Sunday, March 15, 2015

L'Oréal "Masked Affair": Swatches & Review

You may have heard of this one by now - it certainly created quite a buzz - L'Oréal Masked Affair!

So what's the story? Back in January/February, L'Oréal released the Dark Sides of Grey collection made up of six polishes not so subtly inspired by (but sans official licensing) the movie inspired by a book inspired by a book: 50 Shades of Grey. The six polishes were just fine (check them all out here) but one in particular stole the show. Hiding in an otherwise unassuming collection was a holographic gem: Masked Affair. Once pictures started showing up on Instagram feeds, it quickly became the "must have" polish of the moment. But with only two bottles in each display, it also earned "hard to find" status. I was lucky enough to track it down at Bed Bath & Beyond. Let's take a look!

Masked Affair is a pale silvery lavender nail polish with lots of holographic particles. In certain lighting, the color appears more silver. The holo isn't as intense as a linear holo like Color Club Blue Heaven but isn't as sparse as Zoya's holos, for example (like these). Instead, Masked Affair's holo falls somewhere in the middle and creates a lovely twinkling effect.

Coverage is thin but the formula isn't watery. I found it to apply a touch streaky and needed three coats for an opaque finish. Also, and this sounds weird but it's true, I noticed Masked Affair had very little nail polish smell when I applied it.

The holo is visible indoors and it doesn't appear dull.

Flash! See how it looks more silver here?

Left: no flash | Right: flash

Masked Affair is a lovely holo nail polish and the drug store price makes it even more appealing. At Bed Bath & Beyond, L'Oréal nail polishes retail for $4.99 (the price is higher at drug stores around NYC). If you come across Masked Affair, I would recommend picking it up! But if you can't find it, I'm sure there will soon be another "must have" drug store nail polish to track down :)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Zoya Naturel Satins 2015 Transitional Nail Polish Collection - Matte, Glossy, and Wear Test

Zoya Naturel Satins collection and Cirque Colors Holdfast™ Base Coat provided for review. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Curious about what the new Satin finish nail polish from Zoya looks like with matte top coat and glossy top coat? So was I! Let's take a look.

With matte top coat, you can really tell just how not matte the Satin polishes are. One coat of Essie's Matte About You (which is one of the matte-est matte top coats out there, IMHO) consumes any remaining trace of shine in the Satin finish and ever so slightly lightens the color. This is the grey-blue Tove and I'm wearing matte top coat only on my pointer and ring fingers.

With glossy top coat, the Satin polish is transformed into a "regular" nail polish. In comparison to a glossy finish, the Satin finish looks dull. Here's Sage with top coat on my pointer and ring fingers.

Wear Test

I wore Ana for three and a half days and was very pleased with how well it held up. Underneath, I wore Cirque Colors Holdfast™ Base Coat (which is really growing on me as I use it more and more). I didn't experience any chipping and there was just a little bit of tip wear. This was quite impressive, especially considering there's no top coat involved here to help extend the wear time. The Satin finish does gradually polish to a shinier-than-when-I-started look, which is similar to what I've experienced when wearing a matte nail polish. Here are my nails after three and a half days of wear:

Have you tried any of Zoya's Naturel Satins nail polishes yet? What do you think? In case you missed it, I reviewed all six Satins polishes here.

Zoya nail polishes retail for $9.00 and the Naturel Satins collection is available online.

Zoya Naturel Satins collection and Cirque Colors Holdfast™ Base Coat provided for review. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Weekend Shopping: Pizza Hut Nail Polish (and more)

mmm river slush

If you're just here for the Pizza Hut nail polish link - here you go :)

Hi there and happy weekend! How's your winter going? Even though it's February and winter feels like it will never end, I've seen lots of spring collections popping up in stores and on my Instagram feed - I'm sure you have, too!

Here's what I'm shopping for this weekend:

Pre-order Cirque Colors' spring 2015 Awakening Collection.

Zoya's spring 2015 Delight collection is available online now.

Harmon Face Values in Chelsea consistently gets the good stuff... they have the new spring Essie Flowerista collection as well as the Nicole By OPI Coca Cola collection already! I *almost* bought Blossom Dandy but decided it was too close to Mint Candy Apple. I may end up changing my mind about that.

Speaking of Harmon, there's a new bluemercury coming soon-ish right across the street. It's still under construction, but the sign is up!

Nordstrom has three exclusive Deborah Lippmann spring 2015 colors: Come Fly With Me, Let's Stay Together, and You've Got A Friend. Link!

Incoco's Emerald City St. Patrick's Day collection.

Pizza Hut nail polish (not actually available for purchase, but real nonetheless).

Sushi socks (via Design Fetish).

I'm also loving...

