Friday, March 30, 2012

The Hunger Games and China Glaze Capitol Colors: The Savagery featuring Luxe and Lush, Stone Cold, and Fast Track

First we talked about the Martyrs and Freedom Fighters, then we moved on to the Hopeful and the Obscure. To end this Hunger Games and China Glaze Capitol Colors series with a bang, we'll be zeroing in on the Savagery of the games. After all, when only one is to be declared victor (and sole survivor) among 24 others, you really have to step up your game. For this fourth and last part of the series, we'll look at the characters who are so driven to win that they let the killer instincts in them surface in this kill or be killed scenario. If you're thinking career tributes, then you're definitely on the right track. Without further adieu, here are the polishes that represent these savage few:

They say there's beauty in madness, isn't there?

The Quick Take and Fun Facts

Token bottle shot.

Quick color swatch.

Labels with serials at the base.

Standard China Glaze brush.

Seen at: Nail Polish Canada, Sally Beauty, Trade Secrets, Spa Boutique, Transdesign and wherever China Glaze is sold.
Price: $7 CDN for 14mL
***All nail swatches were done with Orly Bonder Base Coat and two coats of China Glaze Fast Track, three coats of China Glaze Luxe and Lush, and one coat of China Glaze Stone Cold unless stated. Also, I apologize for the lack of sunlight photos. I missed my window last Monday and now I've nothing but dreary, grey skies so I've had to make do with artificial light instead.

Brand/Name: China Glaze Luxe and Lush
Color: Flakie top coat
Formula: Clear base with iridescent mylar flakes
Finish: Jelly/Flakie

I had high hopes for this pretty layering polish. I mean, just look at that iridescent prettiness. It's a rainbow of colors with flashes of blue, pink, lilac, orange and yellow that are alternately seen depending on the angle and intensity of light. It's mesmerizing to see this shift in person but you don't really see much of it on the nail. That's the disappointing part. You can barely see it over white and pale blue (I thought it would pop against the blue but it just blended in; I guess the colors were too similar?) but it looked great over black and peach. This looks like it will be discerning about which colors it'll look amazing with and for a layering top coat, that immediately limits its versatility. Not good. The finish can be a bit rough, especially if you have a particularly thick layer of the polish. Top coat helps smooth everything out and gives you as even a surface finish as possible.

With Top Coat
From left to right: Over Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Blackout, Wet n Wild French White Creme, Revlon Blue Lagoon, and Barielle Skinny Dip

As cool as this looks, actually getting all these little flakies on the nail was a struggle. The flakies refused to stay put, so they get dragged all over the place while you're still trying to get them off the brush and on to the nail. I've ended up dotting the brush in places (and pretty much positioning some of the other flakes that way) that don't get enough of the flakie love. The polish formula itself was thick and goopy, understandably so when you have bigger particulates like these. To see the amount of flakies I had in the swatches, I had to do three coats. Yes, three coats. I've since realized that it probably would've been easier if I let the previous layers dry enough so that I wouldn't experience the perpetual moving around every time I'd lay on another coat of polish. I did wait a few minutes in between but this thicker formula dries longer so patience is a must. Also, I noticed this weird issue with the flakies themselves: if they bunch up in areas, they can lift and stick out from the nail, kind of like a tiny flakie protrusion that needs a heck of a lot of top coat to smoothen out. I actually ended up taking some tweezers and just taking out the excess.

District 1: Luxury

In line with the movie that just came out last weekend, we'll focus on the tributes from the 74th Hunger Games. Career tributes probably lead a life of training and hard work perfecting their fighting skills with the single goal of becoming the victor in one of the Hunger Games. Winning will earn your district a year's worth of extra resources, particularly food, as well as a special status that comes with a house at your district's Victors' Village to call your own till your death and a monthly stipend of food and money for the rest of your life. With all that at stake, it's no wonder that for the districts who can afford to train their youth, the Reaping becomes something to look forward to. Marvel and Glimmer from this district of luxury might have been ecstatic to be chosen.

