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

20 Responses to Cirque Colors – Alchemy Collection pt. 1

  1. I have yet to buy any polish from Cirque but I really need to! I’m not sure if I feel that these shades are all entirely original, but the sexy bottles wow me every time, and nonetheless the shades they come out with are GORGEOUS. On my 2014 to-try list! 🙂

    • Eugenia says:

      You’re 100% right to be wowed; Annie is an “artiste” with the soul of a poet, I swear! She does take the time to carefully plan out every aspect, and the detail-oriented person that I am so totally loves that. Hopefully part 2 will knock your socks off as well! 😉

  2. Nancy Dines says:

    I love these shades, such a thoughtful collection.

    You’re so right, every detail in this brand is attended to, although I have to say, I miss the old labels. Just a small detail, I know, but that’s just my preference.

    I think I need the entire collection, and I’m saying that without seeing your part 2 yet!

    Thanks for your excellent swatches, your nails are looking great! :-):-)

    • Eugenia says:

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Nancy! As far as the labels go, Annie decided to make the change (grudgingly, I might add) because some stickers were not adhering properly and her helpers were all getting finger cramps from adding them to the bottles, lol! Looking forward to sharing part 2!

  3. Larie says:

    MUAHAHA. For the first time, your gorgeous swatches have not inspired a lemming!

    Mostly because…I’ve already bought the shades I wanted from this collection, LOL. I have Mink and Arcane Fire and they are LOVE LOVE LOVE.

  4. I’ve been hopeful that you would review this newest collection from Cirque and so am thrilled to read about your experience with these fantastic polishes. I love seeing your nail polish reviews with your precise and elegant swatches and excellent photography but most of all I love to read your descriptions, so beautifully calibrated and expansive, and your reactions to each polish. Your thoughtful, carefully written text is a gift to all of us who enjoy your wonderful blog!

    My favorite of these polishes is Arcane Fire. It has that particularly Cirquean appeal where the closer you get to it, the more you fall under its spell. Resistence is futile!

    • Eugenia says:

      Thank you so much for your eloquent & thoughtful comment, Liz – your words really touched me and make me so grateful that this blog has led me to connection with people like yourself! And the Trekker in me absolutely loves your last line – resistance is futile, indeed!

  5. Miss Molotov says:

    Wow…I need these in my life! Thanks for the beautiful swatches!!

  6. ankaisa says:

    Oh, those are so pretty!

  7. Love these shades! And the NAMES.
    Arcane Fire is my fav, although I don’t like reds, but it’s special.
    And such a fun fact, had no idea Cirque was scented with lavender! I always add lavender essential oil to my homemade cuticle oil – the smell makes me happy : )

    • Eugenia says:

      The names…I know, right? There’s not one shade of Cirque’s whose name I don’t love! I wasn’t sure if people were aware of the essential oil connection, so I wanted to point that out!

  8. Deborah says:

    Arcane Fire is reeeeally a must have for me ♥

  9. Arcade Fire is so gorgeous!!! I love that it sounds like my favorite CANADIAN band too 😛 😉

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