Thursday, September 3, 2015

Jelly Polish Comparisons Galore

Includes some samples provided for review

Today I have the thing that consumed this week's blogging time that could otherwise have been devoted to Nail Wheel Wednesday: a big comparison post of jelly polishes. OPI, Essie, and Sephora have all released jellies this summer, and of course I wanted to try them and see how they matched up with my go to Wet Paint jellies as well as a few older releases. I actually swatched for this post twice, once before I'd seen the Essie shades, and once after I'd kindly been sent a set by a rep for a different brand just so I could make my post more complete. Thus you'll see some swatches from back when was trying to coax my nails to be more squoval and some more recent ones when I've once again I let them follow their natural oval tendencies. I really really intended to get this post out long before now, but as I've expressed probably too many times already, retiring has really messed with my routines.

Let us start with bases, because I was not going to swatch these over bare nails, and the three newest sets of jellies all have a base sold with them. Left to right below: Essie White Page (from the Silk Watercolor collection), OPI Silver Canvas Undercoat (from Color Paints), Wet Paint Always Buy Platinum (core), Formula X Platinum Prime (from the Infinite Ombre set). The white was two coats; the silvers one coat each. The Wet Paint is the winner of the silver bases, as it doesn't look streaky but rather is subtly sparkly (what may look like a streak is in fact a prominent ridge on my nail; I didn't use base coat under these).

To show the effect of these bases, I topped them with the same jelly polish, Essie Blush Stroke. Note how over the white, the jelly is a warm pink, but the silvers make it look cool-toned.

I decided to do a white base (Sally Hansen Insta Dri Whirlwind White) with silver tips (Nicole by OPI Give Me the 1st Dance) for many of the comparisons to show the jellies over both. I started with the yellows, as those seemed to have the least variation when I did quick test swatches on paper. Top to bottom: Essie Muse Myself, Formula X Limitless Lemon, Wet Paint Raincoat Slicker, OPI Primarily Yellow. I did two coats of each of the jellies over the funky French base. I can't really see any significant differences among these.

I did see a significant difference between this year's OPI yellow jelly (top in photo below) and the one from the Color Tints release, I'm Never Amberassed (bottom). These are both over one coat of Nicole by OPI Give Me the 1st Dance.

The oranges are up next. Top to bottom: Essie Art New-Beau, L'Oreal Mango Mamma, Wet Paint Orange Julia's, and OPI Chromatic Orange. All jellies were two coats except for the OPI, which was one. The L'Oreal is the most yellow-leaning of the quartet, followed by the Wet Paint, then Essie and OPI, which are both more of a true orange. I wouldn't say the Essie and OPI are dupes, though, since the OPI is more pigmented and one coat of it matches two of the Essie.

I can't do bottle pics for all of the comparisons or we'd be here all day, but I did want to include this one for the oranges because it shows why we gotta swatch. Looking at the bottles, I'd guess the Essie and L'Oreal were dupes, but no, they are not.

Moving on to pinks and reds, we have, top to bottom, Essie Blush Stroke, L'Oreal Jolly Lolly, Wet Paint Jelly Rancher Red, and Formula X Boundless Berry. The Essie was two coats, the others one. All of these look more red in the bottle than on the nail. The Wet Paint comes closest to red on the nail, more on the white base than silver.

Pink is so popular, there were enough to do a second hand of comparisons. Top to bottom: Essie Love Sheen, OPI Pen & Pink, OPI Magenta Muse, Essie Highest Bidder. Love Sheen was two coats, the others one. Highest Bidder looked berry in the bottle but is red violet on the nail.

In the above shot, OPI Magenta Muse looks almost red compared to the others, but here's another look. Top to bottom: Formula X Boundless Berry, OPI Magenta Muse, and Wet Paint Jelly Rancher Red, all one coat over silver. The Formula X and OPI are pretty much dupes, both pinker than the Wet Paint.

I split the two Essie pinks into different comparisons as one looked much redder in the bottle, but on the nail, they're not that different. In the photo below, Blush Stroke is on top, Love Sheen on the bottom; at one coat as they are here, they're pretty similar.

