sephora 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 #8

by Jamie Sanford on July 24, 2012

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

37. Sinful Colors Last Chance (BTW, Sinful Colors pulled some shady business, stealing images from bloggers. Read about it here. I will not be buying any more polishes from this brand.)
38. Sally Hansen HD Spectrum

I guess that Sinful Colors Last Chance is no longer available since I can’t find it anywhere online. This is 2 coats of Last Chance with a layer of Sally Hansen HD Spectrum on top.

Isn’t this a great photo of these bottles? Yeah I think so too. But you can see the reflection of my awesome wall deer, and that is important.

Thoughts: Last Chance is a basic polish in a nice forest green, and I love green so that’s always good. Spectrum is another one from my hot deal party at CVS, and it did not disappoint. It ended in a sort of hidden duochrome that was impossible to photograph, but it confirmed my suspicion that these HD polishes might be AWESOME for staying power, because my last manicure with DVD lasted really well too.
Verdict: Both of these can stay. I tested green polishes after I did this manicure, so I will have to bring it out to compare with other greens at the end of this project.

39. Sephora by OPI Slushied – pinkie
40. Sinful Colors Savage – ring
41. OPI Suzi Says Feng Shui – middle
42. Sephora L23 – index
43. OPI Austintatious Turquoise – thumb

Blue polishes, part 1.

Thoughts: Slushied is an amazing polish. The color is great, the application is great, it’s just a polish I love. Sinful Colors Savage looks way different on the nail than in the bottle, and it dries matte which is odd because there is no indication of that on the bottle. I covered in topcoat for shiny consistency. Suzi Says Feng Shui changes color as well, and goes on the nail as a sort of dark cornflowery blue. The Sephora L23 is a tiny little polish I bought in 2005. The color is awesome but it chipped like crazy. The OPI Austintatious Turquoise took 3 coats to become opaque, and I think I will need to bring back all blue-greeny shimmery polishes later for direct comparisons.
Verdict: I think I’m keeping them all. Now that I have a dotting tool I will be less interested in getting rid of any solid creme polishes since they are good for that.

More blues in the next post. What’s your favorite blue polish?

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Polish Project #3

by Jamie Sanford on June 20, 2012

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

15. OPI Show It and Glow It

The only collection I have owned in full is the Burlesque collection. I got the whole thing for my birthday, it was fabulous. So much glitter.

Thoughts: I hate glitter application. What a pain. I can’t get anywhere near the sides of my nails without covering my fingers in glitter. I end up having just not cute nails. Plus, TIP WEAR after like 2 hours. WTF. Naturally it also eats topcoat like crazy.
Verdict: Keeping it, I think I will probably keep the glitters to try doing gradients or something similar.

16. Wet n’ Wild Gray’s Anatomy
17. Sally Hansen In the Spotlight

The first manicure in the testing that I took off as soon as I was “finished.”

Thoughts: Oh good god, this was just awful. The Gray’s Anatomy is an interesting polish but application was a nightmare. Also they are lying about “fast drying.” Although I will always default to thinking that I just can’t apply something properly. The Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Xtreme Annihilating (or whatever) topcoat would be better if the glitter bars would distribute on the nail properly. No quick drying there too. Check out my middle finger being a hot mess.
Verdict: I guess I’m up for sharing these with someone else who is perhaps more patient? It’s a silvery-purple duochrome, not bad in color, I just had trouble with application.

18. Wet n’ Wild Eggplant Frost (hot deal at 99 cents)
19. NYC White Lights Glitter (this is an even hotter deal at 59 cents!)

Not sure why I reached for another bottle of Wet n’ Wild after the previous disaster, but the experience was much different.

Thoughts: Brush was a bit thin but allowed for more preciseness. The color doesn’t really come across in my dark photo, but it’s a blurple on the more purple side. It’s lovely. I used the NYC White Lights Glitter sparkly topcoat as an accent nail, and wow, it really is the business. Great glitter distribution without covering up too much of the base color.
Verdict: These are staying on the shelf!

20. Milani Neon Pink Rocks
21. Sephora by OPI Flurry Up

This was a mixed experience, and I think my first jelly polish. Also to be noted that my husband thought this manicure was messy, and mostly he does not care so when he notices, that means something. He was also surprised to find out that I had polishes in my collection that I had never tried. I’m confused by this because I thought it was evident that trying them all was the point. Is it not obvious that there are polishes I own but haven’t used? I don’t know how many because I didn’t get into that before starting the project.

Thoughts: This formula was sheer and a bit thin for my liking. After what seemed like 14 coats, I still had VNL (as seen in this blog here too, and apparently she only tried 2 coats), and so brought in my friend Flurry Up to assist. Flurry up is my favorite glittery topcoat ever. Big and small bits of glitter, and they spread out so nicely on the nail. I have to buy another bottle of this before it goes away. Or try others in the “Jewelry Top Coats” from Sephora.
Verdict: Someone else can try the Pink Rocks. Let me know if you’re interested. Flurry Up is mine forever.

22. OPI Shimmer and Simmer

Another glitter from the Burlesque collection. After painting my left hand, I added thinner before tackling my right.

Thoughts: The colors are so fabulous, but the immediate tip wear happened here too. Is there a glitter tutorial I should know about to do better with these? It ate a ton of Seche Vite, and I think I will keep this on for a few days to do a better endurance test.
Verdict: I’m keeping it. I can’t part with something this pretty. I’m going to have to test these glitters over another color at some point too.

