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FullfavnaThis week, I decided to conduct a little experiment. I took my four favorite nail polish brands and painted them in the usual fashion.

nailmemeThis involves 1 base coat, 2 colored coats, and 1 top coat. The most important factors I look for when deciding if I like a polish are how smoothly it applies and how long it can go without chipping. Other aspects I consider are price, opacity, dry time, and imprinting. By imprinting, I mean when fingerprints and nail marks are left on the surface of the nails long after they are supposed to be dry. I’m far from a nail expert, as this post title suggests, so there may be another term for what I described.

OPI Nail Lacquer – Oy-Another Polish Joke

Gold

Base Coat: Smith & Cult Basis of Everything

Top Coat: OPI

My first experience with OPI came from my first pedicure. I remember choosing Hawaiian Orchid and marveling at how long the polish lasted on my toes. I’ve been hooked to OPI ever since! This gold shade is one of the oldest polishes left in my collection (2 years old). I don’t usually wear it alone and prefer to layer it over a darker polish. After one week, this is still in nice shape!

Spellbound Nail Lacquer by Liberty Republic – Medallion

silverBase Coat: Smith & Cult Basis of Everything

Top Coat: Spellbound Liberty Republic Eternal Gel Topcoat

I found this line through Wantable a year ago and was impressed by how smoothly I could apply the polish. I should note that the top portion of the left nail view on Day 4 looked just like that on Day 1 when I missed a spot. Overall, I am still happy with the results.

OPI Nail Lacquer Venice Collection Mini – Amore at the Grand Canal

OpRedBase Coat: Smith & Cult Basis of Everything

Top Coat: OPI

I received this in my Birchbox and as you can see, I did a poor job on this one from the very beginning. The minor gaps around the edges suggest that it has a decent wear time. However, I really struggled (and failed) to create a streak-free look.

Spellbound Nail Lacquer by Liberty Republic –Jinx

SalmonBase Coat: Smith & Cult Basis of Everything

Top Coat: Spellbound Liberty Republic Eternal Gel Topcoat

It wasn’t until I received this polish that I confirmed that the smoothness of Medallion was not a fluke. It takes almost no skill to get beautiful results. My Day 1 photo is an appalling representation of Jinx’s performance. The right nail view on Day 7 is where the brunt of the chipping occurred. Otherwise, it held up as well as the others.

OPI Nail Lacquer – Dulce de Leche

nudelipBase Coat: Smith & Cult Basis of Everything

Top Coat: OPI

Even on the smoother area of the nail on Day 2, imprinting occurred. I’m not sure if this is somehow related to the nail polish or if I did not apply enough top coat, as none of the other nails showed imprinting to this degree.

Formula X Effects Nail Color – Loose Cannon

splotthuBase Coat: Formula X Prime Preparer

Top Coat: Formula X Shine Brilliance

This is the newest polish in my collection. It was going strong until Day 7. I don’t know what I did to cause the giant missing chunk at the top. My paint job on this was very bumpy and uneven from the first day.

Smith & Cult – Pillow Pie

palepinkBase Coat: Smith & Cult Basis of Everything

Top Coat: OPI

This is sheer and takes 3 coats to become opaque. I have a bias and admittedly don’t understand the appeal of sheer polish on its own. It’s a pretty color which, again, I botched on the first day.

Formula X Effects Nail Color – Voodoo

fuschiaBase Coat: Formula X Prime Preparer

Top Coat: Formula X Shine Brilliance

This is one of my Christmas gifts from last year. The color is gorgeous and although it applied super smoothly, it chipped a bit more than some of the other polishes.

Smith & Cult – Lover’s Creep

SCredBase Coat: Smith & Cult Basis of Everything

Top Coat: OPI

I love this color and just wish that it was more opaque.

Formula X Effects Nail Color – Juju

blueBase Coat: Formula X Prime Preparer

Top Coat: Formula X Shine Brilliance

I believe this was part of a duo pack with Voodoo and that the results are even better. There is no chipping at the top, just at and around the sides like all the others.

Juju, Medallion, and Oy-Another Polish were the top contenders this week.

What I learned:

1) I have a lot to learn! Even the best polish can look horrible without enough practice, knowledge, and skill.

2) I need to moisturize my hands! I had no idea my fingers looked so dry until I had to take daily closeups.

3) Liberty Republic is officially my favorite nail polish brand!

4) OPI isn’t the holy grail I once thought it was (still good but I’ve found better).

5) Formula X isn’t consistent across the board. This is also evidenced by the varying reviews among the different Formula X lines on Sephora’s website. For example, the Electrics have only 2.5 stars but the Shifters have 4/5.

6) I have done better paint jobs using Smith and Cult in the past. It has staying power but the frustration of building up color and it becoming streaky knocks it off my favorites list entirely.

7) I should test whether the different base coats and top coats made a difference in chipping and texture. I should also see if the results would differ based on which fingers get the most use on my hands.

I hope that by my next nail post (in the distant future), I will have improved my technique!

wholeh

❤ Lili

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