Filed In: Nail Polish Comparisons

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone Nail Lacquer (Limited Edition)

GA #214 Woodstone opener


The Fall 2014 Fade to Grey Collection from Giorgio Armani Beauty, is filled with softly elegant autumnal shades but what makes the products really stand out, is their textures. Of the four limited edition nail lacquer shades, I was sent #214 Woodstone (CAN $32.00) to try and I confess that it was instant love for me … plus I really love the name.

What seems at first to be a rather ordinary brown shimmery polish, is in fact so much more complex than that – it took even me by surprise. The bottle colour shows #214 Woodstone to be cross between bronze/taupe/brown filled with an ultra fine prismatic shimmer and that’s exactly how it appears on the nail (it actually looks like rich chocolate as well) – with the difference that the final finish is closer to a buttery suede, although the shimmer is still present and accounted for. The formula is highly pigmented (this can basically be a 1-coater, especially on shorter nails) and bears an excellent flow, applying in a self-levelling way which eliminates any visible brush strokes. Giorgio Armani Beauty lacquers are made to be worn without the need for either a base or top coat, although I wouldn’t recommend ever skipping your base coat. The brush is yet another unique aspect of this range: densely bristled but not excessively so, with the rounded tip helping nail polish spread smoothly and evenly along the nail bed. BONUS: non-staining upon removal. All swatches are with 2 coats, top coat only where indicated.

Unlike other matte/satin finish lacquers that seem to dry at the speed of light and make it a challenge to achieve a smooth, brush stroke-free finish, #214 Woodstone takes a couple of minutes to fully develop, which means you don’t need to rush your application. A steady hand is key in achieving the smoothest finish (again, to avoid the possibility of visible brush strokes, something many matte shades can be prone to) but the finally result is so totally worth the your patience.

I personally absolutely LOVE this type of finish as I find it edgy and unique, almost 3D-like due to its fine texture, but for those still not on board with matte/satin nails (but seriously, matte has been seen on all the runways for the past few seasons now and is still going strong — something to consider), you always have the option of adding top coat – 1 coat is enough to achieve a glossy finish (unlike some other textured polishes that literally eat up top coat, forcing you to add layer upon layer). Still, my opinion is that top coat takes something away from the overall effect, but it also manages to bring out all the shimmery bits.

My initial impression on seeing #214 Woodstone, was how much it resembled another favourite, CHANEL’s #247 Haute Chocolat (discontinued), and they are indeed very similar, with the CHANEL being just a few degrees deeper/browner but with both bearing the same unique shimmer. For those who collect CHANEL lacquers and missed out on that beauty, here’s your chance to scoop up something very close in tone & colour.

NOTE: in the last 2 comparison swatch photos, #214 Woodstone is shown with top coat, CHANEL’s #247 Haute Chocolat without top coat



Giorgio Armani Beauty | Fade to Grey Fall 2014


FALL 2014 - VAO 214 - Fd Noir

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone


GA #214 Woodstone

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone


GA #214 Woodstone logo

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone


GA #214 Woodstone macro

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone


GA #214 Woodstone macro 2

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone


GA #214 Woodstone swatch

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone


GA #214 Woodstone swatch 2

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone (in sunlight)


GA #214 Woodstone swatch 3

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone (in sunlight, alternate view)


GA #214 Woodstone swatch with top coat

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone (with top coat)


GA #214 Woodstone swatch 2 with top coat

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone (with top coat & in sunlight)


GA #214 Woodstone vs CHANEL Haute Chocolat

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone vs CHANEL #247 Haute Chocolat (discontinued) on ring finger only


GA #214 Woodstone vs CHANEL Haute Chocolat 2

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone vs CHANEL #247 Haute Chocolat (discontinued) on ring finger only


I absolutely love this colour, and even without swatching the other three lacquers of this collection, this would still have been the only shade I would have wanted. Everything about #214 Woodstone — from the name, the colour, to the finish — says ‘Autumn’ to me and almost makes the coming colder weather bearable. My only issue is with the cost; I don’t get how this brand’s lacquers can be $20.00 in the US and yet jump to $32.00 here in Canada, which basically prices them far out of reach of the average consumer. That’s something I hope the company addresses soon (other items from the range are actually significantly less expensive here – go figure), because the quality of these polishes is truly outstanding and well worth collecting.

