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The All Lacquered Up Collection from Barielle – Part 1

The wait is over Fanatics. I can finally show you the All Lacquered Up collection from Barielle. In case you missed the original announcement, this collection is a collaboration between myself and Celebrity Manicurist Elle, Creative Director for the Shades by Barielle line.

We pooled our color inspirations straight from the runway and came up with a palette of shades that are fashion forward yet accessible. They are all very chic and wearable. Check out the first half of the collection after the jump!

Collaborating with a nail trendsetter like Elle was such a thrill. With her years of experience working in editorial and alongside more celebrities than you can count, she really has her finger on the pulse of the beauty and fashion world. One trend we noticed was lot of muted, neutral tones with random pops of color, like Falling Star (below). Based on many phone convos about shades and perusing runway images, Elle custom mixed samples of our collection for the chemists to reproduce.

Now I know some of you commented that you were expecting all kinds of craziness from me and though this is the All Lacquered Up collection it’s not like I had license to do whatever I wanted. Shades by Barielle is about bringing fashionable shades to the masses so while there is a lot of me in this collection, it’s as much about being on trend and incorporating Elle’s color concepts. It’s a collection I am proud to attach the ALU name to and I hope you’ll love it as much as I do.

Slate of Affairs – when I was backstage at Reem Acra with Jamie from The Beauty of Life, I just about drooled at the site of her luxe designs. I wanted to dive in to the rack of dresses head first. It was her sandwashed steel blue gown that inspired this shade. A stunning slate blue grey, the polish has a subtle hint of pearl that adds a bit of light blue flash depending on the light. The formula on this one is somewhat jellyish and thick so I used three coats to get it perfect.

Get Mauve-ing is based on another Reem Acra dress. While I’m not typically one for mauve hues, I was so drawn to the gown’s shade that I felt it just needed to be in this collection. This one is a richly pigmented creme and applies evenly in two coats.
Grey tones like U-Concrete-Me were popping up on just about every runway. Undoubtedly a sign of our somber economic times, grey is still very much “in” for nails come fall. U-Concrete-Me is a two-coat, dolphin grey creme.
Putt-E On Me fits in with the neutral/grey concept only this warmer, muddier shade will please those of you that feel that grey washes them out. This mid-tone mushroom-y hue is another two-coat creme.

Out-Grey-Geous is the answer to what comes between $OPI Run With It and OPI Brand New Skates. A grey with gold fleck is just what I’ve been looking for but the $OPI was too putty-ish and BNS was too charcoal. Out-Grey-Geous is just perfect; a medium grey shimmer with gold micro-glitter.

They say you save the best for last and Falling Star definitely fits the bill. Remember that bright pop of color I mentioned? It’s like the primary colored dresses at Chris Benz but with a twist. I had thought of adding gold micro-glitter but it was Elle who felt copper particles would make it truly unique and she was dead on. They look like fiery stars falling from the sky. Application with this one is a bit tricky. The thick jelly like consistency makes this one a three coater for me.
The All Lacquered Up collection from Shades by Barielle will launch in August on The polishes retail for $8/ea and, as always, Buy Two get One Free.

So what do you think Fanatics? How’d we do? Make sure you check out Part 2 where you’ll get to see, can you guess, a GREEN!

Sula Paint and Peel Polish Swatches and Review

By on July 10, 2009
in Big 3 Free, Lilac, Sula Beauty with 27 Comments
A number of you have inquired about Sula Beauty’s Paint & Peel Nail Polish. I must admit I was hesitant because the idea of peeling anything off my nail beds seemed unhealthy but in the name of research I was willing to give it a go.

If you haven’t seen this brand at your local ULTA yet, Sula is a water-based nail polish that you can remove by peeling. Being water based, it is safe for pregnant women and ideal for those fanatics who are looking for non-toxic nail color. Check out my swatches and full review after the jump!

I had the opportunity to test Sula’s Modern Mauve nail color and Metallic Base/Top coat. Both are water based and non-toxic so it is recommended that if you do not use Sula’s base/top coat, you wear the polish on naked nails.

I wore Modern Mauve for a week to give it a thorough trial run and when my friend Jewels spotted it on me, she of course asked about the brand. I told her it was a peel off polish and her response was, “like that old school Bonne Bell peel off polish?” Let’s just call this is the grown up version of that.

Application: To say the polish applies streaky is an understatement. Without the chemicals that make traditional polish flow, you have to be very careful to keep the finish from being lumpy. Even after three coats, Modern Mauve was a bit uneven regardless of using their base coat. The bottle instructs you to avoid hot water for 3 hours after applying.

