Author Archives: Mary S.

OPI Nail Envy Review & Pictures

OPI Nail Envy ReviewWhile I’m normally a law-abiding citizen, sometimes I realize that certain rules are meant to be broken. Such is the case when it comes to base coats!

I’ve tried nearly every mainstream base coat under the sun, beyond the dark side of the mood, and around the corner.

You name it, since 2008, if it’s a popular base coat, I gave it a run for its money.

I can’t remember the exact date when OPI Nail Envy waltzed into my life with its cummerbund, but I know that it should’ve been sooner!

If you’ve followed Swatch And Learn for a while, you know that for pretty much every single nail-polish review, my base coat of choice is, well, not a base coat! It’s OPI Nail Envy, which is classified as a nail strengthener.

My natural nails are very strong like Hercules. (Thank my mom and dad for that because I don’t do anything special, and I’m always using my nails to pick at labels and other things that will make a nailphile cringe. I’m extremely rough on my nails, and I’m constantly typing on the keyboard at my full-time job. Then, I come home and work on my blog – haha, more keyboard typing!)

So…it’s understandable that I used to steer clear of nail strengtheners. But, so many readers kept raving about OPI Nail Envy, and, like any nailphile, my curiosity got the better of me. I had to see if it was worth the hype or not.

Well, I’m so glad that I was curious like a cat because my search for a Holy Grail base coat came to an end the day I tried OPI Nail Envy (the original formula)!

I use it as a base coat, so this review is only judging it that way. (I can’t judge how well it strengthens nails, as my nails aren’t weak, thin, or peeling. Plus when I used this, I didn’t notice any difference in terms of nail strength.)

For those with nails that need to get buff, you’ll be happy to know that this is a maximum-strength formula with hydrolyzed protein and calcium. This combination helps nails grow harder, longer, and stronger, while resisting peeling, cracking, and splitting, according to the official OPI website.

Read this review to learn why I’m no longer looking for a great base coat. I’ve found it!

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Essie Petal Pushers Swatches & Review

Essie Petal Pushers Swatches & ReviewEssie Petal Pushers from the Spring 2015 Collection isn’t the colour I’m normally drawn to first, but I enjoy trying out a whole smorgasbord of colours because when you venture to new territory, it could open up doors.

This grey nail polish has a smidgeon of purple mixed in, which is more evident when you see the polish in person and in certain lighting.

Although it can slightly shift based on the lighting, it is predominantly a grey-based nail polish. But I wouldn’t say that it’s a concrete-slab grey because the purple undertone gives it that little extra.

P.S. Did you see yesterday’s second blog post that I snuck in here in the evening? ;) Check it out! It features makeup, nails, and fashion looks from Mikhael Kale’s show during World MasterCard Fashion Week in Toronto.

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World MasterCard Fashion Week Recap: Day 1 (Mikhael Kale)

Mikhael Kale WMCFW 2015 ShowHere’s my second blog post for today – a fun recap! :)

Yesterday at David Pecaut Square in Toronto, fierce models were strutting their stuff in the upcoming Mikhael Kale Fall/Winter 2015 fashion featuring dresses with intricate beading, retro-circle mod themes, and lots of textures for Day 1 of World MasterCard Fashion Week!

In this show, he sought inspiration from eras with memorable looks: the 50s, 60s, and 70s.

Mikhael Kale started his own label in 2007 and has been featured in numerous prestigious publications including The New York Times Style Magazine, Nylon, and Wallpaper. He has also dressed A-list celebrities such as Beyonce and JLo!

The creative philosophy behind Mikhael Kale fashion is that garments move and breathe, acting like an extension of the person who wears the clothes. They flatter the body’s silhouette and express its strength and delicate nature.

Grace Lee is Maybelline’s Lead Makeup Artist, and she whipped up a fun look that incorporated a fun and unexpected bright pop of colour.

She gave the inner corner of the eye that “Wow Factor” by using an everyday product in a novel way. Grace Lee used a lipstick to create that brilliant orange that graced each model that walked the runway.

First, she started with a smoky eye using Eye Studio Color Molten Eyeshadow Duo in Midnight Morph and Eye Studio 24hr Color Tattoo in Barely Branded for a neutral tone.

Lashes were coated with Lash Sensational Mascara for a dramatic effect, and brows were shaped using Eye Studio Brow Drama (the clear version).

To add that punch of colour to the inner corner of the eyes, Grace Lee used Color Sensational Vivids Lip Color in Electric Orange. This created an unforgettable, head-turning look!