Available now, be aware that the lacquers are limited edition. Find more information via:


GA #214 Woodstone closer

*Disclosure: Press sample provided by the company/PR for my unbiased consideration

Essie Spring 2014 Collection with Comparisons

Essie Spring 2014 opener


At first glance, you might be tempted to think that there’s absolutely nothing that unique about Essie’s Spring 2014 Collection, but one swatch of each shade would prove you dead wrong. The six colours shown, are a wonderful representation of the season but yet classic enough to be easily worn throughout the year.

Essie Spring 2014

Essie Spring 2014


Romper Room – a soft petal pink hue that was probably the only fussy one of the entire group, but as I’m 100% addicted to white-leaning shades, Romper Room is so worth the extra effort. As with many pastels, the first coat may apply a touch patchy – I found it easiest to work 3 thin coats with a good wait time in between each for the best results. Final look is self-levelling and highly glossy. Coats applied: 3 (thin), plus top coat

Essie Romper Room swatch

Essie Spring 2014 – Romper Room


Spin the Bottle – a buttery smooth nude with pink tints in the base for a touch of warmth that applyies with amazing coverage: self levelling, non-patchy, and very glossy at the finish. Oh yeah, and my new favourite nude shade. Coats applied: 3 (thin, for photo purposes), plus top coat

Essie Spin the Bottle swatch

Essie Spring 2014 – Spin the Bottle


Fashion Playground – a semi-sheer celadon green hue with ultra-fine silvery shimmer that remains hidden for the most part, but can occasionally flash when it catches the light. I FREAKING LOVE THIS COLOUR. Very retro appearing – think Fender Stratocaster guitar or FireKing mixing bowls, and completely unique in my Essie collection. Coats applied: 3 (thin – that 3rd coat is TOTALLY worth the extra step), plus top coat

Essie Fashion Playground swatch

Essie Spring 2014 – Fashion Playground


Truth or Flare – a semi sheer Wedgewood chine blue shade with a dusty/translucent appeal and in a jelly formula, rendering it totally self-levelling and über-glossy at the finish. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat

Essie Truth or Flare swatch

Essie Spring 2014 – Truth or Flare


Hide & Go Chic – a denim blue, hybrid crème-jelly hue so highly colour saturated, that you barely need more than 1 coat for full coverage. Self levelling and ending in a glossy shine, the bonus is that it is also completely non-staining upon removal. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat

Essie Hide & Go Chic swatch

Essie Spring 2014 – Hide & Go Chic


Style Hunter – a tropical rich magenta hue in a crème-jelly ultra pigmented hybrid formula with an absolutely superb flow, opacity and application. Self-levelling, ridiculously glossy and non-staining upon removal, this is a colour that will be highly flattering on a broad spectrum of skin tones. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat

Essie STyle Hunter swatch

Essie Spring 2014 – Style Hunter


Essie Spring 2014 comparison nail wheel


The following comparisons are all using Essie shades in tones I found the closest to the Spring 2014 hues – all are 3 coats applied, no base or top coat:

  1. Romper Room
  2. Guchi Muchi Puchi – similar tone but slightly bluer based, less opaque than Romper Room
  3. Better Together – warmer toned, peach-tinted, sheerer than Romper Room
  4. Fashion Playground
  5. Absolutely Shore – no shimmer, much paler green but with similar sheerness to Fashion Playground
  6. First Timer – no shimmer, more opaque than Fashion Playground
  7. Truth or Flare
  8. Bikini So Teeny –  silver shimmer throughout and brighter than Truth or Flare
  9. Lapis of Luxury – more blue based but with same dusty tone as Truth or Flare
  10. Coat Azure – densely shimmer packed, bluer and more opaque than Truth or Flare
  11. Spin the Bottle
  12. Not Just a Pretty Face – very similar in tone but much sheerer than Spin the Bottle
  13. Topless and Barefoot – sheer, paler and more beige in tone than Spin the Bottle
  14. Style Hunter
  15. Wife Goes On – crème formula, a brighter pink base and a touch more opaque than Style Hunter
  16. Hide & Go Chic
  17. Mesmerize – brighter and bluer based than Hide & Go Chic
  18. Smooth Sailing – cornflower blue base filled with fine prismatic shimmer and sheerer than Hide & Go Chic


I found something to love about each and every shade of this collection, with Romper Room, Fashion Playground, and Spin the Bottle total standouts for me personally. I can already see Style Hunter as a sandal-worthy pedi shade, and even though the Truth or Flare and Hide & Go Chic will transition beautifully into the cooler months down the road, they are both bright enough to wear now as well.

