Category Archives: duochrome

The best polishes of 2015

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Disclosure:  The Zoya and SinfulColors polishes were previously supplied by the company for review.

I started doing a “best of the year” post last year and thought I’d do it again.  Once again, I’m only covering nail polish because I don’t think I reviewed enough makeup to have a “best of” for that.

Roll film!

Best Pink:  Cherry Blossom from SinfulColors

Cherry Blossom flash

I didn’t see as many foils this year as usual, and it’s my favorite finish.  Sparkly yet not glittery, and no brushstrokes.  Cherry Blossom’s shade of pink made me happy just to look at it.

Best Red:  Ember from Zoya


What a glowing red, nothing plain about Ember.  Excellent formula too.

Best Gold:  Date Night from Nonie Creme Color Prevails

Date Night outd

Foil.  Give me more foil.

Best Green:  Honor from Zoya

MV15 Honor outd

Honor, from the Winter MatteVelvet Collection, is obviously matte (duh) and in the photo I show it compared to Zoya’s previous Veruschka.  They were almost exact duplicates, and Veruschka is no longer available.

Best Blue:  Yves from Zoya

MV15 Yves outd

Yves is another from the Winter MatteVelvet set.  It and Honor both had a fantastic formula.

Best Lavender:  Rose Dust from SinfulColors

Rose Dust

This baby applied like a dream and was perfect for spring.

Best Purple:  Giada from Zoya

Flair Giada

I’m addicted to these shimmery, violet-toned purples.

Best Blue-Purple:  Yeah, it’s a new category for me.  I loathe the term “blurple,” which sounds like a rude digestive noise, but that’s what many people call that color in between blue and purple.  Anyway, I loved OPI’s Cosmo With A Twist.  Here it is both without and then with a matte top coat.

Cosmo waT outd2

Cosmo waT mattified

Best White, Gray, or Silver:  Aspen from Zoya

MV15 Aspen outd

Like sparkling snow!

Best Brown:  Cinnamon from Zoya

Flair Cinnamon

Best Duochrome or Multichrome:  Cabin Fever from China Glaze

Cabin Fever outd

Cabin Fever flash

Pink, copper, gold, green — Cabin Fever had it all.

Best Top Coat and Best Glitter:  Mr. Wrong from Nonie Creme Colour Prevails

ColPrev Mr. Wrong two coats

This is two coats of Mr. Wrong over a black creme.

Overall, I felt 2015 was kind of an off year for polish, even though there were many individual ones I loved.  First — and this is purely personal preference — there was a yawn-inducing, mind-numbing prevalence of sheer and/or skin-toned neutrals in the fashion world and for the most part I say BORING.  Secondly, where was the innovation, new finishes, new and exciting colors?  (That’s a rhetorical question — they were buried in mannequin-hands neutrals).

But still, the final winners of BEST POLISH:  It’s a tie between Ember and Cabin Fever, pictured above.  Ember, while “only” a red, is not plain by any stretch of the imagination.  It seems to glow with an inner light.  Cabin Fever was so interesting and different that I want to keep it as a pet in a cage and stare at it.

Picking a BEST COLLECTION of the year was difficult, as there was no one set where I loved every single color.  But the closest was the fall Flair Collection from Zoya:



Yep, I love fall and fall polishes, the rich colors, the anti-neutrals.  Hope I chose some of your favorites too.  Happy New Year!!

Disclosure:  The Zoya and SinfulColors polishes were previously supplied by the company for review.

Cabin Fever, the polish

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I’ve talked about cabin fever the mental state before; today let’s talk about a polish named Cabin Fever.

Really liked the new China Glaze (CG) I got the other day, Wood You Wanna? from the fall set called The Great Outdoors, and I mentioned that Ulta was having a BOGO sale (now expired as far as I know) on all CGs.  What fun is a BOGO if you only get one?  So of course I got two.

The other one I picked up was Cabin Fever, an interesting multichrome.  More than just a duochrome, it flashes mostly copper and rosy pink but also has a greenish-gold shift.  I don’t have anything quite like it.