Instagrammer you need to know about: Sarah McG (@sarahmcgphoto).

Leslie/Work Play Polish, Sarah/Chalkboard Nails, and Simcha/Miss Pop Nails were lucky enough to tour the OPI headquarters in LA!!! Don't miss Leslie's post all about it here.

See swatches and comparisons of the OPI Brights 2015 collection over at

The Orchid Show opens tomorrow at the New York Botanical Garden!

Frozen waves.

What color is the dress? What are you shopping for this weekend?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Coming Soon from Cirque Colors: The Awakening Collection + Matte Look™ Top Coat

Nothing brightens up a cold Monday in February quite like a new collection announcement from Cirque Colors! I know press releases travel around the internet incredibly fast these days, but in case you haven't seen or heard about this one yet, allow me to share with you these first images from The Awakening Collection + Matte Look™ Top Coat.

all images via Cirque Colors [source]

The transition from winter to spring marks the rebirth of mother earth and the revival of the human spirit. Inspired by the coming season, The Awakening Collection is a limited edition 5-piece ensemble of modern spring hues each with a unique shimmer effect. Love Stone, a soft pink with golden shimmer, was inspired by the rose quartz and it's emanating energy of self-love and compassion. New Moon, a sparkling slate gray, symbolizes the vernal equinox and a renewed sense of self. Awaken from your winter slumber with spring on your fingertips. [from the press release]

Love Stone - a petal pink with gold sparks

Hatch - a speckled white

New Moon - a concrete gray with silver sparks

Gaia - an inky black with silver flakes

Qi - a blue turquoise with gold sparks

I'm intrigued! These polishes are more subdued for Cirque (with the exception possibly being Qi - it's hard to gauge how bright that blue really is!) but at the same time, they still have that edgy Cirque-y-ness. The flecks of shimmer add a sophisticated softness and I'm thinking they will be even more dimensional in person (ex: Iris & Galinda). Also, points for a good "collection" vibe - Love Stone and New Moon in particular seem like they were made for each other. And may I just add: "♫♫♫ I think that she knows, think that she knows... ♫♫♫" ...anyone?...

The Awakening Collection will launch on on March 9th, but it's available for pre-order now - link! All five polishes are limited edition and retail for $13 each.

But wait, there's more!

Matte Look™ - This special effect top coat will instantly transform your look from glossy to matte.

The latest edition to Cirque Colors' expanding line of nail treatments is a matte top coat. I have no doubt that this will be amazing, as everything Annie releases is just awesome - I can't picture her putting the Cirque Colors logo on a sub-par product. Matte Look™ Top Coat retails for $10 and will also launch on on March 9th. You can pre-order it now - link!

Does anyone else feel like doing a Cirque manicure to celebrate? :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Zoya Naturel Satins 2015 Transitional Nail Polish Collection - Swatches & Reviews

Zoya Naturel Satins collection provided for review. Read my full disclosure policy here.

"Zoya Naturel Satins is a collection of six new, neutral nail polish colors in an ultra-wearable, low-sheen, chic satin finish. A hybrid between matte and glossy polishes, the new Zoya Satin* formula provides opaque coverage and is longer lasting than traditional matte shades. The flawlessly smooth finish hides imperfections and creates a luxurious, satin finish nail look.
"The Satin formula is a hybrid between matte and glossy polishes and is not intended to be worn with a top coat.
"For best results: Prep nail with Zoya Remove Plus Nail Polish Remover, apply base coat and finish with 2 thin coats of any Satin polish." [source: announcement from]

After Zoya subtly declared textured polish as being "so over"* by discontinuing retiring their PixieDust line (which are still available - while supplies last?), I'm sure I wasn't the only one wondering what the Zoya fairies had up their sleeves. Enter: the Satin finish. It's not quite matte, though far from glossy, and it's even a little textured. The best way to describe these polishes is that they have an eggshell finish.

*OK "so over" is a strong declaration - a lot of us still love PixieDust - but it is true that Zoya is retiring them... check out Work Play Polish's post all about this topic here.

For the debut Satin finish collection, Zoya chose a soft color palette and is promoting these colors as being appropriate to wear during the transition between winter and spring (inter-seasonal?). Like their Matte Velvet polishes, the Satin polishes come in elegant frosted glass bottles.

With an eggshell finish and soft color palette, the six Naturel Satin polishes struck me as looking like wall paint. I was pretty set on this revelation and remembered that I had a little booklet of Martha Stewart paint colors (because I just can't bring myself to throw it away). Sure enough, I found a very close match to each polish in a Martha Stewart paint. And yes, I have pictures for you.


