I somehow managed to not hear anything about the Birchbox exclusive limited edition Zoya Blogger Collection until it was released a couple weeks ago, possibly because it seems to have involved a vote on Facebook, and I spend very little time on FB these days. But I did see a Tweet from Zoya about it being available, and since I like Zoya and am a sucker for the words "limited edition", I clicked on over to Birchbox to order the set, which came to $22 for three polishes and it shipped for free. All the colors are orange tones, which is consistent with the Pantone Color of the Year being Tangerine Dream; it's somewhat curious that an open vote led to three shades that coordinate so well with each other and the color of the year, but maybe there's a rabid orange voting block on the Birchbox FB page. It's also somewhat curious that I, who spend so many hours reading nail blogs, am not familiar with any of the bloggers who created these colors. According the the Birchbox blog, they "invited 12 bloggers to create mood boards depicting the color they think should be on everyone’s digits this spring". Were none of those 12 nail bloggers? That makes no sense to me, but I guess Birchbox is more of a general beauty site.
The winners, left to right below: Coraline, Kate, and Belle. All are sheer but buildable.
Coraline is a red-leaning orange jelly. For these swatches, I used three coats, no topcoat.
Kate is a pinky coral jelly. Here's how it looks at three coats, no topcoat.
Belle is a pink grapefruit shimmer of the micro flakie variety. Like her jelly sisters, I used three coats, no topcoat.
These could be layered on each other in various combinations and used to make jelly sandwiches, but I didn't take the time to play with them because I had the niggling feeling I already owned all three of these colors and couldn't rest until I figured out if that was true. If you were hanging around nail boards and blogs a year ago, it was hard to escape talk of the OPI Texas collection and the six "sorbet", also known as jelly, polishes it contained. I eventually bought all of them, and darned if Coraline and Kate didn't remind me very much of some of those polishes.
When I pulled OPI Y'all Come Back Hear from my stash and set it next to Kate, they looked quite similar.
On the nail? Well, you tell me if you see a difference. I sure don't.
That's Coraline on my index (far left) and ring fingers; the OPI on my middle and pinky. At some angles in some lights, I could almost convince myself one was darker or one was more opaque, but finally decided it was more likely that on some nails I had a slightly heavier touch with the three coats.
There were two OPI candidates for Kate's twin. Guy Meets Galveston looked close in the bottle but on the nail proved to be less orange/more pink than Kate. I'm guessing Mr. Karen and most other nail polish muggles couldn't tell them apart, though. That's Zoya on the left and OPI on the right in the photo below.
OPI Big Hair Big Nails turned out to be Kate's match.
Here's Kate on my index (far left) and ring; Big Hair Big Nails on my middle and pinky.
And now we come to Belle. There's so much variation in the consistency and density of shimmers that I was less certain I'd find a match for this one, but I grabbed my nail wheels and it wasn't too long before I found Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Peach Pavé. This is the old bottle style, and I don't think the color was carried over in the relaunch, but I do still see these for sale sometimes.
I think the Sally Hansen might be a tiny bit more blingy, but that also might be me looking to find a difference where none really exists. Belle is on my index (far left) and ring below; Peach Pavé on my middle and pinky.
So yeah, it was somewhat disappointing to find I'd essentially bought three things I already own. Of course with a stash as large as mine that's not such a surprising event, but still I was hoping for something more special from a limited edition collection from a brand I really like. On the other hand, if you missed the OPI sorbets (though you haven't yet—my Ulta still had some as recently as a couple weeks ago, and they're on Amazon for reasonable prices), or you don't like the OPI brush, or you prefer the Zoya formula, this set might be perfect for you.
If Zoya does another blogger collection, I hope they reach out to nail bloggers. I do wonder how much input the bloggers for this collection had; did it end with the mood board, or did they get a voice about the finish and exact color of the polishes? I'm guessing nail bloggers would want the latter, which may be why none of them seem to have been involved in this collection. If they do another dupe collection, I hope they reach back in time a bit more and copy things like Essie Starry Starry Night or a Liquid Euphoria or Sally Hansen Turquoise Opal. I'd be all over that. This current trio are nice juicy colors, and I can see them being popular with people who want to hop on the orange train in 2012. For me, though, I got a blog post out of them and now will probably swap them away hoping to get colors and finishes I don't already own.