3 posts in and I’ve tried 22 polishes. (I totally also caved and bought another one but we will talk about that later. I’m still acquiring about 99% less polish than I have been at certain times in the last few years.) I figure I will photograph my share selections and stick it up on Facebook soon to see who wants any of the ones that have been troublemakers for me.

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Polish Project #2

by Jamie Sanford on June 11, 2012

Click here for part 1 of the Polish Project.

Let’s get right into it!

6. OPI Suzi Skis in the Pyranees
7. NYC 105A Starry Silver Glitter

Space nails! I saw a tutorial on this ages ago (this one is great but not the one I watched), and have done this a few times since. Mostly, it’s fun to do and my husband was sort of impressed when he saw them and since he is not that invested in how my nails look, this was a success. I’m reviewing the base color and the sparkly topcoat since the other colors are just lightly sponged on and it isn’t a real test.

Thoughts: Sort of thin in application, this color does turn out like a dark dark gray, I can’t explain it. I would probably only use this as a base for something else.
Verdict: Totally keeping this one.

Thoughts: This is one of the first sparkly topcoats I bought. It has pink and blue glittery bits and the glitter spreads really well.
Verdict: Keep.

8. OPI Bogota Blackberry (It’s only $1.99 at the link on Amazon!)

OPI Bogota Blackberry is more like my kind of red, since it’s darker, and slightly shimmery.

Thoughts: Mom would love this, but I like it too much and it was easy to apply. Probably didn’t need the sticker.
Verdict: Totally stashing this one.

9. OPI Cuckoo For This Color

I’m pretty sure I have had this polish for ages but had never worn it. What a mistake.

Thoughts: OMG I LOVE THIS. The color is so different than the bottle looked, application was awesome and did I mention the color is gorgeous? Obsessed.
Verdict: Obviously I am keeping the hell out of this.

10. Sally Girl Unknown Shiny Teal-like Color (maybe the one in the link, I can’t tell and the name isn’t on the bottle)

I picked up 2 mini bottles of Sally Girl polish while buying polish wheels at Sally Beauty Supply. I realize now that I cannot go back there until after the Polish Project is done because I will definitely buy more nail polish. I won’t be able to resist.

Thoughts: Meh. Application was fine, but it just felt like the cheap polish it was. Might work well for something like space nails though.
Verdict: I’ll keep it for now.

11. OPI Number One Nemesis

This is the second post in this series, and I already have to admit that I caved and bought this after the freeze. I saw this in someone else’s review of the Spiderman collection and I could not resist. My polish job here is not so hot, but I am glad I bought this one when I saw it.

Thoughts: Good application, shiny and fun. I need to remember that cuticle cleanup should be prioritized.
Verdict: Stash it!

12. Sephora by OPI Sparkling Personality

Not sure if it was my base coat acting up, but this came off in a complete piece on 2 nails the day after I used it. This polish was from the Betsey Johnson collection, and was $9.50, so I expected it to be at least a bit decent. Plus, my other Sephora by OPI polish is a winner, but I’ll get to that in a later post.

Thoughts: Good application for a glitter because the pieces are little. Silvery with bits of blue and pink. Pretty, but when it started to go downhill, the polish chipped off in big pieces, like glitter polishes do.
Verdict: I think this might be a share. I’m not obsessed with it, and I don’t think I can do much with it in terms of using in other scenarios. Who wants to trade?

13. Sally Hansen Gray by Gray (Only $2.38 from someone on Amazon I assume is called “Fat Pugsley”)

Horrible name alert. This is not grey. This polish is blue. This especially bothers me because of an incident in the end of 2009 where I bought what I thought was grey paint for the bedroom and spent 2 days painting before my husband was like “uh, this is blue.” I then used orange paint to paint expletives on the wall before becoming fast friends with Benjamin Moore. Good times.

Thoughts: Despite the color issues, HOLY CRAP this polish is no joke. It is an endurance champion and I only put on one coat. Granted, I ignored the “complete salon manicure” thing and used base and top coats, but still, it was incredible how it held up for a good 5 days with typing and all of my other foolishness. Formula is a complete win. It was also super easy to apply. The brush looks like it will suck but again, I was happily surprised.
Verdict: Not even kidding, totally keeping this. If I wasn’t in a polish freeze I would be buying more colors of this right now.

14. Essie Mesmerising
14.5 Looks Wet Top Coat (no links to crap!)

Not sure what is up with the name here, my bottle definitely says Mesmerising, all British and Canadian in the spelling. It’s Mesmerize on Amazon, so I don’t know what is up there. However, this whole situation was messy.

Thoughts: I had trouble with the polish application and didn’t think to add thinner until later, so I’m going to need a take 2. The color is really fun so I will give it another chance. However, and apologies if you can’t see it, the topcoat is bubbled up like crazy. It was terrible to apply, took forever to dry, and bubbled up. Manicures like this only stay on for a day and then I change it up because I can’t stand them.
Verdict: Trying again later with the Essie polish with some thinner added. The top coat just needs to be tossed out, but my husband is checking to see if nail polish is a hazardous material.

OK I’m all caught up. Some good ones in this bunch, I think the next batch might be all glitters.

Anyone want to trade something for Sparkling Personality?

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