Monday, January 9, 2012

Flake-off: Hidden Treasure vs. Shine of the Times vs. The Old Vic vs. As Gold as it Gets

It appears 2012 is going to be the year of the flakie polish. Finger Paints and Zoya have "special effects" collections out, packed with flakes, and it looks like there are more on the way, including in the China Glaze Hunger Games collection, "Colours From the Capitol," about which I'm trying really hard not to be too excited (trying and faaaailing).

Meanwhile, Essie's Luxeffects collection has been out since November, and I've been pretty much walking right by the display at Fred Meyer — all I saw were silver and pink glitters, and I'm all set for glitter. But over the weekend I happened to go to a different Fred Meyer (the one by my parents' house, where I also happened to stumble upon Anchorage's last bottle of Hidden Treasure in 2010, so... fate?), and they had a full display of shimmering, flake-filled bottles of Shine of the Times. I hadn't seen Shine of the Times in person, and I didn't realize it was a legit flakie. I grabbed a bottle (and As Gold as it Gets for good measure, now that I knew there were actual flakes involved in this collection) and ran to the nearest checkstand as fast as my extra-squeaky shopping cart would allow.

Actually, that's a lie. I finished my shopping. But I was really excited.

I got home and had to swatch Shine of the Times next to Hidden Treasure to see just how similar they really are, and I threw in As Gold as it Gets for good measure, along with a Nails Inc. flakie, The Old Vic, which I picked up at Sephora when we were in Vegas. (The Old Vic comes in a set with Black Taxi, a shiny black "patent" creme.)

One coat. Top to bottom: Essie As Gold as it Gets, Essie Shine of the Times, Sally Hansen Hidden Treasure, Nails Inc. The Old Vic

Of course, this is winter in Alaska and I didn't get home until 4 p.m., so the sun was already down. No beautiful natural light swatches for me.

One coat. Top to bottom: As Gold as it Gets, Shine of the Times, Hidden Treasure, The Old Vic

In these photos, I'm wearing one coat of each flakie layered over two coats of Orly Liquid Vinyl. As you can see, in terms of color, Shine of the Times is virtually identical to Hidden Treasure.

One coat. Top to bottom: As Gold as it Gets, Shine of the Times, Hidden Treasure, The Old Vic
I hadn't found The Old Vic terribly exciting on its own, but compared to the other topcoats, it is even less compelling. Nothing wrong with it; it does turn black polish into a subtly shimmery deep blue, which is nice. But not worth $20, even paired with Black Taxi. And it practically disappeared layered over white.

One coat. Top to bottom: As Gold as it Gets, Shine of the Times, Hidden Treasure, The Old Vic
These shots are one coat of each flakie layered over three coats of Sinful Colors Snow Me White (which, as you can tell from my polish job, is less than easy to work with. I'm open to recommendations for a great white creme).

One coat. Top to bottom: As Gold as it Gets, Shine of the Times, Hidden Treasure, The Old Vic
Unsurprisingly, monochromatic As Gold as it Gets stands out more over the white, but it was hard to capture the other topcoats on camera.

Two coats. Top to bottom: As Gold as it Gets, Shine of the Times, Hidden Treasure, The Old Vic
Two coats over black and you really start to get the full flakie impact. Shine of the Times is very much like Hidden Treasure except that the flakes are more densely packed, so you get more flake in each coat.

Two coats. Top to bottom: As Gold as it Gets, Shine of the Times, Hidden Treasure, The Old Vic

In terms of color, though, Shine of the Times and Hidden Treasure have the same multichromatic range, flashing reds, golds and green over black.

Two coats. Top to bottom: As Gold as it Gets, Shine of the Times, Hidden Treasure, The Old Vic

Over white, they look more iridescent.

Two coats. Top to bottom: As Gold as it Gets, Shine of the Times, Hidden Treasure, The Old Vic

I didn't expect to like As Gold as it Gets as much as I do. After I got done swatching, I redid my nails with two coats over Zoya Codie. I was most of the way done before I realized what a great combination that would be to try a gradient effect with the flakie, but I was too far in to want to go back and start all over again at that point. Next time.

Two coats. Left to right: The Old Vic, Hidden Treasure, Shine of the Times, As Gold as it Gets

Bottom line: If you missed out on Sally Hansen Hidden Treasure, pick up Shine of the Times and you'll be just as happy. It's essentially a Hidden Treasure dupe. As Gold as it Gets is way cooler in person than it looks dripping off a cherry in those print ads. And if you're looking for a subtle flakie shimmer without much going on in the way of color variety, The Old Vic is perfectly serviceable, although I don't find it all that exciting.

Two coats. Left to right: The Old Vic, Hidden Treasure, Shine of the Times, As Gold as it Gets
Also, beware the false Sally Hansen Hidden Treasure that's hit store shelves in recent weeks. It's a flake-free lavender frost that the company claims is a new shade that's "on-trend." As opposed to the original Hidden Treasure, which was such a huge flop you can now expect to pay $30 for it on eBay. For some reason, I guess that response sounded better to their social media department than "we screwed up." Maybe The New York Times runs Sally Hansen's Twitter account.


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