The formula is good although upon first application it seems frosty and streaky.  However, as it dries it self-levels extremely well and made brushstrokes a non-issue.  Under indirect bright outdoor light, with the flash, and in direct sunlight:

Cabin Fever outd

Cabin Fever flash

Cabin Fever sun

Same lighting conditions but at a different angle:

Cabin Fever outd2

Cabin Fever flash2

Cabin Fever sun2

Wow, looks like I’m holding three different bottles but I assure you it’s just the one.  As you can see, different colors in Cabin Fever are visible under different light and at various angles.  In direct sunlight it even looks bronze.  Really a fun, interesting polish — it’s like the changing autumn leaves in a bottle.

Comparisons for the Flair Collection from Zoya

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Disclosure:  The Flair Collection polishes and some comparison polishes were provided by Zoya for review.

Hope you enjoyed my Flair review the other day.  Time for comps (on my newly-cut nails)!

Flair bottles

To recap, the new shimmery colors are:

Tris (ZP813) – blackened brushed nickel
Cinnamon (ZP812) – classic bronze
Aggie (ZP811) – gold liquid metal with bronze microglitter
Ember (ZP810) – fiery red
Giada (ZP809) – purple with a hint of fuchsia pearl
Estelle (ZP808) – blue liquid metal with a blackened base

Zoya’s had several dark shimmery grays in recent years:  Freja, Cassedy, Claudine, and Yuna.  I’ve never owned Freja and I did have Cassedy but gave it away.  Here is Tris compared to Yuna and Claudine.

Flair comp5

No dupes.  Claudine is neutral and was a one-coater.  Tris required three coats and like the other day, brushstrokes were a bother.  Yuna has gold flecks that, when seen against the dark gray, give it a greenish tint.  Cassedy was also greenish and I don’t care for that in a gray polish.  For more gray comps without Tris, see this older post, especially the pictures submitted by a guest reader at the end.  Very helpful!

I have nothing really close to Cinnamon in my Zoya stash.  Here’s Cinnamon along with Kalista and Cheryl, but you can see even without swatching that Cinnamon is lighter and more bronze, while the other two are darker.  Kalista has a plum tone and is still available at Zoya’s web site but Cheryl is discontinued.

Flair comp3

Aggie is also unique.  Here it is next to Ziv but they aren’t that similar.  Ziv is a straight-up light gold metallic/foil and Aggie is a multichrome with copper and green shifts.  My full review the other day showed Aggie at more angles.

Flair comp1

Ember has a slight orange tone that makes it different from true reds.  I don’t have Elisa for comparison but do have the maddeningly similarly named Lisa, along with a reader request of Knees Up from Butter London.  Both Lisa and Knees Up are darker and more cool-toned, and the latter is more glittery.

Flair comp2

I had lots of shimmery purples to pull for comparison with Giada.  While I don’t own 2012’s Suri, I do have Belinda, Hope, and Juno.

Flair comp6

Whoa.  Hope and Juno are obviously much more pink and frankly I wonder why I have both of them!  Belinda is more blue-toned than Giada and also has slight pink sparkles.  Giada seems like more of a straight purple, but again, I don’t have Suri to compare it to but feel other bloggers will do that.

Estelle just begs to be shown next to the very popular Song, also from 2012.

Flair comp4

Song is darker but is a sweet one-coater.  As you can see, Estelle is slightly lighter, and I used two coats.

Hope these pics help you to make buying decisions.  I feel Cinnamon and Aggie are unique in Zoya’s lineup, still love Ember, still don’t care for Tris, and like Giada more than I did the other day.  Estelle is a very pretty polish but I personally prefer Song.

Worth noting is that today Zoya announced mini sets of both the Flair and Focus Collections.  Each set of six minis is $30, which is slightly more expensive than buying three full-sized polishes, but you gotta remember that for any company, a lot of the cost is in the packaging.  And with either mini set, you get a free Mini Color Lock System and free shipping.  Maybe go in with a friend or relative and split the cost and polishes!

