Friday, March 21, 2014

Sheer Comparisons Featuring OPI Tints and Sally Hansen Jellies

As promised in my post about the Sally Hansen Palm Beach Jellies, today I have many comparisons of sheer polishes. (I was aiming for yesterday but had to work through lunch, which is my prime blog post writing time.) It all started when I had the OPI Sheer Tints sitting next to the Sally Hansens in my "to be swatched" corral and noticed the OPI pink, Be Magentale With Me (note: not magenta), and one of the Sally Hansen pinks, Water Melon, looked very similar. I thought "aha, a dupe", but this was before I'd swatched either one, and as we know, you can't necessarily count on the bottles to tell the whole story.

But in the particular case of these pinks, the bottles do tell most of the story. Left to right below, OPI Magentale, SH Water Melon, OPI Magentale, SH Water Melon. I did have to use three coats of the Sally Hansen to match the opacity of two coats of the OPI, but other than that, they look the same to me. (I swear my nail line did not dirty in person, though it sure does in pretty much every photo I took during this swatching session. Sigh.)

Then I thought to myself, "hey self, do you think you can find the Maybelline water ones? I know they're not a wheel yet, so it might not be easy, but it sure would be nice to see how this iteration of the sheer trend compares to that earlier one". Surprisingly, I did find the waters, in a Helmer drawer with a label that actually reflected what was in it, rather than a box crammed with random stuff waiting to be sorted. Thus Maybelline Express Finish Berry Water joined the pinks for some comparison fun.

The Maybelline's formula is very thin, so I used three coats. It's on the left below, and you can see that it gave me a better color payoff than either the OPI (middle, only two coats but we've talked about how thick it is so more coats is not something I want to do if I don't have to) or the Sally Hansen (right). Maybe it's all the super chemicals they could use back in the days that Maybelline was made.

For sheerness reference purposes, I swapped out the Maybelline for one of the L'Oreal Miss Candy Gellies, Jolly Lolly, and let Sally Hansen Jell-ous join the party since it was pink, too.

Starting at the top with the L'Oreal, here they are on the nail. All are two coats except Jell-ous on my pinky, which is three. This shows the difference between a jelly (the L'Oreal) and a tint/water/sheer jelly/whatever we're calling the transparent ones.

Based on looking at the bottles, the closest things in my stash to Sally Hansen Jell-ous were Essie Burgundy Syrup and Maybelline Plum Water; I grabbed Essie Grape Crush as well since I have four fingers, after all. The Essies were part of a collection of "glazes", which had six sheer colors (the others are Raspberry Seltzer, Night Cap, Cherry Pop, and Apricot Fizz, none of which I own).

Below, same order as the bottles, three coats of each. You can see that the Essie ones are even more sheer than the Sally Hansen, and the Plum Water is not as pigmented as Berry Water was.

For the yellow and orange comparisons, I grabbed Maybelline Lemon Water, OPI I'm Never Amberrassed, Sally Hansen Vitamin D-light, and Maybelline Orange Water. My bottle of Lemon Water had settled and despite much shaking, I couldn't completely dislodge the clump of pigment that had formed. If it were a color I thought I'd use even semi-regularly, I would have found my extra balls and added one to see if that would do the trick, but you can see by the level that I have barely touched this in all the years it's been in my stash.

Here they are on the nail, in the same order as the bottles above. All are three coats except the OPI, which is two. I wonder if mixing in the rest of that pigment in the Lemon Water would have made it closer to the OPI. Orange Water certainly has better coverage than the Sally Hansen.

Since I'd grabbed all the L'Oreal Miss Candy ones when I got the pink one, I went ahead and let them get in on the yellow/orange comparison fun, too. Left to right: L'Oreal Bananarama Love, OPI I'm Never Amberrassed, L'Oreal Mango Mamma, Sally Hansen Vitamin D-Light.

On the nail, the orange L'Oreal was the opacity winner, which wasn't surprising since yellow is a lighter color by nature and we know by now how sheer the Sally Hansens are. I used two coats of all but the Sally Hansen, which was two.

Turning to the purples, I lined up Maybelline Violet Water, OPI Don't Violet Me Down, Sally Hansen Grape Jelly, and Essie Grape Crush.

You know the drill by now—I put them on my nails in the same order as the bottles. All are three coats except the OPI, which is two. The Maybelline (far left) is what I was hoping the Sally Hansen would be. The OPI is a warmer purple. The Sally Hansen and the Essie are neck and neck in the competition to see who can look the most like clear topcoat.

