Sephora + Pantone Universe – ‘Reflecting Pond’ Jewel Lacquer (swatches, comparisons & review)


I have a confession to make: I don’t really know all that much about Sephora’s 2nd collaboration with Pantone, and I only picked up one item from the previous collection (which I STILL haven’t reviewed), but as soon as my eyes landed on ‘Reflecting Pond’, I was captivated. Something about murky, aquatically-themed hues just get to me every single time. Probably has something to do with the fact that I’m a water sign … or it could be the storm-tossed allure of this lacquer …


Sephora + Pantone Universe ‘Reflecting Pond’

Sephora + Pantone Universe ‘Reflecting Pond’

the beautiful opalescent box


‘Reflecting Pond’ is a jewel, and just as luxurious colour-wise. Starting with the opalescent box it comes in – which is pretty enough in its own right, the densely pigmented, medium-thick formula makes application almost effortless. The charcoal infused teal of the base colour is filled to the brim with ultra fine brilliant teal shimmer “dust”, along with some deep blue, scattered green & lavender/pink specks throughout, which lend some elusive indigo flashes to this shade (seen clearer in direct sunlight) and a complex depth of tone. Indoors turns ‘Reflecting Pond’ into a murky & blackened teal, leaving behind an almost metallic after-image (really weird and cool effect, actually), but I love how the sides of the nail look like a frame for the gorgeous center teal colour. Brush stroke-free and self-levelling, the final finish is somewhat dull; addition of top coat is an absolute must, as it literally brings this beauty to life.

The square bottle shape is a nice touch as well, made with heavy, sturdy glass and while the wand may seem a little long, I found the brush to be well formed, with just the right amount of length & flexibility to allow for a fuss-free application. Bonus: absolutely no staining upon removal. Coats applied: 2

Unique touch: on the back label of the box you’ll find a box with a colour swatch and a corresponding number, in case you want to paint your walls the same shade! According to Sephora:

What it is:
A thrilling collection of nail lacquers inspired by exotic gems, precious jewels, and vivid natural beauty. 

What it does:
Fall under the spell of the Alchemy of Color Collection, an enchanting collaboration between Pantone Universe and Sephora that marries the hottest shades of the season with exclusive formulation and finish. The collection includes a kaleidoscope of colors and each of the multi-dimensional lacquers feature an innovative texture and futuristic finish, from metallic, to sparkle, iridescent, and never-seen-before metallic matte. The formulas are long-wearing, chip-resistant, and promise full-color payoff. Bring the brilliant hues to life as you mix and match to create your own magic. 

What else you need to know:
This collection takes inspiration from Pantone’s View Colour Planner Autumn/ Winter 12-13 Book, predicting a radiant color breakthrough in fall 2012 and a leap into bright reds, energizing oranges, and sumptuous purples. Each formula is formaldehyde-free and dibutyl phthalate (DBP)-free.

*All swatches are with Seche Clear Base Coat and Seche Vite Top Coat, but I did notice some shrinking away from the nail edges after this step – an obvious sign of incompatibility.

in sunlight

alternate angle


in shade

with flash


Going through my collection of polishes, I came across several that are in the same colour family as ‘Reflecting Pond’, but I narrowed things down to Deborah Lippmann’s ‘Don’t Tell Mama’ – for being the closest in base tone, and Nailtini’s ‘Stinger’ (previous reviewed here) – for having a similar duo coloured effect. All swatches are with 2 coats of lacquer, as well as base & top coats. How they compared:

  • index finger: Deborah Lippmann ‘Don’t Tell Mama’ – the thinnest flowing formula, almost identical blackened teal base with a pine green ultra fine shimmer – no other colour flashes, the darkest in overall tone, very glossy natural finish
  • middle & pinkie fingers: Sephora + Pantone Universe™ ‘Reflecting Pond’
  • ring finger: Nailtini ‘Stinger’ – formula, flow & opacity similar to ‘Reflecting Pond’, underlying base shows more of a prune hue (1st coat), visible purple overtones (naked eye), much more prominent cobalt flash with shimmer leaning more towards emerald, superb glossy finish

in sunlight

alternate angle


in shade

with flash


Final thoughts: I am a total sucker for these types of shades; apart from its obvious brooding qualities, I love all the complexities of colour and tone that go into ‘Reflecting Pond’. The formula was unexpectedly thick, but very easy to work with nonetheless and even though you can almost get away with one coat, I highly recommend a second as it enhances the vivid colour of this beauty. I passed on the other 4 shades released – pretty hues, but nowhere near as eye-catching; I’m not sure at this point if they’re limited edition, but the collection is definitely a Sephora exclusive. The price seems to be quite fair as well, coming at CDN $11.00 for 11 ml/.37 fl oz, slightly more than an OPI but definitely less than a CHANEL. Definitely worth seeing with your own eyes – but be forewarned of its mesmerizing effect!