Ana is a chalky beige cream. For being a light color, this polish had decent pigmentation although the first coat did apply a little streaky. All was fine after I applied the second coat. I'll talk more about the formula and application at the end. You can see how with the Satin finish the light is still reflected, but it's muted.

If you're thinking Ana would be a lovely color for your walls, Martha Stewart's paint in Cotton Candy is pretty darn close.


Brittany is a dusty mauve. The color reminds me of Zoya Rue and unfortunately, like with Rue, Brittany doesn't really get along with my skintone. I want to like it and I'm sure it looks really good on lots of people (sadly, not me). The formula was just fine and I'm wearing two coats. Here you can see the slightly textured finish - it's a little pebbly.

Brittany looks like Martha Stewart's paint color called Rosewater, don't you think?


Leah is a grey taupe with a hint of lavender. The Satin finish of Leah was more shiny for some reason. I'm wearing two coats.

Martha calls this color Wisteria Blue.


Rowan is a chalky and brownish-greyish taupe. It's kind of the color of dust bunnies :/ The Satin finish of Rowan was more flat looking and you can see more little textured bumps. I'm wearing two coats.

Martha Stewart also makes a paint in this color - it's called Cavern. BTW the color right under Cavern was something about squirrels.


Tove is a desaturated blue that in certain lighting would pass for grey. In the bottle, I actually thought it was more grey but once I saw it on my nails, I saw that it was in fact blue. Sorry, that was a really boring story. AND THEN I FOUND FIVE DOLLARS. I'm wearing two coats if you're still with me...

You better believe Martha has a paint this color - she calls it Shale.


Sage is a dusty... get ready... sage green. The formula was especially good and coverage was almost perfect in one coat. I'm wearing two.

If you want a room painted in this color, pick up Martha Stewart's Milk Pail.

Formula and Application

I found the formula acceptable and consistent for each of the six polishes. While the first coat is borderline sheer, all is covered up with a second. The formula isn't runny. Dry time is no shorter or longer than with a "regular" polish, although overall it might take longer if you typically use a quick-dry top coat in your routine (as the Satin finish polishes are intended to be worn sans-top coat). The semi-matte finish appears as the polish dries - the thicker the coat of polish you apply, the longer it will take for the finish to appear. In fact, you might be tricked into thinking your nails are dry once you see the semi-matte finish, but take care as you will still be able to dent them until they have fully dried.

I read a couple of reviews where gals reported very different experiences with both the application (number of coats) and formula. While I didn't experience troublesome streaking, extreme sheer-ness, or anything particularly difficult about the application, it's worth mentioning that others did.

Ana, Brittany, and Rowan dried with more shine than Leah, Tove, and Sage did. I'm not sure why... maybe it had to do with the amount of polish I used in each coat?

Wear Time

I wore Ana for five days and experienced a little tip wear. No chipping. The Satin finish gets a little shiny, but otherwise the manicure held up quite well and I was impressed. This post is getting long so I'll show you pictures of my old manicure another day :)

Thoughts About the Satin Finish

I had some reservations about the semi-matte finish but fortunately the Satins didn't end up looking like dull nail polish in need of top coat. The finish feels soft and I liked feeling my nails... nothing weird. I also got a kick of out getting to skip the top coat step... one less thing, am I right? So while not Chris-Pine-riding-a-unicorn-serenading-baby-pandas-with-David-Bowie-songs thrilling, the Satins are more I-just-bought-awesome-new-nail-polish-that-I-can-wear-to-my-"has-a-no-wild-nail-polish-rule"-job exciting. Also, Zoya Satins strike me as perfect for editorial purposes. I predict we'll see the Satins on the runway at NYFW!

Now, what I really want to know is... which of the Naturel Satins hues would you paint your walls with?

Zoya nail polishes retail for $9.00 and the Naturel Satins collection is available online.

Zoya Naturel Satins collection provided for review. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Weekend Shopping: Cirque Colors' "Mirror Mirror" Restock, MAC's New Studio Nail Lacquers, Zoya Satins, and More!

a scene from Tiffany's 5th Ave holiday windows

Happy January 2015! I hope the new year is off to a fantastic start for you. There are sales and new things happening all over the place, so let's get right to it :)

Cirque Colors' hit silver foil nail polish Mirror Mirror is back in stock! While you're on the site, definitely check out the sale page.

MAC's new Studio Nail Lacquers for 2015 look intriguing - even if one of the polishes is named Kale Salad.

I found China Glaze's holiday 2014 Twinkle collection marked down (I think it was 50% off...) at Harmon Face Values in Chelsea.

Coming January 15th... the "next generation of Zoya Naturel": Zoya Satins! The skeptical side of me is saying "can't you just throw a matte top coat over nude polish", but knowing Zoya, I'm thinking these will have a little something else to them :)

If you're into grey polish, be on the lookout for OPI's Fifty Shades Of Grey collection.

