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 #37

by Jamie Sanford on October 7, 2012

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137. Orly Goth
95. OPI Metallic 4 Life (Retesting)
107. LA Splash Midnight (Retesting)
138. Milani Black Magic

Orly Goth, OPI Metallic 4 Life, LA Splash Midnight.

I used Milani Black Magic as the base coat on the testing wheel.

Orly Goth, OPI Metallic 4 Life, LA Splash Midnight (all over Milani Black Magic.)

Orly’s Goth didn’t need a base coat – it is a full-on black polish with various small-sized silver glittery bits. I mentioned in a previous post that I would need to do a side-by-side comparison of Metallic 4 Life and Midnight, and you can really see a difference here. Metallic 4 Life is really big hex glitters, what looks like medium round pieces and then little ones to fill it in. They are true silver. The LA Splash Midnight is a much more densely packed smaller pieces of silver glitter, but they have a multi-color flash that is really fun.

Thoughts: I love a dark polish and adding glitter is just the sparkly cherry on top. The Milani Black Magic is going into the pile of basic black polishes, which will always get used.
Verdict: Everyone stays. I was hoping to cull one of the sparkly ones but I like them too much.

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Polish Project #35

by Jamie Sanford on September 30, 2012

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132. Orly Smolder
133. Orly Flicker

Orly Smolder and Orly Flicker, from the Orly Fired Up collection.

For these two colors, I tried the pistol mani I have seen done by Sara but I had never tried.

You can see the depth here.

Orly Flicker and Orly Smolder are full of flecky shimmer that are just really beautiful. I can’t quite get it across in the photos, but the one just above shows a bit more of the finish of both polishes on the index and middle fingers.

Thoughts: These are not polishes I would normally gravitate to, but I totally bought them during a weak moment at Ulta. I always figure that an orange polish can go to Mom if I don’t like it, and this time, the red would be appropriate for Momcycling as well. However, these are both absolutely amazing. I had a great time applying them, and better yet, they lasted for DAYS without chipping at all.
Verdict: These stay in the collection. I am so pleased with this purchase because they turned out 100x better than anticipated. I am loving the Orly polishes lately!

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Polish Project #34

by Jamie Sanford on September 27, 2012

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130. LA Colors Unnamed Black (from the set referenced here – can’t find this online)
131. Orly Flash Glam FX Can’t Be Tamed

LA Colors Unnamed Black and Orly Flash Glam FX Can’t Be Tamed.

BAM! Sparkletime.

Glitter detail.

Thoughts: I pretty much will not say no to a black polish since I love using black as the base for many manicures. This one is totally serviceable, and even if it sucks, putting a bunch of glitter on top will certainly add to the staying power. I found this Orly Flash Glam FX polish on clearance at Sally Beauty Supply, which I don’t understand since it is really gorgeous. I kept this manicure for a few days longer than normal, because the staying power was great and you can see how pretty it is.
Verdict: They both get to stay, and Orly Can’t Be Tamed is my current favorite glitter polish.

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Polish Project #25

by Jamie Sanford on September 5, 2012

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98. Cover Girl Gold Rush
99. Sally Hansen Aisle Be There (32 cents on Amazon!)
100. Maybelline Rock Out (Apparently an old Limited Edition, this is an eBay link.)
101. Sinful Colors Pearl Harbor
102. Orly Love Each Other
103. OPI Servin’ Up Sparkle

As listed above, random topcoats!

I decided not to wear these for the test, since they don’t really have wear to report on. So I painted a bunch of nails on the wheel with some black polish and went to town.

98-100 Cover Girl Gold Rush, Sally Hansen Aisle Be There, Maybelline Rock Out.

100 Maybelline Rock Out.

100-102 Maybelline Rock Out, Sinful Colors Pearl Harbor, Orly Love Each Other.

101-102 From Top- Sinful Colors Pearl Harbor, Orly Love Each Other.

103 OPI Servin’ Up Sparkle.

Thoughts: These are all serviceable. I don’t think I appreciated the slight flakiness that the Sally Hansen Aisle Be There gives off so I’ll be working with that one again. You can see in the bottle picture that I use Servin’ Up Sparkle quite a bit, it’s great for space nails when I need the glitter variety. The only one I might dump is Sinful Colors because it’s so basic, but maybe that’s good every now and then.
Verdict: They all get to stay for now. I am looking forward to the showdown posts for all of the “maybe” nail polishes I have identified during this process.

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