Marvel, with a training score of 9 (at least in the film), is easily one of the more ruthless among the tributes. His was an arrogance that was borne of an overconfidence that he would easily make it to the finale, if not altogether win the games.  Like the school yard bully, he checked out the competition during the training session and deemed all of them to be much weaker than himself and his other career tribute allies. After all, there is much to be said about finding comfort in numbers. He was prepared to kill. His training prior to the Reaping ensured that he would not falter in taking another human being's life. He, undoubtedly, saw it only as a game, a means to an end.

Glimmer probably thought the same. While not as skilled with the bow and arrow as Katniss was, she used her sultry charms and pretty face to ensure her sponsors throughout the pageantry of events leading towards the actual games.  But she was not just a looker, she had the killer instincts to back it up. She was probably as deadly as she was beautiful, having had the training and skills to win the games. In the books, her token was confiscated when it was learned that it had a hidden poisoned spike that could surely kill another tribute if she was given the chance. This was against the rules and the only reason she wasn't punished for it is because it could not be proven that she had any prior knowledge of this.

Despite having the edge, these two died before the other tributes (career or otherwise after the carnage of the Bloodbath) because they'd been unlucky enough to enter Katniss' cross hairs. Glimmer was killed after Katniss unleashed a nest of trackerjackers on the sleeping camp of career tributes. The wasp mutations feasted on her as she died a slow and painful death. Her body, covered with stings, was bloated beyond recognition. Not even her beauty was allowed her in death. Marvel was the next to fall to Katniss. In fact, he was her first direct kill. It was in retaliation for striking out at poor little Rue, who was caught in one of Marvel's traps and later killed by him with a spear. Neither of the two, apparently, had enough training to survive Katniss.

I was never really drawn to any of the career tributes as I found their haughtiness unbecoming. Although I found that while I really didn't care for these two from District 1, I didn't hate them as much as the two from District 2. At any rate, Luxe and Lush is evidently a shout out to the luxury goods of the district that possibly included artisan crafts such as jewelry. It embodies Glimmer's name in the way the flakies sparkle and Marvel's name in the way it makes us wonder at how it possesses so many different colors at once. But like the two tributes, I wasn't all too happy with it. Especially when it came to application. As much as I didn't like it, I didn't hate it either as the flakies were unique enough to earn a high enough score, even from Hammie.

Hammie's Score:

8 Hammie Points! 

Brand/Name: China Glaze Stone Cold
Color: Dark Grey
Formula: Black with grey flecks
Finish: Matte

This is a pretty black sprinkled with tons and tons of silvery sparkles, echoing the look of older releases like Nubar Midnight from the Night Sky Collection. Together, they give an overall look that would be described as a dark grey, seeing as the silver pecks serve to brighten an otherwise black base. Stone Cold (I giggle a little every time I say the name as it reminds me of a WWE wrestler who goes by the same name) dries to a nice matte finish. Surprising how so many finishes are included in this collection! Earlier, we saw glitter, flakie, creme, jelly, foil and now we have a matte. Super awesome!

No Top Coat

This gorgeous speckled black polish was a one coater. Yep, you read that right. I only used a single coat for all of the swatch photos above. This is one seriously pigmented polish! I'd love to say I didn't have application issues because technically, I didn't. Except that Stone Cold being a matte, dry time was extra, extra fast. I mean the Flash kind of fast. It dries so fast that by the time I'm applying the next nail, the first one is already dry to the touch. No joke. Needless to say, you need to work fast with this one. I like to do a maximum of 3 strokes per nail (side, side then center) to make sure the polish doesn't dry and become a clumpy mess before I'm done laying on a coat. If you love the matte texture, you can leave it as is but you know I had to put top coat to really see this polish shine!

With Top Coat

Look at that! Top coat deepened the color but made the silver speckles shine like crazy. It's like having two different polishes in one. A win for versatility!

District 2: Masonry

Ahh. The terrible, terrible duo from District 2, Cato and Clove. Also career tributes who've been trained to win the games, both are skilled cold-blooded fighters. Between them and the other career tributes, they've decimated the total number of 24 tributes to half of that by day one. These two seem to be, by far, the tributes who hated Katniss the most. I'm guessing it was a huge blow to their ego when she was given a training score of 11 out of a perfect 12. This little nobody from the poorest district was upstaging the best of them. It couldn't have sit well with any of them, least of all Clove and Cato.

