The first nail-focused beauty blog

Holiday 2008

Jessica Custom Nail Colour – Holiday Petites

Jessica Cosmetics is the nail care brand founded by Jessica Vartoughian, the woman the New York Times dubbed “The First Lady of Nails.” Since 1969 when the Jessica Nail Clinic opened in LA, the brand has practiced natural nail treatments including use of their signature nail polish, a 3-free line of colors.

For Holiday 2008, the brand put together two mini nail polish sets from both the Jessica & Jessana lines; Nutcracker Sweet and Sweet Treats. Each set includes three mini .25 oz bottles of nail color, base coat and top coat. I had the opportunity to test out the Nutcracker Sweet set.

Previously I’ve only seen Jessica products at TJ Maxx and like all the beauty products they sell, the quality can be sketchy. I once bought a Barielle treatment only to get home and find the bottle half empty, dried up and open. Lesson learned, always open the boxes before buying. Anywho the Jessica sets I’ve seen at the Maxx are usually sheers or french mani kits, not my thing, so I never bothered but the colors in Nutcracker Sweet, totally me.

Even though the bottles are small, the caps are still nice and long, easy to handle. The brushes are full size as well so application was a breeze. I really like the medium viscosity formula and high pigmentation. They’re able to pack in a ton of color without making the formula goopy. It dries relatively fast as well. I could touch each shade after a few minutes.

Lilac Snowflake is not what I’d think of as lilac. It’s more fuchsia to my eye with pink and silver shimmer giving it a metallic look without the brush stroke downside of metallics.

Crimson Dew Drop reminds me a lot of OPI Midnight is Moscow only with way more glitz. It’s a black based, uber-dark red with a ton of duo-chrome micro-glitter that reflects both red and gold depending on the light. And because the glitter is so small, the polish dries smooth and glossy. No matte finish here!

Sugar Plum Fairy on its own is reason enough to buy this set. It’s the color that immediately drew me in. A blue based purple, it has the same amazing micro-glitter that’s in Crimson Dew Drop. Believe me, it’s WAY better in person.
The Jessica Holiday Petites are available on the Jessica Cosmetics website. Nutcracker Sweet retails for $16.50 and Sweet Treats is on sale for $12.50.

Who’s a Jessica fan? What colors do you recommend for a Jessica newbie?

Nail Fanatic Gift Guide – Hands, Feet, Body & More

Looking for the perfect gift for the nail fanatic in your life? Is she the kind of gal that owns 100s of bottles of nail polish so you have no clue what to get? Or perhaps you feel that picking out nail shades is too hard or personal? Well look no further for I have scoured the web to bring you the best holiday gift items for your favorite nail gal.

Hand/Foot Care Gifts: By far, the easiest route is to snatch up a pre-made gift set. Talk about quick and painless shopping. Any of these kits are sure to delight but I’m partial to the ones with gloves/socks because they’re the type of item that I can’t justify splurging on but desperately want.
1. B&BW True Blue Spa Pampering Foot Set Shea Cashmere ($25) 2. Heel To Toe Put Your Feet Up Holiday Kit ($14.99) 3. Bliss The ‘Sock’ettes Spa Set ($68) 4. Bliss I “Glove” New York Set ($64) 5. B&BW True Blue Spa The Model Manicure ($24.50) 6. The Body Shop Peppermint cooling Foot Heaven ($14) 7. Gena Pedi Feet To Go Kit ($14.99)

Make Your Own Gifts: Perhaps you want something a little more personalized well then a make your own gift basket is ideal. Grab a cute bag or basket from a local craft store and fill it with miniature nail goodies. We love anything mini and having lots of nail toys to play with is always fun. I suggest adding a pair of moisturizing gloves or cute slippers, like uber-adorable Lambie’s below.
1. OPI Let’s Play Juicies ($10) 2. CND Scentsations Winterberry Lotion Minis ($3.90) 3. B&BW Lambie Slippers ($10-$16) 4. Bath & Body Works True Blue Spa Beauty Queen Wave ($25) 5. CND Treatment Minis – Stickey, Toughen Up, Air Dry and Super Shiney ($2.25) 6. Poshe Traveling Tootsies Kit ($9.95) 7. CND Solor Oil Minis ($2.25)