Zoya Flair Focus mini sets

Disclosure:  The Flair Collection polishes and some comparison polishes were provided by Zoya for review.

The Flair Collection from Zoya — full review

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Disclosure:  These polishes were provided by Zoya for review.

The Focus and Flair Collections are out!  Due to popular demand, I’ll be swatching the metallic set, Flair, first.


Tris (ZP813) – blackened brushed nickel
Cinnamon (ZP812) – classic bronze
Aggie (ZP811) – gold liquid metal with bronze microglitter
Ember (ZP810) – fiery red
Giada (ZP809) – purple with a hint of fuchsia pearl
Estelle (ZP808) – blue liquid metal with a blackened base

Flair bottles

I’m having a hard time swatching this week — temps are soaring, humidity is plummeting, and the outdoor ambient light is yellowish due to smoke from nearby wildfires.  I had to stop and try again at a different time.  For all polishes unless otherwise noted, I used two coats with no top coat and each color is shown under indirect outdoor light.

Tris is indeed a dark nickel gray.  I think I see a slight greenish cast.  Zoya calls it cool-toned but I think it’s a neutral.  It was sheerer than I expected and required three coats, which led to a slight problem with brushstrokes.

Flair Tris

It’s OK, not crazy about it.

Cinnamon, oh Cinnamon.  How I love thee.  It’s a molten brown-bronze and is one of those polishes where, once I’m wearing it, I keep holding my hand out at arm’s length and admiring the color.

Flair Cinnamon

Wouldn’t this look gorgeous if you were wearing, say, a loden green sweater or an orange-red jacket?  Brushstrokes were a bit problematic but I feel the trouble was with the weather and not the polish.  When I got to my last swatches late yesterday it seemed as if polish was drying as soon as I touched my nails.

Aggie is quite the unusual one.  While I expected a duochrome look from the promo bottle shot, it’s even more than that.  Aggie seems to have a sheer dark grayish base that makes the polish much more than gold.  It’s gold at some angles, coppery at others, and has a dusty blue-green sheen at others.

Flair Aggie 1


Flair Aggie 2

Can you see the glints of copper?

Flair Aggie 3

At first I couldn’t even decide if I liked Aggie or not, and then I decided that yes I do.  It’s refreshingly different, not — I repeat NOT — the world’s umpteenth dupe of Chanel’s Peridot.  In 2012 everybody was trying to dupe that one.  Here’s an OPI I had that was a Peridot dupe and you can see they’re very different; Aggie is more of a bronze-gold and much less green.

Ember is a great name for this glowing red shimmer.  I think it’s warm-toned and is slightly but not overtly orange-ish.  Like, you know, embers.  Definitely not a plain red.  It seemed to have a particularly smooth formula.  I am SO wearing this with a denim shirt!


It looks like I have an extra light shining on Ember but I don’t.  Call this baby Rudolph, ’cause you could even say it glows!

Giada is a very dark cool-toned purple, not blackened but with a fuchsia shimmer.  It was almost but not quite a one-coater.

Flair Giada

Zoya calls Estelle “blue on blue,” which us oldies may remember as the name of a Bobby Vinton song.  No heartache on heartache with Estelle, though.  I thought I’d need three coats because the first one was so sheer, but two were enough.  By the way, did you know Vinton recorded an entire album of blue-themed songs?  The super-popular “Blue Velvet” came from that album too.

Flair Estelle

My surprise favorite in the Flair Collection is Ember, and I also love Cinnamon and Aggie.

My recommendations?  Pick what you love.  Hoped I’d love Cinnamon and I did.  Didn’t think I’d love Ember but I did.  Giada and Estelle are beautiful but I feel I have several polishes that are dupes or nearly so, but if you don’t have any that are close I highly recommend them.  Aggie’s the kooky cousin that comes to visit — some people don’t know what to think of her but you love her ’cause she’s stylish and different.  Tris is not my cup of tea.

The Focus Collection review will be up tomorrow, hopefully, and I will continue through the weekend with comparison posts.  Want me to compare certain other Zoyas to Focus and Flair?  Just ask!

