The Emperor’s New Manicure

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I’m finally getting around to reviewing several products from Zoya’s relatively new Naked Manicure line.  I hemmed and hawed for a long time about whether to buy any of them, then waited for a sale.  A really good sale.  Bought these last month — the Base Coat ($12), the Pink Perfector ($10), and the Lavender Perfector ($10) — and by doing so I got the Satin Seal Top Coat free plus a trio of full-sized limited edition polishes free in a promotion that was going on at that time.  I really wanted that LE trio!

I didn’t get the White Tip Perfector because the white part of my nails is already white enough, and frankly I thought of it as just one more step.

After receiving the Naked Manicure (NM) products, I put off trying them, for no particular reason.  But now I have.  And you get to hear me talk about them.  In a word, disappointed.  😦

Zoya makes quite a few claims about the NM system and I’ve read glowing reviews from other bloggers.  Zoya says there are instant benefits of “Improves the appearance of damaged and/or discolored nails,” with long term benefits of “Improves the condition, strength, & flexibility of the nail with vitamins, proteins & botanicals over time.”  Admittedly I haven’t given the products a long-term test yet and will be reporting first impressions today.

NM 1

NM 2

Ingredients lists of the base coat and top coat (click for a larger view):

NM 3

First I applied the clear base coat.  It had a very strong, unpleasant, chemical smell.  Here are my nails with just this base coat.  They aren’t normally great but aren’t terrible either.  I do notice a little yellowish discoloration in the white part of my nails but feel my nail beds usually look healthy (of course, the day I say this I have an obvious white ding on my middle fingernail).  This and other photos are under indirect bright outdoor light unless otherwise noted.

NM base

Then I applied the perfectors, pink on two nails and lavender on two others.  These did not smell bad or strong at all.  After one coat I couldn’t see any difference at all.  Ditto two coats.  After three coats (sigh) I detected a slight blush of color.

NM pink bottle

NM lavender bottle

Finally, after rolling the bottle of Satin Seal Top Coat between my hands to “activate the bi-phasal formula” per the instructions, I applied one coat.  It smelled stronger than the perfectors but not as strong as the base coat.  And here’s the result, first under indirect bright outdoor light and then with the flash.

NM satin top coat

NM satin top coat flash

I’m so underwhelmed I hardly know what to say.  Perhaps I’m not the person at which these products are aimed.  Perhaps my natural nails are already so perfect and gorgeous (ha ha) that I don’t need the NM system.  More likely, I am difficult to please when it comes to anything that makes a ton of claims.

For a better comparison, here’s the photo of my nails with just the base coat next to the one with base, perfectors, and top coat.

NM base vs. all products

Yes, they do look better.  The whites of my nails don’t look at all yellowish any more.  The finish feels very smooth, and the appearance of any vertical ridges is reduced.  Maybe there’s some cool stuff going on at the cellular level too.  As far as the Pink Perfector vs. the Lavender Perfector, I think the lavender reduces yellowness better, which makes sense since lavender/purple is the opposite of yellow.  But I think it makes my nail beds look slightly blue, as if I had poor blood circulation.  I prefer the Pink on my nail beds.

Overall, what I feel I’ve done is spent time, effort, and money on products to make it look like I’m not wearing polish.  I would rather wear colored polish.  But maybe you have a job where you can’t do that.  An alternative for me would be to wear nothing but a sheer pink-tinted top coat.

Have you tried any of the Naked Manicure items?  What do you think?  Greatest thing since sliced bread, or too much hype?


15 responses »

  1. First, I loved the clever title of this post. I think perhaps you heard too much hype about the Naked line so your expectations were a little too high? Like you, I don’t want to spend time and money on a process that leaves me looking like I haven’t polished my nails. I do think the “after” pic shows some improvement, but it’s like you (jokingly) said — your nails simply aren’t bad enough to need all that help! They look quite healthy in the “before” shot.

    I’m curious to hear what you think of that satin trio. I’m really into dark yet muted colors for fall, but I didn’t like the look of that satin finish. I suppose a matte top coat would take care of that, but it’s too late because I missed the sale. 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment! You’re right in that I read a ton of hype about the NM system and my expectations were too high. Zoya has been pushing it SO hard!

      I might have been a tad too harsh because my “after” pic definitely shows some improvement in that there’s no yellowness in the white of my nails. But in my “lazy bee-yotch” opinion, it’s not $30+ and five coats worth of improvement.

  2. Thanks for the swatches. I was looking forward to them and your opinions, since you are always honest. Especially, since I was seeing before and after pictures customers posted on Zoya Facebook, and was having a heck of a time seeing any difference. I figured it was just me. Maybe, it has to stay on your nails for a longer period of time. I just don’t know. My nails don’t look so good, but I do have health issues, and I’ve heard that can effect the look of your nails. Your nails look really good, so maybe if your nails look good in the first place, you wouldn’t see any improvement. I was hoping for something that would magically change the look of my nails, making them look more healthy. But, I am just not convinced enough of that to purchase them. Still haven’t bought my next 2 polishes I want, Cinnamon, and Aggie. Now, I’m wondering when we might see some Holiday colors. Thanks for posting. I appreciate it. Suzy

    • You’re very welcome. And I thank YOU for motivating me to get off my duff and swatch these. I do think they are a great option for someone who has severe nail yellowing and/or very noticeable ridges in her nails. I certainly ended up with a very smooth finish…. but smooth finishes don’t thrill me. Cinnamon and Aggie, now, **they** thrilled me! 😉

  3. So glad you wrote this blog. I was on the fence, but ordered it with the recent promotion. After reading this, I canceled it. Don’t know what I was thinking. My rule is more than 2 coats of anything, other than base and top, is a big no for me. Happy that I saw this in time to cancel. Thanks!

  4. I’ve not been able to see what all the fuss is about either. And frankly, I don’t even really understand it. The whole thing seems way too complicated to end up with the same effect I can get with 1-2 coats of my Sally Hansen Triple Shine pink tinted clear polish.

  5. mistletoeandhitch

    Great post and terrific pictures but I’m with you, there’s just too much hype on the whole “naked manicure”. I love Zoya Polish and own a lot of it but I’ll be skipping the Naked Manicure.

  6. Pingback: Interstellar | The Silver Nail

  7. I used the promo and got the LE trio, some regular polishes, and the free Satin Seal, not realizing it was part of the NM system! Wonder how it would work as a topcoat with regular polish? I use Sally Hansen Rehab when I want to put something protective and “sort of nude” on my nails and I don’t have time for a full manicure.

  8. Pingback: Build your own Naked Manicure kit from Zoya | The Silver Nail

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