Monday, February 6, 2012

Mavala Nail Polish Reviews and Swatches

Mavala is a Swiss brand that makes mini bottles of polish (0.17 oz, rather than the usual 0.4-0.5 oz) in a stunning array of colors. As far as I know, they're not available in the US, but you can order them from Beauty Bay (which has free shipping options sometimes [editor: like right now!], as was the case when I bought mine, and even when not free the shipping is quite reasonable, ~$6 to the US), which is what I did. They run ~$4, and the greatest challenge is in deciding what shades to get! These polishes are another post-breakup purchase, and by post-breakup, I mean the day after. It took almost a month for them to get to me, though I imagine the time would be less if you're on the East Coast, and for free, I'm not complaining!
Left to right: Electric Green, Charm, Berlin, Dakar

I ordered 5 colors, but evidently one was sold out before they shipped my order (and sadface, it was the awesome duochrome one! Alas), so I have 4 to show you today.

How it looks most of the time
in inside light
Electric Green is a bright, bright lime green with gold shimmer. You can't see the shimmer under all lights, but it's evident under sunlight and at certain angles. It's a little sheer and I needed 3 coats for it to be an acceptable opacity. Grade: B-
Angled to show the shimmer, which is more
obvious under sunlight

Mavala Charm
Charm is a warm fuchsia-purple with silver (verging on blue, I think?) shimmer. I thought I would like it more than I do, but it's not a bad color, just not quite me; the swatch picture on Beauty Bay makes it look much darker and cooler than it is. It also required 3 coats, and even then it looked a little uneven (which you can see if you enlarge the picture above); part of this may have been because I didn't allow it enough time to dry between coats, but even so, it wasn't ideal. Grade: C+

Mavala Berlin
I got Berlin just for the name (I lived there for a couple of months summer before last, for those of you who don't know the minutiae of my life!), but I actually like it quite a lot. It's a light cool grey creme, and I think I would even say it has some pale blue in it, but it's predominantly grey, which is good for me, since I don't like blue on my nails! It also needed 3 coats to be opaque, but that was plenty to make it perfectly even. Grade: B+

Mavala Dakar
Dakar was my one "traditional" shade, and I got it because I felt I needed more such colors in my collection. I've got oodles of glitters and duochromes and vampy shades, but very few classic colors, and Dakar looked like it might work. Lo and behold, I actually love it! I even decided to wear it as a full manicure, not just for swatching, and I really like how it looks on me. 
As a full mani, oh fer pretty!
It's a neutral-warm rose with silver shimmer, which keeps it interesting. If you're careful with application, you can get away with 2 coats, but I generally suck at applying polish, so I did 3 on most nails. Grade: A-

I'm loving the mini size of these; the brush is great (though it could be a little rounder and less blunt), and the shorter handle means better control and less excess polish. All 4 polishes dried pretty quickly, and none needed a top coat (in fact, none of the pictures above have top coat). I've only worn Dakar so far, but it held up really well––I took it off after 2 days (because I get bored, sorry), and there was really minimal tipwear and no chipping; basically, it looked the same as right after I applied it. You don't get much product in the bottles, but when you have as many polishes as I do, running out of a color is less of a concern than having a polish dry out, so smaller is often better. It's also a really nice way of trying out colors that you're not sure you'll like, since even if you only wear it the once, there's no more than 0.17 oz wasted. Not to mention, they're just so cute!

So, pros: good application overall (with the exception of Charm), good wear, nice shine, great selection of colors, adorable bottles. Cons: not much product, have to buy from overseas (and it therefore takes ~4 weeks to arrive), $4 for a tiny bottle is painful if you let yourself think about it. I'm quite pleased to have given them a try, and I think Dakar and Berlin will be getting a lot of wear! If these were available in the States, I would love them even more, hint hint Mavala.

~$4 for 0.17 oz, available from Beauty Bay

What do you think of Mavala? Have you tried any of their polishes? Which colors are your favorite?
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