Bringing the L'Oreal jellies in, the lineup changed to Sally Hansen Grape Jelly, OPI Don't Violet Me Down, L'Oreal Berry Nice, and L'Oreal Lilac Coolers.

I did four coats of the Sally Hansen (top finger in photo below) to two coats of the others. That deepened the color some, but it still wasn't as opaque as any of the other three purples.

In the department of see through blues, I only have three: Maybelline Blue Water, OPI I Can Teal You Like It, and Sally Hansen Ice Tint.

These are all similar hues on the nail, though the OPI (middle) is much darker at two coats than the others at three coats. The Maybelline not surprisingly shows more color than the Sally Hansen.

For the jelly portion of the blue program, I brought in L'Oreal Miss Pixie.

Top to bottom below, it's Sally Hansen (4 coats), OPI (3), L'Oreal (2), OPI. The Sally Hansen looks more green on the nail than in the bottle, while the L'Oreal maintains its true blue hue.

And finally we come to the greens, where I had so few the jelly got into round one. Left to right: L'Oreal Crème de Mint, Sally Hansen Sea Through, and Maybelline Emerald Water.

On the nail, top to bottom: L'Oreal (2 coats), Sally Hansen (3), Maybelline (2), Sally Hansen. The Sally Hansen holds its own against the Maybelline in opacity; in hue, the Maybelline is a touch darker and more blue leaning.

Even though the inspiration for these comparisons was to see how the new OPI and Sally Hansen sheers stacked up against each other, doing them reminded me how much I liked the L'Oreal jellies, and how much fun some of the stuff Maybelline did back in day was. I guess it's good that I liked the stuff already in my stash, though if I hadn't maybe I'd find it easier to let go of stuff and not have overflow in boxes all over my basement. (Well, not all over, it just seems that way to Mr. Karen).

I hope this helped you decide which of the new spring sheers you might want (or inspired you to reacquaint yourself with your own older jellies or sheers).

The OPI polishes shown in this entry were provided free for review purposes. The content of the entry was not dictated by the provider.


  1. oh wow what a great review! Well i might be missing out of these type sheer nail polish and honestly never been tried any of them nor aware about it. Looks like L'Oreal has the most opacity to their colors comparison to other brands.

  2. I still think this nail polish finish as jelly is really neat, but the sheer ones... oh my.... what is the purpose of them? :P

  3. Great comparison!! I can't believe you have so many sheers that are similar.

  4. This is an epic comparison post! And now I want all of those L'Oreal jellies lol :D

  5. I am not really a shear/jelly nail polish kind of gal except jelly sandwiches. Great comparison post!

  6. Great Comps! I have a few of the old Maybelline waters. I didn't know Triple Shine had them too.

  7. Amazing post, I have to get my hands on some of these new sheer tints. I'm insanely envious of all your older polishes. I wish I hadn't tossed so many of mine!!!

  8. Great comparison post! I'm surprised how sheer the new SH's are even with 3 coats....almost too sheer! To me, would never wear over a clear base; only for layering.

  9. Still not sure about these ultra sheers, but... I think if I do try any it'll be the cheaper SH ones.

  10. Wow, you've got a lot of sheers! I am still not convinced that I need any of them :)

  11. That is a great comparison.
    I hate how the blue and the purples (even if not as bad) makes your nails look like stained smurf nails :D

  12. Thanks for the comparison! I think I actually prefer the L'Oreal's best.

  13. Wonderful comparisons! You opened my eyes to see how many sheer polishes there were already!

  14. Great comparison. I thought I wanted the SH jellies, but I don't like them that much. I think I will try to get the L'Oreal ones.

    1. I found the whole collection on Ebay. It arrived today!!

  15. this makes me wish i got those l'oreal ones when they were in stores =(

  16. Thanks for all the comparisons! They are awesome! Man I remember those Maybelline Water polishes. Out of the new ones the OPI look like a better color payoff. I might have to look into those further.

  17. This is a great post. Think I'll just skip the sally hansens and get the mini OPIs.

  18. Great comparisons! L'Oreal Miss Pixie look so nice ^_^

  19. uhm I'm not convinced by this kind of nail polish..! Great post for completeness and details =)

  20. I just LOVE sheer polish and have been on the hunt for a new one since my favorite by Nail Saavy was discontinued by Sally Beauty. Thank you for a great post. I didn't even know these existed and will be trying them out!


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