32 Responses to Sephora + Pantone Universe – ‘Reflecting Pond’ Jewel Lacquer (swatches, comparisons & review)

  1. This is very interesting and fabulous color…This look like very nice ya…

  2. olivia says:

    All similar yet different enough to want them all!

  3. Ellie says:

    Y’know what this colour reminds me of? Chanel’s Nuit de Russie but with a greener base instead of a bluer base.

    …….i think i’ll have to buy this.

    • Eugenia says:

      That’s one of the Chanels that slipped away from me (along with its 2 sisters)…..grumble, grumble….. now, thanks to your comparison, I feel even better about this shade! 🙂

  4. I swatched this today and was SO VERY TEMPTED. But the bottles are quite weighty and bulky and I have no room for another new collection, so they sadly stayed behind. But the shades are stunning! I liked the dark violet one as well, with a hint of gold around the edges. Love the jewel tones!

    • Eugenia says:

      It is a rather bulky bottle, isn’t it? I like that it’s square — makes it easy to butt it up against other similarly shaped bottles, but there’s a lot of glass going o there, that’s for sure! The purple one is the shade I originally wanted to pick up, but I found the finish too dull when I swatched it, but it’s still real purty!

  5. I saw this Big SIs and it looks gorgeous!! I think I’ll have to go back for it now haha!

    • Eugenia says:

      With your colouring, Lil Sis, this will look fabulous! When I was shown the collection, I originally went for another shade, but after a quick swatch it was no contest!

  6. Linda says:

    Very beautiful! I’ve always wanted Don’t Tell Mama, I don’t know where you get Nailtini but the price has definitely got DL beat! Love the color!!

    • Eugenia says:

      Thanks, Linda! Lippmann’s ‘Don’t Tell Mama’ is a gorgeous jewel toned shade, but it does tend to look almost black away from sunlight. I was so happy to find Nailtini products sold at O’gilvy’s, here in Montréal — the shade ‘Stinger’ was a limited edition colour and may not be available anymore, but they’re worth checking out just the same!

  7. Latoya says:

    Its funny how we’re all drawn to certain shades; this isn’t one of my weaknesses, likely because I’m pretty fussy with blue polish and only like specific tones. I just tried to rack my brain for what ‘my’ fave type of shade is, but I don’t know if I have one actually! I’m too spazzy and Gemini I guess LOL Thanks for the review nonetheless Eugenia, I was curious about the Sephora + Pantone polishes, and now I know to check them out in the future!

    • Eugenia says:

      Awww….you’re not a spaz; I think you have a very discerning eye AND rather discriminating taste! 🙂 Don’t forget that I’m *cough, cough* several years older than you, so I’ve had more time to refine my favourites….but I have been known to change things up every now & then! Let me know if you wind up with any of the other shades in this collection!

  8. D... says:

    It certainly is an interesting color. Very mysterious and vamp-tacular (a word that should be a word if it is not yet already one). I think it would not be a color that I would normally pick up, but one that I should consider. I wonder if that made sense.

    • Eugenia says:

      Lol…..can’t say as I’ve heard “vamp-tacular” before, but next time I have an opportunity to use it, I will definitely give you full credit 🙂 I think I understood what you meant; even though you’re not usually drawn to these types of shades, the photos I’ve shown made it intriguing enough for your to reconsider. Now I wonder if I made sense, lol!

  9. alexxrae says:

    Ou I like! I’m a pretty dedicated Essie girl but this line sounds great – thanks!


  10. Mara says:

    I picked Purple Parachute, which I think it’s a pretty close dupe of RBL Scrangie! I wish I had a nail polish like the box!!! A perfect opalescent white… *sighs*
    Thanks for the comparisons! I have the Deborah Lippmann, so I think I don’t “need” the Pantone too!

    • Eugenia says:

      You’re welcome, Mara! When I tested Purple Parachute in store, I was surprised by its lack of intensity; that was the colour I thought I would leave with initially. Do let me know how you like it – I may just have to go back!

  11. Maribeth says:

    This is a definite beauty! My inner crab appreciates it 🙂

    I’m finally updating my “name” on your comment thingy!

  12. This really reminds me of Essie’s Dive Bar.

    • Eugenia says:

      Ooooh…you’re right! I hadn’t even thought of that, but I’ll definitely pull my bottle out to compare – although if memory serves, ‘Dive Bar’ may be a touch lighter and less murky. Still, thanks for thinking of it!

  13. Jordyn says:

    How funny, I’m wearing this exact shade today, was very excited to find it at Sephora. I was debated Ilamasqua Viridian but this was a better deal and a very similar color. My only complaint was also the shrinkage with Seche Vite and the color is a touch more murky on the nails than in the bottle.

    • Eugenia says:

      Great minds think alike, huh?! 🙂 I don’t have Viridian – but I may have to cave and pick it up, as I love the Illamasqua formula. As to the Seche shrinkage, I’ve come across that issue several times with other brands; some agree with the Seche, some don’t – I just hate waste!

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