The first nail-focused beauty blog


ALU’s 365 of Untrieds – NARS Schiap Nail Polish

By on July 15, 2011
in 365 of Untrieds, NARS, Pink with 18 Comments
nars schiap nail polish 365 of Untrieds is my personal challenge to weed through the polishes in the ALU stash that I’ve been wanting to try but just haven’t gotten around to.

As I committed to do, I’m featuring at least one pink/red nail polish each week. This week we’re looking at NARS Schiap. Schiap is interesting in that both the lipstick and nail polish forms of the color seem to have mass appeal even though it’s a shockingly bright shade.

I have a love/hate relationship with NARS nail polishes. I love a lot of the colors they’ve put out over the years but I hate the formula because it’s notoriously streaky. Will Schiap follow suit or stand out from the pack?

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NARS Vintage Nail Polish Collection 2010 Swatches, Review & Comparisons

By on September 23, 2010
in Blue, Bronze, Fall 2010, Green, NARS, Silver with 67 Comments
nars-vintage-nail-polish-2010-zulu Last year when NARS released its Vintage Nail Polish Collection you could probably hear my heart breaking for nail fanatics around the world.  Where was Zulu?  What about Mash and Midnight Express?  Was I the only one with a fondness for Ziggy and Platoon?

Well I’m happy to see that in the NARS Vintage Nail Polish Collection 2010 they brought back three beloved shades and two I was previously unfamiliar with, King Kong and Full Metal Jacket.

The question is, how do the re-releases stack up against their former incarnations?

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Don’t Call It A Comeback – NARS Zulu Returns

By on July 6, 2010
in Fall 2010, Green, NARS with 47 Comments

nars-zulu-nail-polish-fall-2010 ***Edited to add: The launch has been pushed back to October 2010.

July 15th is coming fast Fanatics. Will you be greeting NARS Zulu with open arms when it makes its triumphant return with the NARS Fall 2010 collection? That’s right, in case you haven’t heard the rumors, NARS is bringing back that famous dark green jelly.  The one that Sephora put on the cover of their holiday catalog a few years ago, causing a frenzy.

I was fortunate to have a good MUA Nail Board pal gift me a bottle of Zulu for Christmas that year which makes me very curious about Zulu 2.0.  You see, after getting this lusted after color I discovered that the pigmentation is crap and the application is decent at best.  I still covet my bottle none-the-less and plan to get Zulu 2010 for comparison purposes but this re-release raises a few questions…
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ALU NYFW NOTD Challenge – FW 2010 Day 2

By on February 16, 2010
in NARS, NOTD, NY Fashion Week F/W 10, Purple with 18 Comments

Day 2 of my NYFW experience started relatively late (noon). Knowing my usual travel patterns, I purposely left Saturday morning free so I could sleep in and catch up on the rest I missed while packing for NYC.

Since I had time for a full manicure (no matte polish needed today), I opted for NARS Purple Rain from the Spring collection that is inspired by Catherine Deneuve’s role as Lucille in La Chamade.  You know how I love a purple and I have to say this is one of the best colors NARS has put out in a while.

When I first saw the promo pic I thought there was no way this polish could live up to it.  We all know the story, vibrant under flash, almost black everywhere else.  I’m happy to say that Purple Rain surpassed my expectations.  Is it the blue-based purple we were teased with on their site?  No, it’s more of a red-grape but the metallic shimmer really gives it something special.  Literally everyone who looked at my nails that day asked about the polish and when I say everyone I mean other brands too.

FYI, being in NYC is so outside my normal swatching element that it’s throwing me off my game in terms of photography so know that this pic was taken in my hotel bathroom meaning it’s not 100% accurate.

NARS Purple Rain retails for $16/ea and is currently out of stock on the NARS website but I found it online at and  You can also check with your local NARS counters and Sephora stores.

What’s on your nails today?  Have you checked out Purple Rain yet?  Is purple still in fashion or totally out?

Disclosure: A product sample was furnished to me by NARS.  For more information view my Disclosure Policy.

The Nail Files – Jin Soon Choi

By on September 3, 2009
in Creme, NARS, Red, The Nail Files with 9 Comments

Last fall during a trip to NYC with a few of my beauty blogging buddies, I had the pleasure of meeting Jin Soon Choi at her eponymous Upper East Side salon for a mani/pedi and a little nail chat. We connected through our mutual friend, the MAC goddess and SeoulDiva herself, Heather Park. Little did I know, Jin was already at work collaborating on the Fall Nail Trend collection for MAC. She hinted at a future collection but couldn’t reveal details.

It wasn’t until last February when I saw Jin and Heather backstage at the Doo.Ri show that I got my first glimpse of Beyond Jealous and info on the rest of the collection. Needless to say, I was DYING over the blackened teal creme and thrilled for Jin’s success.

