May 7, 2013

China Glaze Summer 2013 Sunsational Collection Swatches

Hi guys! Today I have the China Glaze Summer 2013 Sunsational Collection to share with you! I've been waiting for these to arrive at my local beauty supply since I saw them at ISSE in January, mostly because half of this collection is jellies and that intrigued me! I've been patiently waiting for these to arrive at my local store and when they finally did last week I drove over and bought them all, self control be damned! If you follow me on Instagram you can see a photo of my shopping spree from that trip...I went a bit crazy since I hadn't bought any polish in over a month!

Anyway, the Sunsational Collection is split up into 2 parts. Half of the collection is cremes and the other half is jellies. I thought about splitting this up into 2 posts but decided to just lump the whole thing together! Check out the swatches & reviews by clicking the read more button under the collage!



Disclaimer: The majority of these polishes are a pain to photograph accurately. I always strive to take the most color accurate photos I can but some of these were just like NOPE. I would strongly suggest looking at swatches from multiple bloggers if you are unsure about a color, some of these are also just ones you'll probably need to see in real life first. Neons are a pain in the butt, sorry guys!

First up is the creme half of the collection! Formula wise these were pretty awful, with the exception of one (which I will talk about below when I get to that polish) they were all terribly streaky and hard to even out. Neons are typically difficult but these were just...bad. I found that they didn't level themselves very well so even when they were opaque and the streakyness was taken care of they still looked bad. You will need to use a good leveling top coat to help these out, something like Seche Vite or Cult Nails Wicked Fast are what I would recommend. I used Cult Nails Wicked Fast as my top coat for all the swatches of the creme half of the collection.

Bottoms Up is a neon pink. This has a bit of a purple undertone to it. This was one of the difficult ones to photograph, in the sun it just looked blown out blob so both photos below are in the shade. This is much much brighter in person than it looks below!I used 3 coats for the photos below.


Lighting: Shade

Lighting: Shade

Highlight Of My Summer is a bright mint green. I'm not sure I'd really call this neon...just a bright mint. Formula wise this was the worst and most difficult of the creme half of the collection, bummer because I really like the color. I used 4 coats for the photos below.

Lighting: Sunlight

Lighting: Shade

Lighting: Shade


Neon & On & On is a pink neon. This was another difficult to photograph shade, it's a touch darker of a pink than it looks in photos and also much brighter. This one was weird, it didn't look neon at all in the bottle then I walked out and in the sun and it was like POW in your face. It's not super unique but I like the color. I used 3 coats for the photos below.

Lighting: Shade

Lighting: Shade

Sun Of A Peach is a peachy orange neon. Oy, this polish...so pretty, such an impossible color to photograph. I think neon peach might be the most difficult polish ever to capture haha! This was much brighter in person, I really enjoy the color. Formula wise this was right up there with Highlight Of My Summer in the difficult to work with department. I used 3 coats for the photos below.

Lighting: Lightbox

Lighting: Lightbox

That's Shore Bright is a purple creme. Out of the creme half of the collection this was the only one with a good formula. I like the color but it's not what I would call a neon and I feel like I already have a couple polishes very similar color wise . I used 2 coats for the photos below. 

Lighting: Sunlight

Lighting: Sunlight

Too Yacht To Handle is a light blue creme. This one isn't very neon at all, it reminds me of a brighter version of For Audrey. The formula was weird on this one...it was nice at first but by the 3rd coat it was a gloopy difficult mess. I think thinner will greatly help if I ever decide to wear this again. I used 3 coats for the photos below.

Lighting: Sunlight

Lighting: Sunlight
Next up is the Jelly half of the collection. Formula wise these were better than the creme half of the collection. I didn't find most of them to be streaky however most of these were extremely sheer. Jellies are supposed to be sheer but there were a couple that it felt like I was applying tinted water to my nails. I do see myself using these for sandwiching glitters with though so if you like to do that you'll enjoy these! Personally I really like jellies but I like them to be opaque enough to build up without a bajillion coats and most of these just don't work for that, at least not for me.

I used Butter London Nail Foundation for my base for all of these, I did not use a top coat for any of these since they dry pretty shiny on their own. Each of these is the polish on it's own....I felt like layering them over white would kind of defeat the purpose of them being jellies :)


Are You Jelly? is a purple jelly. Out of all the jellies this one is my favorite. It was a little bit patchy but one of the more opaque jellies. I used 3 coats for the photos below.

