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Nail Polish

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Clearly I have a love affair with nail polish. I am all about sporting a natural visage, but on my hands I love bright hues on a daily basis. In the summer I indulge in bolder nail colours because, if you live here in Montréal, weather that permits your hands to go mitts-free obligates celebration. For the past few months I have been loving coral, pink and rose shades that had me venturing into some unexplored hues on the colour wheel (though my hands remain too shy to go too far into the glitter and textured territories). This summer I have been wearing and test driving nail polishes from five different brands: Estée Lauder, L’Oreal, Joe Fresh, Revlon, and Essie. Here is my round up of my favourite shades and formulas.

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Estée Lauder’s 06 Berry Hot

There is nary an Estée Lauder product in the makeup stash, except for this one nail polish from a department store gift with purchase that was passed down to me as a gift. Free nail polish? OKAY. I was intrigued by the bright and pigmented shade, one unlike any other nail polish that I currently own, which is best described as a vibrant, cool-based metallic fuschia. The formula coats evenly and is almost opaque with a single swipe so that you can get away with two coats sandwiched between a base coat and a top coat (I use Revlon base coat and top coats for all my manicures). The wear is pretty good, but slightly below average because I found the metallic formula was prone to minor flaking at the edges. However, the colour remained vibrant and true for a week’s worth of wear.

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On nails: Essie, Geranium

I love nail polish. Many girls and women these days do. In fact, during the recession starting in 2008, many economists expected that lipstick sales would surge as per the Lipstick Effect which posits that the sales of inexpensive indulgences, such as lipstick, increase during lean economic times. Instead, a 2010 study found that the sales of nail polish, not lipstick, actually increased by 0.8% in 2009.

This I do not find surprising. I would say that, as someone who likes to follow fashion and beauty trends, many women including my peers are not as enamoured with lipstick which is not a staple for many grooming routines. We women continue to wear foundation/concealer as base, love to pile on tons of mascara, groom the brows, and maybe some blush and eyeshadow. For the lips? Not lipstick for every day wear, but instead something sheer and more natural like gloss or balm. Lipstick, when used, is reserved for special occasions (or daring fashionistas featured on a street style blog). Amongst all the women I know, I would say I am the only one that still sports lipstick though only for a night out or for events. And when I wear lipstick, it is bright and meant to be seen, never soft and demure.

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On nails: Butter London, Yummy Mummy

But nail polish is a different story. Just about every female friend I have has a nail polish or two to paint at home on a week day night, or bring to their neighbourhood nail salon. When I was working full time, I sported nails in unassertive colours for the sole purpose of looking neat and professional. Nowadays, as a student, I wear nail polish in both brights and neutrals, and more as an accessory. I do not usually pile on the earrings, necklaces, or other accessories on a daily basis. But my nails? They are a relatively cheap and fast way to complete my outfit. And they bring a flash of colour to the sometimes grey transitory season that is the end of winter, or beginning of spring.

My all time favourite is Essie’s Geranium, which can only be found at specialty beauty shops or salons though Essie now carries select colours in drugstores here in Canada. It is a bright, warm coral that I sport all year round (top photo). The orange makes it a non-basic red, and it is flattering on my yellow-based skin tone. I apply three to four coats for maximum coverage and opacity.

A new discovery is Butter London’s Yummy Mummy (second photo from top). Horrible name and quite a high price point, by the way ($17 CDN!). But it is a beautiful, cool beige-grey tinged with purple and fine shimmer. It is quite sheer and applied in two coats, it retains some translucency and looks like your nails, but better. For a completely opaque look and to emphasize its cool undertones, use at least four coats. I surprisingly purchased this product at Indigo bookstore amongst their array of lifestyle products (with a gift certificate, natch).

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This past spring, Hilary did a quick visit to Montréal and, amongst other things, we caught up on our favourite nail polish colours of the moment. I was back to applying Essie’s Eternal Optimist, an extroverted pinkish nude, for the transitional season and Hilary was enamoured with the shade as much as I. So before her trip back across the ocean, she went out to buy a bottle to wear on European soil. Then in the summer, our mutual friend Anita trekked over to meet up with Hilary but not before Hilary asked for her to bring another bottle of Eternal Optimist from Canada. So by the fall when Anita dropped by my place for Thanksgiving, I complimented her nail colour which was the same Essie shade, introduced to her by Hilary introduced by me.

This hue is like the pair of jeans in The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants that fit all friends perfectly, despite the girls’ varying body types. I am almost sure this colour was concocted with the reference to a United Nations meeting as it looks great on all three of us, one whom is fair and Caucasian, another who is South East Asian, and another whom is East Asian. It is like a great foundation but for your nails, making them look like you were born with their neat and lively state. I make my manicure last longer by sandwiching two to three thin coats of colour with a base coat and top coat. This particular shade can be purchased at both beauty outlets and drugstores here in Canada for approximately $9.99 CDN.