Body Care: If your nail fanatic is anything like me, she has a love for all things beauty including indulgent skin care treats. Then I highly recommend Qtica Smart Spa gift sets. The sugar scrub is my all-time favorite “holy grail.” It’s beyond ah-mazing and because it’s gel based (not oil) there’s no messy, slippery residue left in the shower. As an added bonus, these sets include a pair of exfoliating shower gloves and O-M-G are they fantastic. Better than any loofah or sponge I’ve tried.
Qtica Smart Spa Holiday Gift Spas – Lemon Dream & Grapefruit Surprise ($18)

Nail Gal Trinkets: Being from the Midwest, I’ve always heard about the Christmas Wonderland called Bronner’s in Frankenmuth, Michigan but have never been. In case you’re not familiar, it is the world’s largest Christmas store. People travel from all over just to visit. Though I had no idea they have an online store let alone, nail related goodies. A personalized nail polish bottle? Talk about the best ornament ever!!
Bronner’s Nail Tech Ornament ($8.99) and Personalized Nail Polish Ornament ($7.99)

Well there you have it kids. Whether you’re buying for yourself, your wife or BFF, these treats are sure to please. Happy Shopping!

butter LONDON Holiday and Friends & Family Discount

I first discovered butter LONDON almost two years ago during a trip to Seattle with the boyfriend. At a time when emerald green polish wasn’t easy to come by I was initially drawn in by the beyond stunning Thames but it was the 3 Free formula that made me a bL fan.

Since that time the bottle shape has changed and I’m not gonna lie, I’m not its biggest fan. While the new look is sleek and stylish, the cap drives me batty. It takes three full turns to remove and its size makes it difficult to line up the threads when closing. It’s actually not that awkward to hold, at least not for me but, I prefer the older bottle style; square with slightly rounded edges and more product (.36 oz vs. .3 oz).

For Holiday 2008, butter LONDON is offering three gift sets for the bL fanatic in your lifestyle. Holiday Lacquer Duo #1 comes with Come To Bed Red and Diamond Geezer and Holiday Lacquer Duo #2 includes The Full Monty and Chancer. Both sets are packaged with a bL nail file and retail for $20 (a $24 value). There is also the Christmas Cuticle Miracle Kit with Melt Away cuticle remover and Handbag Holiday cuticle oil. This set retails for $25 (a $35 value).

I had the opportunity to test out the Holiday Lacquer Duo #2, a sparkly twin set of ruby and gold. The Full Monty, a warm metallic, and Chancer, a glitter packed red jelly, are heavily pigmented yet apply smooth and even. It’s funny, our office Christmas tree is decorated solely in red and gold. This duo made me immediately think of it.

The Full Monty
“British slang for being naked”

Chancer (with top coat)
“Brit slang for someone who is sleazy and fake, or tries to pick up women who are out of his league”

In looking for color twins, the only obvious comparison was China Glaze Ruby Pumps vs. Chancer. I couldn’t find any sisters for The Full Monty though I don’t own a ton of gold polish. I will say that if you have Ruby Pumps and love it, you probably don’t need Chancer even though it is a bit darker and more pigmented (requiring only two coats to RP’s typical three). Both shades have the same fire and sparkle once top coat is applied though without, they dry matte and slightly bumpy.

butter LONDON 3 Free nail lacquers retail for $12 and are available for purchase on or at butter LONDON nail kiosks in the SeaTac, Sacramento and Dulles airports.

butter LONDON is offering a Friends & Family 20% Off discount on all online purchases from now through December 9th. Enter promo code FF2009BL at checkout.

So who’s going to partake in the sale? Have you tried bL polish before? Any favorite shades you’d recommend?

Dior Holiday 2008 – Black Diamonds

By on November 14, 2008
in Black, Blue, Celebrity, Chanel, Dior, Holiday 2008, Silver with 9 Comments

On my recent trip to NYC one of the stops on our “beauty tour” of the city was the LVMH offices for a visit with Dior Beauty. We were treated to a viewing of the current and upcoming Dior collections and, of course, I was most intrigued by the Vernis nail lacquer. I don’t have pics to share of the spring and summer colors but I can say I spotted a few winners coming our way (think bold for summer).