Tip: Wait time between coats is essential to avoid severe streaking. The polish dries with a rubberized finish and is completely dry and touchable in minutes.

Modern Mauve looks like a pale lilac in the bottle but on the nail it dries darker and more vivid. It’s very eye catching. For me, it’s dark enough to avoid my light purple “alien hand” syndrome.
The Metallic Base/Top Coat applies milky but dries perfectly clear and doesn’t alter the polish hue in the slightest. It’s not so much a metallic as a micro-glitter top coat. The particles are very small pieces of silver glitter that dry smooth. There’s no gritty texture here.

I did a 5 day wear test with Metallic Base/Top on my index and ring fingers and just the polish on the middle and pinkie fingers. As you can see, my middle finger suffered the worst wear. The rubberized finish is mostly to blame. Similar to how Minx start to lift after a couple days, this polish’s slightly tacky surface snags on things and will start lifting. Otherwise the wear was impressive. I expected it to look much worse after five days.
Removal: According to Sula, you can safely peel the polish off your nails. It takes a bit of picking to get the polish started but tears off in decent sized chunks. I’m sure my fidgety fanatics out there will revel in the removal process.

My experience: I had WAY too many people tell me how easy it was to remove Sula and how it wasn’t AT ALL damaging to their nails. Though after testing Sula myself I wonder if those people wore the polish for any length of time or were just swatching it for fun. Because when I went to remove the polish after 5 days, I saw actual pieces of my nail bed rip off and I was left with severely dehydrated tissue. Halfway through removal I used acetone remover and saw no damage to my remaining nails.
Modern Mauve was one of Sula’s original Paint & Peel shades but now they have 13 additional Trend Collection polishes to choose from.

Final Verdict: Sula is a unique product. It’s not the first paint & peel polish on the market but it’s more accessible than other brands I’ve heard of. It’s great for fanatics who want fun nails but need a non-toxic polish. It’s an ideal diversion for people that tend to pick at their cuticles as long as they don’t leave it on too long. In terms of extended wear, I just HIGHLY recommend removing with a polish remover. I don’t want to see any of you taking off layers of your nail.

Sula Paint and Peel Nail Polish retails for $9/ea and is available online at and and in stores at ULTA.

Have any of you tried these polishes yet? What has your experience been? Have you tried other peel off polishes?

Butter London Fashionista’s Favourites

Happy Friday Fanatics! I hope you’re gearing up for a fun weekend and 4th of July celebration (for US readers). Today I have the butter London Spring/Summer Fashionista’s Favourites to show you. It’s a lineup of five new colors, four cremes and one metallic, created by high fashion manicurist and Creative Director Nonie Creme. Take a peek after the jump!

As I’ve come to expect from bL’s 3 Free formula, the consistency is on the medium-to-thick side yet the polishes apply very smooth and even, with one noted exception (Muggins). The lacquer dries fast and glossy and even though pulling off the outer square cap can be a struggle, it does make application much easier using just the round inner cap.

You saw Artful Dodger on me when I discussed Miley Cyrus’ nails. It’s my favorite shade in the collection and it’s been sitting on my desk for a few weeks now so I can stare at it while I work. It’s just such a happy color, a shade I’d LOVE to see in the sky if these darn rainclouds would ever vacate the CLE. So I’ll continue to stare at Artful Dodger and wait for some much needed sun.

The Old Bill is a warm old gold metallic. You know how I feel about the issues metallics bring to the party but guess what?? The Old Bill isn’t plagued by them. There’s no streaking, no monster brush strokes, no weird pooling or anything. It applies like a freakin’ dream in two thin coats. LOVE IT!!

Muggins is my problem child of the bunch. I’m already leery of pale purples but this one applied terribly. After three streaky coats I gave up. I tried with this one but for a color I know won’t work with my skin tone, it wasn’t worth it. I even added top coat to try and even it out and it STILL looked lumpy. PASS!

Cheeky Chops is perfect for the whole yellow trend that’s happening. It’s a vibrant banana pudding type shade. Bright but not neon, buttery but not pastel. Pretty dead on perfect if you ask me.

Blowing Raspberries doesn’t really blow my hair back, no pun intended. It’s a rich berry red creme not overly unusual. Though what did impress me was the application and pigmentation. It’s almost a one coater and so damn smooth. I’d call it a goof-proof red.
The butter London Fashionista’s Favourites are currently on sale through or Individual polishes retail for $14 or you can buy the entire set for $45 (bl) or $50 (

So what do we think fanatics? Who’s got big plans for the 4th? Or just fun plans in general?


