YSL – La Laque Couture ‘#33 Première Neige’ Top Coat


Something about snow globes just seems like pure magic to me … finding the same effect in a bottle of nail lacquer, namely the limited edition ‘Première Neige’ (which means “first snowfall” in french) Top Coat from the YSL Northern Lights Holiday 2012 Collection, literally stopped me in my tracks. There’s an interesting story here; well, maybe not that interesting, but definitely a story …

During the past week, I had been lurking near my closest YSL counter and inquiring about when the Holiday 2012 collection would be available, but got vague replies at best. Then, a few days ago, I went to pick up an item from the CHANEL counter and casually inquired the SA about the YSL collection; specifically, I wanted the ‘Première Neige’ Top Coat. She then went to check for me (as the YSL counter was unattended) and returned with the LAST BOTTLE. Even though the display wasn’t up yet. Even though I had inquired just the night before and was met with blank stares. The moral of the story? Become friendly with an SA who has a good grasp of cosmetics and customer service — it pays.

YSL Première Neige – unshaken

YSL Première Neige – unshaken

YSL Première Neige – unshaken

YSL Première Neige – unshaken (prismatic flakes massed on the bottom)

YSL #33 Première Neige Top Coat – (CAD $27.00 10 ml/0.34 fl. oz) is pure fantasy. A clear easy flowing base bearing ultra-fine multi-chromatic and prismatic glitter that flashes primarily blue and violet, although I also catch pink & green hints as well. The contents need to be well shaken – no rolled – prior to application, as the glitter does settle onto the bottom of the bottle … exactly like that of a snow globe. Once shaken, the shimmery particles seem to dance, suspended in the base, and it actually becomes a challenge to begin application, as you could get lost for hours just staring at it! The iridescent effect is achieved in a sophisticated manner, and never overpowers your base shade – it simply enhances it.

The formula on ‘Première Neige’ flows with excellent density and provided the contents have been well-combined, the coverage is perfect. One coat offers up amazing sparkle (over a base colour), but two brings things to a spectacular level. With a relatively quick dry time, the finish is not only smooth to the touch, but incredibly glossy, making the addition of any other top coat completely superfluous.

  • over a dark shade such as black, the colour flashes range from aqua, turquoise, royal blue, ultra marine, cobalt, and purple
  • over a bright hue such as the blue shade used here, the colour flashes range from turquoise, blue, violet, and pink

The elegant rectangular bottle comes with a removal outer cap, revealing a ridged inner cap that is quite easy to grip. The brush is the traditional fan shape, with an excellent flexibility and spread to the bristles.

For the following swatches, I applied ‘Première Neige’ to all nails over the glossy black from YSL’s ‘Terriblement Noir Duo’, a black with a gel-like consistency, non-staining, and with an intense vinyl-glassy finish. I was curious to see the effect on a bright shade, and so my thumb is sporting YSL’s ‘Bleu Majorelle’.

I strongly encourage you to click to enlarge the swatch photos, so you can really grasp ‘Première Neige’s’ full effect.

YSL Première Neige in natural light

YSL Première Neige

YSL Première Neige

YSL Première Neige – removable outer cap

YSL Première Neige

YSL Première Neige – logo embossed on inner cap

YSL Première Neige & the glossy black from the YSL Terriblement Noir Duo

YSL Première Neige (over  YSL Bleu Majorelle on thumb)

YSL Première Neige

YSL Première Neige

YSL Première Neige

YSL Première Neige – angled to show purple leanings


Final thoughts: Effects top coats are nothing new in the world of nail lacquer, although definitely not prevalent with department store and high-end brands, which is part of what makes ‘Première Neige’ so unique. The fact that the contents need to be shaken in order to be “activated” is a different touch as well, along with the fact that this formula not only flows like a regular varnish (as opposed to the usually thicker, suspension-like base of other similar top coats), but provides a superior glassy finish when dry. The only problem I see, is that it’s not only limited edition, but already as elusive to find as spotting a unicorn; therefore, if you do chance upon this about-to-become-fabled beauty – no, not the unicorn – act fast, or live with everlasting regret … (total drama!)

