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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My birthday mani: Milani Gems

What better day to wear Milani Gems (the polish that is said to be a lookalike of the popular Deborah Lippmann Happy Birthday) than on my actual birthday? I picked up Milani Gems a few weeks ago when I finally spotted the display at my local CVS. Luckily there was one bottle of Gems left, so I had no choice but to buy it. I mean, this combination of glitter is just about the prettiest I've ever seen at the drugstore.

In my opinion, the biggest difference between Milani Gems and Deborah Lippmann Happy Birthday is the color of the glitter pieces. The size and density of the glitter seem to be comparable, but the color is where it varies. To me, Happy Birthday contains a combination of traditional "birthday" colors like pink, baby blue and kelly green, while the glitter in Gems is truly gems-based (emerald, citrine, ruby, etc.). Take a look at KellieG's swatches, and then compare them to my pics below and I think you'll understand.

I decided to try Gems two ways and for my first attempt, I used Milani White as a base coat (I should note here that I was sent Milani White for review a while back but somehow forgot to post a review--it's a great white that gives me full opacity in just two coats).

After applying two coats of Milani White, I used three coats of Milani Gems, followed by two coats of Seche Vite. There is a TON of glitter here, so it really required two layers of top coat to make it smooth. The good news? It was quite smooth to the touch after two coats of Seche Vite, which I find to be a minor miracle considering how big the glitter pieces are in this polish. Despite their size, the glitter lays pretty flatly on the nail. Yay!

And folks, THIS is why this polish is named Gems. With three coats, it looks like you've got gems of every shade on your nails and they truly dance in the light:

Please enlarge this photo to see the glitter up close!

Here are some more pics of this combo taken in different forms of lighting. You've really got to enlarge these photos to get the full effect:



So for the second look, I used Milani White as a base coat again, but this time I only used ONE coat of Gems, followed by one coat of Seche Vite:

Enlarge this one to see the glitter in detail


Honestly? I love BOTH looks! I love the intense jewel effect of the first look, but I also love the sparse confetti-like look of the second. One look is dramatic, while the other is playful. Either way, this is one festive polish and I cannot wait to wear it on my toes. I think I might be forced to wear my flip flops in the winter (not really unheard of in Southern California actually) if I wear Gems on my toes. I'll want to look at it all the time!

So that's my take on Milani Gems. What do you think? Are you a glitter gal? Do you think you need this one? I'd love to hear from you!

A sample of Milani White was given to Nouveau Cheap for editorial purposes, either directly from the manufacturer or from the agency that works on behalf of the manufacturer. Milani Gems was purchased with personal funds. All reviews on NouveauCheap.blogspot.com are the honest opinion of its author and editorial samples do not, in any way, affect the outcome of product reviews.

34 COMMENTS:

  1. Hope you had a good b-day! I've been trying to think of good pedi's for Gems and I've been inspired by you. Can't wait to try your looks out! :)

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  2. happy birthday!
    I love this collection!

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  3. Happy birthday! Love your mani! It's so glittery and sparkly. :)

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  4. Happy birthday! oh wow, those nails are beautiful!!! Glitter is a pain to remove though, I hope you have enough felt!!! Those nails are worth it!

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  5. I like both of these too. I wonder what Gems looks like over a silver foil! I'm curious. *squish* I think this is a perfect birthday manicure!

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  6. HAPPY BDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Your nails look awesome =)

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  7. I hope you had a good B-day! I definitely prefer Gems the second way!

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  8. happy b-day, g! very pretty mani. i'm wearing gems right now for my mani, but i used a red base instead. next time, i'm going to try a white base.

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  9. Happy Birthday, G! That's a gorgeous polish.

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  10. Happy happy birthday! =D A pretty polish for a pretty lady!

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  11. Very nice,I will be looking out for this polish. Hope you enjoyed your b-day.

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  12. Happy Birthdayyy!


    :) Ohhh I need this polish!!

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  13. Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy BIIIRTTHHDDAAY dear GIiiiiaannnaaaaaaaaaaa, happy birthday to you!

    love you and love this mani!

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  14. Happy Birthday, G!

    I love Gems both ways. If I ever find it, I'm def picking it up and trying it with white polish underneath it--it gives it a nice pop.

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  15. Happy Birthday!! :-) I love Milani Gems - this is super pretty!! :-D I love both looks ♥

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  16. happy birthday.
    i NEED this polish NOW!!!! i am a big glitter freak! you are right, the only difference is the color of glitter pieces. i love sinful colors glitter polish.

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  17. Happy birthday, G!!!! Enjoy your day & your beautiful mani =)

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  18. Happy Birthday G!

    I had a lot of fun reading your blog in the past year. Thank you for that.

    Best,

    Mimy

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  19. My mani prior to my current one was almost the same as yours (2nd one), except I did a sheer/jellyish white - another cheapie, Confetti White Knights. I still kinda want Happy Birthday since it has pink and purple, but I think I'll live without it. :)

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  20. Happy birthday,G! 1970 was a very good year. :-)

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  21. Happy birthday!

    This is so ridiculously gorgeous. I can decide which way I like it better, they are both awesome! I think I'm going to go out and look for it right now! Well, maybe after I finish my term paper, haha.

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  22. Gorgeous mani! Love both looks!!! Hope your Birthday was fab!

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  23. Happy(belated) birthday! Although I did send you a Happy Birthday on Twitter yesterday so I feel better about that. :P

    That is a beautiful polish. I'm such a sucker for chunky glitter!

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  24. This mani looks great!!! How hard is it to remove those massive glitter pieces?

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  25. Happy Birthday you awesome blogger you ;D

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  26. Happy birthday! I love both looks. Thanks for great pics!

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  27. A) I need that polish. Badly. Can't find the damned thing here ... must be hiding out with those God-forsaken WnW holiday palettes that continue to elude me! :-(

    B) Do you *need* a color base with that polish? Or do you think it can be worn alone, like that Lippman Today Was A Fairy Tale polish (SO gorgeous)?

    C) HAPPY BIRTHDAY, fellow Sag! I hope you were able to weed through the lemons to find the cupcakes today ;-)

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  28. Happy Birthday G!!! Hope you enjoyed it! The Gems looks like a party in a bottle!!! I <3 it alot!
    Was the white streaky at all? I keep looking for a nice smooth white but everyone i try is always streaky.

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  29. Happy belated birthday! So glad you posted this yesterday. I had to run into CVS today to pick up a prescription and as I was passing the Milani display, I remembered your post. And there was one lone bottle of Gems left! I grabbed it and can't wait to try it over white as you did!

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  30. Happy belated birthday! I hope you had an awesome time :-). I'm headed to CVS later today so I'm definitely gonna be looking for the gems polish. That'll be what use for my New Years Eve mani :D

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  31. Wow. I am loving the glitter polish! It looks similar to Wet n Wild Party of the Five Glitters.

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