Lighting: Sunlight

Lighting: Sunlight

Heat Index is a hot pink jelly. This is one of the brightest in this half of the collection. I found this to be so so sheer though, I'd probably not wear this on it's own again but I think it'll be fun to layer with. I used 4 coats for the photos below.

Lighting: Sunlight

Lighting: Sunlight

Isle See You Later is a blue jelly. I don't have much to say about this, it was just beyond sheer and it didn't build well at all. I wanted to like this one but I'll probably be passing it along to a friend since I don't feel like I'll ever even want to try layering with this. I used 4 coats for the photos below and it was no where near being opaque to the point where I would wear it out.

Lighting: Sunlight

Lighting: Sunlight

Keepin' It Teal is a teal jelly. This leans towards being a green teal on me. The formula was very thin and extremely sheer though it did build up better than Isle See You Later. I used 4 coats for the photos below.

Lighting: Sunlight

Lighting: Shade

Shell-o is a coral jelly. This leans a bit more pink in person, it was difficult to photograph this one. This was another one that was extremely sheer but it built up better than I expected it to. I used 4 coats for the photos below.

Lighting: Lighbox

Lighting: Lightbox

You Drive Me Coconuts is bright pink jelly. This has purple undertones and is a bit darker than Heat Index. The formula was the best of the jelly half of the collection, the opacity was what I look for in jellies...not too sheer but not as opaque as a creme. I used 3 coats for the photo below.  

Lighting: Sunlight
Overall I'm pretty disappointed in this collection, the formula is pretty terrible on  most of these and the ones that aren't awful are all generic colors that I probably have dupes of. These all get a big huge pass from me, I'm having serious buyers regret about getting them :/

The Sunsational Collection from China Glaze is available now if you want to buy online, I've seen it already on etailers like Transdesign along with places like Amazon. I'm not sure when this will be in stores like Sally Beauty Supply or Ulta, I'm thinking it's probably a June release for China Glaze but I haven't gotten any official info about that yet :)
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77 comments:

  1. All the colours are really pretty! But they do seem kinda dupe-able though. ^^;;

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  2. http://babysdolcevita.blogspotMay 7, 2013 at 4:56 AM

    Wow, Son of a peach looks so different than on the other swatches on the web! Very hard to capture :)))

    They all look stunning on you :)

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  3. Hi Jen! That's a real pity that the formula on these ones is so terrubly... Heat Index and Too Yatch to Handle look so nice :/

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  4. Wow, these look beautiful, but if they are too much of a pain to work with then it's not worth it. Thanks for your review, Jen, it is much appreciated. I'll most likely pass on these too! :)

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  5. I was really excited about the jellies as well! I ordered Isle See You Later. I hope I can get some nice jelly sandwiches with it.

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  6. Thanks for the swatches! At least you helped my mind about this collection. :) I will not be buying any of these colors...

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  7. Aw, I was going to buy the whole collection but it sounds like they are not worth it. The colors are so pretty though!

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  8. Thank you so much for your honest review, I love the colours, though I don't feel like I want to work with this formula. I love the colour of highlight of my summer though so I may end up picking up 1 or 2 of these. Thanks again for the reviews!

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  9. ValiantlyVarnishedMay 7, 2013 at 6:20 AM

    I love that they did neon jellies for this collection! I am a sucker for a jelly polish. My favorites are Shell-o, Are You Jelly? and Keepin It Teal. Son of A Peach is pretty awesome too!

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  10. These colors look fab. Bummer about the formula =\ Really wanted to pick up a few of these but I'll prob just wait until the OPI Brights collection is released.

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  11. I'm obsessed with jellies, so I'm super excited about that portion of this collection! Shame they're not better formulated/more opaque though. I definitely want/am excited about Keeping it Teal, as I'm a huge teal fan, and You Drive Me Coconuts is also calling my name!

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  12. Whew! What to say about this collection...first, thanks for the swatches and the honest review - it really irks me when I go to check out a collection and a blogger reviews every single polish as, "formula was great - leveled out perfectly, dried quickly and really shiny" Ugh.