The Essie Spring 2014 Collection is available now – find more information via:

Essie Spring 2014 closer

*Disclosure: Product samples provided by the company/PR for my unbiased consideration



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OPI – Peace & Love & OPI with comparisons

OPI Peace & Love & OPI comps opener


Sometimes it seems like nail polish brands are on the same wavelength; with OPI’s San Francisco Fall 2013 release coming out at the same time as that of the Essie Fall 2013 launch, the shade that stood out from both collections was a gorgeous duo chrome. Naturally, I needed to know how close the two really were and that curiosity led me to hunt out a couple more similar shades. The following breakdown is how they compared:

All swatches are with base and top coats.

index finger: Deborah Lippmann ‘Wicked Game’ – the sheerest of the four, most apparent lilac tones, grey in the base quite subtle

middle finger: OPI ‘Peace & Love & OPI’ (reviewed here) – medium density formula, a couple of degrees brighter overall, the teal & mauve tones the most predominant of the four

ring finger: Essie ‘For The Twill Of It’ (reviewed here) – the thickest formula of the four (still an easy application, however), the closest in look & finish, the thinner brush of the Essie scores points for leaving behind fewer visible brush strokes

pinkie finger: OPI ‘Not Like The Movies’ (reviewed here) – mid-sheer formula with pronounced lilac undertones, the only one of the four bearing silver & gold micro glitters, the grey base is more apparent than the others


OPI Peace & Love & OPI comps

clockwise from top left: Deborah Lippmann ‘Wicked Game’, OPI ‘Peace & Love & OPI’, OPI ‘Not Like The Movies’, Essie ‘For The Twill Of It’


OPI Peace & Love & OPI comps swatch

OPI San Francisco Collection – Peace & Love & OPI with comparisons


OPI Peace & Love & OPI comps swatch 2

OPI San Francisco Collection – Peace & Love & OPI with comparisons


OPI Peace & Love & OPI comps swatch 3

OPI San Francisco Collection – Peace & Love & OPI with comparisons


OPI Peace & Love & OPI comps swatch 4

OPI San Francisco Collection – Peace & Love & OPI with comparisons


It’s quite obvious from the swatches above, that both OPI and Essie have achieved similar results with their respective duo (multi) chrome lacquers and while to my eye there are a few differences, they are minimal at best. Deborah Lippmann’s ‘Wicked Game’ has the honour of being the first out of the gate with this ethereal kind of shade, and I like the fact that it’s still available today (part of the permanent range). Do you need both the OPI and the Essie? I’d say probably not – your choice will be determined by either your brand favourite (OPI vs Essie), or brush preference (the thinner Essie vs the wider OPI). Then again, if you are a collector of this type of finish, you’ll want both. Or all.  I’m just sayin’…


OPI Peace & Love & OPI comps closer

*Disclosure: Product samples provided by the company/PR for my unbiased consideration

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Essie Fall 2013 – Comparisons

Essie Fall 2013 comparisons opener


I’m not surprised that Essie’s Fall 2013 Collection has sparked quite a bit of interest amongst enthusiasts of the brand, and since many of you have wondered how close several of the new shades are to past hues, here’s a breakdown on a nail wheel for comparison. The swatches shown are all done with 2 coats of lacquer each (no base or top coats), but bear in mind that natural nails may alter the colour to a certain degree. I’ve left out ‘For The Twill Of It’ as well as ‘Cashmere Bathrobe’ from this post, as I don’t have anything like either shade in my personal collection of Essie polishes.