Cato was the big alpha male in the career tribute pack. He called the shots. He was, after all, a volunteer at the Reaping. But unlike Katniss who volunteered to spare her sister, Cato volunteered because he believed he has what it takes to win the games. While undoubtedly skilled in various forms of combat, his favored weapon was the sword as it allowed him to use his brute strength to its fullest. Almost in everything, it seems, his answer to various situations was to ram ahead using force. Take for instance when their alliance had trapped Katniss into climbing a tree. He kept pushing himself and trying to reach her even though he couldn't get a good grasp on the tree. He probably would've kept trying if Peeta had not voiced out the idea to wait her out by camping out at the bottom, reasoning that surely she couldn't stay up high for very long. This idea probably earned Peeta that long gash in his thigh after fighting with Cato in an attempt to protect Katniss.

Cato's female counterpart, Clove, on the other hand, was picked during the Reaping. Her weapons of choice are throwing knives and her aim with them is superb, earning her a 10 for her training score. Where Cato is brute strength, Clove is malicious in her cunning ways. She had it out for Katniss early on, attempting a strike at her even at the Cornucopia on the first day. She didn't miss, but her knife had found a different target: the boy from District 9 who was fighting with Katniss over a backpack. She might have seen Katniss as her biggest female rival and wanted to get her out of the way as soon as possible.

Clove met her match in Thresh, the male tribute from District 11, but not before another attempt at Katniss' life. She was portrayed as a vicious fighter who easily took down Katniss and gave her a huge gash on her forehead during the Feast. She probably would've killed Katniss too, if only she didn't try to draw it out and torture her prey to prolong the enjoyment of the kill. But for bloodthirsty bullies like Clove, after trying a few times to kill Katniss, finally having her at a disadvantage was too sweet to let go of too soon. This hesitation allows Thresh enough time to pull her off Katniss and hit her head with a rock, effectively killing Clove when he finds out that his district-mate Rue is killed. Cato meets an even more gruesome death as he fights to the very end. During the finale, with three of them left (Katniss, Peeta and Cato), mutts were sent to the game arena to flush all of them out so that a final battle can commence. Cato uses Peeta as a shield and hostage against Katniss and her arrows. In the end, an arrow to his hand makes him release Peeta and he falls to the mutts who happily tear at him after his exhaustion gets the upper hand. Engulfed in pain, he asks Katniss for mercy, who then shoots him in the head to end his anguish. The book even goes on to say that only a hunk of meat is left behind after the mutts are called off.

Stone Cold is obviously a throwback to the stonework trade of District 2. The polish itself looks a lot like graphite, a mineral allotrope of carbon. You know, the kind you see inside pencils. Even the matte texture mimics the look of rock. Aside from this, this speckled black could very well be the embodiment of Cato and Clove's hearts that have become more savage than human in their relentless lust to kill. 

Hammie's Score:
10 Hammie Points!

Brand/Name: China Glaze Fast Track
Color: Pale beige
Formula: Pale beige with gold flecks
Finish: Shimmer

Fast Track feels like an ordinary beige polish was added to Essie As Gold As It Gets. The sprinkling of gold flecks mimics those found in the Essie polish. It definitely makes for a more interesting neutral that's easily work appropriate. The formula might seem a bit sheer but it covers well after two coats. The color is reminiscent of Essence Irreplaceable although Fast Track looks to be a much deeper beige. I might do a comparison once I ransack see an Essence display at my local Shoppers.

No Top Coat

Application was a delight with Fast Track. I had absolutely no issues despite the consistency being a teeny bit on the runny side. Deceptively sheer on the first coat, this polish built up nicely to fully opaque at two. I liked it so much that it ended up being the polish that I wore when I saw the movie! (I thought it made a whole lot of sense to wear the Hunger Games inspired nail polish to the Hunger Games movie. Don't you think so?) Another feature I'd love to point out is how the gold flecks are always prominently displayed, even in low lighting. And would you look at that innate shine? Gorgeous!

With Top Coat

Top coat just makes this awesome neutral shine all the more. It really brings out the gold in it, doesn't it?

