nicole by opi

Polish Project #48

by Jamie Sanford on December 8, 2012

Click here to see all of the previous Polish Project posts.


OK, first, let’s see where this all began:

For some reason, it never occurred to me to take a picture of the before shelf with a real camera instead of my phone. Either way, you get the idea. My homemade shelf was STUFFED with polishes, you can sort of see some of the bulging in a few spots. It was clearly out of control. I had no more room to shop, and no REASON to shop.

The Project

So I started this little project, where I figured I should test all of the polishes before I bought any more. I started testing polishes one by one, painting my nails and commenting on a spreadsheet derived from Sara‘s about application and staying power. I took pictures with my phone and blogged about them.

Soon enough, I realized that this was going to take a long damn time, and started grouping polishes by color. I wore a series of 5 pastels at one time – the Easter egg manicure, and did color gradients with purples, reds, blues. The grouping certainly helped things move along much faster. And meant less time exposing my nails to the acetone – and I still use acetone because of this amazing Target plastic bristle jar of polish remover.

I don’t remember how long it took me to break and buy polishes. I do believe I broke down when Walgreens was having a clearance event, and the Sally Hansen HD polishes were something like $1.25 each. I just checked and I was only on post 7, but it was a tough road to go from just collecting polishes to nothing. I bought a few, fell absolutely in love with the first one, and then hunted down the rest, all on clearance. I didn’t feel as bad about it.

So, from there, I bought a few here and there, sometimes on sale, sometimes just stuff I could not resist. I bought Fergie’s Hollywood Walk of Fame because I wanted those stars, and I bought random Orlys because they looked gorgeous. (The Orly polishes did not disappoint.) I definitely picked up some Hunger Games polishes when they were on clearance at Sally’s too, although 2 were for my Mom, who has benefited the most from this experience.

Perhaps the greatest success of this project was Mom telling me that she can’t even look at her old polishes anymore since she has so many fabulous new ones – and let me tell you, Mom had a penchant for some unfortunate brick-hued polishes before. I’m pretty sure her favorite out of what I’ve sent was either a Nicole by OPI shimmery orange (which I can’t find so I think I gave it to her pre-project), or King Arthur by A England. I am going to try to get her started on layering polishes when I see her for the holidays.

So, here at the end, my polish shelf doesn’t look all that different, at least if you only glance at it.

It looks full, right? Also the picture is 1500x better. Either way, you can see that the polishes are not all cramped and shoved in together like they were for the first image. The top 2 shelves are all OPIs, including minis. Then we have China Glaze, Orly, Essie, Sally Hansen, NYC, A England, Sinful Colors, Milani, Revlon, LA Colors, Zoya. The bottom row has Wet ‘n Wild on the far right, with Sephora by OPI next to them, and the rest of the row is single polishes from brands I have not frequented.

Lessons Learned

  • I very much prefer dark polishes to light ones, although the light ones have their moments.
  • I do NOT need every polish in a collection because they are a collection. I know now to check out blogger swatches and decide which polish is something I really want to wear.
  • A England polishes are superior to anything else I currently have in the collection. I bought 3 more of them last week because they had a sale – I have no regret or shame about it. If I was forced to, I would give up the rest of the collection and just use A England forever.
  • I need to get more into layering polishes. My favorite manicure of this entire project was a 3-layer creation.
  • I suck at stamping, and I’m not sure I care.
  • The dotting tool is totally fun. Not as fun as asking your husband to draw dots on your nails with a nail art pen though.

I am going to attempt to keep track of the polishes I use most frequently in 2013. I figure that this is definitely the next best way to cull the herd. I definitely still have a lot of blue and purple polish, probably more than necessary, but things being necessary was never the point of this, was it?

New project for next year, one much more in line with my career intentions. I will keep sharing polish experiences though. Thanks to everyone who read my posts and talked to me about the finer points of nail polish – it was an experience I did not expect.

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Polish Project #9

by Jamie Sanford on July 27, 2012

Click here to see all of the previous Polish Project posts.

44. Nicole by OPI Too Rich For You
45. OPI Swimsuit…Nailed It
46. OPI Yodel Me On My Cell
47. OPI Catch Me In Your Net
48. Nicole by OPI Kendall on the Katwalk

Blue polishes, part 2. (from L, Nicole by OPI Too Rich For You, Nicole by OPI Kendall on the Katwalk, OPI Yodel Me On My Cell, OPI Swimsuit…Nailed It, OPI Catch Me In Your Net)

So Kendall on the Katwalk isn’t photographed. From top – OPI Swimsuit…Nailed It, OPI Yodel Me On My Cell, NOPI Too Rich For You, OPI Swimsuit (again), OPI Catch Me In Your Net)

Thoughts: Stupid f–king Kardashian glitter polishes. Kendall on the Katwalk chipped off in a massive chunk like 15 hours after application. I didn’t feel like re-doing it, so I just painted my index finger with Swimsuit…Nailed It. Too Rich For You is a weird polish that looks black in the bottle with some blue shimmer in there, then you apply it and it looks like black with something else. Swimsuit…Nailed It is AMAZING. It’s a gorgeous color and the application is fantastic. It was really the same for Yodel Me On My Cell and Catch Me In Your Net. CMIYN was one of the first polishes I bought myself after I stopped nailbiting, and it is spectacular. It’s the polish I’ve used the most times, and I’m going to be devastated when it runs out. It’s obviously a favorite because it’s being sold online for way over the original price.
Verdict: The two NOPIs are going away, into the share pile. The rest are totally staying.

