Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best of 2009: A Look Back at the Year in Nail Polish

My posts have been a bit more infrequent this week since I'm visiting my home town, but hopefully this post will make up for it! This has more swatches than you can imagine. I would have loved to make a TOP20 list or something, but I couldn't. There are 43 different shades on this list. Carried away much?! I didn't do any sort of polling to compile this list. This is all just my opinions. Some are on this list because they were popular with many (at least they appeared to be) and some are on this list because they are personal favorites of mine. Some are placeholders for several polishes or a whole collection and some stand alone in greatness.

NOTE: This is a wildly long post because of how many pictures there are. So be prepared!!

Rescue Beauty Lounge - Locavore - Let's start this list off strong! Locavore was from RBL's Spring collection of glitters. It is so beautiful, I can't stand it. It is a mix of green, gold, blue and purple glitter. The overall color and effect is breathtaking. We need more multi-colored glitters. I dream up my own mixes of glitters all the time. It just takes glitter polish, which is already awesome, to a whole new level.

Sally Hansen - Rockstar Pink - I have expressed my love for this polish a few times and there is good reason. It rocks! It is a mix of four different colors of glitter, like Locavore, but it is readily available at drugstores and is about 1/6 the price! Thank you Sally!

Lippmann Collection - Superstar - Not only does this make the least purely for being beautiful and unique, it makes the list because it was a limited release that was brought back for all the lovers that didn't get a chance to get it last year (myself included!) This ranks as one of my favorite all time polishes.

Zoya - Posh - What an elegant beauty! This matte finish polish has shimmer and a glow that makes it look like a lustrous fabric. 2009 was the year of mattes, and if there is any you come out with, it should be this. So beautiful. A bonus for Posh: That swatch is 1 coat.

OPI - La Paz-itively Hot Matte - This matte polish has the same magical glow as Posh. But even hotter since it's hot pink!

Zoya - Isla - Not just your typical red shimmer. This is deep and bold and sexy. It looks blackened around the edges, but never too dark. It is stunning. I wore this to mass on Christmas Eve and couldn't stop staring at it!

Zoya - Astra - Has an overall hot pink-red color, but if you look close, it is actually a mix of two different color glitters: Pink and red! The result is gorgeous. This photo also serves as a placeholder for the whole Ultra Glitter collection; Nova and Luna are stunners as well. (Note: it looks like there is lots of gaps, but it's an enlarged pic of my nails. In real life you don't see that. It has a full coverage look.)

Lippmann Collection - Ruby Red Slippers - Released as part of the Lippmann Collection Tenth Anniversary set, this has skyrocketed to a top spot in my favorites. I love the large hexagonal glitter mixed with the smaller round glitter, and the glitter flashes gold as well as red making it look like fire! Other honorable mentions from Deborah Lippmann in 2009 include two other hexagonal glitter colors: Marquee Moon and Happy Birthday.

Color Club - Vintage Couture - It may just seem like a pink pastel, but it is very vibrant and screams "look at me!" This polish demands attention. It was a very welcome release from Color Club's Spring Collection. Others from that collection I love are Worth The Risque and Fashion Addict.
L.A. Girl Rockstar - Addict - There hasn't been too much buzz around this polish, but there should be! This is a deep red jelly with irregular shaped gold pieces suspended. Very pretty and gets lots of compliments! Similar to this is China Glaze - Stroll.

Diamond Cosmetics - Not Your "Hum Drum" Plum - That it is not! This color is so beautiful. You need this. It is a blurple creme that is dark, yet somehow so vivid at the same time. It blows me away. The whole Diamond line was a wonderful introduction to us junkies this year. They have other greats like Chainmail Charm and Don't Teal My Heart Away, and they retail for only $2!

Zoya - Pinta - Royal purple creme. A must have. I have a major dent in this bottle... I guess I need a back-up! It is gorgeous alone, is opaque in one coat and makes a wonderful base to layer over; Far more interesting than just black creme.