Nubar Going Green Collection Review & Swatches

nubar, going green collection, nail polish, nail color, 3freeWe interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you…. GREENS!!! I know I promised to show you the other half of Retro Diva but I’m sorry, a collection of GREENS trumps all. As soon as I got my hands on Nubar’s Going Green eco-themed collection I knew I couldn’t (more like shouldn’t) wait to show them to you.

A whole collection of green polish. It’s like a dream come true. Did Nubar employ stealth psychics to stalk me and read my mind? Is this the result of years of MUA nail board begging for more fabulous greens than we can handle? Who cares, they’re gorgeous and they’re real! Check them out after the jump!

I’m not going to bog you down with a lot of chatter about these. In regards to the formula the bottom line is this; smooth, thin, well pigmented, two coat coverage, fast drying. In other words, pretty damn perfect. Each color glided on with ease. Now can we talk color?? I know you wanna!

I don’t know that I’ve seen a more gorgeous polish in my life than Greener and I’m not exaggerating. It’s heart stopping stunning and as incredible as it looks in pictures, it’s even more jaw-dropping in person. A true emerald shimmer, this exemplifies jewel tone and I own NOTHING like it.
Forest is a slightly mossy green creme. Can you even stand how flawless it is? Can you?? Just when I thought I’d never love another green creme the way I swoon over RBL Recycle, along comes Forest trying to steal my affections.
Speaking of Recycle, I knew the first question from you guys would be about how they compare. Recycle is decidedly darker and a bit bluer in its base tone. And if you ask me to choose a favorite between them, I’ll cut you! Seriously, it’s not a fair question!

Earth is a sparkling jade green. The light green micro-shimmer dances over the blue-green hue giving it depth and character. It’s very rich yet serene. Staring at it puts me at peace.

Conserve is a deep teal shimmer with slightly chunky glitter. It dries with a satin finish and bit of texture from the sparkle.

Can I get a HOLLA for the HOLO Reclaim? Don’t judge my cheesiness people, I’ve been waiting for a great green holo polish. The ones I have are all pretty light and not noticeably green. This one is a fabulous springy, grassy hue packed with fine holographic glitter. I wish it had been sunny so I could show its full holographic power but it’s a gloomy, rainy day in the Cleveburg.

Wildlife is a duochrome that flashes both bronze and fern shades depending on the angle. I don’t know fanatics, this one just isn’t grabbing me. I think it’s the alien-esque glow at the sides that are turning me off. It’s definitely got that “in the wild” type feel, I just don’t think it’s for me.

Nubar recently announced that they’ve partnered with PETA and have been certified as Vegan & Cruelty-Free. So you’ll soon see this cute little guy appearing on Nubar’s web site and packaging. Congrats Nubar!

Nubar polishes retail for $7.49 each and can be purchased online at The Going Green collection is listed as Coming Soon so keep your eyes peeled for an announcement of its on sale date.

Are you all totally flipping for these or WHAT? Share!

NOTD – Barielle Berry Blue

By on June 10, 2009
in Barielle, Big 3 Free, Blue, Creme with 7 Comments
During a convo with Elle (Barielle Spokesperson) a few weeks back we were talking color and about some of the various Shades by Barielle polishes she loves and she couldn’t BELIEVE that I didn’t have Berry Blue. She went on to rave about its amazingness so of course I had to get my hands on it.

Because I do so much swatching for ALU I only have time to do a full manicure about once a week and it’s usually on the weekends. So this past weekend I decided to give Berry Blue and go and Elle was right, it’s incredibly gorg.

Check it out along with its China Glaze cousin, after the jump!

Berry Blue is a smooth as butter navy creme. On the first coat you can see a bit of OPI Glacier Bay Blues tealishness but after the second coat it’s a deep and pure blue. It does lean towards that blue-black territory when you’re not in day/sunlight but for the most part you can always tells it’s blue.

China Glaze Calypso Blue from the Bahama Blues collection is Berry Blues closest living relative. The main difference is that CB dries a bit darker. It would take a fanatic to tell the difference so if you already own CB you probably don’t need Berry Blue but I’m not giving away my bottle any time soon!

Berry Blue retails for $8 on and their ongoing Buy Two Get One Free promotion means you can get three polishes for a little over $5/ea. If you need some enabling, check out my past Barielle reviews.

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