ZOYA IS THE HEALTHY COLOR OF FASHION!  The Focus and Flair Collections are shipping NOW!

$9 (US) Available on and at finer salons and spas.

*BIG5FREE: Formula contains no formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, or camphor, and is vegan-friendly.

Disclosure:  These polishes were provided by Zoya for review.

How about a little fresh (fl)air?

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Disclosure:  This polish was provided by SinfulColors for review.  A comparison polish was supplied previously by Zoya for review.

When it rains, it pours.  For weeks it seemed like I had little or no new polish to swatch but now I’m inundated.  I’m still catching up on my new SinfulColors plus just got the notification that my Zoya Focus & Flair samples have shipped!  That’s not even counting some lovely new makeup that’s arrived or is arriving.  FedEx packages, come to Mama.

Here’s another polish from SinfulColors’ Class Act  collection.  I’ve swatched a demi-matte and a glitter topper from the collection, a shimmer, and a creme.

For something quite summery-looking, here’s Burst of Fresh Flair.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with this polish.  One of the first SinfulColors I ever got was the pastel yellow called Unicorn years ago.  I wore it a few times but it stained my nails horribly so I tossed it.

Burst of Fresh Flair is a sheer light yellow shimmer with a faint bluish duochrome glint.  Here are photos then I’ll discuss.  The first picture is under indirect bright sunlight and the second is with the flash.

Burst of Fresh Flair and comps outd

Burst of Fresh Flair and comps flash

On my little (right-most) finger, I have one coast of Burst of Fresh Flair (BoFF).  You can see how sheer it is.  On my ring finger next to it I have three coats of BoFF.  You can still see visible nail line.

On my index (left-most) finger, I have two coats of a taxicab yellow creme called Darcy from Zoya, and on my middle finger I have two coats of BoFF over two coats of Darcy.

No matter how you look at it, I think yellow polish gives me Lobster Hands aka makes my skin look too red.  But I love the color yellow in general.  What to do, what to do.  I think Burst of Fresh Flair, because of its sheerness, would work best as a top coat.  Could be fun over, say, green or orange.  You may have a warm skin tone that would look lovely with one coat of BoFF  worn solo as some sheer sparkle.  I like to wear pink or lavender that way.

BoFF reminds me of Daisy from Zoya, but Daisy has more of a turquoise shimmer to it.  Also, BoFF did not stain my nails although I only wore it for the short swatch time.  I recommend always using a good base coat.

SinfulColors are SRP $1.99 for a full-sized 0.5 oz/15 mL bottle but are on sale through Saturday for 99 cents each at Walgreens.

Disclosure:  This polish was provided by SinfulColors for review.  A comparison polish was supplied previously by Zoya for review.

SinfulColors online:



Shine on with OPI

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Disclosure:  This polish was supplied by Sleek Nail for review.

Last month I mentioned how online retailer Beyond Polish is now Sleek Nail.  They are definitely “beyond polish” and I’m thrilled that they’re carrying a huge selection of Nyx Cosmetics makeup, my new favorite drugstore brand.

But let’s shine with some polish today, specifically a brand-new polish from OPI’s “Fifty Shades of Grey” line called Shine For Me.

Shine For Me is a silver and blue dazzler.  It’s a clear base with silver shimmer and tiny blue glitter.  The formula was comfortably thick, but since the base is clear I needed several coats for good coverage.  I used three coats of Shine For Me and then a clear top coat to smooth out the very slight grittiness of the glitter.

Under indirect snowy outdoor light and then with the flash:

Shine for Me

Shine for Me flash

The polish itself is so sparkly that the camera flash pic is almost too shiny!  The sheerness of Shine For Me means it would also make a great top coat for other colors — perhaps over black or over a medium gray such as another polish in this OPI collection, Embrace the Gray.  Grey.  Gray.  Whatever.

I love blue polish and I love silver polish, so I love Shine For Me.   It’s not just a wintery color either and would be great any time.

