Hi everyone! Today I have the SquareHue December 2014 collection to show off on the blog! This collection was inspired Rovaniemi – a town in Finland that is supposedly the home of Santa Claus. As someone who does not celebrate Christmas or care much for the holiday, this aspect of the collection was not a big selling point for me. All the same, I wanted to try SquareHue polishes again and so I ordered the box, partly to see just how Xmas-y things could get.
As it turns out, this collection is indeed very Xmas-y (surprise surprise), with the requisite red and green shades accompanied by a gold polish. Things get interesting, though, when you check out the finishes: out of the three polishes, two of them have unusual finishes (one textured, one matte). Not so conventional after all, I suppose! Like I usually do, I swatched all the polishes, did some comparisons, and then combined them all into nail art. Since the colors were so Xmas-inspired, I got seasonal with my nail art and made my nails look like presents. On with the swatches!
Joulupukin Pajakyla is a deep red microglitter polish that is the most traditionally holiday-like of the three…and my favorite! While the color looked like a saturated, medium red in the bottle, it became considerably darker once I applied it to my nails and that’s why I’m calling it a “deep red”. The polish has some little tiny pink and purple glitter flakes inside to give the polish a little hidden sparkle. Overall, color-wise it’s definitely a “holiday” shade that would work well for people who like to be festive without being outrageous. Of the three colors, this one was BY FAR the easiest to apply: two smooth coats are all this polish takes to become nice and opaque. Given my struggles with applying the other two polishes, that alone makes Joulupukin Pajakyla my favorite.
When I saw Joulupukin Pajakyla, I immediately expected to find a dupe for it because I have a lot of red microglitter polishes. Fortunately, I was wrong. Since it dried darker than I expected, the polishes I thought might be dupes turned out not to be. I knew OPI Underneath the Mistletoe (first pic) wasn’t going to be that close because the glitters are completely different, but it has a similar base color. Zoya Sarah (second pic) is a more of a berry than a red, and the microglitters are much more prominent and shiny. Julep Scarlett (second pic) was the polish that looked like an exact dupe to Joulupukin Pajakyla in the bottle, but Joulupukin Pajakyla darkened so much that it wasn’t even close in the end. Yay no dupe!
Revontuli is the polish I loved when I saw it in the bottle, but I was let down by once I applied it. It’s a lovely dark green with a gold shimmer that dries to a matte texture; the final finish is more of a semi-matte than a chalky matte, but it still looks pretty matte compared to normal polish. The shade is absolutely beautiful – I’m very fond of this green. Despite my affection for the color, the formula of Revontuli was terrible. Due to – I assume – the mattifying particles in its base, this polish dries extraordinarily quickly, and is very difficult to work with. Moreover, the consistency gets gloppy really quickly; I had to thin out the polish several times just to get it to a point where it wasn’t frustrating. At least this polish only requires two coats to get to full opacity. Overall, I’m not sure if I’ll ever apply Revontuli again because it was so challenging, even though the color is lovely.
Interestingly enough, if you apply topcoat to this polish, the golden shimmer comes out and the color of the entire polish shifts from being a cooler green to a warmer green. I didn’t expect it to change this much when I put on the topcoat so I thought it was pretty neat! Okay, maybe this would convince me to put this polish on again at some later point in time. Anyways, here’s a comparison of matte versus shiny:
I compared Revontuli to Julep Valerie even though I knew they wouldn’t be similar. The base colors are close, but the color change in Revontuli with the golden shimmer makes it a green rather than a teal like Valerie. Also, Valerie has golden microglitter rather than a shimmer. Oh well, I tried.
Sampokeskus is a yellow gold textured polish with silver glitter dispersed throughout. I’m not sure how I feel about it. The color is very much on the yellow side of gold, and – while I normally like gold nail polish a lot – this one looks kind of weird against my skin tone. I can’t decide if I like it shade-wise or not. The silver glitter is a nice addition reminiscent of some of the Zoya Pixiedust polishes: it adds sparkle, but doesn’t take the polish over-the-top by adding too much distraction. In terms of the formula, Sampokeskus isn’t too bad. The texture particles make this polish a bit thick, but it applies quite easily in two coats. The texture of this polish is prominent and substantial; it definitely is a textured polish and not a glitter that dries funky. I’m kind of got mixed feelings about the texture as well, but mostly because I’m kind of “over” the textured trend. All the same, this color looks good as a textured polish, and the texture brings out a pretty golden glow. So, yeah, mixed feelings.
Here’s a shiny versus textured comparison:
The closest polish I had to Sampokeskus is Urban Outfitters Mystic Disco, but they’re different in several ways. Mystic Disco is a more beige-toned, muted gold, and has larger hex glitters in addition to smaller glitters. The textured finish of Sampokeskus is also a lot stronger than Mystic Disco, which isn’t really a true texture polish anyways.
When it came to doing nail art with the colors of the collection, there was the obvious option of doing something Christmas-y (which was the intent of the collection, after all), but I was initially resistant to this idea. I don’t celebrate Christmas myself, and consequently don’t have much of a compulsion to get into the “holiday spirit” through nail art. But after struggling to think of a good idea for hours and coming up with nothing, I was all like, “So this is supposed to be Xmas-themed? MIGHT AS WELL DO CHRISTMAS THEN!” and just went with something that was minimally Christmas-y. I settled on this cute present design since I think it combines all the polishes nicely, including the textured one, and is seasonally-appropriate. it’s also adorable!
I settled on using Revontuli (green) as the base for my manicure – the wrapping paper, if you will. This is what it looks like when all nails are shiny:
I then painted two perpendicular lines using Joulupukin Pajakyla (red) and a striper brush. I decided I wanted them to intersect near the free edge of my nail, and over to one side of my nail. Before proceeding with the gold polish, I applied a layer of topcoat to protect the red lines. Following this, I made two lines using Sampokeskus (gold) right next to the earlier red lines. Finally, I freehanded the bow shape in using a striper brush. I didn’t apply topcoat after the gold polish because I wanted the texture to stick around. That’s it!
I like this design more than I thought I would. Sure, it’s Christmas-y, but not glaringly so. And, of course, it’s very cute! I thought the bow would be a little bit too girly for my tastes, but the intense dark green sets it off nicely. My favorite part, though, is how nicely the texture of Sampokeskus fits in with the overall design. I may have had mixed feelings about it when it was by itself, but I love it as a nail art accent polish!
I hope you’ve liked my post! I really want to keep doing nail art in the near future since I have so many awesome ideas planned, but I may be too busy. We’ll have to see what happens. Thanks for reading!