Musings on the culture of keeping up appearances

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Category: Nails

OPI's latest lacquers put Germany at your fingertips

OPI Germany Collection Fall 2012
Teutophiles, break out your finest lederhosen and fire up the Volkswagen, because OPI's Fall/Winter 2012 collection is inspired by, wait for it, ... Germany!

The Germany by OPI collection consists of 12 shades the company describes as inspired by Berlin and the way that fashion hub "blends classic looks with the avant-garde."

It's not the first time OPI has let your fingertips do the walking through foreign lands, past collections have been inspired by Holland and Russia -- and the company even messed with Texas for a Spring/Summer 2011 collection that was an homage to the Lone Star State.

And whether or not you're down to decorate your digits a la Deutschland, the collection is worth checking out for the punny names alone. The shades include:

Don’t Pretzel My Buttons (which the company describes as: "a haute honey-beige that can always make you smile"),  My Very First Knockwurst ("… and what a magical rosy-nude rendezvous it was!"), Berlin There Done That ("a traveling taupe that’s seen it all. (Yep, that too)."),  Don’t Talk Bach to Me (there’s nothing mellow about this sassy lime-yellow!"),  Nein! Nein! Nein! OK Fine! (a bodacious black-olive? We say 'Ja! Ja! Ja!'"), Unfor-greta-bly Blue (everyone’s favorite Fräulein loves this über shiny blue"), Every Month Is Oktoberfest ("Prost! Here’s to the prettiest plum in the Biergarten"), Suzi & the 7 Düsseldorfs ("the most beautiful bright purple of all,"), Deutsch You Want Me Baby? ("a self-assured shade of shimmering red-orange"), Danke-Shiny Red ("you 'Bitte' try on this ravishing ruby before it’s too late!"), German-icure by OPI ("the best burgundy shimmer in the business,") and Schnapps Out of It! ("shake off the blues with a shot of fall’s must-have mauve!").

Germany by OPI marches into nail salons Aug. 8 (alas, too late for German Olympians to show their colors at the July 27 London opening ceremonies) with a suggested retail price of $8.50. Local stockists can be found through the brand's website


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Photos: OPI's Germany-inspired Fall/Winter 2012 collection includes (from left) My Very First Knockwurst, Every Month Is Oktoberfest, Don't Pretzel My Buttons and Danke Shiny Red. Credit: OPI

Paint your face and nails in 'Dark Shadows' colors

"Dark Shadows" merchandise

Based on the movie trailers we've seen so far, Tim Burton's big-screen remake of the cult TV show "Dark Shadows" seems to have struck a particularly rich vein -- style-wise at least -- by setting the vampire tale back in 1972. 

We're not only looking forward to seeing how the Gothic-meets-Me-decade aesthetic plays out in the movie itself (which stars Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Michelle Pfeiffer, among others), but also how it translates to the movie merchandise tie-ins.

One reason for our interest is that since we've recently been watching as many as four of the original series' episodes a night (via Netflix), we couldn't help but notice the clothes  -- and how each episode includes the end credit "fashion provided by Ohrbach's."

Another reason is that the gothic soap opera's long run from 1966 to 1971 earned it a large and loyal fan base that today appears eager -- based on comments posted to the upcoming film's entry -- to snap up Barnabas Collins rings, wolf-head walking sticks and the like.

While we'll have to wait until the Warner Bros. film's May 11 release date to see what Academy Award winner Colleen Atwood has done in the wardrobe department, the merchandise tie-ins are already rolling out to retail, including NYX Cosmetics' Crimson Amulet Collection (a 24-piece assortment including blushes, eye shadows and lip liners in a palette "inspired by the film," $25) and Orly International's DS-inspired quartet of nail colors (with the equally colorful names of "Grave Mistake," "Buried Alive," "Decades of Dysfunction," and "Mysterious Curse," $8.50 each).

After watching a dozen or so episodes of the original series, what we find ourselves thinking about is a pop-up version of Collinsport, Maine's, local watering hole -- a pub called The Blue Whale -- to which the show's various characters would routinely decamp, tip back a few drinks and discuss the mysterious events taking place around them.

I've even got an idea for a signature drink -- a version of the classic Tom Collins gin drink with a dash of blood-red grenadine. 

That's right -- a Barnabas Collins.


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Photos: Merchandise tie-ins for Tim Burton's upcoming big-screen remake of "Dark Shadows" include, at left, NYX Cosmetics makeup collection (Credit: NYX Cosmetics) and a four-pack of nail lacquers by Orly International (Credit: Orly International).

