When Sephora launched its Formula X line of nail polishes last year, my initial response was, “This is exhausting.” Setting aside the basic colors, there are at least 14 different finishes, and if you asked me to tell you the difference between, say, The Lusters and the Liquid Crystals, or The Brilliants and The Sparklers, I would have just stared blankly back at you.
So when Marci handed me this Formula X Cherry Blossom Top Coat to try, I was like, “No. I cannot.” It just seemed like your typical splatter/confetti effect. But she shook it up and said, “LOOK. FLOWERSSSSS.” And sure enough: there are teensy cherry blossoms blended into the rest of the shapes.
I am a complete Japanophile, and have been lucky enough to visit the country during its very beautiful cherry blossom season, so I snatched it from her paws and said I’d give it a test drive.
For the base color, I chose a new favorite: Yves Saint Laurent La Laque Couture in Rose Scabiosa, a creamy lavender-pink, which is part of YSL’s spring color collection. And I only used one coat because it’s pretty opaque.
Next, the top coat. You really have to dig around in the bottle to get to the cherry blossoms and get them to adhere to the brush, which makes painting with your non-dominant hand something of a challenge. Also, they tend to stick together -- you have to dip the brush in and out a few times to get a thinner coat.
And even after you get one or two on your brush, you have to do a little maneuvering to get them to go where you want them to go. I just sort of placed them on to my nail and brushed them around until they were in the right spot.
After painting my left hand, I realized that the cherry blossoms are a “less is more” kind of effect, and didn’t try to add them to every nail; the non-cherry blossom confetti is also pretty on its own.
Then I topped it with a thick coat of Seche Vite. Even though Cherry Blossom is technically a top coat, it’s very textured, so you need something to seal the effect on to the nail.
As of press time, it’s been on my nails for three days, with no flower loss. And at $12.50, it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than a plane ticket to Kyoto.
What’s your favorite fancy top coat? And what are your tips for making it work the way it's supposed to?