For Summer 2014, L'Oreal released the textured Miss Denim collection plus a six-color Neons group, which is what I have today. Left to right: Fluo Azur, Flashing Lilac, Acid Watermelon, Punchy Lychee, Energetic Tangerine, and Banana Pop.
These are all cremes, and since I have a low tolerance for cremes at the moment, I did not do full hand swatches of these. I Skittled the four warmest and brightest shades together. Top to bottom: Acid Watermelon (pink), Punchy Lychee (red orange), Energetic Tangerine (orange), and Banana Pop (yellow). All were three coats except, surprisingly, Banana Pop, which was two.
I'd call Punchy Lychee a neon, and could see extending that desgination to Energetic Tangerine as well. Both dry to a satin finish, which is characteristic of polishes which contain neon pigments, and both show the slightest hint of visible nail line, which leads me to believe they'd pop over a white base. Acid Watermelon and Banana Pop are bright, yes, but I wouldn't call them neons.
I tried a white base under the last two colors, Fluo Azur (blue) and Flashing Lilac (purple). Fluo Azur was two coats and dried satin, so I'll allow it into the neon club. Flashing Lilac was three coats, and wasn't quite as satin when dry as Fluo Azur so it's on probationary status as far a neon qualification.
I am currently awash in summer cremes, so of course I did some comparisons. First up, I have a perfect illustration of cool versus warm pink with L'Oreal Acid Watermelon and Maybelline Pink Punch (from this summer's LE Bleached Neons).
Alternating below, starting with L'Oreal on the left. The Maybelline looks practically orange when sitting beside the cool-toned L'Oreal.
Next up, L'Oreal Punchy Lychee versus Julie G Miami Beach (from this summer's Cruise collection). Top to bottom: Miami Beach 1 coat over white, Punchy Lychee 2 coats over white, Punchy Lychee three coats alone, Miami Beach two coats alone. These are a bit closer than the pinks I compared above, but in no way are they dupes. Miami Beach leans more pink and is a true opaque creme; the white base makes pretty much no difference. Punchy Lychee is more red, and the white base makes a definite difference.
Top to bottom: Miami Beach one coat over white, Punchy Lychee two coats over white, Punchy Lychee three coats alone, Miami Beach two coats alone. These are a bit closer than the pinks I compared above, but in no way are they dupes. Miami Beach leans more pink and is a true opaque creme; the white base makes pretty much no difference. Punchy Lychee is more red, and the white base makes a definite difference.
L'Oreal Energetic Tangerine got matched up with OPI Juice Bar in a battle of the oranges.
Left to right: Juice Bar two coats over white, Energetic Tangerine ditto, Energetic Tangerine three coats alone, Juice Bar ditto. These are pretty darn close. The L'Oreal is a smidge brighter over white and a smidge less shiny, but I don't see that one would need both.
I pulled a full complement of yellows to compare: Wet 'n' Wild A Venice Day, L'Oreal Banana Pop, Julie G Canary Islands, and Funky Fingers Alex's Lemonade.
Top to bottom: Wet 'n' Wild two coats over white, L'Oreal three coats alone, Julie G three coats alone (almost two), Funky Fingers two coats alone (this one is lemon scented when dry). I put the Wet 'n' Wild over white because I had previous experience with it and knew it to be more neon-esque than these others. The Wet 'n' Wild is the brightest of these and the L'Oreal the deepest. The Julie G leans ever so slightly pastel, and the Funky Fingers comes the closest to what I think of as a pure yellow.
For the blues, I grabbed Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Pacific Blue—the old creme version, which was recently replaced by a shimmer (see Nouveau Cheap for the story)—and NYC Ocean Blue (from this summer's City Samba display).
Left to right: L'Oreal two coats over white, L'Oreal three coats alone, NYC two coats, Sally Hansen two coats. The L'Oreal shows its neon-ness here, popping over the white and drying less shiny than the two true cremes. Alone, it's darker than the other two blues; over white, it's still a tad darker. They NYC looks to have a touch less white in it than the old Pacific Blue, but it's close enough that it would make a fine substitute if you didn't stock up on Pacific Blue when the panic hit the nail-o-sphere.
In the purple category, I reached for Orly Purple Crush and OPI Push and Pur-pull (yes, that's cello tape you see on the handle; since the minis don't have names printed on them, I cut the names off the box and tape them on).
Top to bottom: OPI three coats over white, Orly three coats over white, L'Oreal three coats over white, L'Oreal three coats alone.
Obviously the Orly is the odd polish out here, being much closer to pink than purple. The OPI is close to the L'Oreal; since having the Orly in between makes it hard to see that, I did a contortion to get them side by side below. I was surprised that the white base didn't make more of a difference to the L'Oreal.
So I'd score L'Oreal a three and a half out of six as far as the neon-ness of their Neons. There aren't any bad colors here, but there aren't any groundbreakers either.