Learn more about Jin, which of her favorite NARS polishes I tried and hear how she earned the nickname “Bicycle Jin” after the jump!

In The Beginning
Jin came to the US from Seoul, Korea after working in fashion design. To hear Jin tell it, becoming a manicurist is just what you do when you come to the city but the passion in her voice as she talks about nails makes me believe it was her destiny. She started out in a small salon to gain experience but when she learned it was closing she took to her bicycle, riding to clients’ homes to tend to their nails. It was during this “Bicycle Jin” phase of her career that she met Andrea from Glamour who admired Jin’s work enough to help her get an agent and enter the editorial world.

The First Jin Soon Hand and Foot Spa
After gaining success working on photo shoots and with celebrities, Jin decided to open her first salon in the East Village. It was when she hired architect John Coughlan to design the space that she met her future husband. They found and refurbished old school desks and incorporated Jin’s style based on the scrapbook full of magazine clippings she collected. While the following West Village and Upper East Side locations each have their own distinct look, they both represent Jin’s simplistic, refined aesthetic.

Fast Forward To Today
With a chain of successful salons, Jin continues her editorial work alongside some of the greats in the fashion and beauty world. Famed photographer Steven Meisel books her for weeks at a time to work on all his shoots while he’s in NYC. She describes him as sweet and soft spoken and together they’ve made many a memorable Vogue cover. Highly skilled in nail art Jin creates some incredibly intricate designs including a fun spread for Teen Vogue last March.

Jin’s passion for education and proper manicuring techniques has led to a desire to impart her vast knowledge on the nail community. The number of poorly trained techs out there giving improper manicures is staggering and she hopes to find a way to teach them the basics you can’t learn in school. She personally trains her staff so that every guest at her salon receives the same high standard of service.

Jin Fun Facts and Favorites
Loves the PedEgg – That’s no joke. Even though regulations prevent her from using the popular infomercial tool in her salon, she’s a fan of it for home use. In the salon they use a scrub and pumice stone.

Is a film and architecture fan – When she’s not at work in her salons or on set, Jin likes to enjoy simple Korean food, see a movie and walk hand-in-hand with her hubby exploring the unique and diverse architecture of the city.

Has GORGEOUS nails – I experienced some serious nail bed envy with Jin. Despite the amount of work her hands go through, she has flawless, strong nails. She attributes them to genetics and Omega 3s. If only we could all be so lucky.

Reads to improve her English – Jin loves the challenge of deciphering new words to expand her grasp of the language.

The most flattering nail shape is The Jin Soon Shape – Jin warns against following the cuticle line or free edge when shaping nails. Her employees dubbed her signature filing style “The Jin Soon Shape” which is straight and a little rounded at the edge. Somewhere between squoval and flat. I’m modeling it wearing NARS Jungle Red. This was after 5 days. Just LOOK at that amazing wear.

Jin’s first TV appearance was on Tyra – She was brought on to talk about the “fish pedicure” but wasn’t familiar with the technique. After an early morning working with Reese Witherspoon she was rushed to the studio at the last minute and extremely nervous. Jin’s take on the treatment, it’s odd especially since “fish poop a lot!”

The 3 cornerstones of her business - Great music, great tea, great technique. It’s all about customer service and the experience with Jin. Her warm demeanor lends to an atmosphere that feels like you’re sitting amongst friends. During my time at the salon, her clients would just join in the convo, adding their two cents on nail color, the fish pedicure and the need for an Upper West Side locale.

Dark polishes belong on short nails, period – While long, dark talons may be OK in the editorial world, for the everyday wearer, dark polishes look best on short tips.

Loves the edgy, more editorial shades – I just call those “me” colors. Jin digs the greens, grays and funky taupes, like You Don’t Know Jacques, for their edge and sophistication. In fact she recently picked Barielle U-Concrete-Me as one of the “It” colors of the season in US Weekly alongside her creation, MAC Beyond Jealous.

Names Essie & NARS among her fave polish brands - While there are many brands on Jin’s shelves (Chanel, OPI, Zoya, etc) Essie Allure, for a natural look, and NARS Chinatown and Jungle Red are her go-to polishes.

Jin is one of Seche Vite’s legion of fans – The Fanatic Favorite is also Jin’s though when it comes to base coats it depends on condition of the client’s nails. She lists Duri Rejuvacoat and Essie base coats as staples.

The staff are her guinea pigs – Before any product is used on a client, Jin and her employees rigorously test it themselves.

I want to thank Jin for her time and congratulate her on the stunning MAC Nail Trend F/W09 collection. I wish her much happiness and success.

Peace, Love & Polish, Michelle

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