Friday, February 21, 2014

Dupe time! A word of warning about limited edition collections...

So most people know that Red Carpet Manicure and Gelish seem to share manufacturers, right?  And that they often have polish shades that are exact dupes to one another?  I've posted about dupe shades between the two brands before--in fact, most of the posts on my blog tagged with "Dupes?" are RCM/Gelish comparisons! 

The way I see it, the main difference between the two is that RCM is targeted to the ULTA crowd, and Gelish is targeted to professionals or the Sally Beauty crowd.  Personally, I will buy either brand, depending on who has a nice collection out or who has the best sales at the time. 

The thing that keeps all this fun and interesting, though, is that sometimes each brand has unique collections, with unique colors--although many colors eventually get repeated by the opposite brand at a later time. If I talked about dupes like this, I could go on forever.

But with all these new collections, another problem is coming to light: Dupes of colors within the same brand.  

You see, when I had a chance to swatch the color "Paradiso Blue" from Red Carpet Manicure's Postcards from the Greek Isles collection, I thought it looked pretty similar to their "Love Those Baby Blues" color.   I actually opened up the bottles side by side in the store, and sure enough, there was only a tiny shade or two of a difference between the two colors--definitely not enough to warrant buying both bottles.   So I just put the color back and went on my merry old way.

...And now enters the new "Dazzling Gems" collection for 2014:

A short blurb about the product first:  The "Dazzling Gems" collection contains 6 gel polishes, all of which supposedly contain some real precious gemstones.  The price tag on these is $11.99, and I'm not sure if that price hike is because of the precious gems or the totally gratuitous box that they packaged the gels in.  I'm pretty skeptical, but I love me some unique colors, so I bit the bullet anyway. The downside is: since they're in boxes, you can't open the colors up to see what they look like before buying. 

One of the colors I picked up, pictured above, is "Trendsetter", which is supposed to contain real aquamarine, and looked like an awesome teal with a dimensional metallic shimmer, or something to that effect.  Well,  I got this shade home, opened it, and this looks like another color... what about RCM's "Shimmering Gown"?

At one coat of each color, they're not exact dupes, but one does look like a pale comparison of the other (quite literally).  Can you tell which is which?  "Trendsetter" (on the left) is not the awesome metallic shade I thought it would be, but a clear blue "jelly" based gel polish with teensy scattered teal irridescent flakes.  It's actually LESS pigmented and glittery than "Shimmering Gown" (on the right), which looks to have some more round glitters in the mix as well.  "Trendsetter" would be a nice topper shade to transform you manicure, if "Shimmering Gown" is too bold and glittery for you.

I wanted to try out three coats, too, since you would need a few coats to build up opacity with jelly shades like these.  That's where the differences between the two shades just about disappears completely:

Now which is which?!   This time, "Trendsetter" is on the right, and the glitter looks only slightly more sparse than "Shimmering Gown" on the left.  But remember these are macro shots, too; take a few steps back from your computer, and you might notice that no one's going to notice the difference from far away!

If that's a little TL;DR for you, here's the short version:
Multiple collections = awesome sauce.
Dupe-able shades within the same brand = definitely NOT awesome. 

Oh yeah, and if you want to avoid situations like this, look in person BEFORE you buy, and/or buy at a place that has a good return policy.  Since that may be hard with the limited availability of gel polishes, the only other resource you have is the internet, which you should use to your full advantage to look up swatches (that's why I do this blog thing, after all). 


  1. This is a great write up. Thanks for the comparison shots! I've noticed sometimes with Gelish' new collections, they'll include colors that are nearly identical to previous colors they've released, which is always such a bummer.

    1. Thank you! Sometimes I feel like I'm way too wordy.

      I guess that's the down side to gel polishes becoming more and more popular. I feel like I continually see more collections released by multiple brands, which is awesome, but the shades/finishes are starting to overlap more and more, too.

      This has me wondering if they have more "dupes" with this new RCM dazzling gems collection, but I don't have enough interest in the other colors to find out personally.