62 Responses to YSL – La Laque Couture ‘#33 Première Neige’ Top Coat

  1. winspearean says:

    I ordered a bottle of this from the YSL site and had it sent to a friend’s house in Chicago. She sent it to me and I finally tried it last night. It is so awesome! In my haste to try it out though, I made a rookie mistake and didn’t quite wait until my polish was completely dry, A England’s Lancelot. A tiny amount of the polish got onto the brush and now the top coat has the slightest pink tinge. I could even see it in the dim bathroom light when I had to get up at 4 with my 2-year-old. Le sigh. I guess that leaves me no other choice but to buy another one before it’s gone for good. 😉

    • Eugenia says:

      Happy you were able to snag a bottle, and I can feel your frustration at having it marred; perhaps if you hold off a bit and see if the pink tinge still remains? After all, once the contents settle to the bottom, you’ll be able to tell if it’s salvageable or not. Then again, getting a backup might not be a bad idea!

  2. Pardon my French, but, holy f*ck! It’s gorgeous.

  3. Latoya says:

    The effect is beautiful, no doubt about it – but I’m more taken with the shine of this baby, WOW! It looks so glossy and slick. Love this! Probably not enough to buy it even if it weren’t so elusive, but I sure do like admiring it on your nails, Eugenia :)

    • Eugenia says:

      Thanks, my friend! Definitely glossy, slick and downright ethereal – I’ve tried layering over several different colours but my hands-down favourite is over a deep/dark shade …then it really comes to life!

  4. Rats, I forgot to look for this again! My head is not where it’s supposed to be, lol. I feel like it might be sold out by now at my Bay/Holts but I guess we won’t know until I check. I don’t have a YSL polish and don’t want to start a new collection, but this one is so pretty in that winter-white kind of way while being totally versatile… oh, Eugenia!

    • Eugenia says:

      Aww…Liz, I think you carry way too much on those shoulders of yours. As to this shade still being available, if anyone can luck out on it, then my money’s on you!

  5. I had passed on this on nordstrom online and in the store…I kept thinking I didn’t need anymore nail polish (please don’t ask). Then I saw it swatched. I just ordered it from ysl beauty, even though I could have driven to Stanford. The discounts for Cyber Monday on ysl beauty make it worth it to NOT DRIVE to Stanford and deal with the crazy people on the freeway!

    Thanks for the swatches – you rock it, my friend.

  6. Stefanie says:

    So lucky that it was not yet sold out in Gerrmany! Thank you four review and swatches. I bought it as soon as I had read (and enjoyed!!) your post. How might it look layered over chanel skyline?? Possibilties over possibilities….. All the best to you and thank you again!

    • Eugenia says:

      Thanks, Stefanie! So glad you enjoyed the review and congrats on picking it up! You’re not the first person to suggest it layered over an icy blue; I hadn’t thought of Sky Line but I love the idea and need to try that as well!

  7. seeshells says:

    I must be a head case. I just ordered this right after seeing the pics here. On my cell phone. Immediately opened up a browser window, add to cart, and bam! I’m sure I’ll love it but *shakes first at technology*

    • Eugenia says:

      No, no, no…you’re a WARRIOR!!! LOL! You won’t regret it, I promise! And, you’ll be grateful that technology enabled you to hear about this beauty — before it became too late! Have I convinced you yet? !!! :) :) :)

  8. Julia says:

    I love this! And don’t throw tomatoes, but…it’s available to US customers at the YSL website AND it’s eligible for the Cyber Monday promotion–20% off, free shipping, and 6 samples. I knew there was a reason I was biding my time before partaking in any sales today–this is one I think I’m going to take advantage of!

    It is SO important for a brand to have good sales associates. I’ve been treated very well at Dior counters–very friendly associates, always willing to go look for me, tons of perfume samples (not that those are so special really, but I only buy nail polish and no other counters show the same generosity), and one SA who put my polish in a darling Dior shopping bag. I’ve had nice Chanel associates too but overall the experience has been much lesser and I absolutely do remember such things! The same goes for the department store itself. In the situation you described I would think twice about going back to the same YSL counter, which is no good for the counter! Perhaps just a bad week, and all’s well that ends well, but still. Quite vexatious!

