Thursday, March 4, 2010

As pristine as the newly fallen snow: some white swatches

This is probably going to be a visually boring post as it is devoted to one single color: white. But hopefully it'll be informative to somebody -- hopefully, D's whet some appetites on white nail polish with her Underware comparisons.

I'm pretty much always on a quest for a perfect opaque white creme. WnW White is often recommended. But in my experience, it isn't as fab as WnW Black. Very streaky and chalky on me.

I can't locate photos of all the opaque white polishes I've tried out and so before I forget, here are some of the ones I've tried but won't be showing photos of:
  • Anna Sui 015: Soft white. As much as I love the candy rose scent of these polishes, this one was a nightmare. Three coats, totally uneven, goopy, and it never dried. (And it resembled White Out in texture.) Smelled nice... but nice-smelling nail polish is of no use to me when I can't wear it!
  • Rescue Beauty Lounge Underware: Stark white. D's covered this one already. I've heard tell that this is a brilliant one-coat wonder! For me, that was simply not true. Three coats, also uneven. I tried it under the pastel jellies like Bikini Bottom for the "lit within" look... It looked pretty bad because the Underware was very streaky. So whatever power other people have over RBLs... I certainly do not possess it.
  • CND Cream Washed: Beige-white. Not opaque at all. Trust me, I tried...
  • OPI Alpine White: Stark white. It's been years since I've used it but have found this to be a pretty trustworthy white: two coater for me, IIRC.

OPI Tickets to Paradise
This is definitely not meant to be an opaque polish: the photo above shows five or six coats. It also leans a bit pinkish grey. It's a very nice polish with a pleasant jelly finish but not quite what I want in an opaque white creme.

Missha WH001

Soft white. Four coats, still VERY uneven. It was only a couple of dollars but totally not a worthwhile polish for me.

CND Brilliant White
Stark white. Four coats, very easy to build (please ignore the ugly chips that happened because it refused to dry for hours and hours). Certainly very close to what I want in a white (opaque, smooth and creamy in texture) but four coats was pushing my patience. Brilliant White was probably one of the better ones I've tried though!

American Apparel Cotton
Cream white. I like how soft this white is: it just has a tinge of tan in there. It does even out in three coats -- and does apply quite nicely for a white -- but man oh man, did this totally not dry at all.

Revlon Street Wear White Out
And saved the best for last: I need backups of this one. It's closer to a softer white than a super stark white. Passable at two coats but really needs three... but when you apply that third coat, it's opaque white polish perfection. So smooth (though not glossy). And so easy to apply! I hate having a discontinued polish be an HG of any sort -- and thus, the search continues -- but really, quite a jewel of a polish and one of the ones that I got for 4 for $1. :)

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yardsticks 4 lunatics said...

POO! I really need a good stark white....DO NOT try the Sally Hanson Xtreme - it't horrible!

Good job on this post!


Zicon said...

I find China Glaze White Out to be a good white. Untinted, opaque in two coats, not chalky. I've felt no need to look further for a plain white after finding that.

gildedangel said...

Great post, white nail polish is very important and it is good to know the differences between different whites!

mKat said...

Can I ask...

What do you ladies do with really stark whites? I know that D likens them to neons in that a stark white is a sure attention grabber, but is that why you wear them? (This is purely for interest sake. My head is filled with thoughts on methodology and positionality in writing for class and I'm stuck wondering why we use the voices that we do.) Having said that, why do we wear the polishes we do?

I have always worn a fairly stark white tip on my French manis. In spite of a not-so-recent board on Specktra that called out French manis as indecent (making connections to porn stars and lurid intonations that, for men, frenchies connote images of a woman's hands on his junk while she...) I have always loved them. Reflecting on this however, I've learned that a "natural" french mani shouldn't use a stark white tip. Now I've always been a proponent of wear what you like, what you feel comfortable in and to hell with the rest of the world, but assuming I bought into this for a minute... what the heck would I do w/ a stark white?

I'm an NC43/45 in MAC and I've been told that stark white eye shadow is also not a good idea. But it's so damned awesome. Why... why?!

(Okay sorry for the hijack. Lack of sleep makes me ramble.)

P.S. I liked the look of the AA Cotton and Revlon Street Wear the best. A pity the former didn't dry though! (And see, it's not a stark white. I'm gravitating!)

D:) said...

Our search for the ultimate creme white trudges on. Thank you for helping me fight the good fight, my dear.

D:) said...

mKat - I must suggest that you try a creme white mani. Pull out your trusty white and paint your tips...the free edge, just past the free edge, down the middle, just inside the cuticle...yes the whole nail. Do a nice job of it, put on a shiny top coat, do flawless clean up. And walk out the door. See how you feel. If you hate it, don't ever do it again. But if you don't mind it...well then, I'll call you convert.

SalvagedExpression said...

Still seeking the perfect white myself. NYC white is ok but a 3 coater if I recall and revlon white on white is 2 but I think I had dry time issues.
I have done my share of plain white nails but I also find it's a fun backround for glitters particularly colored glitters. I'd refer you to a photo but it's on my etsy shop and I don't want to spam.

Nicole said...

Thanks for the comparison post! I too have had pretty good luck with the China Glaze White Out. It looks just LIKE white out.

hausofpolish said...

