Clearly I have a love affair with nail polish. I am all about sporting a natural visage, but on my hands I love bright hues on a daily basis. In the summer I indulge in bolder nail colours because, if you live here in Montréal, weather that permits your hands to go mitts-free obligates celebration. For the past few months I have been loving coral, pink and rose shades that had me venturing into some unexplored hues on the colour wheel (though my hands remain too shy to go too far into the glitter and textured territories). This summer I have been wearing and test driving nail polishes from five different brands: Estée Lauder, L’Oreal, Joe Fresh, Revlon, and Essie. Here is my round up of my favourite shades and formulas.
Estée Lauder’s 06 Berry Hot
There is nary an Estée Lauder product in the makeup stash, except for this one nail polish from a department store gift with purchase that was passed down to me as a gift. Free nail polish? OKAY. I was intrigued by the bright and pigmented shade, one unlike any other nail polish that I currently own, which is best described as a vibrant, cool-based metallic fuschia. The formula coats evenly and is almost opaque with a single swipe so that you can get away with two coats sandwiched between a base coat and a top coat (I use Revlon base coat and top coats for all my manicures). The wear is pretty good, but slightly below average because I found the metallic formula was prone to minor flaking at the edges. However, the colour remained vibrant and true for a week’s worth of wear.
L’Oréal’s Smell the Roses
I have not used L’Oréal nail polishes in a very long time, but I heard about their new Colour Riche formulas and a lot of positive chatter on the Internet. So I picked up their shade in Smell the Roses to replace my Essie Angora Cardi, which is quite similar in colour. It is hard to tell from the photos, but L’Oréal’s Smell the Roses is slightly lighter than Essie’s shade with a creamier base and muted, neutral undertones. L’Oréal’s formula is also quite excellent, and in fact one of my favourite nail polishes at least for this shade since formula performance can vary by colour. It goes on opaque in a single stroke, so I can get away with two coats only. This is also the best performing along with Revlon (below), with the most minor wear at the tips after one week.
Joe Fresh’s Mango
Another brand of nail polish I have never tried is by Joe Fresh. I did not even know this Canadian brand made nail polish since Joe Fresh products are sold at Loblaws-owned supermarkets and free-standing Joe Fresh retail outlets, both located away from central Montréal. However, since Loblaws’ recent acquisition of the Canadian mega-pharmacy chain, Shopper’s Drug Mart, Loblaw’s instore brand items including Joe Fresh will be popping up in Shopper’s Drug Mart stores (Pharmaprix here in Québec) in the near future. The shade, Mango, is a unique, vibrant pinky-coral cream that is rosier than captured in the above photo. I have never seen a similar shade in nail polish before, so I was excited when this item was gifted to me (I am very lucky to have some generous nail polish fairies). The formula is opaque in two coats, though you can increase coverage with a third coat, and wears quite well though not at the exceptional rate of that of L’Oréal or Revlon’s. The colour also faded quicker than Estée Lauder’s formula by the end of the week.
Revlon’s Cherries in the Snow
Revlon’s Cherries in the Snow is one of the cosmetic empire’s original colours, having been introduced in an ad in 1953 asking women, “Does any man really understand you?” The shade remains popular to this very day, with bloggers loving the translation of the colour in both a lipstick and nail polish formula. I absolutely love this on my nails and have been using the same nail polish bottle for about four years, and somehow the formula remains fluid and wearable. Revlon’s nail polish formulas for dark and bright hues, such as Cherries in the Snow, tend to outperform all nail polish brands out there, while some lighter shades I have tried by Revlon tend to be a hit or miss. Hence, I very much recommend this deep raspberry hue, not just because of its vibrant, cool berry colour but because the polish is opaque in two coats and will stay on your tips the entire week.
Essie’s One of a Kind
Last but not least, I love Essie’s bright orange cream shade, One of a Kind. I actually bought this one by mistake because I was reaching for my other favourite shade by Essie, Geranium, but somehow came up with One of a Kind instead. Like Geranium, you cannot find One of a Kind at a drugstore as per several Essie shades here in Canada, but you will have to trek to a specialty beauty outlet to grab a hold of this shade. It is beautiful and perfect for summer, and for comparison’s sake the colour is a tad lighter and more orange than the coral shade of Geranium. The formula is also excellent as expected from Essie, requiring two coats to achieve opacity and showing minor tip wear by the week’s end.
For my base coat and top coat, I rely on Revlon’s ColorStay Base Coat and Revlon’s Extra Life No Chip Top Coat. I have used both formulas for a long time, and for their price and performance, as well as the fact that Revlon’s nail products are free of formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, these two buddies are your best friends. All the nail polish brands mentioned, above, are also formaldehyde-, toluene-, DBP-free.
For more information on the Big Three chemicals found in nail polish and the brands free of these ingredients, visit All Lacquered Up.