Butter London launches Lippy lip color


Butter London, the Seattle-based, British-inspired line of nail color is launching lip color in April. The lip glosses called Lippy are made to mirror certain shades of nail color for a deliberately matchy-matchy effect.  ButterlondonTroutPout 

Butter is known for its unexpected nail colors with hues inspired by runway collections and names taken from British slang. Lippy is no different. With names such as Snog, Primrose Hill Picnic and Yummy Mummy, the glosses are made to match each polish --  a trend Butter London creators noticed on model's nails during fashion week.

Lippy officially launches in April but hit Ulta stores exclusively this month.


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Top photo: Butter London Lippy gloss in Snog an nail polish. Credit: Butter London

Bottom photo: Butter London Lippy in Trout Pout and nail polish. Credit: Butter London

Year of the Dragon: Nailing the crackled lacquer look

Dragon Nails
If you're trying to nail the spirit of the upcoming Lunar New Year celebration (which starts on Jan. 23),  Bari Cosmetics' Pure Ice crackle polish duo can help you approximate the red-and-gold lacquered look.

The two-tone crackle effect is achieved in a three-step process that involves applying the base nail color (in this case the gold), followed by a coating of the crackle polish (that'd be the red), and finishing with a top coating of clear polish. (Making sure to let each coat dry before moving on to the next.) 

The gold with red crackle Pure Ice Winter Crackle and Ice Duo won't cost you much gold either, it can be purchased online through the Bari Cosmetics website for $5.98. (Walmart carries the brand in its stores, so if you're near one, it might be worth checking their stock.)


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Photos: Pure Ice's Winter Crackle and Ice Duo - Gold with Red Crackle (at left, $5.98) can help your nails get the appropriate lacquered look for the upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations. Credit: Bari Cosmetics.

Your Stylist: Expert advice for soothing dry winter nails, hands

The recent cool weather and wild winds are wreaking havoc with my hands, nails and cuticles. My manicure seems to look haggard just days after a trip to the nail salon and the constant application of hand sanitizer during this cold and flu season makes my fingers feel taut and claw-like all day.

I tapped Katie Cazorla, owner of the Painted Nail salon in Sherman Oaks and star of the TV Guide Network’s "Nail Files" show, for some expert advice on what treatments, products and precautions to abide by during this season of dry weather, excessive hand-washing (and sanitizing) and holiday traveling.

“We see a lot of people for manicures this time of year and the first thing I notice are the busted up, dry cuticles,” says Cazorla. “You can have a great manicure, but what’s the point when you have bad, dry cuticles?” 1250Cuticle Oil - The Painted Nail Online Shop

The No. 1 offense, according to Cazorla, is cutting cuticles. Cuticles act as a protective barrier for the nail against bacteria and infection and while snipping them away may leave your nails looking clean upon leaving the salon, you’re at risk for infection and the chance of the skin growing back uneven or ragged.

“A hangnail or loose skin is the only thing that should ever be cut. Never cut live skin,” she says. “Especially when it’s dry and cold out, you’ll start to see the cracks and openings. And people tend to pick at the dry skin, which is the worst thing you can do.”

Rather than cutting, picking or biting, simply ask your nail technician to push the cuticles back (or do it yourself).

Once cuticles are intact, Cazorla recommends lubing them up with a good cuticle oil. She likes The Painted Nail by Nubar sugar cookie oil ($12.50 at for its delightful scent and 97% organic ingredients, but she has a super easy at-home remedy made of stuff that’s most likely already in your pantry. Mix a couple of teaspoons of olive oil with a spoonful of brown sugar, rub it onto the backs of hands and around the nail bed, then rinse off with warm water. The mixture is an exfoliant and moisturizer in one and not only works on hands, but also elbows and feet.

BathandbodyworkshandsanitizerUse olive oil or cuticle oil on the cuticles several times a week, especially during colder weather. This will keep the area free of scraggly dry skin as well as freshen up a manicure. “In the winter hands get so dry,” says Cazorla. “Freshen up your manicure by adding a clear top coat to nails a few days after getting them done, then rub cuticle oil into the nails and cuticles.”

She also says that paraffin treatments are an effective way to give hands a serious dose of moisture, especially for anyone who’s experiencing cracks and rough spots on their hands. Paraffin treatments are done at most nail salons and entail dipping hands into hot paraffin wax, letting them sit for a few minutes so the essential oils in the wax seep into skin, peeling off the wax and rubbing lotion onto the hands. Cazorla warns that salons that have a communal vat of paraffin wax are to be avoided, because the wax is not hot enough to kill any bacteria that may form from so many people dipping their hands into the warm liquid. Look for places that have single servings of the wax. At The Painted Nail, hands are wrapped in individual bags of wax and then again in a hot towel. 10Hand Creams - Mario Badescu Skin Care

When it comes to hand sanitizer, most formulas contain super drying alcohol that leave hands feeling shriveled and parched. Cazorla keeps a bottle of Bath and Body Works hand sanitizer ($1.50 each at on her at all times because the gel contains little moisturizing beads that burst onto the skin when rubbed in. “It has Tahitian Palm milk in it," she says. "Not only does it smell great and do its job, it leaves your hands more moisturized.”

