Tuesday, July 24, 2012

American Apparel Sheer Nail Polish Swatches

When American Apparel first sent me the press release for these new Sheer Nail Lacquers, I was both excited and skeptical.  I loved the gradients they did in the images, but would an average person be able to recreate the gradients as well?  Let's see!

Zuma Beach (1 to 4 coats successively from left to right): a build-able sheer lime green jelly.  As you can see, 1 coat is very sheer; however, you can build up the color to full creme-like opacity in 4 coats.  3 coats will give you good coverage as well, while maintaining the jelly finish.

The fact that these polishes can become as sheer and opaque as you would like means you can easily layer them over polishes to create a gradient.  If you have time, you can actually get a very nice gradual gradient.  You can also use more than two colors for a tie-dye effect.  Please note that since these are macro shots, the gradients may not seem as smooth.  Of course, it won't be like those sponge gradients, but since your eyes meld the colors together (while a camera picks them apart) it won't look as choppy in real life.

Manhattan Beach (1 to 4 coats successively from left to right): a bright coral jelly.  Very similar to Julep Sasha, but Sasha is a creme and therefore looks less translucent and more muted.  Between the two, I like Manhattan Beach by far because of its lower price and better formula.  I found this color to be the most opaque of the three I've tried.  It was jelly opaque in 2 and creme opaque at 3.

Zuma Beach (green) blends almost seamlessly into Manhattan Beach.  Don't you think so?  For the best gradients, try layering both colors over each other where the two colors meet.

Redondo Beach (1 to 4 coats successively from left to right): a dark sky blue jelly.  I found this to be a bit streaky?  Not sure if that's the word, but you can see that the color is uneven at 3 coats.  I found it fully opaque at 4.

As you can see, colors that sit closer to each on the color wheel will obviously blend better (like the green and blue).  More different colors like the red and blue are a bit harder to blend seemlessly; however, a more tie-dye like gradient is possible between all colors.  I really liked using all 3 colors together.  For some reason these colors remind me of sour gummies.  Yum!

Verdict:  Love!  The polishes I tried delivered on their sheer and opaque claim.  I found all three can be both sheer and opaque, which means you can layer any color over another without overpowering it.  I also found these fun to use!  If you're like me and like the process of painting your nails, you'll enjoy these.  Take your time layering different colors to make new colors and pretty gradients.

There are 3 other colors in this line: Summerland Beach (light pink), Moonlight Beach (dark blue), Pacific Beach (bright green-teal).  I know for sure that Pacific Beach will be mine.  I might pick up the other two as well, since I imagine the light pink would go well with the coral, while the dark blue would go well with the sky blue.

P.S. I love these frosted square bottles!  So pretty!

You can purchase Sheer Nail Polishes from American Apparel's nail store* online for $6.00 each (15ml).  They also carry other types of nail polish, such as cremes, metallics, glitters, and neons.  Some of these can also be purchased in either a 3-pack or 7-pack set for 15-20% off respectively. :)

Links followed by an * are affiliate links.
*The polishes reviewed in this post were sent to me for my honest review.
Please view my Disclosure Policy for more info.


  1. These look awesome! I picked up all six last week and have been very happy with them! I love how you used the three colors, it totally looks like tie-dye!

  2. They look nice, but I'm not sure if I would want to paint 4 coats!

  3. Hi Christina! Thanks for your comment. If you like these colors, I would say opacity is not an issue. The only one that really needed 4 coats was the sky blue one. The others only need 2-3 depending on how opaque you want it. Keep in mind that these are sheer polishes, and most sheer polishes never reach opacity, especially not at 4 coats. But they are best used for gradients in my opinion, so if you're not into gradients or sheers I'm sure there are many other options. :)

  4. Doesn't it? I can't wait to get more colors. The possibilities are really endless. :)

  5. Hmmm these are pretty good looking! I too like you were questioning them quite a bit and I've seen them on Kelly Gonzo's blog too but wondered if they would live up to the test. It makes me happy to see they did. I'm gonna go ahead and get them all now I think. I love jellies a lot and the blue and coral colors are spectacular! Thanks for sharing :)

  6. wow! these are great!!!

  7. Looks good. Thanks for sharing...I would have never tried them on my own without your helpful info.


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