Long time, no see, everyone! I'm ten days away from taking the NY and NJ Bar Exams (AHHHH!), so hopefully, I'll have more time to get back to swatching and my nail art once that stupid test is over!
In other news, as you may have seen on Facebook, I received the Zoya Naked Manicure System a little under a month ago. Since then, I have been testing the various shades of the collection, as well as the wear of both matte and glossy looks.
Here is what Zoya says about the Naked Manicure System: "The Naked Manicure System is a simple, highly effective system that gives clients instant, gorgeous natural looking nails. It also provides the intense therapeutic, long term benefits for stronger, healthier nails."
Because of what was posted on their website, I approached product testing with three goals in mind:
1) How natural does it look?
2) How long does it last?
3) Does it make my nails stronger or healthier?
Sometimes, from all the swatching, my nails can be a little yellow and I have issues with ridges. I'm also going to be starting a new job in the fall and I wanted a few more professional-looking options that I could wear every day and know they're appropriate for both day and night work events.
You can also layer different Perfector shades to get a more customized color based on your skin tone and condition of your nails, as demonstrated below:
I'm happy to report that I've now gotten the whole collection swatched and tested for wear!
How Natural Does it Look (The Perfector Shades):
Below, you'll find a comparison between my natural nail, the satin (matte) look, and the glossy look.
First up is Pink Perfector, which is what comes in the Women's Starter Kit, along with the Naked Base, Satin Seal, and White Tip Perfector bottles.
I really like how the color evened out the shade of my nails to look a little healthier, while brightening the tip. For my fair skin, this would be the best perfector shade to use in order to achieve a look that gives the impression my nails are naked (satin finish) or that I put on a top coat to keep them shiny looking (glossy).
For example, if I were a waitress whose workplace prohibits the wear of nail polish, I would feel comfortable wearing Pink Perfector topped with Satin Seal because my supervisors would never know the difference. THAT is how natural it looks.
Also... did you notice my ridges are gone??!? I DID!
Next up is Buff Perfector! Considering this shade is better for peachier, warmer toned skin, I honestly didn't think this would look good on me, but I liked it even MORE than Pink Perfector! Buff Perfector really brightens up my nails and gives me both a great satin naked look, but a sleek glossy look that borders on a French Manicure.
Here is Nude Perfector, which is meant for those with beige nail beds. This shade was a bit too warm for my skin type, but if your nail beds are beige, this is going to make for a very natural, classy look for you!
Even though it didn't work as well as Buff Perfector with my skin tone, it still looked great.
Mauve Perfector is billed by Zoya as a "deeper tone" meant for those with darker nail beds. This was a very wearable shade for me too, but I liked Buff Perfector more for my skin tone.
This is Lavender Perfector, which is meant to neutralize discoloration and add a cooler base to any of the other shades. I wore it alone here just so you can see the effect that it had on my natural nails. While as a satin/matte look, it skews a bit too blue to look natural, I found that when Glossy Seal was applied, it looks almost identical to the French Manicures I see coming out of most nail salons that use a cooler base (think: Essie Marshmallow) rather than a pinker base (think: Essie Ballet Slippers).
So even though it is meant to be corrective, it actually works really nicely when glossy. I'd definitely (and did) wear it out on its own.
How Long Does it Last?I'm happy to report that I was able to wear the complete manicure for seven days with minimal wear. I really only had minor tip wear that I usually see on Day 2 or 3 from a regular polish, so the fact that I could go a whole week without seeing chippage was a MAJOR plus for me.
How nice would it be to paint your nails on a Sunday night and know that you could get a whole week at the office, PLUS drinks on a Friday after work, a Saturday out with friends, and maybe a Sunday BBQ out of a mani?
Not only would it be stellar, but it IS possible with the Zoya Naked Manicure system! Huzzah!
Does it make my nails stronger or healthier?Definitely. Not only did I notice my nails looked a more healthy, even color, but in the 25 days I've been wearing these perfector shades, I haven't broken a single nail. Not a ding, not a chip, not a crack, Nothing.
And trust me, I've had plenty of incidents where I thought "Shoot, there goes my nice even nails!" Yet, I looked down and they looked as good and even and swatch-worthy as ever. It has been a miracle.
A Few Tips on Application:Firstly, make sure your nails are clean and dry before applying.
Second, the order of application is as follows: Naked Base, Perfector Shade, White Tip Perfector, Satin Seal, and Glossy Seal. Even if you intend to wear the look shiny, you still MUST apply Satin Seal before Glossy Seal.
However, if you only want a matte finish, there is no need to apply Glossy Seal.
If you're using Lavender Perfector as a corrective color, apply it between the Naked Base and the other Perfector shade of your choosing.
Last, but not least: roll your Satin Seal bottle between your hands for at least 20 seconds, as directed in the instructions booklet. If you don't, your nails will not have the matte and naked look you're trying to achieve. If you look closely, you'll see a little cloudiness in the bottle after a few rolls between your hands, so this isn't a ridiculous premise. You do need to get the bottle mixed up.
So is it worth purchasing?In short? Absolutely. The great thing about the Zoya Naked Manicure System is that it fulfills a lot of needs all at once in that it strengthens your nails while providing you with options for both a natural and polished look. You could even wear them with the Satin Seal during the day and have the option of applying the Glossy Seal at night to give it a little more oomph for a dinner or night out.
I know that many of you have workplace restrictions on nail polish, whether it be colors or wearing any at all, so this collection was definitely something I wanted to test out for those of you out there looking for options. These also can be used to achieve a natural, but still classy look for those of you without polish restrictions at work or for any occasion at all, really.
The only downside to the Naked Manicure System is that it has a little bit longer of a dry time than the average polish. However, they are compatible with the Zoya Fast Drops (aka: Step 5 of the Color Lock System), which took care of that problem for me. Even if you don't have the drops, I honestly think the longer dry time is worth it.
Where to Buy The Naked Manicure System:
The Zoya Naked Manicure System is available exclusively through Zoya's Website. You can buy it in one of three sets or in individual pieces. Individual Perfector shades are $10 per bottle, with the topcoats and bases $12 per bottle.
The Women's Starter Kit includes the Naked Base, Pink Perfector, White Tip Perfector, and Satin Seal Topcoat for $25.
The Professional Starter Kit includes the full system for $96, but you can piece it together by purchasing the Women's Starter Kit and adding on the missing pieces.
My recommendation is that you purchase the Women's Starter Kit, regardless of which perfector shade you think is the best for your skin tone. Just the Naked Base, White Tip Perfector, and Satin Seal cost $34 if purchased individually, so even if you DON'T use the Pink Perfector, you're still getting the other 3 for $25 at a savings of $9.
Then of course, you can add on your choice of Perfector for $10 and Glossy Seal for $12 if you like the glossy look.
You can also purchase the Men's Starter Kit with the Naked Base, Buff Perfector, and Satin Seal for $22. However, for women, I think the White Tip Perfector is CRITICAL to the satin or glossy look, so I don't recommend that. It's only another $3 for the White Tip Perfector, so it's WELL worth the extra cost.
The Round UpI hope that my review of all the shades were helpful! Let me know if you'd like to see any of the combinations of Perfector shades layered together and if there's interest, I'll put together a post with the swatches of the different combos!
What are your thoughts on the Zoya Naked Manicure System?