Category Archives: Product Reviews

Hard Candy Sky Nail Polish & 20th Anniversary Goodies

Hard Candy SkyIf Hard Candy Sky means anything to you (and it should, if you’re a nailphile), you’ll be in the same corner as me, jumping up and down, squealing with joy!

I came home from work the other day to this wonderful surprise: Hard Candy Sky Nail Polish & 20th Anniversary Goodies!

Yes, that’s right – Hard Candy is celebrating their 20th anniversary this month. (Edit: These items will be available in May.) The spring-themed box immediately brought a huge smile to my face. I remember the 1990s very well. I read Seventeen and YM magazines, soaking up every fashion pictorial, reading each advice column, learning beauty tips, and drooling over the cute guy of the moment.

Hard Candy Sky is a light-blue nail polish that was advertised in many of the magazines I pored over with friends, and its iconic shade brings back so many memories of when I was coming of age.

No, I never had the original Hard Candy Sky nail polish. Money was tighter than shrunken hipster pants when I was growing up. (I rarely had the fashion or makeup that was trendy or ‘cool’, but that didn’t stop me from being happy and appreciating what I did have.)

It really meant so much to me that Hard Candy surprised me with this special 20th anniversary box! :)

Also, in case you haven’t heard, Hard Candy is relaunching Sky (the nail polish that started it all) and other classics. Avid makeup and nail junkies, take note! (They’ll be available at Wal-Mart stores.)

In this post, I share with you some quick photos of Hard Candy Sky, the Top Ten Eyeshadow Collection, and a cute USB key. (How did they know that I needed a new USB key? Hehe, and it’s shaped like a Hard Candy nail-polish bottle, which is even better!)

Continue reading

Share

Essie Bridal 2015 Collection Swatches, Photos & Press Release

Essie Bridal 2015 CollectionToday’s post features a closer look at the Essie Bridal 2015 Collection with swatches, bottle shots, and the official press release!

I’ll also include some photos that I snapped from the pretty booklet that PR sent me along with the nail polishes.

There are six colours in the Essie Bridal 2015 Collection, most of which are soft shades.

The bold pops of colour come from the red and pink. (It reminds me of my sister-in-law. On her wedding day, she had pink nails with subtle nail art.)

While the rich shades are more my speed, I’m going to give the softer ones a go. (If you have a shade in particular that you’d like me to review first, let me know, and I’ll try to get around to it before the others. So far, I haven’t worn any yet!)

After I met Rita Remark (Essie’s Lead Nail Artist) on Friday night at World MasterCard Fashion Week in Toronto, I’m curious to try more nude polishes. I asked her how to choose a flattering nude, and she suggested looking for one that has a bit of pink and that’s two shades lighter than your skin tone. If you go darker, it could look muddy, and if you match your skin tone, it can look like a Band-Aid.

(See my Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ accounts for a few photos that I posted during Fashion Week. I may blog about it later, too, because I have plenty more photos and even some video clips.)

Continue reading

Share

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!

Continue reading

Share

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.

Continue reading

Share

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.

Continue reading

Share

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!

Continue reading

Share

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. ;)

Continue reading

Share