Cirque Colors – Alchemy Collection pt. 1

Cirque Alchemy pt 1 opener


The realm of the occult and medieval experiments in alchemy is the inspiration behind this latest manifestation by Cirque Colors, and as these are subjects that have captivated me since my earliest memories – combined with my love of nail lacquer – all I can say is that this collection pushes all the right buttons for me. Every.Single.One.

If you’re unfamiliar with this artisanal brand, then you’re in for a wonderful experience: with each hand-made batch, founder Annie Pham actually does seem to create magic, combining pigments and finishes in unique ways using only the finest ingredients, and leaving no detail overlooked – from the logo, bottle design, packaging, and imagery. Another little-known fact, is that each shade is scented with essential oils of lavender and clary sage that lend a subtle (and almost mood-enhancing) fragrance to your nails once the polish dries – like I said: magic.

I have divided this 10-piece collection into 2 parts, the better to showcase each and every beautiful varnish. Feel free to indulge and enjoy!

Cirque Alchemy pt 1

Cirque Colors – Alchemy Collection

Cirque Alchemy pt 1 B

Cirque Colors – Alchemy Collection

Cirque Alchemy pt 1 C

Cirque Colors – Alchemy Collection


Mink – A dark taupe base with blue flashes and a strongly scattered prismatic effect, that appears more linear in direct light. The formula is a touch thick density-wise, but still applies in a completely self-levelling way with a satin finish at the end. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat

Meaning: a semiaquatic animal renown for its luxurious fur

Cirque Mink swatch

Cirque Colors – Mink

Cirque Mink swatch 2

Cirque Colors – Mink


Magnum Opus – A tungsten steel base hue with obvious mauve undertones, bearing the same strongly scattered holographic effect (that also appears more linear in direct light) as that of ‘Mink’. Super easy application due to the amazing formula – comes to a satin finish. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat

Meaning: the greatest achievement of an artist

Cirque Magnum Opus swatch

Cirque Colors – Magnum Opus

Cirque Magnum Opus swatch 2

Cirque Colors – Magnum Opus


Baptisia – UNBELIEVABLE. A rich (and true) indigo base hue with plenty of sapphire shimmer and more scattered silver flecks thrown in. The application couldn’t be more perfect: mega colour saturation, amazing flow, self-levelling, and a shiny (not glossy) finish which benefits from top coat to bring out its depths. Intense, luxurious and somewhat regal – this is that shade of twilight sky moments before it turns dark. LOVE. Bonus: non-staining upon removal. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat

Meaning: a wild indigo plant (Eastern United States) with blue flowers

NOTE: This shade is much more dark purple leaning than my photos show (trust me; if I knew how to adjust the settings on my camera better, you’d understand)

Cirque Baptisia swatch

Cirque Colors – Baptisia

Cirque Baptisia swatch 2

Cirque Colors – Baptisia


Chrysopoeia – A goldenrod yellow with gold and silver finely ground shimmer and a mild scattered holographic effect (what a mouthful). The formula fell on the sheer side, but still gave surprisingly good coverage just the same, self-levelling and with a satin finish at the end. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat

Meaning: to turn an element into gold (transmutation)

Cirque Chrysopoeia swatch

Cirque Colors – Chrysopoeia

Cirque Chrysopoeia swatch 2

Cirque Colors – Chrysopoeia


Arcane Fire – Where do I start … A magenta base hue with crimson undertones and super-fine pink, gold & bronze shimmer in a jelly-like formula. What starts off as dark rose colour then transforms (like magic?) into a more ruby/maroon hue with violet flashes along the nail edges seen in some lights. With its satin finish, top coat does all sorts of wonderful here. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat

Meaning: “arcane” mysterious, known only to a few

Cirque Arcane Fire swatch

Cirque Colors – Arcane Fire

Cirque Arcane Fire swatch 2

Cirque Colors – Arcane Fire


Creating something original is the rather crowded world of nail polish, is no easy feat and yet, Cirque Colors manages to bring us something new. If forced to choose a favourite amongst the 5 here, I would have to say that Baptisia takes top honours (but then again, I do have a weakness for darkling shades), with Arcane Fire and Magnum Opus not far behind. Adding a holographic touch to Mink elevates this shade from ordinary to extra-ordinary and while I was left unmoved by Chrysopoeia (It’s a personal preference: anything yellow-based really clashes with my skin tone – nothing to do with this shade), I must admit that it’s one of the most complex yellow hues I’ve seen.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this collection, coming soon.

The Alchemy Collection is available now – find more information via website/twitter/facebook

About Cirque
Cirque is an artisanal line of hand-blended nail polish made in New York. The name Cirque, meaning ring or circle, represents the color wheel and the endless color possibilities in the continuum. Creator, Annie Pham, sought to develop colors that transcend those of conventional brands by experimenting with unique pigments and raw materials. Cirque nail polish is 3-free, which means it does not contain toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate.


Cirque Alchemy pt 1 closer

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

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