Hi everyone! Sorry for not posting for over a week – I’ve been really preoccupied with work, and will continue to be until mid-December. Consequently, I don’t have much time for nail art and may post infrequently until January. I do have some more posts in the works, though, so I’ll still have stuff going on, no worries!
Today I have the November 2014 collection from SquareHue to show off! SquareHue is a monthly nail polish subscription box service that I enrolled in to see if I would like it, since I’ve had a lot of luck with the Julep Maven program. While the service differs from Julep in several ways, what intrigued me the most about it – and led me to enroll – was that the stated intent of SquareHue is to guide you towards colors you may not pick yourself. They do this by not allowing you to choose the three colors in the monthly box, and you just have to hope that you’ll like what’s inside. Based on my assessment of the website, I assumed this would mean really unconventional, but tasteful, colors with a variety of finishes. Since I am not picky in terms of colors I like, I thought it might be worth a shot for at least one month. I was curious to see if the monthly box did indeed contain unconventional colors that I would not pick myself, and having no choice over the colors would mean a bunch of dupes for me.
I took the plunge, and just received my first box through SquareHue containing the November 2014 collection, inspired by Prague. They went with a very muted, medium-dark color palette that gives an overall “urban” look to me. The three colors are very fall- and winter-appropriate, and I’m sure that they’ll go great with a lot of the cold weather accessories that people are starting to pull out of their closets. Plus, each polish has a different finish to make things interesting. I’ve got swatches and nail art to show you all, so let’s go!
My box arrived on October 31st, which was crazy fast; I was expecting it to show up in November. Inside were the three polishes and a card. That’s it!
Na Prikope is a medium sage green creme that’s quite pleasant to wear. Not super exciting, but nice – and I like it more than I thought I would. It strikes a good balance between gray and green, and it’s neither too warm- nor too cool-toned. In fact, it’s an immensely flattering color for my skin tone, which is fantastic! In terms of the formula, I do have one gripe, which is the same for all three colors. All the polishes dry really fast, and so evening them out before they dried was quite a challenge. They basically do not self-level at all, since they dry so fast; consequently, it is difficult to get even layers. I mean, I don’t want my nail polish to be wet forever, but I also don’t want it to dry so quickly it becomes unworkable. I hope most SquareHue polishes are not like this! At least I got Na Prikope to apply reasonably well in two coats; I had no issues with it other than the too-quick drying.
While Na Prikope seems highly dupe-able, I don’t have anything remotely similar to it in my collection. I did compare it to Zoya Gemma, but they’re not very close at all. Gemma has a blue shimmer to it, the base is definitely greener (on paper, the base colors looked the same), and the formula is more crelly-like and requires three coats to reach full opacity.
Parizska is a medium-dark, cool gray crelly with small silver glitter suspended in it. It’s definitely unique to my collection, hence the lack of comparisons, and I have no idea if it even has a dupe. The cool tone of this gray doesn’t really suit my skin tone that well, but it’s not bad. And the silver glitters are pretty – subtle sparkles are always nice. As for the formula, it does have the same quick-dry issue that the other two have, but to a far lesser extent; it’s much better than the other two. Surprisingly, it only took two coats to get to full opacity. The downside to Parizska is that it dries textured, and not in a good way. It’s unintentionally textured, I think, due to the presence of the glitter, and no amount of topcoat can smooth it out as far as I can tell. After I did the nail art, I had three coats of topcoat on top of it, and it still was slightly textured. Here’s a comparison between with and without topcoat (one coat):
With two coats of topcoat on all nails (still not smooth!):
Vaclavske Namesti is a deep, smoky plum shimmer and my favorite of the bunch by a long shot. Muted shimmers are always the polishes that grab me, especially purple ones, so you can imagine how excited I was when I saw this polish in the box! The shimmer looks silver in the bottle, but translates to purple when on nails. I wore Vaclavske Namesti for two days by itself and, under different lighting conditions, it became even more interesting – sometimes it looks more brown, sometimes it’s very purple. Quite intriguing indeed! While the color of Vaclavske Namesti was nice, the formula still had the quick drying issue, and was kind of tricky to work with. At least I got it to be opaque in two coats with no other problems.
As for comparisons, I don’t have any colors close to Vaclavske Namesti. The best I can do is show you what it looks like compared to A England Sleeping Palace (same base color, but with holographic shimmer) and Julep Logan (blackened eggplant frosty shimmer). Obviously, none of these are dupes, and are not even close.
For this collection, I wanted to do nail art that was urban and geometric, given my impressions of the color palette. After bouncing around some ideas, I settled on this simple triangle design. To begin, I put on base coat, two coats of Parizska, and two coats of topcoat. I let it dry fully, and then taped off most of my nails except for a triangle in the center. Here’s what my nails looked like with tape on them:
When I was satisfied with the tape placement, I painted Vaclavske Namesti over the triangle area, waited about 10 seconds, and peeled off the tape. This technique made the lines really clean – gotta love stenciling! To finish it off, I took a really skinny striper brush and painted Na Prikope around the edges of the triangle. And done!
I’m pretty happy with the result; initially I wasn’t sure how to combine all the colors together, but I think this manicure makes them work. Sometimes the simple things are fun!
As for the box overall, I like it, but I don’t love it. The colors are intriguing and I especially like Vaclavske Namesti, but the formulas were kind of tricky to work with. The box did contain colors I wouldn’t have picked out myself (Na Prikope and Parizska), so I’m glad I got to try out some polishes that I normally would pass up. And I didn’t have any dupes for the colors, which was great. I don’t necessarily like the colors together, though; I was hoping to get more into how the colors complemented each other, but I wasn’t feeling it for this collection. Based on this experience, I’ll stick with SquareHue for another few months and evaluate staying with it depending on how the next few boxes go. Next month, SquareHue is making a box inspired by the city of Rovaniemi, which I gather was chosen because it is rumored to be the hometown of a certain white-bearded, red-suited, jolly man who makes himself ubiquitous (UNAVOIDABLE) around this time of year. Since I do not observe the holiday that this red-suited, jolly man is involved with, I’m not excited next month at all, and am actually rather put off by the theme. I may skip the next month – I haven’t decided yet.
I hope you’ve liked my post! Thanks for reading!