01 January 2014

My Top 13 Polishes of 2013

Hi everyone! Happy New Year! I really like this time of year when I get some time off to relax, catch up on things, and try to get my life organized before classes start up again next week. Oh, and goals! I've been thinking a lot about my blogging goals for the new year, so expect a post on that very, very soon.

I've seen so many bloggers put together lists of their favourite polishes, and they are always fun to read, because each one is different. Instead of the multiple lists you've been seeing on some other blogs, I've only put together one list - indies, mainstream, and everything in between. It's all here.

But just because my list is shorter, doesn't mean it was easier, and in fact I really struggled in putting this together for a few reasons. First, I wonder whether I am qualified to put together such a list. I am not one of those bloggers who gets sent all the new collections. I get some indie polishes to review, but for the most part I pay for stuff out of my own pocket. So I don't always get the chance to try as much as I'd like. These kinds of lists assume that a person has searched far and wide, and tried everything, before choosing the best of the best. But I have to trust myself that if a polish came out that really caught my eye, I bought it. If it didn't catch my eye, than I didn't buy it.

Second, I struggled with this list because I have some really great polishes from this year that I never got the chance to try. The sad truth about doing reviews for brands is that it leaves little time for you to wear your own collection. So there are great polishes that perhaps should have made this list and didn't because I didn't have the chance to try them.

So with those caveats, here's my 13 favourite polishes from 2013...

13. Essie Naughty Nautical
Overlooking the disappointment of the neon collection, Essie released some awesome polishes this year. My favourite was the summer collection, I love the bright colours with subtle, beautiful shimmers. And Naughty Nautical really stands out. The colour is so vibrant and unique - I don't own anything like it. It's not green, but it's not teal, it's just totally stunning! Read the full post.

Essie Naughty Nautical

12. Foxy Paws One More Night
Foxy Paws is a Danish-based indie brand that I had the pleasure to try out this year. Not only is Charlotte, the maker, super sweet, but her creations are gorgeous and will have you humming to her favourite songs (many of her polishes are named after songs). One More Night is like a galaxy mani in a bottle, it's dark and mysterious with a gorgeous blue-purple duochrome shimmer and a smattering of silver holo glitter looks like stars in the night sky. Perfection! Read the full post.

Foxy Paws One More Night

11. Lynnderella Her Name is Petal
The neon glitter trend was popular this year, but my favourite collection of neon glitters was the Lynnderella Everything's Coming Up Neon collection from spring. I loved the way that neon, metallic, matte, and white glitters were put together so effortlessly. Her Name is Petal was a surprise favourite for me, since I wasn't drawn to it at first. I just love the mix of glitters with a pretty shimmer. Read the full post.

Lynnderella Her Name is Petal

10. Chanel Taboo
I love dark, moody polishes, and this was probably one of the best of the year. It's a very dark reddish-purple with an amazing red-violet-pink shimmer with flashes of blue. It's another stunning galaxy nails in a bottle, yet very difficult to capture, which is why I never blogged about it. I didn't think my swatches did the polish justice, so I never published them and never got around to redoing them. Don't get me wrong though - the polish is awesome, and the formula, from what I remember, is pretty stellar.

Chanel Taboo

9. Wing Dust Collections Bean Me Up!
Stephanie of Wing Dust Collections made some pretty amazing polishes this year, and I was very fortunate to try a lot of them. But my favourite by far was this gorgeous deep brown holo with teal glitter. I just love the colour combination and the perfect formula. If you haven't tried Wing Dust Collections yet, I totally recommend it! Read the full post.

Wing Dust Collections Bean Me Up!

8. Cadillacquer Remember Me
When I first happened upon this brand, I found the interesting and unique colour combinations to be refreshing, inspiring and amazing! And most of the polishes are shimmers with small glitter, which makes them a nice change from other indies, where larger glitters tend to be the norm. I can't wait to see what will come from this brand in 2014. I have some polishes from the more recent Breaking Bad collection but haven't had a chance to try them, so my favourite so far is this one. Read the full post.

Cadillacquer Remember Me

7. piCture pOlish Cosmos
So many amazing polishes were released by piCture pOlish this year that it was hard to keep up. Every time they released new blogger collaboration polishes, my wish list just got bigger and bigger! In the end Cosmos was a stand out for me, it's just the perfect shade of blue, and I love the tiny flakie, scattered holo effect, it really does look like stars in the night sky. And like all polishes from this brand, at least the ones I've tried, the formula is perfect and flawless. Read the full post.

piCture pOlish Cosmos

6. Girly Bits Get Weaponized
Even though I tried this polish only recently, I knew right away that it would have a place on this list. It's by far my favourite polish from Girly Bits this year, and that's saying a lot because there's been some very beautiful polishes. For me, this polish is so unique - I love the teal colour, the sparkly shimmer, and the contrast of the fuchsia flecks. And of course a perfect formula! Read the full post.

Girly Bits Get Weaponized

5. Contrary Polish Gift Wrap
I love deep, sparkly, "lit from within" shimmers, and Contrary Polish has done some noteworthy ones. When almost all indie makers were using glitter, Contrary Polish went against that - Carrie, the maker is instead known for her shimmer polishes. At times I think the effects are a bit subtle or a tad too dull for my taste, yet there are other times when Contrary Polish comes out with some phenomenal beauties. Take this for example, which was released for Contrary Polish's first anniversary. It's just perfect! Read the full post.

Contrary Polish Gift Wrap

4. Contrary Polish Greenhouse
While Gift Wrap was gorgeous, the Colour Context collection was just amazing!! If I could, I'd include all three polishes from this collection, but in the end, Greenhouse is the one that stood out. I'm just going to show you the picture and rest my case! Read the full post.

