Blacks/Whites/Grays and Base/Top Coats
From left: Lord & Taylor Top Coat, Lord & Taylor Base Coat, Lord & Taylor Fortifier, INM - Out The Door top coat, OPI - Natural Nail Strengthener.
I have not been impressed by the Lord & Taylor products at all. They are quite old, but I still don't believe that they were good products to begin with. The base coat is very thin and doesn't seem to protect the nail at all, the top coat is also thin and doesn't provide the shin I expect. The fortifier is so horrible I threw it away. It was furry -- yes FURRY on my nail and didn't do anything for it. This is an issue I still have to research, but I'm not currently understanding why a fortifier would be white, anyway. The INM Out The Door top coat is amazing, and so far the best top coat I have ever used. It dries quickly and protects the polish -- not too thick, not too thin. OPI - Natural Nail Strengthener is great, it's shiny and coats the nail perfectly. I use it as my base coat, and my nails look and feel great.
From left: NYC - French White Tip, OPI - Take It For Granite, Sinful - What's Your Name?, Wet & Wild - Black Creme, Orly - Liquid Vinyl.
NYC - French White Tip: Very thin formula, needs many coats to have full opacity. I did three coats here, and you can still see parts where my nail can be seen. This isn't good to use on it's own (unless for the tip), but it's great to put under certain colors to brighten them up.
OPI - Take It For Granite: This polish is one of my favorites and one I always run to. I have had this for about ten years now, and it still applies amazingly. Seen here with two coats, the only downside is you can see the brushstrokes.
Sinful - What's Your Name?: The formula is thin, and I'm quite disappointed in the fact that you really cannot see the glitter when it's applied. In the bottle all you see is the beautiful purple and blue glitter, and the only time you see it on the nail is if you concentrate and get it in the sun. Something I've learned (but have not yet perfected) is that if you apply it and use nail polish remover to take some of the polish off, you can see all the beautiful sparkles. This is three coats.
Wet & Wild - Black Creme: Thin formula, great for base coats! Not impressive for general wear, but I truly love it for base coats. This is two coats.
Orly - Liquid Vinyl: Thick and soft and wonderful! This is one coat. I generally apply at least two coats of any polish, but this is beautiful with just one. Great for those who are impatient (much like myself.)
One of my favorite things to do with polish is to put it over a black basecoat to deepen and darken the color. What I've decided while I'm swatching my polishes, I will (as pictured from left to right) apply the polish over white, own it's own and over black. In this case, the white didn't enhance the color at all, but it did make it require only one coat. The middle finger is two coats over clear base, and the index is over black. Again, only one coat is needed over the base, it does slightly make the color deeper and darker.
So, there you have it, my first set of swatches. Please be patient, I'm still learning how to photograph best and expand my collection.
*Note: All polishes are swatched with Lord & Taylor base coat, one coat each of the NYC White or Wet & Wild Black. No top coat is used.