I had the same experience with Underware, hmph! I think I only needed two coats and it did look good after topcoat but the application was pretty bad. Do you think it's something that could be fixed with thinner?

Ruby said...

Just wondering, with the dry time issues that you mentioned, was that after a quick-dry top coat? How long on average would those whites take to dry?

I'm thinking of buying some whites lately, but if it's taking forever, maybe I shouldn't bother at all.

mKat said...

LOL @ D:) Maybe I will...maybe I will.

Maybe this weekend! (But I have to admit...non-Konaded nails look so naked to me these days. I'm wearing an eggplant creme right now and I'm just itching to decorate it...)

Angie said...

nice pictures! i always have trouble using white nail polish - it never seems to even out and still shows parts leaking through on my uneven thumbnails

flinty said...

@yardsticks: Thanks! I try not to ever buy Sally Hansen XTreme. None of them ever work out for me.

@Zicon and Nicole: Huh, I wonder why I don't have this one. Thanks for pointing it out!

@gildedangel: Thanks!

@mKat: I like stark whites like I'd like any other color. I don't do french manis (they look terrible on me)... and by the way, what the hell? I'm sorry but I don't understand the "nails of an x-rated video whore" stereotype. Also, why would white eyeshadow not look good on dark skin? I think that'd look amazing.

@D: LOL. Anytime.

@salvagedexpression: Thanks for being concerned with not spamming. :) I do think it's a great background for glitters, definitely, especially multicolored ones.

@hausofpolish: See, this is what I don't like: why would I need to "correct" an $18 polish? (It might be fixed with thinner...)

@ruby: Yes, I always use a quick dry topcoat for my manicures and most of these were manicures (as opposed to swatches, where I don't use topcoat). The American Apparel, CND and Anna Sui still smudged twelve hours later.

@angie: yup, I feel like I'm painting forever with most whites.

mKat said...

@flinty: I didn't write the article (nor the board). :) It was an interesting conversation but I didn't participate in it. Some people who had sworn by an acrylic nail/french mani look admitted that as they got older they came to believe that it wasn't professional. (I am thinking specifically of a girl that worked in a law office? She recounted an interesting story of her supervisor giving her a gift of a bottle of relatively neutral polish. She later talked about the fact that when she looked around she realized there was a class/job association w/ french manis and acrylic nails.) The relationship to porn was (I'm assuming) simply the fact that typically, women in porn wear french manicured acrylics. We can't deny that, of course, but as one poster pointed out, pornstars also wear makeup and false lashes...and we don't (necessarily) associate those things with sex or pornography.

I don't know... Like I said, an interesting convo!

I don't know who wrote the book on white eye shadow. I should clarify that the "rule" had to do with stark white, matte shadows (like MAC's Gesso). Shimmery whites or duochrome whites (e.g. MAC's Crystal Avalanche) are apparently "okay".

mKat said...

P.S. Here was the snippet from an article in Missbehave that spawned the board.

"You know those painted plywood things at amusements parks where you put your face through the cutout and take a picture? Men notice nails because fingers, like lips, are just like those plywood things. Scenery. But for their dicks. Dark nails look ominous. Light nails are gamine and therefore forbidden. The French Manicure, like many things, reminds them of porn. While we know that most of us are not in any immediate danger of willingly getting a French Manicure, you need to know the sizable and strangely time-specific hazard therein:

If you're just some girl, a French Manicure guarantees you'll be written off as a slut. If you're wifey and you get one, dudes get amped and grateful. Either way, if you have small hands they tend to get excitable. It makes every side their good side and it's way less work than shaving their pubes. As a girlfriend, French Manicured gherkin gerks are tremendously good for morale."

D:) said...

mKat - "she looked around she realized there was a class/job association w/ french manis and acrylic nails." Fucked up but true. I work in a large law office. Number 1 way to tell black lawyers from black secretaries is to look at their nails. :/

mKat said...

D:) this makes me sad. I've grown fond of nail art....because it's art. But I fear wearing it (especially on long nails) would really set me apart in a negative way. It's hard enough being one of only a handful of people of colour in a white department as it is.

D:) said...

That's the problem. We are usually a small handful in a group.

I ALWAYS say, get to know the group and then make judgment calls. We are both smart enough to know what will likely pigeonhole us.

My experience: There are actually a lot of black people in my office, it's just that the super-majority of them are support staff. When I started working I was sure I would have to wear full suits and dull nail polish every day. I DID NOT want to be mistaken for a secretary just because I was black because that would turn up my job's miserable-ness factor up past 100.

I settled in and realized that there are other ways to set myself apart. I'm back to wearing *almost* any nail polish color I want but I keep my nails short, don't do nail art, and never acrylics. I still wear blazers Monday-Wednesday, but I haven't worn an actual suit since the first week. Thursdays and Fridays I wear what I want pretty much. But I always wear heels... That is the other big distinction I've noticed between secretaries and female lawyers.

Long story short - grow confident that you know the customs in your group, then decide.

keerthi said...

Have you tried Misa Heaven White? I've been able to get it opaque in two coats before.

razberiswrl said...

Thanks for the comparisons/review, Flinty. FWIW, don't even bother with WnW French White Creme. Assballs.

mKat and D:), I get aggravated even reading that shit. Ugh. :(

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