    • Eugenia says:

      Actually, I’m happy that there are other sources for people to pick up this lacquer! I hate showing stuff that others can’t enjoy as well. As to my experience at the counter, let’s just say that I’ve developed a bit of a thick skin as far as SA’s are concerned and have learned through trial & error to persevere. Frequently, I find myself on the teaching end of things and informing them of upcoming collections/products, which ultimately I don’t really mind — I just wish they could surprise ME for once with news!

      Good to hear you’ve had some positive experiences at your local counters!

  9. ras says:

    this is in stock on both nordstroms and the YSL website. in fact the YSL website is having cyber sale today so i just got it for $20 US instead of $25.

    • Eugenia says:

      Thanks for the update! I checked as well, and you’re so right! Hopefully others can benefit from this information as well!

      • ras says:

        (i was agonized after seeing your beautiful swatches… so i felt a little less awful about buying myself a holiday present due to the sale!! )

      • Eugenia says:

        :) See? Now you’ve already gotten your holiday present out of the way AND you got it on sale! Not bad at all…I’m happy you were able to score this beauty, as so many people will be left disappointed that they couldn’t!

  10. Linda says:

    Love it, Eugenia! No wonder you wanted it! Even just having the bottle, I would play with it all day…Ah well, will have to live vicariously through you!

  11. I don’t need Premiere Neige. I don’t need Premiere Neige. I don’t –

    *sees Eugemia’s post*


  12. Jess says:

    Gah, Eugenia…whhhyyyy do you keep doing this to meeeee?? I’m trying to buy LESS polish, not MORE, and you are NOT helping! :-)

    In all seriousness, this is AMAZING. All I can think right now is “musthavemusthavemusthave.” :-)

    • Eugenia says:

      GoGetGoGetGoGet…..LOL!!! Sorry Jess; I may or may not have broken out into a cold sweat when the SA who was handling this last precious bottle I was about to buy, almost dropped it in her rush to show it to me…thank God it all turned out well!

  13. It’s like snow melted onto your nails! PRETTY PRETTY Big Sis!

    • Eugenia says:

      YES!!! That’s exactly it! I think that melter snow effect will be even more realistic if I pair this with a frosty white polish….*runs away to dig through stash*

  14. feeraa says:

    That is gorgeous. Want want want!

  15. Melodimo says:

    I really enjoy your elegant and thoughtfully written reviews. Thank you.

  16. It’s like SNOW. Like snow fluttering and being all beautiful and…cold. Hahahahaha. I actually don’t like snow very much. Well, it’s pretty to LOOK at, not to be in.

    • Eugenia says:

      LOL!!! Tell ME about it!! I am so NOT a cold weather person, but this is definitely my kind of snow! And yeah….it flutters and swirls and falls, but not sure of this YSL”snow” is cold, lol!!!

  17. sobsessed says:

    Absolutely dreamy, Eugenia!! Love the beauty of this in the bottle, never mind on the nail! Am going to check my Shoppers to see if they have it…though $27 is more than I would want to spend on polish, I am thinking this beauty is well worth it. Even as “art” for my office. lol!

  18. Sandi says:

    That’s cute how you have to shake it like a snow globe! And it looks amaaaazing! Maybe the YSL SAs were pretending to not know what you were talking about so they can save the stash for themselves!

    • Eugenia says:

      Lol! If it weren’t for the fact that the SA I originally spoke to was NOT from the YSL counter, I might be inclined to think that!! It’s more a case of the counter having received a very small supply (as in only 9 bottles) and 8 were already reserved for other customers who requested them in advance. Not to mention that some SA’s deliberately hold some items for their preferred regular clients whom they then give first dibs to. Unfair, but that’s how this business works sometimes.

  19. Absolutely magical! That first picture is so gorgeous, definately makes me feel like I have to go stalk a ysl counter now too!