The reds:

  • Limited Addiction – from the Fall 2010 Collection (reviewed here): a couple of degrees deeper in tone, but otherwise exceptionally close colour-wise (crème formula)
  • Twin Sweater Set
  • First Dance – from the Bridal 2011 Collection (reviewed here): several degrees lighter in tone, sheerer formula

Essie Fall 2013 red comparisons

the reds


The Purples:

  • Sure Shot – from the Resort 2012 Collection (reviewed here): more pink based and filled with ultra-fine shimmer (as opposed to glass-flecked)
  • The Lace Is On

Essie Fall 2013 purple comparisons

the purples


The Greens:

  • School Of Hard Rocks – from the Holiday 2011 Collection (reviewed here): similar formula, more teal/blue based
  • Vested Interest

Essie Fall 2013 green comparisons

the greens


The Blues:

  • Midnight Cami: more vivid shade of blue & filled with ultra-fine glass-flecked shimmer
  • After School Boy Blazer
  • No More Film – from the Resort 2012 Collection (reviewed here): similar formula but several degrees lighter, more cobalt/indigo leaning in tone
  • Bobbing For Baubles – from the Holiday 2011 Collection (reviewed here): similar formula, more grey based and a few degrees darker in tone

Essie Fall 2013 blue comparisons

the blues

Last word
: Apart from the red shades, the other hues of this collection all seem to be rather unique – both in tone & texture/application, and hopefully this quick chart can help you narrow your choices down in preparation for this collection’s release this August. No matter which shade(s) you opt for, they’re all fabulous!

More information on Essie can be found via the website, twitter or facebook

Essie Fall 2013 comparisons closer

*Disclosure: Product samples provided by the company/PR for my unbiased consideration

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CHANEL #583 Taboo (Limited Edition) & a comparison

CHANEL Taboo opener


CHANEL, long the master of covetable nail lacquers (amongst other products), has done it again with the release of their limited edition shade, #583 Taboo. Sure to stand tall amongst such cult faves such as Jade, Nouvelle Vague, and Ciel de Nuit, this nocturnal hue is almost hypnotic to look at; what at first appears as a shimmery vampy hue, bears a surprise with each brush stroke and true to CHANEL’s inimitable style, is destined to spawn many look-a-likes. I can guarantee that none will come close, however.



CHANEL #583 Taboo

CHANEL Taboo 2

CHANEL #583 Taboo

CHANEL Taboo 3

CHANEL #583 Taboo

CHANEL Taboo 4

CHANEL #583 Taboo (CAD $27.00) – a complex multi-chrome eggplant/wine base hue filled with ultra fine ribbons of purple and burgundy shimmer throughout and with mega colour shifting properties that throw out purple/indigo flashes, depending on the angle and lighting. The contents at the bottle’s neck appear rather inky in tone, belied by the application, which lays down more dark violet at the first coat. Pigmentation is STELLAR and the flow is simply phenomenal, while the final result is of that lit-from-withing glow which I absolutely adore – very much like a banked fire. Mysterious, sensual, provocative and intriguing — this shade is all that, and more, with the added bonus of absolutely no staining left behind upon removal. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat (although its rich colour saturation can easily make it pass for a 1-coater)


CHANEL Taboo swatch

CHANEL #583 Taboo

CHANEL Taboo swatch 2

CHANEL #583 Taboo

CHANEL Taboo swatch 3

CHANEL #583 Taboo

CHANEL Taboo swatch 4

CHANEL #583 Taboo

CHANEL Taboo swatch 5

CHANEL #583 Taboo


CHANEL #583 Taboo vs OPI German-icure by OPI – when I went looking for a comparison shade, the only one that came to mind was OPI’s German-icure by OPI (reviewed here) from the Germany Collection. A quick note: there have been many discrepancies as to the true name of this OPI shade, but my rep still insists that the one I have is rightly named, and not ‘Every Month is Oktoberfest’ as most people claim. Whatever. How the two compared:

  • index & pinkie fingers – German-icure by OPI: less purple in base colour, burgundy tones more prominent with a finer shimmer throughout
  • middle & ring fingers – #583 Taboo

CHANEL Taboo vs OPI swatch

CHANEL #583 Taboo vs OPI German-icure by OPI

CHANEL Taboo vs OPI swatch 2

CHANEL #583 Taboo vs OPI German-icure by OPI

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Last word: I’ll make this easy: you NEED this shade. Unique and totally captivating, completely unlike anything else CHANEL has ever produced, this is one of those lacquers that will have you long regretting passing it up. The application is flawless and the range of colours found in this one bottle ensures that it will suit basically every skin tone and every season, at that. As stated from the start, it is a limited edition shade – don’t say you weren’t warned. Definitely back-up worthy.

Available now through all CHANEL counters.


CHANEL Taboo closer

*Disclosure: Product samples provided by the company/PR for my unbiased consideration