Sinful Colors - Let's Talk - This picture leans far too blue. It is really royal purple. But the idea I want you to take away from this is that it has an insane glow. And it is opaque in 2 coats. Not bad for a $2 drugstore polish.

L.A. Girl Rockstar - Groupie - This picture also leans far too blue. There is a slight blue duochrome to this polish but not nearly as strong as this pic would lead you to believe. The actual color is like the purple areas of this swatch. Groupie has a glass-fleck type shimmer and is very vibrant and beautiful.

China Glaze - Harmony - This polish is from the Romantiques collection and seriously, I think the whole collection is worth a place on my Best of list. These metallics are unlike anything else released this year (except for The Khrome collection which is also from China Glaze) they are opaque in one coat and they are perfect for use with the Konad system.

Rescue Beauty Lounge - Scrangie -What more can be said about it that I haven't already said!? It is gorgeous, unique and inspirational. I adore this polish.

OPI - Merry Midnight - Woo hoo!!! Flakies from OPI! After 20 years! This red-purple has flakies that flash from blue to yellow to red. Stunning.

OPI - Ink Suede - Ink may be my favorite from the entire collection, but this serves as a placeholder for all the Suedes. While the OPI Matte Collection was a bit of a disappointment, the Suedes were a breath of fresh air with all the matte releases. Jam crammed with shimmer, these were like no other mattes we got (until the Orly Metal Chic collection came out, but the Suedes are still more shimmery).

Zoya - Jo - Released as part of Zoya's Twist Collection in Spring '09, Jo is a pretty periwinkle shimmer. Much more periwinkle than the blue shown in this swatch. We need more periwinkle colors! Perhaps 2010 will bring us some more.

Barielle - Falling Star - This polish is just so cool. Released as part of the All Lacquered Up collection from the minds of Michelle of All Lacquered Up and Elle of Barielle Shades, this blue is just so unique. It has a jelly consistency to let the copper glitter pieces show through, but somehow still finishes opaque. How do they do it!?

BB Couture - Moon Over Manhattan - Seriously, one of my all time favorite colors. How this could be beat, I don't know. The entire BB Couture for nails line deserves a spot for best release in 2009. But this color is incredible. It is a smokey, dusty slate blue, with a glass fleck type shimmer and sparse black particles like little pebbles. I love this color so much.

China Glaze - Dorothy Who? - Not only does this polish get a spot for it's beauty, but it gets a spot for it's re-release. Originally brought out in 2001, this has been a hard to find and highly sought after polish. So what did China Glaze do for us? They brought it back. That alone makes this a Best of color.

Now for the greens. 2009 was certainly the year of greens! Here are some of my faves:

Illamasqua - Rampage - This is one stunner of a polish. A dark green creme (which we desperately needed) that has a jelly finish. We were lucky to receive a whole truck load of dark green cremes this year, but Rampage stands alone thanks to that translucent jelly finish. Plus the entire Illamasqua line needs some recognition. In 2009 it caught our eye from the UK and while we were drooling over the unique and beautiful edgy colors, like Hectic and Milf, they brought it to Sephora for us as well. Awesome.

Orly - Enchanted Forest - This green creme is just perfect. It is dark and mysterious like a dense forest, and has a slightly grayed out look like no other green this year. Plus it is so smooth! When I look at this picture, I get in trouble. I can't stop staring at it! =swoon=

Nubar - Reclaim - This polish stands alone in greatness for it is a green holo! What other green holos do we have? Like, none? This was also a huge step for green lovers everywhere since it was released in an ENTIRE COLLECTION of green polishes.

BB Couture - Poison Ivy - Another score from BB Couture. Smooth, super shiny, grass green. It's not too light, it's not too dark. It is perfect. Also in the same realm is Nubar - Forest.

Misa - Dirty Sexy Money - What can I say about this polish... Um, best nail polish ever? This color is insane. Dusty, teal-ish but not teal, medium toned sea green. It is dirty, it is sexy and it is so money! For a long time this was out of stock on Transdesign and I couldn't get my hands on it. But it was worth the wait. It looks like it isn't available right now either. Another great thing about this polish: it is opaque in one coat. No joke. Unbelievable.