Other favorite moisturizing products include Mario Badescu hand cream ($10 at, which has anti-aging properties, is SPF 10 and is housed in a purse-friendly container with a top that stays put so you can comfortably stow it in your bag or take it along when traveling.  She also names Eucerin as a great drugstore option.

“Anytime you wash your hands or use sanitizer, moisturize right after,” she says.

If that cuts down on my scraggly wintertime nail beds, it’s well worth a try.

-- Melissa Magsaysay


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Photos, from top: Picture of nails with a French manicure. Credit: Dashing Diva

Painted Nail by Nubar cuticle oil. Credit: The Painted Nail

Bath and Body Works hand santizer. Credit: Bath and Body Works

Mario Badescu Fruit and Vitamin A&D Hand Cream. Credit: Mario Badescu

Nicki Minaj, OPI to release line of loud, colorful lacquers


It seems like a match made in heaven, so it comes as no huge surprise that Nicki Minaj is doing rainbow hued, candy land-esque nail polish colors with OPI.

There are six limited-edition colors all inspired by Minaj’s wacky, kaleidoscope, anything-goes sense of style. Pink Friday (named for her debut album) is a sugar-loaded bubblegum pink, Did it on ‘Em is a super bright shade of lime green and Save Me is a bottle of pink, blue and yellow confetti strips encased in a sheer silvery polish.

If you love Minaj’s bold look, but aren’t quite willing to don cotton candy pink hair (or green, or blue for that matter) or wear a leopard print leotard, then perhaps nail polish done in colors inspired by her ever-changing hair color and costumes is the next best thing.

The collection isn’t out until January, so it’s a no-go for Halloween (when I’m sure plenty of people will be dressed in the pop star’s likeness) and will sell for $8.50 a bottle at Ulta and most professional nail salons.


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Magnetic nail polish tries its hand in the beauty market

-- Melissa Magsaysay

Photos: Nicki Minaj/OPI nail polish Save Me, left, Did it on 'Em and Pink Friday. Credit: OPI

Magnetic nail polish tries its hand in the beauty market

Magnetic Nails
We’ve seen just how extreme nail polish and effects can get with products such as OPI’s Shatter polish line as well as polish on pop stars such as Rihanna and Katy Perry who typically sport rhinestones, photos and metallic shades on their pointed fingernails.

And now there's magnetic nail polish. It sounds like a beauty product for the cast of X Men, but it’s a lacquer that allows the user to create a metallic wavy pattern on their nails with the use of magnetic particles inside the polish and obviously, a magnet.

British company Nails Inc. just debuted its version stateside at Sephora stores ($30 for a set of three or $16 each) and nail brands Layla ($15.50) and LCN ($9.95) have their own versions of the stuff.

Apparently it works by applying one coat of the magnetic polish to your nails, letting that dry for a minute or two. Apply a second coat then hold the magnet (which is stored in the cap of the bottle) over each nail for 10 to 15 seconds immediately after painting. The magnetic part forms into a wavy chevron pattern that has a 3-D effect.

In addition to the latest nail polish fad, the nail care market is generally big business. In Sunday’s Image section, I talk about this booming area of the beauty market as well as what’s behind some of those catchy nail polish names.


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Photo: Nails painted with Nails Inc. magnetic nail polish. Credit: Nail Inc.

Dior does a tribute to red with Vernis nail polish colors

Diorredinspiration Gruau-837 If red nails are a significant part of your mani-pedi routine, then you’ll be pleased to know that Dior has come out with a tribute collection that's all about the warm and seductive shade.

Each of the three shades is inspired by red elements of the house’s history. 

Trafalgar is an orange-y poppy color that pays homage to the red dresses Christian Dior would send out during the middle of runway shows for dramatic effect.

Trafalgar-747 Gruau is a color based on the work on fashion illustrator and longtime Dior collaborator Icone-862 Rene Gruau, specifically the Dior Ispahan dress from the fall-winter 1947 collection.

And Icone is an iridescent reddish-brown inspired by the Atout Couer dress from Dior’s spring-summer 1955 collection.
Nails are a convenient and inexpensive place to incorporate red accents -- a hot trend for fall -- into your look.

Dior Vernis red collection, $22 each at Dior counters.


