Tuesday, June 28, 2011

GET THE LOOK (For Less!) / REVIEW -- Essie's 'Carnival' vs Ulta 'Starstruck' & WnW 'Kaleidoscope'

So as I've recently said, my stash is rapidly nearing that 150-bottle mark and I've finally reached that point where I'm actually trying to limit my polish purchases to things I don't already own dupes of. What brought me to this realization was the fact that I have 3 virtually identical polishes that vary greatly in price. And while I certainly do love my chunky silver holo glitter polishes... I don't need 3. And I certainly didn't need a brand new bottle for $8 when I already had 2 similar bottles sitting at home.

That brand new bottle that I picked up is essie's 'Carnival'. I saw it in Ulta. It was gorgeous and I had to have it, not even realizing that I have two dupes at home. I'm kind of kicking myself now, but I'm too lazy to take it back. Plus, as far as ease of application, price actually does matter in this post. I'll explain more as I go along.

First up, the contenders:

Here we have the $8 essie 'Carnival'. Yes, it's gorgeous in all it's silver-y, chunky holo glory.. but I'm still mad I bought it when I didn't need it. Don't worry, I'll get over it in time. I promise.

Application of 'Carnival' is great. Nice, even layer of glitter with one coat.. because I hate it when glitter comes off the brush in clumps and then I have to spread it around. Easy to build up, but not incredibly top coat hungry. Out of the three, I would definitely say this is the best pick and worth the money.

NOT an accurate color depiction at all.
Here's Ulta's $5 version of 'Carnival' and.. I have to say, it's not bad. I've had this one for a while and have actually used about a third of this bottle because I built it up on my nails a couple times. I just remember my nail tech having to sand it off the last time I did it. However, I will say that it did look amazing. I think I'd use 1 coat of silver to help it along though, if I ever built it up again. It'd probably save a good 2-3 coats of Starstruck.

Starstruck has a fairly even glitter dispersal with this one as well, but it took 2 coats of Starstruck to equal one coat of Carnival as far as glitter payoff goes... and it was lumpy and chunky on the nail. As I've said, I'm totally not a fan of hungry glitters and this one is ravenous, which is why I wouldn't use Starstruck to go full-coverage again.

And here we have Wet n Wild's 99cent offering. Kaleidoscope, while perfectly decent on it's own, just can't hold up against it's more expensive competitors. It is the least predictable as far as glitter application goes and you'll need at least 2-3 coats to get the look of 1 coat of 'Carnival.' Also, 'Kaleidoscope' has multi-sized glitters, while 'Carnival' does not. However, when the price difference between them is greater than $7... (I got my bottle of WnW on sale for 69 cents!) sometimes we can turn a blind eye towards the lack of glitter payoff.

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So there you have it. Even though I've given you two less expensive options, if you HAD to only pick one.. in this case, I think I'd have to go with essie's 'Carnival'. I know, I know, not something I typically tell you with the "Get the Look (For Less!)" series.. but.. I'm just being honest. I wish I didn't have Starstruck, even though that was the original polish out of the 3 that I bought. I can make peace with WnW because it was only 69 cents. But the essie truly is the best overall polish out of the three.

♥ M

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