Monday, July 16, 2012

Love & Hate

So we all know about my love affair with metallics and foils. I first fell for these polishes back in high school. I liked polish then, but I wasn't a polishaholic. I think I owned six: red, black, light pink, burgundy, blue metallic (the one from the above blog post), and black glitter.

I don't remember seeing a lot of metallics or foils then. Shimmers, glitters, sure. But a real metallic? Not so much. But then, I had a rather sheltered upbringing, so I could have missed out. And like I said, I wasn't obsessive back then.

Then I had about five years in college where I couldn't/wasn't allowed to wear polish. I moved four times a year (Yes, that equates to 20 moves in five years. Well, I guess it would be a little less, since there was a year we had an apartment, but still. It would be about 18), and never once brought a polish with me.

Fast forward to today, and I'm discovering all of the things that have come out while I was out of the loop, and finding stuff beyond what is available on the shelves of a small town Walmart.

And a lot of things that just weren't there the last time I looked.

Case in point: Wet n Wild "Metallica"

I picked this color up a few weeks ago to do accents for the Teen Titans manicure, and realized the other day that I had yet to swatch it on it's own. Curious, I sat down and did just that.

I love the formula of this polish. I hadn't tried Wet n Wild before (except for the bits and pieces that made it into that manicure), and I think I might have new go-to el cheapo polish, since our Walmart has stopped stocking Pure Ice in anything but pearly shimmers in pinks and neutrals.

The first coat goes on very sheer and streaky, but don't let that dissuade you! The second coat evens it out, and you could wear it with just two. I tried three, just to see if I could get it a little more intense, and I'm glad I did. Three coats gives full opacity, and there's not a streak in sight (any streaks you do see are actually from my top coat, which is the Sally Hansen Insta-Dri).

In shadows or ambient light, this polish reminds me of a silver alloy that has a copper base--just a slight pinkish tone to it. But put it in the sunlight and BAM, there is no doubt that this is metallic silver!

The one drawback I found is that it doesn't stand up very well to wear. I had tip wear almost immediately (this after just typing and some knitting), and it peeled off after 24 hours, with some pieces just flaking off in chunks like it couldn't get off the nail fast enough.

Overall, though, I love this polish, and I'm going to have to go back to Giant Eagle to see if they have more metallics in other colors.

For the accent nail, I used two coats of "Metallica" with two coats of Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xteme Wear in "Night Lights." This is actually the glitter polish I bought all those years ago, and there is a very good reason that I haven't used it up in that time (though other than my clear coat and my Sally Hansen "Aquamarine Chrome" I think this has the biggest dent in it.)

This was the first part of the Xtreme Wear collection I ever purchased, and I should have listened to my initial feelings on it way back then and saved myself some trouble.

The polish consists of holographic microglitter suspended in a sheer, dark grey/black base. I did a lot of experimenting with this color in high school (I was a semi-goth chick with an obsession with things that sparkled), and I only ever found one use for this that I was happy with: 2 coats of "Night Lights" over two coats of Pure Ice "Touch Me Here." I tried wearing it on it's own and over every color I owned, and disliked every other combination.

On it's own, I just started layering. I think I got up to five coats before I gave up. It still wasn't at full opacity, the amount of glitter wasn't thrilling, and the background color turned a muddy, dull grey color that would be unflattering on just about everyone. In fact, more than two coats and it's just downright unsightly to my eye.

You can see that there's a LOT of glitter in the bottle. Now look at my ring finger. No, that's not a trick of the light. That's really how much glitter you get for two coats.

The only good things I can say about it are these: It dries faster than the other Xtreme wear colors I've tried, and it goes on evenly, which I can't say about them, either.

I have Xtreme Wear in three other colors: "White On," "Fuchsia Power," and "Sun Kissed." I bought "White On" first, because I needed a white. I know white is a notoriously hard color to work with, so when I had issues with the coverage and evenness of application, I was willing to dismiss it. I bought the other two at the same time, because I needed the colors and Target didn't have them in any other brands at the time. All three of them are thin, and should be used with a ridge filler. In addition, it takes at least three coats to get good, opaque, even coverage. They take forever to dry, except in the thinnest possible coats in which case they are "average" in my book, and out of all of my polishes, they are actually the most prone to flaking off!

You all know that sometimes I sound like a Sally Hansen ad around here, since that's what most of my polishes are. I like the Insta-Dri formula, but I hate the brushes. I've tried a Diamond Strength color in the past ("Diamonds and Rubies," which happens to be a dupe for the much cheaper Pure Ice "Siren", or vise versa, depending on how you look at it) and was underwhelmed. My favorite base/top coat has been discontinued, and the Insta-Dri top coat (which does not suffer from the funky brush issue, for some reason) tends to increase the propensity for peeling polish (yay, alliteration). I showed you one of their nail art pens, and you can see my thoughts on it over on my stash page (it's down at the bottom). Right now the only thing I've tried that they still currently make that I like is their cuticle pen (also near the bottom on the stash page), but I could probably skip that altogether and just use the Burt's Bees Lemon Butter. I've basically come to the conclusion that this will be a Sally-free blog from now on. I'll use up a couple of things--my top coats, and probably "Night Lights." But I want to replace "Fuchsia Power" and "Sun Kissed", and I am still on the hunt for a good white polish (right now I"m just using Maybelline Color Show "Porcelain Party", which is almost identical to "White On," except it dries slightly faster).

Do you guys even think it's worth swatching them? What do you do with disappointing polishes? Just pitch it?

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