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Essie Wicked, 3 coats plus top coat.

Wicked is a classic, and with good reason. This is one that will flatter a wide variety of skintones. I’ve actually used about half my bottle, which says something when you consider how much nail polish I have. It’s a jelly, so it has that squishy, glossy finish, but by the same token it is also a little trickier to apply. If you wait a couple minutes between coats and keep them thin, you’ll be fine. 

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Jin Soon Azurite, 2 coats plus top coat.

Best navy shimmer ever. I would definitely suggest being careful with application/removal, because Azurite is pigmented as hell and will turn your cuticles blue. Totally worth it, though. There wasn’t much sunlight when I took these pictures, but there is a subtle holographic effect in the right light.

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Essie Leading Lady, 3 coats plus 1 coat of Gelous and 1 coat of Seche Vite.

I’m torn about this one. On the one hand, it’s so sparkly and pretty! On the other hand, it is a massive pain in the ass to apply and to clean up, which you can probably glean from the photos. I found it to be rather gloopy (technical terminology right there) and difficult to spread evenly. Kind of like jam, or preserves. But still. Sparkles. 

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Sally Hansen Gem Crush Showgirl Chic, 2 coats over 2 coats of Orly Shine.

So sparkly. So distracting. Both polishes applied smoothly and without any fuss, but as expected, removal was a massive pain in the butt. Totally worth it, though. You could probably get Showgirl Chic opaque with a couple more coats, but layering is so much easier.

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Essie Cashmere Bathrobe, 3 thin coats plus top coat.

Greys can be tricky for me, but this one works since it’s got some blue in it. The formula is pretty thin, so I would recommend using 3 thinner coats instead of 2 thicker ones so you can avoid getting it all over everything. I’d also like to point out that I got great wear out of this mani: 7 days, zero chipping, barely any tipwear. 

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Revlon Divine, 2 coats plus top coat. 

Okay, I’m finally done obsessing over Royal Rajah Ruby backups. I promise. My bizarre obsession with this color notwithstanding, Divine is actually pretty excellent. The formula is nice and easy to work with, so I didn’t have to do much cleanup.

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Happy Hands Feliz Navidad, 3 coats over a ridge filler.

Sadly, this is no longer available as Happy Hands has closed up shop. If you find it at a blog sale or something though, it’s totally worth it. Never thought I’d like a color like this, but it is so cute, and surprisingly flattering. The formula has room for improvement, but it’s not an issue if you let each coat dry a bit before the next.

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SHCSM Fairy Teal + Maybelline Clearly Spotted.

I like this combination. And Clearly Spotted. I think it’s easier to use, and nicer-looking than Lynnderella Connect the Dots, honestly. I like the lack of bar glitter, the lack of shimmer in the base, and the variety of hex glitter sizes. This combination got me a few compliments, actually! That’s always fun.

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SHCSM Fairy Teal, 2 coats.

I like this teal. It has a bit of a tendency to stain the surrounding skin if you’re not careful, but it applies so easily and smoothly that I don’t really find that to be an issue. It’s almost solid in 1 coat, too. Great for those days when you want your nails to be painted but don’t want to fuss with streaky crap that needs 4 coats for opacity.

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China Glaze Stone Cold, 2-3 coats plus top coat.

I have to admit, I think I liked it better matte. Top coat didn’t help the wear, either. Oh well.