As previously posted, Sleek Nail has a deal especially for readers of The Silver Nail.  Use code SILVERNAIL10 to get 10% off your first order when you create an account.

Disclosure:  This polish was supplied by Sleek Nail for review.

The best polishes of 2014

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Disclosure:  Most of the Zoya polishes listed were supplied by the company for review.

Although I’m wrapping up my third full year of blogging — thanks to all my readers! — I’ve never done a year-end “best of” roundup but thought it would be fun to start.  I’m only going to feature nail polish, because even though I started reviewing makeup in 2014, I don’t feel I covered enough products to have a “best of” in makeup.  The polishes I’m spotlighting were mostly new in 2014, but some were merely discovered by me for the first time this year or were re-releases.

Shut up and show us the polish!,” you say.  Here goes.

Best Pink:  Dana from Zoya


This is an older creme that just makes me happy to look at.  Smooth as glass, it looks both modern and retro.

Best Red:  India from Zoya

Ignite India

India’s a dark red foil with a touch of gold sparkle that was part of the Ignite Collection.  Excellent formula.

Best Gold:  Oxford Street from SquareHue

SqH Sept14 Oxford

Yellows and golds are hard colors for me to wear successfully.  Oxford Street has a slight pumpkin tone that made it a great fall choice.

Best Orange or Copper:  Autumn from Zoya

Ignite Autumn

Yep, fall in a bottle, that’s what Autumn is.  Also from the Ignite Collection.

Best Green:  Dillon from Zoya

Awaken Dillon

Dillon, from the spring Awaken Collection, is a slightly blue-toned color that reassured me, yes, I can wear light green without making my skin look red!

I love blue polish so much that I have two awards, for light blue and dark blue.

Best Light Blue:  Rebel from Zoya

Awaken Rebel

This one is robin’s egg blue perfection, also from the Awaken Collection.

Best Dark Blue:  Remy from Zoya

Ignite Remy

Another one from the Ignite set, this marvel was a one-coater.  A little bit teal, a whole lot gorgeous.

Best Gray:  Full Steam Ahead from Butter London’s Steampunk Collection

Steampunk Full Steam

So creamy and glossy!

Best Black:  Dovima from Zoya


Dovima w tc

A matte, Dovima can also be worn with a clear shiny top coat to make it sparkle like the night sky.  A very versatile polish.

Best Purple:  Haven from Zoya

Wishes Haven outd

From the recent winter Wishes Collection, Haven is deep but with a bright flash.

Best Duochrome:  Barkers from Butter London

Steampunk Barkers flash

It’s green!  It’s purple!  It’s weirdly fascinating!  Also from the Steampunk collection.

Best Top Coat:  Pure Icicles from Pure Ice

Pure Icicles

This top coat was like playing in the snow.  It’s so much fun over a variety of colors, and had just enough sparkle and glitter.

Best Budget Color:  Rich In Heart from Sinful Colors

Rich in Heart2

A dark, vampy red, it’s blackened but not black, with some plum and brown tones.  Beautiful, stylish shade, and I got it for 99 cents, typical for a Sinful Colors sale at Walgreens.

I didn’t pick a Best Glitter because I frankly couldn’t decide.  Zoya had a lot of lovelies this year, between all their PixieDusts plus the spring Bubbly Collection.

And now, the final winners of BEST POLISH:  It’s a tie between India and Remy, pictured above.  Remy had an amazing formula, with one coat providing perfect coverage, and I love the dark teal blue.  But India is also a beautiful foil and I feel I would wear it more often since it’s red.  I love both.  And it should come as no surprise that my BEST COLLECTION of the year is….

…. Zoya’s Ignite Collection.

Zoya Entice Ignite 5

Zoya Entice Ignite 2

There wasn’t a runt in this litter.  Every single color was a great foil that was exactly what I wanted for fall.  It’s a hard act to follow!

Did I touch on some of your faves for 2014?  What would you have chosen?  Happy New Year!!

Disclosure:  Most of the Zoya polishes listed were supplied by the company for review.

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