While I'm on this hue, here's one more comparison, all OPIs. Top to bottom: Pen & Pink, Be Magentale With Me (Color Tints), and Magenta Muse. I used two coats of Be Magentale With Me to one of the other, but you can see it didn't really build up.

And now my favorite color, purple. Top to bottom: Essie No Shrinking Violet, OPI Purple Perspective, Wet Paint Jazzberry Jam, and Wet Paint Grape Minds Think Alike. I used two coats for all but Grape Minds.

Another look at two of the purples: OPI Purple Perspective on top, Wet Paint Jazzberry Jam on the bottom, each one thin coat over silver. The difference between them is more subtle here, but you can still see that the OPI is cooler toned.

And here's a transitional purple to blue shot. Wet Paint Grape Minds Think Alike is a blue-toned purple and Formula X Infinite Indigo is a purple-toned blue; here they are side by side, Formula X on top.

Moving on to the blues now. Top to bottom: Essie Point of Blue, Formula X Infinite Indigo, Wet Paint Inky Nights, OPI Indigo Motif. I used two coats of the Essie and Formula X, one coat of the others. The OPI seems oddly dark compared to the other colors in the collection.

There is another blue jelly from Wet Paint I couldn't fit in the above comparison; it's in the shot below. Top to bottom: Wet Paint Inky Nights, OPI Indigo Motif, Wet Paint Waterfalling for You. All are one coat. The OPI still seems oddly opaque for a jelly.

After blue comes blue green, which had more entrants than I expected. Top to bottom, OPI Turquoise Aesthetic, Essie Pen & Inky, Formula X Timeless Teal, and Wet Paint I Am Aquagirl. All one coat except Aquagirl, where I used two. The OPI and Essie are more blue than green, the Formula X and Wet Paint more green than blue.

In all these jellies, there are only two greens, and one of them is really more of a yellow green. Top to bottom: OPI Landscape Artist, Wet Paint Go Fly a Malachite, OPI Landscape Artist, Wet Paint Go Fly a Malachite. Each one coat over silver.

One of the fun things about jellies is layering, but not all jellies are alike in this regard. On the far left below, Wet Paint Waterfalling for You (blue) plus Wet Paint Raincoat Slicker (yellow) make green. Next to that, OPI Indigo Motif plus OPI Yellow Primarily yellow don't make green because the blue is too pigmented to layer well. Next to that, OPI Purple Perspective plus Magenta Muse do blend, as neither is so dark as the Indigo was. On the far right, Wet Paint Jazzberry Jam plus Jelly Rancher Red make a nice plummy color.

For a last bit of fun with these, I did clouds a la Nailside. Far left below: Wet Paint Orange Julia's, Jolly Rancher Red, and Jazzberry Jam. Next: OPI Chromatic Orange, Pen & Pink, Magenta Muse. Next: Essie Art New-Beau, Blush Stroke, and Highest Bidder. Far right (which I did not let dry long enough between layers): Essie Love Sheen, No Shrinking Violet, and Point of Blue.

Whew, that's a lot of comparisons. Overall, the Essie mostly are more sheer, while the OPI are somewhat inconsistent in pigmentation. I'm not sure what to say about the Formula X other than the set would be a good gift for someone who had no jellies. None of this summer's crop bumped Wet Paint out of their position as my favorites, and unlike the limited edition Essie and OPI, the Wet Paint are core. Sure, some colors do go out of stock from time to time, but as far as I know none are disappearing permanently the way the LEs from the other brands will.

The Wet Paint and Essie polishes shown in this entry were provided free for review purposes. The content of the entry was not dictated by the provider, and I get to keep the polishes for my own use.


  1. Excellent post! I have wondered how these different jellies were from each other. Thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to do this post - and for sharing it!

  2. Really nice post! Been looking for a comparison like this :)

  3. Great post! L'Oreal Mango Mamma is my favourite of the group, but I'm pretty sure that that collection is not sold here in Italy. :(

  4. White base with silver tips = genius!! Great way to show the effect! Wet Paint would be my favorites too (if I lived in the US :-))!!

  5. Amazing comparison post!! Still waiting for Wet n Wild to put out a set...

  6. This is such a awesome post! Thank you for doing this!


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