    As for the polishes themselves, I really love Highlight of My Summer - bummer it has such a poo formula. Neon & On & On looks like it would be very close to Flip Flop Fantasy, which I already own. Sun of a Peach gets the award for best name - I can just imagine someone asking me what the name of the polish I'm wearing is & being able to utter that! HAHA Heat Index looks so pretty on the nail! Very refreshing & SQUISHY. Love that one & Keepin' It Teal is gorgeous too! I'd love to get that one for glitter sammiches. :D


    Thanks for the swatches Jen!

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  13. I'm really glad you said that the formula was horrible because your swatches look really good! I'm so bummed that these are awful because I was really looking forward to this collection.

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  14. THANK YOU for reviewing these! I was going to buy them all but jeez, your experience with these sounds terrible. I appreciate the swatches and the insight!

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  15. Thanks for your honesty! I was actually saving money for this collection but now I'd rather spend it on OPI's or Essie's new releashes. I'm not impressed at the selection of colors (super dupable) either. Such a pity last year's CG summer collection was PERFECTION.

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  16. thanks for the honesty, as i would have been majorly sucked in by lots of these colors!

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  17. wow very impressed you got 'Isle see you later' to look decent! I couldn't even show a photo of what it looked like on my nails, soooo sheer and bad. Such a disappointment from CG but I do love 'Thats shore bright' :)

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  18. oh my, these are all so gorgeous!!!!

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  19. This, plus a few of their recent PR snafus and bad sets, has pretty much set me off of China Glaze forever. There's too many great brands out there to waste my time on one that's so hit and miss.

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  20. Oh, check out the Zoya Pixie dusts, too! I have a few of them, and I adore them. I was dubious about the texture trend, but these changed my mind.

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  21. Wow, with the formula flaws this one is kind of a giant disappointment! I was really excited for this collection and I only want three colors from it. I have to admit I was really hoping for a mint green jelly, but it looks like I'll have to franken one for myself!

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  22. They look so pretty but sad to hear formula sucks.

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  23. I think Sinful Colors Pistache might be a dupe of Highlight of My Summer... think I'd pick up Shell-O and definitely Keepin' It Teal... that's a super unique color. It's a shame the formula isn't better on these, because the colors are great! And is it just me, or is this summer the summer of the jellies?!?

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  24. I'll pass on these. The colors are pretty but there's nothing that I'm absolutely crazy about. I feel like they could have been better, especially after the awesome neon collection from last year.

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  25. It's such a shame the formulas suck cause they are such pretty colours!! :/ I've been looking for a purple like that's shore bright, and it's the only one without a terrible formula. That might be the only one I get :)

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  26. I wasn't wowed by the first pictures floating around and I am still not after this review. Thanks for the honest and good description how they worked out for you, it helps!

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  27. If you like that purple I'd get piCture pOlish wisteria instead, it's very similar color wise and the formula is a million times better

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  28. I have got 3 colours of this collection still want the purple one i love them

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  29. Aw, that's so disappointing! After reading about the issues a lot of bloggers had with the Hologlam collection, this is a bit heartbreaking. Ah well :(

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  30. You're right, the Summer Neons from last year was one of the best collections ever, I think! :)

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  31. Thanks for saving me a ton of money buying these. Pretty colours, but bad formulas are definitely a deal breaker. Get it together, China Glaze! You're still one of my favourite brands, but some of your recent collections have definitely not been up to par!

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  32. I was really looking forward to this collection but if your flawless application technique and beautiful photographs can't make them behave and look as they should, there is no hope for them and I am going to save my money. Thank you for your candid and very helpful review of this collection. :)

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  33. Thanks! I've been eyeing that polish too, I've been thinking about illamasqua jo'mina as well. I just love that shade :)

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  34. Can you compare those two with Jomina? I have the ChG and the Illa but am wanting to buy the PP

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  35. Do you know if That's Shore Bright is similar to Illamasqua's Jo'mina? :D

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  36. I wanted to get the whole collection simply because I love neons but what a disappointment. I think some of the colors are really pretty but I don't know if I'm willing to work with the formula. Thanks for the honest review.

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  37. They are gorgeous colors, but I've not had any luck with any China Glaze I've bought. All of the ones I bought had horrible application and they chipped easily too :/

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  38. Wow, I appreciate your candor about the formula... you'd never be able to tell from the photos that these polishes were such a PITA.

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  39. Your photos/application make these look amazing, but ugh, I'll pass because the formulas are bad. It's unfortunate, because they do look really pretty here!