Maybelline - Glad To Be Green - This polish was released as part of Maybelline's Poptimistic Pretty collection and besides for the day I stumbled on them while grocery shopping, I haven't seen them. These sold out quick. This green is so perfect, I can't believe it. Very yellow, hunter green that reminds me of crocodiles and safaris. So cool.

China Glaze - Emerald Sparkle - Yet again, I have to rave about the awesomeness that is China Glaze. They gave us a limited release, out-of-this-world polish, and when the call came for more, they brought it. back. If you don't have this, RUN to get it. It is unreal how pretty this is.

MAC - Peppermint Patti* - This has an asterisk because the color in the swatch is not Peppermint Patti. I was not able to procure it for my list, but it deserves a spot because it sold out in like 5 minutes when released in the Spring as part of MAC's Sugarsweet collection. The color in the picture above is Barry M - Mint Green, and from what I can tell in pictures, this is as close as it gets to Peppermint Patti. But just as 2009 was a year of greens, it was also a year of mint greens. We got a ton of them.

Essie - Mint Candy Apple - Here is another said mint. Although this leans more blue, it deserves a spot because it is hot! A bright, stark, pastel-ish mint. And from Essie! Queen of sheer pink! Hoorah!

Essie - Funky Limelight - Another outstanding feat from Essie. A mega bright, neon yellow. I still can't believe it. I love this color so much that I just bought myself a back-up. I have always loved the look of super bright, neon yellow Hi-liters. I can recall being younger and using it and being just stunned when I saw the ink flow out. It was so bright and glowing it was like, "how do they do this?" Well now I ask the same for this polish. How did they do this!? It is so much more neon than my photo depicts. It was impossible to get this right. Just imagine the brightest neon hi-liter type yellow.

BB Couture - Little Deuce Coupe - A butter yellow that is super smooth and creamy. It is just so bright and pretty. I don't think there has been too much hype about this one, but there should be.

Sally Hansen - Forsythia - Released in the spring as part of the Tracy Reese collection, this is just so unique, it's a must have. It is a toned down, mustard yellow that is very chic and wearable. Not like an in-your-face screaming yellow. I love this.

Illamasqua - Whack - Another score from Illamasqua. As you know, I love me some orange nail polish but this one takes the cake. It is smooth and long lasting, but the color is so bold. It is a sound-the-alarm red-orange and I personally think it is a must-have.

Color Club - Tangerine Scream - Now I love and will rave about Whack all day, but I think this may be my favorite orange. A super bright, neon orange with a blue-green shimmer throughout that is just like nothing else in my collection. And considering how mush I love this, I fully intend to get the entire Electro Candy collection that this came from.

Sally Hansen - Opulent Cloud - I heard so much about this color and when I finally saw it in store I thought maybe I didn't need it. I was wrong. And once I decided I needed it I couldn't find it again! Every time I saw the display for this collection in the store the slots for the other shades were full but the slots for OC were empty. Luckily I received it in a swap and I am so happy I did. This is a lavender-gray with a strong gold shimmer. Very, very pretty.

Essie - Sag Harbor - This baby started my love affair with gray polish. It is a very blue gray, with a silver shimmer. And surprisingly, it is from a collection of blue and green: The North Fork Collection. =In awe=.

Orly - Pixie Dust - Released in the Orly-Once Upon a Time Collection along with Enchanted Forest, this is color is just so cool. It is a slightly blue, cool gray which is awesome in and of itself, but the best part about this is the dense, glass-fleck type shimmer.

Urban Decay - White Widow - Oh how I adore this. Is it white? Is it gray? Plaster? Alabaster?! I just love it. I actually love the entire Urban Decay Apocalyptic Nail Kit this came in, but this is my favorite. Plus this picture represents the fact that Urban Decay brought back polish for us in 2009! YES! Here's to getting more beautiful colors from UD in 2010!

