So I'm very excited to be reviewing my first UK Indie polish today! I received four shades from Catriona's Cosmetics Belle Glamour line of polishes, which will be officially launched on January 24, 2014. In addition to selling some really pretty polishes from her own line as well as some other brands, she also sells hand-painted false nails and loose glitter.
There were SO many polishes to choose from, I really had to have a long sit-down with myself and figure out the best way to select a decent review sample. In the end, I selected 4 polishes (3 shimmers and 1 glitter) across the color wheel.
Sunlight in the Water (blue)
Grass is Always Greener (green)
Right off the bat, I was impressed with how attentive Catriona is to her customers. She replied to me emails right away; never leaving me waiting around to hear back from her. Once my selections were made, my order was packed up the same day and shipped the following, arriving less than 48 hours after ordering. All of the bottles were really well packed so they were in no danger of breaking or spilling. These 5ml bottles are quite hardy little things, so I'm not worried about breaking in my stash either. The brushes are standard round with flat tip.
The shades make for pretty bottle viewing, as well - all the shimmer really comes through.
I started with Sunlight in the Water (SITW). I apologize in advance for the bottle shots - I couldn't get them to get a good color saturation AND avoid glass glare.
This is a medium blue base with electric blue shimmer. It is absolutely LOVELY.
Application was good - I used two coats with a topcoat because I was running behind. The first coat went on a little bit patchy, but the second coat evened that out and I'm just in love with SITW.
In fact, I loved it so much that I ended up using it in my Hanukkah nail art last week. Whereas I used topcoat in the above photos, the natural finish of this polish it semi-satiny, not terribly shiny, but not a true matte either. It was a lovely, soft satin finish. I hated that I had to topcoat it but I didn't want to risk denting it!
Next up I tried Grass is Always Greener (GIAG).
This is a medium green base with gold/yellow shimmer. At first I was a bit concerned about the gold shimmer because those don't usually play well with my fair, cool-toned skin, but I think GIAG looks quite pretty.
Application was much like SITW - first coat was patchy and the second coat smoothed out to lovely coverage. These photos are 2 coats with no topcoat (because I had some time).
As you can see, there's a soft shine from the shimmer in the natural finish of the polish, but otherwise it's a very soft satiny, almost semi-matte finish. I think it's lovely. Also because of the shimmer, there are visible brush strokes, but this was also true of SITW and topcoat pretty well negated them in the end look.
I then moved on to Bloodstain.
I'll be honest; this polish fooled me. From the pics on the website, and even once I received the bottle, I was expecting this to be a light red shimmer.
It actually turns out to be a deep, hot pink shimmer! Oopsie! Application was much the same as GIAW and SITW, with the only difference being that it was slightly thicker than the other two, and I added a couple drops of polish thinner to make it play nicely. This may have been the result of sitting in my cold office longer, however. These photos are two coats with topcoat.
I'm going to mention here that I'm not a pink lover. In fact, it's my least favorite color of all, and I hate that all things girly have to be pink. That being said, I actually came to like this shade on me. It's got a bit of flair, in being such a deep shade of hot pink, as opposed to the sickly sweet neon pinks or soft pastel shades. Time will tell how often I end up wearing this shade, but please don't let my personal bias against pink deter you if you're a pink lover. I realize, I'm Not Normal. I'm from Austin, where we like to keep things weird.
Last but not least comes the shade I was expecting to love the most, Amulet.
Amulet is a rich, deep purple base with dark purple and multicolored shimmers and lavender hex glitters. I can't remember whether I knew the glitters were in it when I ordered it, but I know they kind of surprised me when I started applying the polish. (Note to self: I should probably inspect bottles more carefully before I start applying polish, and also maybe when I order?)
Application was a bit like Bloodstain - a bit thick for my personal taste. I added a couple drops of thinner to the polish before continuing. These pics are two coats with topcoat.
I am a bit disappointed because I feel like the glitters get lost in the polish. While I'm not a huge glitter fan in general, I do think it's important for you to be able to see them if you're going to the trouble of wearing them. The color itself is lovely and honestly I think could stand on its own without the glitters at all, because of the multiple little flashes of light from the shimmers. I even tried layering just a single coat over two other lilacs in my collection, and got the same effect. Although it's got glitter in it, I didn't have as much trouble removing this polish as I do with other glitter polishes, so that's definitely a plus. If you're a fan of using glitters to give a unique texture, this polish could work for you, since it does give sort of a lunar landscape texture to the surface of the polish. That said, I do think I understand how Amulet gets its name, because I can see a resemblance to amethyst in the final product.
Final thoughts: I think Catriona is on to something good here, and she shows a lot of promise. I know for sure that I've got 2 bottles that will absolutely be worn again, and 2 bottles that I think I can probably use for nail art and other unique looks. The polishes are definitely good, but the two I was least fond of are mostly due to personal preference rather than issues with the polishes themselves. Whereas SITW and GIAG are from her core line, Bloodstain and Amulet appear to be still in sample phase, which could account for the slightly thicker texture, and the formula may still be under refinement, so I expect those polishes will probably get better with more feedback to match the loveliness of the core line. I'm definitely going to keep an eye on this line, and I hope you will, too.
Belle Glamour will launch at Catriona's Cosmetics on January 24, 2014, for £3.25/5ml or £5/10ml. She also has a Harry Potter collection which will be available for pre-order on December 31, 2013, for £3.50/5ml (see her blog for details).
Disclosure: The above polishes were sent to me at a reduced price in exchange for my honest review.