Since the orange accent was the focal point, she kept the lips simple and fresh with Color Sensational The Buffs Lip Color in Nude Lust.

On the face, she used Face Studio Master Prime to create a wonderful glow, followed by the Fit Me! Foundation Stick and Fit Me! Powder. Then, she highlighted skin with Baby Lips in Quenched and Eye Studio 24hr Color Tattoo in Barely Branded.

Mikhael Kale WMCFW Day 1 2015

On nails, Rita Remark, Essie Canada’s Lead Nail Artist used Sand Tropez and Blanc.

Rita Remark said, “I sought to redefine the typical ‘nude’, utilizing neutral polish colours to make a statement nail look. The result is versatile, yet strikingly unique at the same time.”

Mikhael Kale WMCFW 2015 Essie

Check out the rest of this post for tons of photos of the Mikhael Kale fashion, as well as the makeup and nail looks!

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Zoya Tiana Swatches & Review

Zoya Tiana Swatches & ReviewThere are plenty of mint-green nail polishes on the market.

Many pastel greens are streaky or need to be babied to get smooth results, but not so with Zoya Tiana from the Delight Collection! (It doesn’t streak. It keeps its clothes on!) ;)

This is a polish that I wore several weeks ago. Finally, today it gets the spotlight on the blog!

(I did reader-requested green comparison posts in 2013 and this year, which illustrated the different nuances of some popular picks: here and here. This was before Zoya Tiana found its way to Swatch And Learn’s headquarters.)

I was extremely impressed by its opacity and smooth coverage. (I only used two coats to achieve the opaque coverage you see in my photos in this post!)

Zoya Tiana has climbed the nail-polish ladder, and it’s one of my all-time favourite light greens.

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Zoya Eden Swatches & Review

Zoya Eden Swatches & ReviewZoya Eden from the Delight Collection that I did a Quick Look post on earlier is nothing short of bubbly and cute!

It’s a bright bubblegum pink that makes nails smile with springtime cheer.

When I was a child, pink was my favourite colour, and this is exactly the kind of pink that I was drawn to like a moth to a flame.

If you’re looking for a pink that Elle Woods would approve of or a great polish to sport for an On Wednesdays We Wear Pink manicure, Zoya Eden is a fantastic choice!

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Zoya Delight Minis Press Release

Happy Friday!

As Easter draws closer, I have no doubt that some nailphiles will be decking their nails out with cute pastel polishes and doing all sorts of fun nail art. :)

So it was great timing that Zoya sent me information about the new Zoya Delight Minis in limited-edition boxes!

Zoya-Delight-Minis

Official press release: 

You’re never too old for an Easter Basket and Zoya Delight Minis are the perfect way to add a little something sweet to it without the calories! For a limited time, you can get the Zoya Nail Polish* Delight shades in special Limited Edition boxes!

These color cuties are available for Pre-Order NOW and will be shipping on 3/23/15!

SPECIAL
Get any 5 color cuties for $20 PLUS Free Shipping!
Use Code: MINI5

Head to www.zoya.com to pre-order these adorable minis now!

PS – they make the PERFECT gift!

*BIG5FREE: Zoya Nail Polish Formula contains no formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, dibutyl phthalate, toluene or camphor.

If you’re interested, I have quick swatches of the entire Zoya Delight Collection. (That post also has a link to the official press release, if you’d like further information.)

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INGLOT O2M Breathable Nail Enamel 682 Swatches & Review

INGLOT-O2M-Breathable-Nail-Enamel-682-Swatches-&-ReviewSince I first heard that breathable nail polish existed, I’ve been itching to try out the INGLOT O2M breathable nail polishes!

They have so many colours, and I drooled over all of them since I attended a blogger event last year and met INGLOT’s two Canadian presidents! (I swear that I left a puddle from all the drool, so if you see some wet nail-polish bottles in the Toronto store at Yonge-Dundas Square, it was from me.) ;)

It was a difficult task choosing a few shades, but INGLOT O2M Breathable Nail Enamel 682 jumped into my loving nailphile arms as quick as a wink because it’s a wonderful Marsala shade, which is Pantone’s Colour of the Year!

(Not long ago, I had the pleasure of spending a snow day with this lovely INGLOT nail polish, which you may remember from that post where I took it for an outdoor photoshoot.)

After making snow angels, enjoying a warm cup of cocoa, and telling ghost stories late at night by the fireside, INGLOT O2M Breathable Nail Enamel 682 agreed to let me snap it for a typical Swatch And Learn photoshoot. ;)

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