Sunday, August 31, 2014

Zoya Jules vs. Sinful Shine Prosecco: Are they Dupes?

A few days ago, I made a quick trip to Walgreens and picked up a couple of Sinful Shine polishes I couldn't resist.  One of these polishes, Prosecco, is from their Shining Bright Off the Runway collection.  It's a gray-taupe (graupe? ...hmmm, not sure about that one...) crelly with ultra-fine gold microflakies.  It reminded me very much of a polish I already own from Zoya's Spring 2011 Intimate Collection, Jules.  I swatches them here to see if they were dupes.  In all of the pics below, Zoya Jules is shown on my thumb, middle finger, and pinky finger; Sinful Shine Prosecco is shown on my pointer and ring fingers. I used China Glaze Choo-Choo Choose You, from their new All Aboard collection, for the dots.

As you can see above, the finish is a bit different. Although I topped all of my nails with NYC Grand Central Station to help them dry faster, the pre-topcoat finishes were essentially the same as you can see above.  Jules dries just a bit shinier than a silk finish, but it's not a gloss.  Prosecco definitely dries glossy true to its brand name, but with a bit of bumpiness due to the microflakies, which I will address shortly.  In terms of application, Jules was the clear winner.  It went on very smoothly, with no streakiness or pooling at the cuticles.  Prosecco was a bit on the thin side and was a bit streakier than Jules, but the application was certainly not below average for a drugstore polish and didn't detract from my opinion of the polish as a whole.

Middle, pinky: Zoya Jules
Pointer and ring: Sinful Shine Prosecco

 The bases of both these polishes were quite sheer, requiring three thin coats for opacity. Jules was slightly more opaque, and you could probably get away with two coats if you were more generous with each. Drying time was pretty decent for both polishes; I didn't have any problems, nor did I notice a difference between the two.

Thumb, middle, pinky: Zoya Jules
Pointer and ring: Sinful Shine Prosecco
In terms of base color, Jules was just a half-shade darker and warmer than Prosecco, though both fall into the warm-gray-with-a-hint-of-taupe category.  The difference is actually less pronounced in real life than it is in the photos; my boyfriend couldn't pick out the difference.

Thumb, middle, pinky: Zoya Jules
Pointer and ring: Sinful Shine Prosecco
The shimmer is where the biggest difference lies.  Both have a pale gold shimmer, and the color is very, very similar; only in certain lights is the difference visible at all -- Prosecco's shimmer leans a tiny, tiny bit warmer than Jules'.  The texture difference is quite pronounced, however.  Prosecco's shimmer is composed of microflakies, and is significantly coarser and sparser than Jules' shimmer, which I am inclined to describe as nanoflakies.  They are so super small that it is difficult to even tell that they are flakies unless you look extremely closely.  The effect on a macro scale is that Jules almost seems like a grey-gold silk metallic, while Prosecco definitely reads exactly as it is:  a grey crelly with gold microflakies.

Thumb, middle, pinky: Zoya Jules
Pointer and ring: Sinful Shine Prosecco
The Verdict:

Are they dupes?  Nope!  Are they similar?  Absolutely, yes.  If you're a polishaholic like me, I think that these are distinct enough to add both to your collection, but they're similar enough that they will definitely fill the same niche in your collection if you're on a budget.  Prosecco is definitely a great wallet-friendly alternative to Jules at only $1.99, fully 88% cheaper than Jules at full price.

Have you seen any of the Sinful Shine Shining Bright Off the Runway Collection polishes in your local drugstores?  What did you think?  Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

An Adventure in Clashing: The "He Picks My Polish" Challenge

I should have known when I told my boyfriend about this challenge that he wouldn't make it easy on me.  After all, he approaches life from the perspective of a gamer:  everything is a challenge he wants to win. In this case, he wanted to choose three colors that I could not possibly make a decent manicure with: and let me tell you, he did a good job. This was definitely the boss battle of nail art; the colors he chose couldn't have been more at odds with each other.  This is my first #hepicksmypolish challenge, which is put on by The Sparkle Queen.  Rules are as follows :

His first choice:  Jessie's Girl Babycakes, a light pink neon that's almost, but not quite, pastel.  Next up: Hard Candy Sweet Pea, a pea-green small metallic glitter in a clear base; last, Julep Boris and Nicole, a burgundy-brown with gold shimmer.  I'm not gonna lie, it took me an hour before I just decided to wing it! Here is the... ...interesting... result:

Cool backdrop, eh?
Honestly, I was happy with the result, even though I never would choose those colors myself.  Here it is again in natural light:

"Ah, a cardboard box backdrop.  Much improved."

I didn't topcoat because, well... I didn't want to make it harder to remove than necessary. Even though I was proud of what I'd done with those colors, its still pretty fugly!

With nail polish, for scale of course!
So for now I don't think I'd call this a win... It could have been worse, but it didn't rate a top coat.  I'll definitely revisit this challenge again in the future, but I think I need to level up my nail art skills a couple times before then :)

Have you ever tried this challenge?  Did your guy pick "nice" polish colors, or did he pick impossible ones?  Check out the other entries in this challenge below!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Citron and Deep Teal Chevron Nail Art

Hello, reader!  I'm not sure what took me so long to post this mani; it's my favorite in a long time.  The inspiration came to me all of a sudden; I just saw the shapes and colors together all at once.  For this design, I used striping tape to get a clear line.  I had a little smudging, but I'm happy with it anyway:

Sorry about my cuticles; they're a horrible mess right now!  I have no excuse; I'm home all day (Ah, the bittersweet joy of unemployment?).  I did just pick up some lovely lotion, so hopefully I will remember to slather it on at night :^)

For the citron base, I used two coats of Julep Alma.  This polish has a decent formula (especially compared to other Julep polishes, which seem in my experience to be either horribly gloopy or hopelessly sheer).  In real life, the color on the nail is closer to to the color that appears in the bottle above - a bit greener.  It's a really lovely color, and I'm super glad I picked it up.

For the teal, I used Sinful Colors Blue Crushin.  I am totally in love with this polish, which is strange since I'm not usually a teal or aqua fan.  It's pretty color accurate on the nails in the photo; perhaps a hair darker and greener, and a bit darker than it appears in the bottle.  Blue Crushin is super opaque; easily a one-coater.  It has a thick but not gloopy formula, but it does dry quickly so fast handiwork is recommended.  I did get a couple stringy bits while removing the tape, which resulted in the smearing you can see in the photos.

I reversed the chevron direction for an accent on each hand, which turned out subtle, but in a cool way!  I'm really proud of how this turned out; I think my skills are improving (especially in the cleanup arena. On my right hand (my Cinderella hand of course), I used a striping tape that hadn't been cut evenly, resulting in weird, uneven stripes...

This is the most color-accurate photo of these polishes.

Still, I was happy with the results!  Fun fact:  If you've been reading my blog, you may have noticed my nails are nubs again.  There is a reason, albeit a gross one!  I was walking my darling Charlie, and... erm... cleaning up after him, and the baggie had a hole in it...  There goes my thumb, with my nice long nails, right into a fresh steaming dog poo.  After that, no amount of washing made my hands feel clean, so I decided to cut them so that I could get them truly clean.  So that was a bit yuck.  Good thing Charlie's such a cutie! #dogmomproblems

Sorry mommy!