Side note – I am screwed because I have a lot of glitter polishes waiting for testing, and I am just not interested in it. Someone needs to tell me what is the best way to apply glitters so that they last! I have so many glitters to try for the project, so I have to have a better experience. Any links or advice are really appreciated.

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Polish Project #1

by Jamie Sanford on June 6, 2012

A little back story on how this all began. I was a nail-biter for YEARS, as far back as I can remember I was biting my nails. No idea what made it start, and I had painted my fingers with that bad-tasting stuff for ages to try and dissuade me from biting them but it did not work.

So, imagine my surprise when I got a manicure in March 2010 when prepping for a series of job interviews, and I suddenly stopped biting my nails. At all. The magic of my nails looking marginally cuter was the cure for my 25 years of nail-biting. It stuck in a big way, and of course, my next step was to pick up some nail polish so that I could do my nails at home. Little did I know that 2 years later I would have amassed a large collection of polishes, base coats, top coats, tools and more, and would have even built a wonky shelf out of foam core and hot glue.

Earlier this year, I decided that it was time to cull the herd, because the shelf is full and it was getting out of control. (Please excuse the unfortunately lit iPhone photo of the shelf.) I bought nail polish testing wheels and got to work.

I was able to get an idea of the formula and opacity of each polish on the wheels, but since my finger isn’t translucent, it still wasn’t giving me the full effect. Plus, I was not getting any data on durability of polishes on the wheels. So I figured that it was time to work out another method for testing polishes.  After the collection review, I had swatched 128 polishes. I actually had 130 colors but 2 pairs of duplicate bottles, and I also did not bother swatching the 4 bottles of crackle since I pretty much know what the deal is there. Also on the bottom shelf on the left side is a large collection of top coats and base coats, all of which I intend to actually use in the coming testing, instead of buying Seche Vite all the time.

So I made the decision to not buy any more polishes until I had managed to try out each one in the collection, reviewing each one and deciding whether to keep it, trade it off, or “momcycle” it, which means a contribution to Mom’s nail polish collection, made much more exciting by some past contributions I’ve made. I have a spreadsheet largely derived from the one created by Sara that gets updated after I wear each polish, so I have notes on each one and can track what I kept and what went out the door.

Naturally, I will blog these too, and have pictures to go along with it.

1. A England King Arthur

Right before the freeze on polish purchases, I bought 4 A England polishes. The greens I wanted were sold out, so I bought a few others to try. King Arthur was my first pick, and I was disappointed. I did a lot of cleaning up around my nail after this, and it still isn’t that crisp (granted, I’m not the most amazing at that anyway). I put a little sticker on the ring finger because I am almost incapable of having just polish without something fancy on top.

Thoughts: Color is OK but the formula left much to be desired.
Verdict: Momcycle. Maybe Mom will have better luck, and I want her to try out a darker polish like this.

2. A England Ascalon

Here I am now with a sparkly sticker, but this polish didn’t need it. I LOVE ASCALON. The application wasn’t painful and the result was gorgeous.  Plus, I had barely chipped it 5 days later when I took it off, and that’s a big deal because I have trouble going 3 days without a chip.

Thoughts: Gorgeous, sort of baby holo, good application and awesome staying power.
Verdict: Totally keeping this.

3. OPI Let Me Entertain You

An old one from the Burlesque collection.

Thoughts: Application and durability were OK, but I am not really into the color. Plus I think I already gave another bottle of this to Mom.
Verdict: Momcycle. (I confirmed that I did give the other bottle to Mom.)

4. OPI My Private Jet

The super-controversial My Private Jet. I’m pretty sure I have the “yuk brown” version as described in this post from The TraceFace Philes. I have it on my toes now after finding it at the nail salon. It isn’t a bad polish, but when you see the original version, you can see why it is controversial. OPI should never have released what are completely different polishes with the same name. Very shady moves.

Thoughts: Good application and is an interesting polish, but is speckled dark brown. It is NOT a holo like the original.
Verdict: I’ll keep it, but would not mind if someone got me a bottle of the original color. I’m not paying $50+ on ebay though.

5. Nicole by OPI Wear Something Spark-Kylie

I can happily say that this is the only thing I’ve ever done that is related to a Kardashian. I don’t watch their shows and generally can’t stand them, but I could not resist some cute glitter polish.

Thoughts: Thick formula, which is sort of par for the course with some glitter polish. It’s very sparkly and pretty though. Crap durability, but this happens to me with all glitter polishes, I can never get them to stick.
Verdict: I’m keeping it.

OK this post is very long so I’m going to continue in a few days. I’ve only tried 12 polishes so far, so this is going to take a while.

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