  20. Good morning Eugenia!
    I’m wondering if this is like Clarins 230 — one of those elusive polishes that I have to get, even if it’s not that impressive (to me) immediately — since I’ll regret it so badly if I don’t!
    What are your thoughts?
    Beautiful pictures, by the way. But as always!

    • Eugenia says:

      Thanks so much, Duffi! I don’t own that other fabled beauty, the Clarins 230 and since I wasn’t that heavy into brands other than CHANEL when the Clarins was originally released, I never paid it attention but something tells me that this YSL is poised to become equally famous. As I said, if you get the opportunity, don’t let it out of your grasp!

  21. beachgal says:

    This is lovely…I am always a fan of toppers that are shimmer toppers that don’t leave any grit behind. This reminds me a lot of a fav CND Effects I have that I think it called Blue Ice or Blue Shimmer.

    • Eugenia says:

      I believe you’re right about it being similar to ones put out out CND, although I couldn’t say for sure because that’s not a brand readily available to me. Also, I don’t know if the CND versions need to be “activated” like this one does — part of the whole snow globe experience that just gets me every single time!

  22. 😀 You’re right about SAs!!
    I really love your pictures Eugenia, they are beautiful but not “unreal”…
    Anyway I don’t think I will go polish hunting for this top coat (one bottle more available here in Italy, then), as I’m usually lazy when it comes to layering and I already have a lot of shimmery/flakey top coats that I systematically forget to use 😛

    • Eugenia says:

      Thanks so much! I try hard to capture the “essence” of each polish and let readers know in advance what they will potentially be getting — happy to hear it’s appreciated! :)

      I can understand how time-consuming layering can be…I’m guilty of being totally lazy in that respect as well, lol! I just could not resists this top coat – even less so when I was holding it in my hand!

  23. Sonia Martins says:

    Hi Eugenia! I hope you are doing well. this top coat is absolutely amazing, I saw it two weeks ago in another blog and I knew I wanted it. Your review and swatches just makes me want it even more. It can give a complete different life and depth to any other colour. I have a question, and since you own other YSL colours, you might be able to help me. I am interested in a shade that YSL has, but I never bought any of their polishes. Do you think the brush is good? I am asking because the bottle seems to be taller and more elongated than several other nail polishes, for example Chanel or Nars. I have two polishes which bottle is tall and the brush has a very long cable, the handle itself is relatively small and so is the brush. I find it hard to control the flow and application, especially on my right hand. Also, overall, do you think the nail polish lasts? Can you have a full week with minor chips and tip wear?

    Thank you very much and take care*

    • Eugenia says:

      Hi Sonia! Thanks for the kind words – glad you enjoyed the swatches!

      I have personally been a huge fan of YSL lacquers for many, many years and have never had an issue with them — with the exception of ‘Utopian Turquoise’ (a vivid blue shade) that left major staining behind. As to the brush & wand, I find it to be not only very user-friendly, but quite easy to control and the bristles of the brush never splay out like some other brushes can. Overall, I highly recommend the brand – even for wear time; it’s been a while since I’ve worn a nail polish for longer than 3 days on my fingernails, but I have been wearing the combo seen in the swatches on this post for 4 days now, and it’s still going strong – no chips or dulling at all! Hope this helps!

      • Sonia Martins says:

        Great, it helps 😀 thank you very much! Oh I am sorry for your experience at the YSL counter, but at least all ended well! If a new product is due to arrive soon, and you really want it, could you reserve and then collect it?*

      • Eugenia says:

        I’m fairly certain that I could do that; that’s part of what I meant when I said it pays to befriend your makeup SA’s – they often go the extra mile for you when you take the time to cultivate a solid relationship!

  24. nawi says:

    I totally agree was lucky enough to get this after stalking the ysl counter here in Holland. I love it so much have no top coat like this in my collection makes any nail colour look great, I am even thinking of getting a back up which I normally do not ever do. Thanks for yet another great review and beautiful pictures!

    • Eugenia says:

      You’re so very welcome, Nawi! If I could find a backup, believe me — I’d snatch it up in a heartbeat! I’m still stunned that I was able to get this bottle, especially considering it seems to be already sold out everywhere!

What are your thoughts, beautiful?