Save an additional 40% off sale items from J Crew with code STYLE2015.

Even more sales... Racked NY shares with us 100+ sales to kick off 2015.

I'm also loving...

Every week, this hairstylist hits the streets of NYC and gives free haircuts to the homeless (insert clapping hands Emoji).

Time + color

Also for color lovers - here is a complete listing of colors in the L.L. Bean Home Fall 2014 Catalogue.

This neat visual representation of how many photos are uploaded to Instagram (spoiler alert: it's a lot).

What are you shopping for this weekend?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Favorite Nail Polishes of 2014

With the exception of Dance Legend Top Prismatic and ILNP Masquerade, the products in this post were provided for review. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Wow where did 2014 go?! With 2015 just hours away, I can't believe it's New Year's Eve... and time for another annual "best of" post! Unlike years past when I've had to create NCAA bracket-like devices to narrow down my favorite annual polishes, 2014 was a different story. Outside my clear favorites, there were a lot of OK nail polishes (ex: the OPI Brazil collection), but it's not like there were dozens of colors fighting to claim a top spot.

Let's get to it - here are my favorite polishes of 2014 presented in order alphabetically by brand:

Cirque Colors "Cerrillos"

In April, Cirque Colors released a colorful seven piece holographic collection with formulas the applied like high quality cream nail polishes. My favorite color in the Heritage collection and one of my favorite polishes of 2014 is the vivid bluish turquoise Cerrillos. Full review and more pictures here.

Cirque Colors "Kontiki Collection"

In August, Cirque Colors blew my mind with three limited edition vivid nail polishes packed with color-shifting shimmer: Dear Dahlia, Thicker Than Water, and Midsummer Night. Of the three, I could not pick a clear favorite and decided the entire Kontiki Collection deserves to be on my favorites list. Full review and swatches here.

Cirque Colors "NYFW"

In September, Cirque Colors began releasing one to two cream colors each month and is slowly building a rainbow of cream nail polishes. The debut color in this endeavor, entitled the Metropolis Collection, was a brilliant blue called NYFW. What a way to kick off a collection! NYFW glows like the blue screen of death and applies perfectly, putting it at the top of my favorites list this year. Full review and more pictures here.

Dance Legend "Top Prismatic"

Dance Legend Top Prismatic sounds too good to be true - take any nail polish, add one or two coats of Top Prismatic, and you'll have a holo version of whatever polish you layered it over. I'm happy to report that yes it really does "holo-ify" any color! I love the way pastel holos look in particular - pastel holos for 2015, anyone? I fell in love with this magical polish the moment I saw it reviewed on Nihrida's blog and after checking the Llarowe website a few times, finally landed on it one day it was in stock. Check out Nihrida's beautiful swatches here. HOLO ALL THE THINGZ!!!

layered over Zoya Blu

ILNP "Masquerade"

One of my first ILNP nail polishes also became one of my favorite polishes of 2014... now I just need to properly swatch it for you :) From the summer 2014 collection, this is the strangely beautiful color shifting nail polish Masquerade. You've probably seen this one by now, but if not (or even if you have!), head over to Very Emily's blog for a full review.

Zoya "India"

From Zoya's fall 2014 Ignite collection, India lit up my nails. The internet went crazy for Sansa but this rich reddish purple nail polish with a ton of complex shimmer was one of my favorites this year. Full review and more pictures here.

Zoya "Remy"

Another gorgeous polish from Zoya's Ignite collection, wearing Remy is like looking into a bottomless & mysteriously crystal clear water cave. Full review and more pictures here.

Zoya "Yuna"

Also from Zoya's fall 2014 Ignite collection, Yuna is the cool greenish-grey nail polish with gold flecks of shimmer. It's so strange and awesome, I just had to include it. Full review and more pictures here.

Notable in 2014 was the slow but inevitable demise of the textured nail polish trend. The life cycle of this trend wasn't as dramatic as the crackle top coat trend, which seemed to crash and burn as fast as it rose in popularity, but instead, textured nail polish had a nice run and is slowly fizzling out. Also unlike the crackle trend - where did I put that bottle of Black Shatter? - I'll keep wearing textured polishes (Zoya Chyna and Tomoko come to mind). In its place, I'm sure another trend will come along - what will it be? I've got a feeling it might be the satin finish...

I'd love to know what your favorite polishes of 2014 are :) Thank you for reading Gotham Polish. I wish you a fantastic 2015!

With the exception of Dance Legend Top Prismatic and ILNP Masquerade, the products in this post were provided for review. Read my full disclosure policy here.