Tonal play with new-to-me H&M

When I received my long-awaited H&M parcel today, my intent was indeed to play … but gee, did this turn out to be a lot of work!

Perhaps it was ill-fated from its inception — none of the varnishes and only a few of the eye shadows shown here were the ones I had chosen in my original, never-arrived order, placed way before Thanksgiving. By the time I re-placed the order (for which I am *still* awaiting a refund), the original shades I had ordered were no longer available — they had sold out.

I’m more than content with what I’ve received, but things started going awry from the get-go. My backdrop fell on top of the nail wheel with the four freshly painted H&M chips, so they have more coats than the other 14 chips, in order to remedy the dents.

It was very windy here in Northern California today, which caused me a number of problems, even though I was indoors. First, lack of light (my house is rather gloomy, even though it faces south). Then, there were the bubbles and/or debris appearing from nowhere on the chips. Especially with Giorgio Armani Parma Greige, which when I had used it for a manicure, was an utterly flawless formula! Enormously frustrating. I almost threw in the towel, since the images looked horrendous on my camera viewing screen.

I still don’t think the images I halfheartedly captured do any justice to what I see in person, but I posted anyway, because in the process I learned a lot about each varnish. Some of these I’ve had for years and hadn’t even used yet.

Below are my field notes:

1 – H&M Cloudburst and 4 – H&M Volcanic Mud required a third coat to reach evenness and opacity, whilst 2 – H&M Taiga and 3 – H&M Cobblestones were opaque at two coats. Cloudburst and Volcanic Mud also had, like, dried varnish specks in their more transparent formulae, which were no longer visible after the final third coat. Volcanic Mud is a much more interesting shade than it appears in the bottle, with green-blue undertones somewhere in that medium grey.

I probably should have included Chanel Khaki Vert to compare to the beautiful H&M Taiga (opaque at 2x), but I just grabbed whatever was staring me in the face on one of my varnish shelves. Khaki Vert was tucked in the back of the lineup somewhere. (As an afterthought, I should have included all of the Les Khakis here!)

H&M Cobblestones (opaque at 2x) is more of a neutral taupe with lilac undertones (as I had hoped it would be) — online swatches I referenced show it as a much warmer, yellower-leaning shade, with no cool purple undertone whatsoever.

5 – D&G Jaipur Blue – bliss at two coats. Great brush, colour, smooth formula. Shade is slightly dustier than you see here. This brand is worth every extra shekel you pay.

6 – Giorgio Armani Parma Greige – same as above accolades for D&G, including the dusty comment, although today the chip looked hideous. Debris, bubbles, ugh … only because I’ve used it before for a full mani do I know that it is indeed a thing of beauty.

7 – Chanel Horizon Line – this is a tester bottle, recently purchased in a panic on the auction site at a discount. I knew it was limited edition, but I had no idea back in August it would sell out so quickly. I don’t like the brush or the formula at two coats, same thoughts I had when I first tried Turban (the only one I’ve actually tried of these new Chanel bottles, although I have others). It’s like they’re heavy on plasticizers and that thin brush just wallows in and drags them around. Note to self: test your other new bottle Chanels before acquiring any more. Another thing: does anyone know how OPI Taupe-less Beach stacks up to Chanel New Dawn?

8-11 – Kure Bazaar Chloe, Boyfriend, Khaki, Hipster, all at two coats. Colours are smooth, opaque and pretty, but I don’t reach for these often. They’re touted as safe and natural, but they still smell just as strong and nauseating as the chemical-laden varnishes. I could not imagine using these while pregnant. Plus, on me, they never, ever dry — even on my toes at the height of summer. I must be doing something wrong.

12-13 – YSL Call Me Grey and Fur Green, both at two coats. Call Me Grey’s brush had a few wonky hairs. I left the tolerable wonkies and pulled out the worst offender. Stuff like this bothers me, as M. Saint Laurent’s image should not be allowed to tarnish in even the smallest detail, and it’s too late. A few years ago, when I ordered a Black Opium sample from the faux-luxe website, it never arrived. Then suddenly I received several, one after the other, each bearing a slightly different version of my name on the address label. They must have young marketing interns with no idea of the brand’s heritage in charge of this stuff. Fur Green, on the other hand, was perfection. Love this one.

14-18 – Uslu Airlines MYK, NIM, SBT, ACE, ABS. Perfection in a bottle, all. Two smooth coats. Beautiful brush, excepting SBT — it has the skinny old one. I can no longer purchase these in the U.S.; good thing I made a run while I could, although there are still several I yearn for that I missed. Oftentimes I imagine having to forsake my entire collection and being forced to choose only one brand for keeps. Uslu Airlines would be my choice.

xx blueberry milk tea

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