Let’s talk Complex Culture Nail Polish

As many of you may be aware Complex Culture is a brand owned by IPSY. I don’t actually have a problem with this to be honest. I don’t mind subscription boxes having their own brand or sprinkling the items from that brand throughout the boxes every now and again. As long as the quality is there. Just because I like IPSY doesn’t mean I am going to give the items the produce from their own brand a pass.

And that has been an interesting journey as far as IPSY and Complex Culture go, at least for me. In general I find the makeup products from Complex Culture to be stunning to look at. The packaging is sleek and modern and just plain good looking. The color selections seemed well thought out and we as nice to look at as the packaging. Yet having received quite a number of items from Complex Culture, when you look at my makeup collection, you will find very through. Ove all, I haven’t found them to be well performing.

They look good, but don’t deliver.

nice brush size

In the December IPSY Glam Bag Plus though I received a duo of Nail Polishes. while I tried several makeup products from Complex Culture, I had not tried any of their nail polishes. At the moment I am trying to expand my Nail polish collection. While I love a wide variety of colors and thought I had a large collection, I found some issues over the holidays. First I purchased an acrylic Nail polish rack (basically a set of three small plastic steps with space for nail polishes). I did this so that I could actually see what I had instead of simply rummaging through the nail polishes. What I found was that I had a lot of duplicates. Mostly due to subscription boxes.

While I don’t think I have ever actually bought a pink nail polish in my life, I have about eight in varied shades of pink. There seems to be at least one every valentine’s day. Most of these will be passed on to my mother and Aunt, both of whom love pink. I will keep one or two but happily release the rest.

after one day without a top coat

So when the nail polishes arrived I was more than willing to give them a try. One of the polishes in the duo is a gold and the other is a really nice Mid Century Modern green. Or to use their names Dream (gold) and Thrive (green). While I have a gold nail polish, it is a very old Revlon product. Personally I love Revlon Nail products and the Gold does perform well. It is just old enough that Revlon has changed the style of their nail polish bottles several times since I purchased it. And while I don’t mind the older style bottle and the nail polish still performs well, I am actually starting to run out of product.

the green with a clear top coat lasted almost a week without chipping

I know, I am about to use the nail polish up completely. I can’t even remember the last time that happened.

So having a replacement gold in the wings is not a bad idea. And I have nothing this shade of green so that was a bonus.

So on to the nail polish. They are the round bottles which as usual for Complex Culture, look very pretty. The brushes are wide enough to cover my thumb in two swipes and my pinky in one swipe without going a lot over. it is actually the ideal width for me as far as nail polish brushes go. Too thin and you risk streaking by having to re-dip the brush to coat one nail and too wide and you waste a lot of nail polish on messy looking fingers.

shade on nails matches exactly what you see in the bottle

Or at least that has been my experience. I like the brush size of this and I like the way they applied. I tried out the gold first. It applied well. It wasn’t especially quick drying, but it wasn’t terribly slow either. Two coats were enough to get color saturation.

With the first gold application, I forgot to add a top coat. Some of my nail polishes work well without the top coat. This isn’t one of them. The next day I washed my breakfast dishes (not a whole sink full just a bowl, spoon and cup) and the tips of my nails looked like the polish was a week old. With a top coat, this wasn’t a problem. Mostly because the top coat protected it.

The top coat I used was from OPI as it is my current top coat polish.. It works really well. Sally Beauty had a sale and I stocked up. Incidentally they still have the OPI Celebration Nail Lacquer set up for the holidays. I’m actually thinking of adding LED Marquee to my collection.

The Green of Thrive had the same need for a top coat. Again I was using the OPI so I don’t know how the Complex Culture top coat performs. without a top coat you have a day at best with either of these colors before chips appear.

The comparisons. L to R: Nails, Inc ($8), Complex Culture ($18 each), Smith and Cult ($18) OPI ($10.49)

The green of Thrive looked really nice, but it did take longer for each coat to dry than the Gold of Dream, and I needed three coats to achieve the color saturation that I wanted. I’m not sure why it took longer. My only guess is that as Dream was a shimmer and Thrive a matte there was a little bit of difference in the formula. Again, while it did take longer and was noticeable by the difference, it didn’t take a huge amount of time longer to dry.

But now it comes to the question of would I repurchase. The colors are nice and I haven’t seen this green anywhere else and it is nice to find a new color. That being said when I went on the Complex Culture Website, finding nail polishes wasn’t easy and only one is actually listed on the Complex Culture Site and it is a red one. If you search for the nail polishes you have to go through IPSY to find them. Which is kind of an unnecessary step. And it doesn’t really let me see what other colors they have available to better judge their shade range.

But to be fair, perhaps they are just starting their nail polishes and more shades will appear as they expand.

But then there is the price. If you asked me I would have valued them in the $5-$7 range. The two nail polish brands I tend to purchase most often are OPI and Nails Inc. OPI tends to be in the $10- $13 range and Nails Inc about $8-$10. I would rank both of these well above the Complex Culture Nail Polishes. When I looked at the Complex Culture website, the cost for a single polish was $18. Which puts it on an equal price footing with Smith and Cult. I have several of their nail polishes and they are $18 when you order them. I would not put this in the same level with the Smith and Cult. The S&C wear better even without a top coat, are stunning on the nails and they look light years better in terms of packaging.

So knowing all of this would I purchase these polishes on my own? No. I will use them since I have them, but I will search for a green shade similar to this and I will find another gold to replace my disappearing Revlon. The Complex Culture simply isn’t worth the price.

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