Contrary Polish Greenhouse

3. Illamasqua Facet
This year Hudson's Bay here in Canada started carrying Illamasqua, and it kinda started a love affair with this brand. Before that, the only place you could buy these polishes was Sephora, and they always had such a poor selection. I love that The Bay carries almost all of their polishes, plus the exclusive Gothiqua (which I own but haven't tried). Facet is from the Sacred Hour collection, and if you are able to find it - buy it! It's such a gorgeous grey-taupe with a golden shimmer that is just stunning. I haven't had the chance to properly swatch it, so this iPhone photo will have to do.

Illamasqua Facet

2. Lumina Lacquer Eternal Winter
This was my collaboration shade with Lumina Lacquer, and since it's my dream shade come true, of course it would be high on this list! I love everything about this polish - the colours, the white crelly base, the mixture of glitter, and the golden shimmer. And the name of course! I only wish that it had stayed in the Lumina Lacquer shop longer, at least through the holidays. But that's what happens when you're not the one calling the shots. If you ended up getting this polish, I hope you enjoy it as much I as do. Read the full post.

Lumina Lacquer Eternal Winter

1. OPI My Vampire is Buff
If this comes as a surprise to you, perhaps it's because you're new to this blog?! ;) If you don't do any kind of nail art perhaps the release of this polish, with the Euro Centrale collection in spring, wasn't a big deal. But for me, it was huge, it made my year! I've gone through almost an entire bottle and I have two backups, but I need more. For nail art it's the absolute perfect base. White often looks too stark and bright, grey can be too dull, and other off-white/cream colours can be too yellow or pink. But this is just the perfect off-white neutral and seems to look good as a base for my nail art almost every time. Yes, it can be a bit temperamental in terms of formula, and I wish it didn't take 3 coats for full coverage but I'm willing to overlook that for what it's brought to my nail art this year. :) Read the full post.

OPI My Vampire is Buff

And on top of that it looks perfect as a base for so many glitter polishes. Here, I've shown it with my own Renaissance Custom Lacquer Evenstar. I love this combination. :)

OPI My Vampire is Buff and Renaissance Custom Lacquer Evenstar

Honorable Mentions

There were a few polishes that were very close to making the list but I just couldn't. I loved the Coney Island Queen collection from Pahlish that came out in the spring, and Anticipating and Pacing was such a unique one from that collection. The glitter polishes from The Last Queen of France collection from Hare Polish was another favourite - the colour combinations were just so unexpected. Own Your Opulence was stand out for me. And this post couldn't be complete without including Jindie Nails. Jen came out with a lot of great polishes this year. As much as I love her glitters, her crelly polishes hold a special place in my collection. And one of my all time favourites is Princess Breath, and if you don't own this one - change that!

Pahlish Anticipating and Pacing

Hare Polish Own Your Opulence

Jindie Nails Princess Breath

There's quite a few things that I haven't included on this list that you will see on a lot of other blogs. Texture polishes for example. I have nothing against them, but the only one that really, really caught my eye was OPI's Alcatraz Rocks, which I own, but sadly haven't had a chance to swatch. I'd like to see more textures that are multi-dimensional, and include variation in the colour and shimmer. Multichromes are another. To be honest, I got a bit tired of everyone releasing their own multichromes. Many of them are very similar and I suspect are made from the same pigments.

So what do you think of my favourite polishes from the year? Any that you think should be on the list?


  1. Great post. I totally agree with your caveats - I have a LOT of polishes which deserved to make the list but didn't because I didn't get time to wear them. Also, don't forget - you have inspired other people to try polishes they otherwise wouldn't have - that's a nice quid pro quo xx

    1. Thanks Debbie, you make a good point. And it's nice to hear that I'm not the only one who feels that way - about not getting a chance to wear the polishes that we buy.

  2. Great choices! You definitely made me add some stuff to my wish list. Including Naughty Nautical, which is some feat considering I've said I will never buy another Essie polish. Essie hates me, it always chips within hours of me putting it on, but that color is just gorgeous!

    1. Thanks Joy! It's weird how some polishes just don't work for some people, but I'm glad that you liked Naughty Nautical. :)

  3. Awesome post! I feel your struggles,especially with indies. There are so many lauded polishes launched that I don't have and so I felt my list was lacking, but the whole point is the compilation of your faves of what you've been able to try, you know? I guess it's a little like music--it's the difference between a Best Of compilation and a Greatest Hits. Anyhoooo, I think Essie had a stellar year-- Naughty Nautical was the first Essie I've purchased since Dive Bar and it's fun to see it on a list :) Happy New Year to you!!

    1. Thanks Liesl, and Happy New Year to you too! I find it so hard to keep up with all the indie polishes that have come out - there are just too many! :/

  4. Omg, thank you so much Meghan! <3

    1. You're very welcome! And thanks for visiting my blog. :)

  5. I need to try that Essie. You swatched it beautifully

    1. Thank you Lindsay, it really is gorgeous in person!

  6. Love your list! The fact that you haven't swatched each and every polish in the whole world is actually a good thing to me... The list is YOUR list, your choices and your favorites polishes. I love it! Let's go further and take a closest look at some of them now :)

    1. Thanks you and that's a good point that you make. It definitely is my list, and my choices.

  7. Fantastic list! I agree, you make these lists and it's always different from person to person based on income, samples, general location...you have a great, really rounded out list!

    1. Thank you Missy. I agree, it's always interesting to see what others have come up with.

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  9. Love the picks you have! There is such a variety in colour and it's great!
    The Chanel Taboo looks gorgeous. Makes me want to give it a try :)

    Happy New Year

    1. Thank you Stephanie! Taboo is really gorgeous - if you are going to splurge for a Chanel, that would be the one I recommend. Although then you're easily tempted by more Chanel, which may or may not be a bad thing... ;)


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