District 6: Transportation

Albeit unknown to us as to which particular Hunger Games the key character I chose for District 6 participated in and only mentioned in passing, Titus was easily the stand out character from this district. And probably the best to signify the savagery to which the tributes are forced to stoop to in order to survive.

I think it was such a striking moment when Peeta talked to Katniss at the rooftop before the games about how he wanted to make sure that he remained himself even while participating in the games. I'm fairly certain he knew that being thrust into a kill or be killed set of circumstances would push you to become a killer in order to survive. And of course he wanted to survive. Only those who have given up hope would rather choose death. But while the previous four tributes we've talked about are ruthless and savage-like in their quest for the win, Titus embodies the very essence of savagery that the bloodbath reduces these kids because of how the games eventually broke him.

It is said that though he started off sane, the fight to live and the seemingly senseless killing that happened all around him unhinged Titus. His mental state unraveled and he became completely feral, taking to feeding off his kills. Now, while the Hunger Games are a free-for-all sort of competition with no set rules, cannibalism was still strongly frowned upon. This became such a problem with Titus that he had to be electrically stunned just so the bodies of his victims can be extracted safely. He eventually was killed in an avalanche that people suspect was the doings of the Gamemakers in an attempt to keep the victor from becoming one who was completely insane.

Now, while I'd hate to compare a color I really like to some guy who became a cannibal, it's easy to make the connection in that this flesh-toned nude might appeal to a flesh eater. As for the transportation connection, I'm really not sure why. Maybe their cars were in the same color? Or maybe the gold represents the sparks on a sandy terrain when the trains brake? 

Hammie's Score:

10 Hammie Points! 

Finally Friday! We've finally reached the end of this four part series. We hope it's been good for you as it's been for us! While some of the colors in the collection (as pretty as they may be) may have been a reach to find connections with the Districts and the characters in the books, it sure was a lot of fun reliving the experience of reading such a great story. It's always good to find strong female characters who rise above the odds despite their failings or insecurities. And instead of ending on that horrible cannibalism note, let's end it with this:

“Fiction has been maligned for centuries as being "false," "untrue," yet good fiction provides more truth about the world, about life, and even about the reader, than can be found in non-fiction.”
                                                             -- Charles Zlotchew

Which of the 12 nail polishes in the Capitol Colors Collection appeals the most to you from a book perspective? What color do you think District 13 would be if it was included? Who's your favorite character from the Hunger Games Trilogy?


  1. I just got Luxe and Lush and Stone Cold and can't wait to try them. Thanks for the beautiful swatches!

  2. Loved these swatches/backstories =) they helped to persuade me to buy the whole collection
    btw, i think you have a minor typo: the scores are out of 12, not 10 (first paragraph of district 2 blurb)

  3. Oh, I'm sure you'll love them both, Ashley! Are those two the only ones you got from the collection? You're most welcome! :)

  4. Wow, I didn't mean to be such an enabler but thank you so much for that compliment, Dancer! :) That means a lot!

    Oh, right! Thanks for pointing that out. I'll edit it right now. :)

  5. Kicking myself for not getting Stone Cold now, I have FAst Track but think slightly too beige for my 'beige' skin!!!

  6. Thanks, Emm! It is pretty awesome. I've seen other swatches where it fell flat over black so it was such a pleasant surprise that it looked so awesome to the contrary! :D

  7. Oooh, so is it like mannequin hands for you, Esther? It *almost* is the same for me! But it's a teeny tiny bit darker so it doesn't look as terrible as if it matched seamlessly.

    Oh no! Well, it looks a lot like Nubar Midnight if you have that one already. I can get you a bottle if you still want one. Let me know! :D

  8. Yes it is a bit unfortunately but not really in a nice way! I don't mind the whole mannequin look if it's perfectly the right colour but I will end up using Fast Track for water marbling or something!! I don't have Nubar Midnight, but if you can get your hands on a another Stone Cold that would be great, do you still want back up of Fantasy Fire?? :-) (speak on Twitter no doubt soon! ) x

  9. Wow! This whole collection looks superb on you!

    I still like dress me up the most but you really do wear ALL of them so well!
    I refrained from buying all just Because they are linked to the books (though I would like to own them all).

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