Cult Nails Iconic Nail Laquer ($10.00 for 0.5 fl. oz.) is described as a “deep berry creme with gorgeous red flakes and hidden gold shimmer throughout.” It’s a medium-dark berry red that’s dark without being vampy with ruby red reflective flakes and gold shimmer. The flakes give it more dimension and depth, and though you might think they’d make the polish uneven or bumpy, they don’t. I couldn’t feel them at all; the surface was still smooth. I used two coats to get opaque color, and the formula was the right consistency that allowed for even flow of the polish over the nail without getting too much or little polish on it. I tested Iconic out for wear, and it lasted a full week with minor tip wear.
Rescue Beauty Lounge Insouciant Nail Lacquer ($18.00 for 0.4 fl. oz.) is described as a “toned-down dusty gray lilac” that’s “punked out rather than pastel with the faintest hint of shimmer.” It’s a dusty medium-dark lilac muted with gray with iridescent aqua and violet micro-shimmer. I used two coats for opaque color, and when I wore this as a full manicure, it held up really well–a solid week and a half with minor tip wear.
Zoya Touch Collection includes three nude shades: Minka (latte beige cream with a metallic kiss), Shay (desert rose sand beige cream with a metallic kiss), and Pandora (mauve beige cream with a metallic kiss).
I compared this shade against other greens in the swatch gallery, but it’s really not like anything I have (not to say there may not be a dupe out there, but I don’t know one!). It is a deeper green than Illamasqua Radium, but the way the chunky shimmer looks makes the end result differ significantly.
The formula for Essie’s summer shades was excellent overall. I only had a little trouble with Absolutely Shore, which required some patience and a more precise application (aka pay attention)–the first coat will look a little streaky, so I recommend a thinner initial coat followed by a medium-thick second coat. Despite being a lighter shade, though, it is nearly opaque in just two coats. The other five were impeccable: dense pigmentation, not too thick or thin, even flow, and just easy to work with. I typically get a week’s worth of wear out of Essie’s polishes.