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Photos: Dior Gruau nail polish, top left; Dior Beauty inspirations for red nail polish collection, top right; Dior Trafalgar nail polish, left; Dior Icone nail polish, right. Credit: Dior Beauty

The Muppets nail it with an OPI holiday collection

Rainbowconnection All of these old cartoon-based movies (Alvin and the Chipmunks, the Smurfs and in Gonegonzo November –- Disney’s the Muppets) are making me feel 5 years old again. But thankfully along with the holiday release of the Muppets, there’s a more grown-up component that my inner child and outer beauty junky can appreciate.

In November, OPI (you know, the L.A.-based nail polish company with wacky names attached to each bottle of lacquer) will debut a collection of 12 colors inspired by the Muppets movie and the funky hues and funny names do not disappoint.

There’s Gettin’ Miss Piggy With It, a pop of fuchsia color punctuated with over-the-top flecks of circle shaped glitter; Gone Gonzo, which is also glittery, but a cool, icy blue; and Warm and Fozzy, a shimmer Champagne color that pays homage to my favorite Muppet, Fozzy bear.

Gettinmisspggywithit The sparkle packed polish is supposed to have a 3-D like effect once swiped onto the nails and the pink shades and metallics are pretty straightforward girly. Miss Piggy would definitely approve. Warmandfozzy

OPI nail polish collection inspired by Disney’s the Muppets comes out in November at retailers such as JC Penney, ULTA and Trade Secret.


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Photos: Rainbow Connection, top left; Gone Gonzo, top right; Gettin' Miss Piggy With It, bottom right; Warm and Fozzy, bottom right. Credit: OPI

Celebs like Katy Perry, Kristen Stewart are sporting blue nails

Kristen Stewart

OPIblue Maybe it’s a Smurf moment or an easy color transition into late summer/early fall, but celebrities are sporting various shades of blue on their nails and the result is actually quite chic and  thankfully not so much I-slammed-my-finger-in-the-door-of-my-chauffeured-Escalade territory. Katy Perry

Katy Perry paired glittery blue polish with her Smurfette dress to a premiere of "The Smurfs," but really, what else would work as well with this specific of an ensemble?

Her light and icy shade of blue felt versatile enough to look like a neutral toned metallic, which is a good option if you don’t want to commit to a vibrant cerulean or Windsor blue.

8Mesmerize Janet Jackson donned a bright blue hue on her nails at an event in Cannes, which popped perfectly against her deep jewel toned separates. The sapphire quality of her color looked sophisticated and dressy enough to stand up to formal clothes at a formal event.

And always one to present a rebellious front, Kristen Stewart sported a deep, almost metallic navy color of nail polish that drew a nice contrast to her red dress festooned with safety pins and studs at the 2011 MTV Movie Awards. Whether celebs started or are merely following this recent wave of blue lacquer beauty, nail polish brands are taking note and releasing several exciting shades of blue for fall.


has two new blues coming out this month. One is called Swimsuit…Nailed it! which is a  bright, shimmery medium blue, and the other is Roadhouse Blues, a deep, dark  navy-bordering-black polish.     

 Dior has a gorgeous cornflower blue called Blue Denim, and for a dressier affair, a deeper shade (much like Jackson’s) called Tuxedo Blue. Wear them accordingly. Janet Jackson

20La Laque n°44 L1019500 Another fall release is from Nars, who has a color called Galion. It’s a grayish-blue and is great for those who loved You Don’t Know Jacques from OPI or anything in that soft gray palette, but with a little kick of blue, of course.

YSL also has a couple of chic shades of blue, one called Wintergreen (a minty take on blue) and one called Moonlight Blue, another sophisticated shade of the cool color.

NARS Galion Nail Polish - low res For that really deep, inky indigo kind of blue, RGB has a color they created exclusively for Need Supply Company called 1996 to commemorate the retailer’s 15th anniversary and its beginnings selling vintage Levi’s. A color called Midnight Cami from Essie is along the same line but with a tiny bit of shimmer. 499instantaneous_blue          

For middle-of-the-road medium blues Essie also has a color called Mesmerize, Jordana has Smooth Blue and Milani is doing a shade called Instantaneous.   

RGB1996 Like any trendy nail color that can easily fall hard into fashion-victim territory, opt for clean, short nails and the shade that best suits your skin tone.

-- Melissa Magsaysay


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Photos, from top:
Detail of actress Kristen Stewart's safety-pin dress is seen as she arrives at the 2011 MTV Movie Awards. Danny Moloshok / Reuters

Katy Perry attends the premiere of "The Smurfs" at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York. Allison Joyce / Reuters

Janet Jackson attends amfAR's Cinema Against AIDS Gala during the 64th Annual Cannes Film Festival. Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Nail polishes from top left: OPI Swimsuit...Nailed It!/OPI; Essie Mesmerize/Essie; Dior Blue Denim/Dior; YSL Moonlight Blue/YSL; Nars Galion/Nars; RGB 1996/RGB; Milani Instantaneous/Milani


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