There's been some to-do lately over the L'Oreal Passport to Paradise being dupes for the Essie North Fork collection, and while some people are noticing some differences in the formula of these polishes, the similarities in the two brands' collections may turn out to be less of a coincidence than anyone thought. L'Oreal has announced it will acquire Essie, but isn't giving many details. Essie Weingarten, founder of the eponymous salon nail enamel brand has stated that she has contracted with L'Oreal to stay on board with the brand for "several years."
I can't say I'm surprised. I personally thought that eventually Essie was going to fade into the sunset. While Essie has long been one of the best-known salon nail enamels, their insistence on releasing pale pink after pale pink and an unwillingness to step outside the box has been making it easier for nailies and frugalistas everywhere to push new Essie releases to the side in favor of other brands' unique and trend-setting shades. Essie will be a recognizable name in nail polish to women everywhere for some time to come, and that will be an obvious boon to L'Oreal, but the distribution, marketing, and color selection will no doubt be revamped and broadened. The formula, which many consider streaky and or "chiptastic," may or may not change. L'Oreal is acquiring the brand, but might not do much or any fiddling with the polish formula itself. I think we're just looking at being able to find it in more places. Maybe for perhaps a lower price, but I doubt that. L'Oreal has brands with a drugstore polish presence. I think that Essie will remain a salon brand at heart but start popping up everywhere a la Orly and OPI. I, for one, and tickled pale pink about the whole thing.
Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Phallic - $14 at Sephora.com
The richness of Illamasqua polishes keeps on blowing me away. This deep blue with gorgeous sparkles had me at, "wait, is that really the name?" Phallic might be just one of a plethora of midnight shimmers on the market, but it's worth having for so many reasons in my opinion. The formula, like all the other Illamasqua polishes I've tried, is buttery perfection. It's incredibly pigmented but somewhat translucent making it easier for the sparkles to shine through a bit in the sun. You can see along my cuticle what one coat would look like due to my sloppy application. For fans of Chanel Blue Satin, or those who missed out on it, this is a gorgeous sister polish. The depth of the blue is incredible; super deep but never appearing black. It's probably the deepest blue I can think of that can do that trick. Like I said, if you're familiar with Chanel Blue Satin, you'll find Phallic familiar. The application and color is much the same but Phallic has that bit of added sparkle instead of that vibrant embedded shimmer that you see in Blue Satin. The above photo is with flash, and below you can see more photos including one in inside indirect light.
Click for more photos of Phallic!
Nailene French Tip Pen - around $5 at drugstores
I recently received a few Nailene products to review and was especially happy to be able to try out this pen. I love the occasional French manicure, and while I usually freehand my tips with a soft white, the idea of a bright stark white appeals to me occasionally. Problem is, even though I do alright with a soft white, I am hopeless when it comes to the unforgivable stark white. I tried using this pen alone, and I couldn't hack it, so I used the Nailene French Tip Guides in conjunction with this pen. Upon opening the wide felt-tip pen for the first time, you have to press the tip against a tissue until the paint begins to flow freely. After that's done, you apply to the nail. I was really surprised by the opacity of this paint, there weren't any streaks to be seen even if I went over the same place twice. When used with the nail tip guides, the result was nearly flawless.
This is a French I did a while ago that I recreated with this pen. See the original design here.
Click for the rest of the review