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  40. i am so sad to hear about the formula problems on this collection because i really love neons. i don't know if i will be picking any of these up.

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  41. Such a great post thanks so much for your honest review! That is disappointing to hear about the formulas for this collection as I really like some of the colors. As a long time China Glaze lover, it is sad to hear :( The good news is I can save my money for other nail polish splurges! Wonderful swatches as always.

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  42. Thanks so much for your review. Now I know I don't need to bother getting any of these. I don't have the patience for super streaky or super sheer polishes. I've been disappointed in a LOT of China Glazes' collections recently. I'll be spending my $$ on other polish brands' summer collections that have much better reviews.

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  43. I just want to say, I really appreciate your notes about the formulas on the polishes you review. It really helps me decide if I want certain colors or not, if they will be finicky.

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  44. love the purples!

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  45. Thank you so much for your honesty, really. From the photos, you would never be able to tell that the formula was not great. Still love the colors though!!

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  46. They aren't similar at all. Jomina is darker and more blue

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  47. Thanks for the review. I think I'll be skipping this collection - I prefer neons with shimmer like last summer's.

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  48. I do like the colors, even though some of them aren't terribly unique. I like Isle See You Later, You Drive Me Coconuts and Keepin' It Teal best. It is a shame though that the formula of most of these sucked :( I really hope the next collections will be better, because China Glaze used to be my favorite nail polish brand

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  49. I don't get everyone complaining about how the jellies aren't opaque enough. They're jellies, that's what they do! If you want opaque, look for a creme or crelly.

    That being said, it's nice to know that the formula on the cremes is crap before purchasing them!

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  50. Jellies in my opinion should be buildable to be opaque, I prefer the squishy look to them over cremes but I don't like wearing sheer polish. These aren't those kind of jellies with the exception of a couple.

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  51. Thanks for the honest review! I will probably be passing on most of these but may get a couple of the Jellies because the colours are pretty :)

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  52. Ughh! I was SO excited for this collection! After the amazing neons last summer, I thought for sure that these would be amazing. :'( Why couldn't they have done some of these colors (pastel-y neons) with the amazing formula and shimmer from last year?

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  53. I so want to love on the jellies!! They look amazing in your photos but I am sad to hear about them being so sheer. Maybe with me having shorty nails, it might take one less coat hahaa.

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  54. Hi thank you for the review! What do you mean by sandwiching the jellies? Thank you

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  55. Thanks for the review! I was really looking forward to this collection but now I'll have to think long and hard if I really need these. I have the summer collections from ChG for the last two years and those are great neons. I really think that I'll be spending my money on other polishes. Thanks for being honest!

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  56. Please share with us if you end up doing sandwiches with any of these jellies; I'd love to see it.

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  57. Messy Jessi LacquerMay 13, 2013 at 5:59 AM

    I'm with ThePolishAholic on this one. For me jelly is about having the OPTION to wear it sheer or build it up to a squishy, opaque finish. To each her own though.

    On a separate note, I love all of the creme colors and feel like I need to at least try them out. I know my bestie is all over the jelly half of this collection, so I imagine we'll split the collection half and half. I'll definitely update you if I have a different experience with the formula.

    Thank you for the always-honest reviews. Yours is a blog I lean on when deciding what to run out and get at launch versus what to wait until it lands on the clearance rack.

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  58. Messy Jessi LacquerMay 13, 2013 at 6:01 AM

    I can't agree with you more! CG has a rough year and they have some serious woo-ing to do to rebuild both their reputation and loyal customer base.

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  59. Messy Jessi LacquerMay 13, 2013 at 6:05 AM

    A "jelly sandwich", as its so lovingly called, is when you layer your mani like this: one or more coats of jelly, one or two coats of a glitter in a clear base (depending on the concentration of glitter), and topping that off with one or two coats of the jelly. It gives the appearance that the glitter is suspended in the jelly. Done with the right combination of jelly and glitter, its a stunning look. HTH! ;-)

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  60. I understand what you mean about every blogger saying the same thing. I am working on that myself. I think my problem is that since I am spending money on my polishes (most of the time I don't get free bottles) I always get ones that I like. I can also rarely afford full sets so I've never taken the gamble.

