Saturday, August 20, 2011

Review & Swatch: Zoya Pandora

Zoya's touch collection appealed to me from the moment I first saw it. I don't know why, but nude shades do it for me, which is kind of odd given how vibrant I typically like my colors. The Touch Collection is composed of 3 different nude creams--Pandora, Minka, and Shay.

Pandora is described on Zoya's site as:
"A medium pink-beige nude with blue and mauve undertones and a hint of pearly silver shimmer. An opaque, full-coverage nude that works beautifully on skin with cool tones."

At First Glance
Zoya Pandora
Packaging: I received Pandora in one of my birchboxes several months ago so it came in a mini bottle. The bottle is an adorable little version of the fulls-size bottles. Minis consist of .25 fl oz while the full-size consists of .5 fl oz.

Brush: Unlike other minis I've tried in the past, the brushes on Zoya's minis feel as if they have the same size brush with a slightly shorter wand. I hate when get a mini and the brush looks like it's been made for a Barbie. I don't have wide nails, but the fewer strokes the better in my opinion!
Pandora Mini Brush
3-Free or Not: If you're not familiar with the term "3-Free" it refers to polishes that are void of 3 of the most harmful ingredients in traditional polishes--Dibutyl Pthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde, and Toluene. Zoya is not only 3-Free, but it does not include camphor as well. If you'd like to read more about 3-Free polishes and why you may want to ditch the questionable ingredients check out this older post on 3-Free Nail Polish.

Zoya Pandora Ingredients
Claim v. Reality
Claim (according to Zoya's site) "An opaque, full-coverage nude that works beautifully on skin with cool tones." Zoya rates the opacity of this polish as 5 out of 5.

Here's the reality: This polish is definitely pretty opaque, but I found it to be a bit more opaque on some nails than others with the first application. I also found it to be a bit streaky on some nails. Was it me or is the formula a bit inconsistent? It was absolutely 100% opaque and offered full-coverage after 2 coats. I usually do 2 coats regardless, but I've used polishes that are so opaque that the first coat offers full coverage. I used a clear base coat underneath. I would agree that this has a hint of pearly silver shimmer, but only a hint. As far as it working with cool-toned skin, I have an odd skin tone. I have an olive complexion with yellow undertones (not pink), but I've found that I like all nude shades on my nails. Pandora was no exception.

Zoya Pandora: Applied v. In Bottle
2 coats of Zoya Pandora over clear base coat (no top coat).
Major Pros or Cons
  • Pro - 3-Free plus camphor-free
  • Pro - Decent opacity
  • Pro - Unique nude shade
  • Pro or Con - Zoya's nail polishes are currently sold on the site for $8 per bottle for full-size, which is an increase from $7 per bottle earlier this year. $8 may be a great bargain in comparison to one of my other favorite 3-Free polish companies (Butter London), but is a bit more expensive than some drugstore brands. I don't mind spending $8 on a bottle of polish I love, but others may feel that's a bit too much.
  • Con - A bit streaky at times. It wasn't overwhelmingly streaky and definitely evened out after 2 coats, but I noticed this both times I tried this color.
  • Con - Pandora is a bit soft even after it's dried or perhaps it takes an excessively long time to dry. Last night I did both hands in Pandora over a clear coat by Peacemaker Cause-metics. I allowed the base coat to thoroughly dry before applying the first coat of Pandora and then waited another 10-15 minutes for the first coat to dry before applying the second coat. I then stayed up another hour before going to bed. Somehow I still woke up with fabric pattern imprints on a few nails. While I'm not a fan of chemicals, I may try this with a hardener or speed drying nail product to see if it makes a difference. I know Zoya offers a color locking system, but I've heard several times that it still doesn't do the trick for some colors. 
Overall Impression
I really like this color and I love that Zoya is 3-Free and camphor-free. If you're into nude shades, this is definitely worth trying. From looking at it, I can see how it may be a little too dark for someone that's fair, but at the same time you may like it regardless.

Zoya currently has their full-size bottles of polish listed at $8 per bottle. The minis that I've seen have been sold in sets and average out to around $5 per mini bottle. Currently the only minis I know of being sold on the site are the Mod Mattes which come in packs of 3 minis for $15.

Would I recommend it or use it again?
Yes, I would definitely recommend this to someone looking for a cool-toned nude polish, but I would probably suggest using a hardener or rapid drying nail product  if they experience the same "softness" I did. 

Have you tried Zoya's Pandora? What did you think?

You can view Pandora on Zoya's site HERE

This product came in a birchbox I received several months ago. All opinions above are my own.

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