Sinful Colors - Social Ladder - Another underrated release from 2009. Social Ladder is the usual 3 coat type formula from Sinful Colors but the end result is definitely worth it. Slightly pink and very shimmery, this also flashes a bit of green and I just love the delicate look it gives. Must have.

Wet n Wild - Shield - This is a placeholder for the entire Craze Collection we received in the summer of 2009. Although it was rather hard to find for a while, you can find it almost anywhere now and sometimes on sale. The reason I chose Shield for a swatch was because I love the different colored particles used to make up this polish. There is copper and gold and pewter. So cool.

Hard Candy - Mr. Wrong - 2009 brought us a re-released brand that many know and love: Hard Candy. Hard Candy was discontinued long ago, but in 2009 it was resurrected for sale exclusively at Wal-Mart. And personally I think Mr. Wrong is the best of the re-released colors. It is a grayed-purple totally jammed up with purple and gold shimmer. Gorgeous

A couple other colors I would have loved to swatches of are Color Club's Worth The Risque and Fashion Addict. Both are stunning holos. Also 2009 was the year of mattes and I would love to include both KO polishes I have: Karen and Liberty, but I was a bit turned off from including them because they are so expensive! And of course there were many more greens released this year we could cover, but I didn't want to beat the greens to death!

I should also give honorable mention to matte topcoats. My favorite releases in '09:
Essie - Matte About You and China Glaze - Matte Magic.

Now I am sure some of this could be disputed. Maybe your favorite release from 2009 isn't on the list. Maybe you hate some of the ones I chose. It's okay! These are really just all my opinions. What would you include? What would you take out?

Have a lovely and safe New Years! My NONYE: Zoya - Luna!


  1. Thanks for this post, I love huge posts with tons of pictures, and I agree with many of your choices. I would add Grape Juice by China Glaze to represent the Summer Days collection, which was amazing. Happy New Years!

  2. thank you thank you thank you great post!

  3. Love your post! You have done a great job with all these colors. Just wish you had got your hands on Redwood Forest or Studio 54 before you did your post on greens.. I dream in

  4. Great post, my wish list has just got longer...

  5. What a post! *drooling* First of all let me tell you your nails are gorgeous and so is your application. Every nail polish looks like heaven on you.
    Second: I'm so glad I already have some of there beauties. My wish list is already long...and I need Hum Drum Plum, Pinta, Mr. Wrong, Groupie, Moon over Manhattan... *sigh*

  6. I agree with every single one of these beauties!!! Good thing I have a bunch of them, otherwise I'd be in trouble right now! I don't have Locavore though, and I really really need it...

  7. Love these! I have a few but there are so many more I want! I recently tracked down Misa DSM, it took me a while and I had to get it off ebay which I didn't like doing, but it was worth it!

  8. Great choices and great nails! If I could only choose one polish, it'd be Diamond Cosmetics' Don't Teal My Heart Away. It's a true teal, you can't beat the price and 0.25 cents of each bottle sold goes to a good cause.
    Keep up the swatching! This post really made my day.
    Happy New Year!

  9. I love this post! I just used it to update my want list. Thanks!

  10. Thanks for posting these, great summary of the pretty polishes of 2009!

    I had the same NYE nails btw :) !

  11. Enjoyed seeing your choices, especially with the great photos. Great post!

    Here's another vote for Rock Star Addict (and Groupie too) as not getting enough attention.
    Addict has so much depth & sparkle, yet isn't too blingy for work (at least for me; I don't wear glitters on work days...)

    I would also cast a vote for Absinthe Makes the Heart from the Sephora OPI collection (or the similar, but less sparkly, Never So Ever-Green from Diamond Cosmetics). But you are right, it's hard to choose, since it was a HUGE year for greens, and all the other greens you chose are also great.

    PS: just noticed that DC has raised their polish prices to $2.25 for 2010. Still a bargain, considering...