One of the gifts of creating this blog has been discovering brands that are new to me, testing polishes I normally wouldn’t encounter. Dior is certainly one of those brands. It’s not that I live in a bubble in the middle of nowhere but I never really considered prestige or department store lines when shopping for polish. I figured they were an add-on item and assumed the quality would be no match for salon lines. Well, you know what they about ass-uming.

Similar to brands like Chanel, YSL and N.Y.C. the chrome cover pulls off Dior bottles to reveal a “CD” embossed, slightly rounded, ribbed cap. The brush is flat (think OPI or NYX) but extremely firm making application precise and accurate. It was the easiest application I’ve had with a new brand in a long time. No trial runs necessary. The lacquer just flows on the nail and dries relatively quick while still maintaining its glossiness. Though I did my five day wear test with one nail minus top coat and it was chip city! So no forgetting the Seche Vite when I wear Dior.

Black Sequins has been getting tons of celebrity buzz. In fact Jennifer Lopez, who is known for wearing a neutral nail, donned the black sparkler for Elle Magazine’s Women In Hollywood Tribute. Similar to Sephora by OPI Never Enough Shoes minus the gold flecks, Black Sequins’ jet black base is so pigmented that even the silver micro-glitter that’s peppered throughout doesn’t lighten its appearance. Plus, it dries smooth. Bonus!

Pure Diamonds looks just as the name implies, like crushed diamonds on your nails. It’s so glitzy, it’s almost iridescent. The only issue is opacity. I needed three coats to get there which would make this a good option for sheer lovers who want just a thin coat of icing on their nails. Or you could use it for layering to bling out your favorite creme.

Poison Blue stirred up all sorts of craziness when it debuted last year (and quickly sold out). You know how I feel about blues so I was disappointed that I never got my hands on it then but, when I heard that Dior was bringing it back for holiday, I jumped at the chance to test it out. Regardless of any semblance of shimmer you may see in the bottle, for all intents and purposes, Poison Blue is a dark blue creme. As I learned from the masterminds at CND, shimmer can be used for depth and reflectiveness yet still dry as a creme.
Of course I had to test this one against its rival, Chanel Blue Satin, and what I found is that Blue Satin is darker, more black based yet its shimmer actually does show up in bright light. Poison Blue has a much lighter base that is similar to Lippmann Rehab, resulting in a less blackened final result.

Unfortunately, finding all three polishes in the same place won’t happen. Each polish is carried by different retailers and sells for $19. Black Sequins is exclusive to Sephora and still available on (direct product link). I found Poison Blue on which means you should be able to buy it at your local department store Dior counter while Pure Diamonds is carried at specialty stores like Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.

image credit: WireImage

Shu Uemura for Holiday 2008

By on November 11, 2008
in Holiday 2008, Purple, Shu Uemura with 11 Comments

After my Givenchy post from last week, I’ve been on a major purple kick. Next to green, it’s my favorite nail color. I know I’ve been all about about grays this fall but it’s a passing fancy. Purple has a perm place in my heart.

So while shopping with a gal pal at my local Nordies a couple weeks ago, I was stopped in my purple lovin’ tracks at the sight of Shu Uemura’s Mika holiday collection. Famed Japanese photographer Mika Ninagawa worked with Shu Uemura to create a vibrant, beautifully packaged collection with an AH-MAZING burple (blue purple) polish.

Tanzanite Aquarium was described as blue by a Shu rep but I think it falls somewhere in between blue and purple, thus the use of burple above. Not only is it a gorgeous shade but it’s packed with holographic micro-glitter as well. It doesn’t create a holographic effect on the nail, just multicolored sparkles in the light. In fact I’d call it a blued version of China Glaze Grape Crush, which is much more red based and warm toned.

The application was smooth and easy. The brush is long, dense and firm yet it splays out nicely to give even coverage. Two coats achieved bottle color but the micro-glitter gives a slightly bumpy finish so I recommend using a thick quick drying top coat like Seche Vite or Poshe. Oh and it wears like a dream. Seriously, this formula is like iron. I went chip free for six days with very little tip wear.

Fun fact: During a recent visit to the Shu Uemura offices, I learned that their polish bottle’s unique shape was designed to fit between your fingers while you polish. No need for a bottle holder here.

The Mika holiday collection is on counters now and available online at The collection’s nail lacquers, Tanzanite Aquarium and Sparkling Garnet Aquarium, retail for $16 US.

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