    I just bought the entire set of jellies and I am looking forward to trying them. I really want to sandwich OPI's Fresh Frog of Bel Air in between Keepin' It Teal. :D

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  61. May I ask about the recent PR snafus? The last one I knew about was Halloween last year. Were there any more?

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  62. I don't discuss drama I was not personally involved in, sorry

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  63. I really wanted to purchase Too Yacht Too Handle but for some reason in my local nail store, the bottle looked nothing like yours, it leaned more green! :( or is your bottle like that too? I'm wondering if I do get and then just bring it into the sun, it'll look blue?

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  64. It's a bit of a blue green, lighting and skin tone will make it look different. Usually blue greens lean blue on me because I'm so pale

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  65. I am not a jelly person. I want Thats Shore Bright and Highlight of my Summer. With that said I couldn't find them at Sally's. I live in Tx in a small town and that is really the only place that carries the new collections. So I emailed Sally's and they replied "We will not be carrying this collection at Sally's. our apologies." Maybe they know how crappy the formulas have become with CG. I bought When Stars Collide from the last collection and it is the biggest mess and once you do get it on and presentable, it chips before the next day. If anybody knows of a reasonable dupe for the mint please let me know. Thanks for the honest opinion.

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  66. I like Heat Index and You Drive Me Cocunuts but I feel like they're too similiar to lat year's coloutrs. I do wanna gett Highlight Of My Summer though

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  67. My bottle of too yacht too handle looks to be on the green side while the majority of swatches I have seen look more blue.

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  68. I was seriously disappointed in these as well. I only grabbed 4 because I was short on cash, and that was like a blessing in disguise! I was really excited for Bottoms Up. I have neon pinks, but the shade on this was kind of a cross between a pastel and a neon - just really unique in my opinion. But I just couldn't get a smooth coat, even after layering on KB Shimmer's Clearly On Top. But I just made the best out of it, and used round glitter polish on top. I used Lush Lacquer Clownin' Around (can I even call that a glitter? That polish is so awesome!). The result was actully very pretty, but I think that credit goes to Lush Lacquer, not China Glaze.

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  69. Great review. I appreciate the in depth review.

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  70. Christina BeckerJuly 13, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    I probably sound like an amateur right now, but what does it mean to sandwich jellies? And how do you do it?

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  71. You do a layer of the jelly nail polish then a coat of glitter followed by another coat of the jelly! Hope that makes sense :)

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  72. I know this comment has 2 months I too was very excited for bottoms up and I purchased 3 bottles what a mistake the color is unique the polish itself well hates it! Do you know another pastel neon pink polish with the same blue undertone? I honestly am addcited to this color but can't get a full day of no chipping wear with this one.

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  73. The closest I found was Pixi Nail Color 'Paradise Pink'. It's a few shades darker than Bottoms Up, and not as neon. (I buy Pixi at my local Target for $8. If your going to Google it, make sure you put in 'Pixi Nail Color' , and not just 'Pixi', or you'll have a hard time finding it.
    I also found a way to make 'Bottoms Up', and other neons to go on smoothly! The trick is to let each coat dry 5 - 10 mins before applying the next. Your first coat is going to be rough - lots of streaks, bald spots... But just let it dry a bit. Then when you apply the 2nd coat, you'll see it smooth out significantly. I personally found it to be the smoothest after 3 coats, but some people have achieved a smooth look in just 2.
    Who would have thought, something as simple as dry time? I think we've been spoiled with all the fast dry polishes! LOL. I hope this helps! :)

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  74. Thanks a lot I will be trying your tip and maybe I can get my hand on that Paradise Pink polish.2.

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  75. I saw a dupe of that mint at five below... I have never tried their polish, but who knows? Lmk if this helps!!!!

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  76. I swear you make decisions about purchasing polish so hard sometimes!! =D As I look at your swatches, I read your reviews of the formula and everything, and can clearly see your disappointment in the functionality of the polish! But... but then I look at the pictures again, and you manage to make them look SO pretty! Damnit Jen! =D

    Maybe you could start posting pictures of the polish as you wear it/swatch it ~ and then re-swatch it to show what it would look like with a novice applying it?! Eh?? Eh?? =D HA! Okay, I'm seriously kidding! Please don't think I want you to put even MORE time into the time you already spend on your gorgeous pictures! =) I just had to comment, really to tell you how amazed I am that you manage to make polishes with totally lame formulas look gorgeous! =) You rock lady!

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