beam Me Up Hottie!

I did not choose to put these polishes together because they are both complete sentences with punctuation.  I would have, but I only just noticed.  Dumb sentences, sure, but better than [grabs a bottle at random] “Smush”.

This first one I kinda already knew would disappoint.  It’s from the same collection as Eurso Euro (have I blithered on enough about that one yet?), and when I got EE in all its indigo perfection, I hoped the purple would be equally glorious.  (Spoiler: it isn’t)

OPI Vant to Bite my Neck?:

These are both pretty color-accurate, because your human meat eyeball with its high dynamic range can see a lot more color depth at once.  So the way-overexposed shot on the right that shows the purpliness is, in human eyeball terms, just another part of this polish’s “depth of color”.  Stupid excellent meat eyeball.

So, in other words,

Eggplant.  Very dark purplish-black.  (Unless it’s white.  Did you know it’s called an”eggplant” because of the smooth round egginess of the white ones?  I didn’t.)  Aubergine.  Lovely color.  Source: the wikipedia article on “the color aubergine”

Look, aubergine is a lovely color that is mostly black.  Seriously, when your canvases are 1cm2, this is just… black.  In direct sunlight (well “sunlight”) it’s… black.  (Black with an excellent, long-lasting creme formula, because OPI.)

With hints of eggplant.

So, since I don’t actually really like this polish, I decided to try to spruce it up by doing something I know I dislike, which is adding a highly-contrasting glitter topper.

SOPI: Beam Me Up, Hottie!:

Left: what it actually looked like, which is, mysteriously polka-dotted nails.  Right: They’re very holographic
polka dots!  And I learned that a blurry picture actually captures the holo colors better.  I learned this from
real bloggers with better cameras.  Which I do not need one of.  Because I don’t need another hobby.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.  …no, no it didn’t.  It seemed like something I could reach without dislodging this cat.  So that’s like a good idea, kind of.

This is just a bottle full of silver holographic glitter hexes in a clear base.  Seems like my kind of looking-futuristic thing, but the formula is such a total goddamned PITA.  This is several layers, with much dabbing.*

So… all things being equal, total fail!  I’ll probably keep Beam My Up Hottie! for use over silver, where its holographic awesomeness can blend and glitter distribution is less obvious.  I kind of feel like McAubergine here is bound for a new home.

* (Basically what it sounds like – sort of “patting” the nail with the brush, pushing individual glitters (glits?**) around.)
** I am pretty sure an individual glitter is a glit

PWI twofer: Sally Hansen Celeb City and Sinful Colors Queen of Beauty

Sometimes it’s worth posting base color + topper separately; often it’s not. This is that second kind.

Base coat (which is nice on its own, I mean, I wore it), is Sally Hansen Celeb City:

X
Left is daylight, right is indoor, cuticles are covered in silver. Not easy to
photograph! It’s no Push’n’Shove,* but it’s a perfectly nice metallic.

Pretty color, nice and even in two coats. It’s shiny but maayyybe the glitters are too coarse to call it a foil? Nah, foil. (I think I’m going to do a post on all these made-up domain specific words.)

Later, topped with Sinful Colors Queen of Beauty:

X
Do I need to say which is which? No, I do not. Because the
indoor photos are always the ones where I’m in last-stage jaundice.

My camera haaaates this. It took a while to get two even borderline decent photos, I mean, for heaven’s sake. Go look at KittyPNB’s swatches if you care, she has an actual camera. 😛

But basically, it looks like little disco balls. Just straight-up silver glitter. This is 4 [!] coats. I doubt it would be opaque without Celeb City undies, but it was pretty at every stage.

As a side note… who comes up with these names? Some of them are nicely descriptive (Champagne Toast), some are just eh (like, Celeb City, once I see the polish I can make some connection),  some of them are straight-up meaningless (Cassie, Hot Wired), and some of them are just weird and misleading (Pull Over is an orange-ish yellow). It’s like paint samples, which are also named by people tripping so hard they can taste colors.

# of clicks it took me to find this: 2.

So now we know what color surreality, quintessent..i…ality? .. and elegance are.

Project Wear-It: OPI Push and Shove

The blogosphere seems to have developed something of a love-hate relationship with OPI’s limited edition Gwen Stefani polish Push and Shove.  As an affirmed geek, it should be no surprise that I want mirror nails badly.  (I want to look like I’m from the future!  Is that so wrong?)

It is, as many others have said, super fussy.  Especially, I tend to do a lot of light strokes, and this drags so badly.  But I persevered, trying a few combinations, and the smoothest, shiniest look I got was pretty exciting!

A couple of pictures, both in indirect (and overcast) daylight. This was after dinner and 
sleep, and they’re a little dinged up, but definitely still wearable. (No, I do not take great 
photos or do cleanup particularly well, it’s true. Life goes on.)

The combination that worked for me was:

  1. DIY peel-off base coat
  2. Regular base coat*
  3. Lay down the Base base coat (included with the polish)
  4. One thick, unfussed-with layer of the shiny (two thick strokes for thumbs)
  5. Patience

I couldn’t get Seche Vite to work as an underlayer, although many people have had good luck.  I bet using it for Step 2 would work, though. I did find that top coat dulled it; only a tiny bit, but still.

* I used Sinful Colors Base Coat. Then I put it in a pile to get rid of, because it reeks. Bleah!