Beauty Round-Up



REVIEW | e.l.f. Essential 15-Piece Nail Polish Set - Limited Edition + GIVEAWAY! (CLOSED)

Review e.l.f. Essential 15 Piece Nail Polish Set Limited Edition

Sandal weather is here! You know what that means--exposed toe nails. I don't know about everybody but wearing sandals with unpainted toenails looks incomplete and naked. With some nail polish, I feel a little put together, especially with the minimal makeup that the sweltering weather necessitates. If you're anything like me, there's nothing like $2 USD nail polish to get you excited and ready for the summer heat!


Taken from the insert that came in the Nail Cube, the "revolutionary bristle design glides color on flawlessly. Quick dry formula for no-mess application, and infused with active Vitamin E for stronger, healthier nails. Our formula is FREE of: Toluene, Formaldehyde, and Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP)."

The Nail Cube comes with 15 mini-size bottles of nail polish in cream, glitter, and shimmer finishes.


The Nail Cube contains 15 polishes for $15 USD (I got it on sale for $12 USD). You get 0.203 fl. oz/6mL in each bottle, coming out to $1 USD per bottle ($4.93 per oz). The full size bottle contains 0.34 fl oz/10mL for $2 USD ($5.88 USD per oz).

Cream Finishes

  • Desert Haze -- A repeat from the no longer available e.l.f. Essential 14-Piece Nail Cube, this neutral grey taupe applies smoothly and opaquely in one coat. There is slight streaking so a second coat can further enhance the color. 
  • Wedding Bells -- A really, really, really sheer, ballerina pink. This is so sheer that it doesn't even show up in the nail swatch I did. After 4 coats, it was still really sheer. I don't like pale pinks anyway so I gave it to a friend. She really likes it :D
  • Prissy Chrissy -- One of my favorite neutral shades ever, this pale but bright peachy color complements my warm skin tone. It's girly and feminine while being understated enough for work. It's a bit sheer but with two coats, it's perfect. 
  • Mango Madness -- I first got this shade in the e.l.f. Essentials Nail Cube in Brights. A true summer shade, the corally orange emphasizes my tan without making me look dirty. It is a bit gloopy and hard to paint but after adding a bit of the Develop 10 Nail Polish Thinner, it's working smoothly. It is opaque in one coat but I always do two for fool-proof application.
  • Smokin Hot -- Again, this is a repeat from other collections. The bright red shade looks lighter on the nails but you can achieve the color in the bottle with two or three coats. Just make sure that the coats are thin enough so they can dry properly and not clump.
  • Raspberry Sorbet (LE) -- A warm tone, dark raspberry color, it applies lighter than the bottle with one coat. This is one of my favorite shades to wear for fall. One coat is slightly streaky so two coats is a must. This is exclusive to this Cube at the moment of posting.

  • Purple Pleaser (LE) -- Cooler than Raspberry Sorbet, this purple shade is fully opaque in one coat. My favorite shade for when I'm in a rush. Another exclusive at the time of post.
  • High Tide -- This teal shade pops against coral so pairing it with Mango Madness is one of my favorite summer nails look. It is quite opaque in one coat but again, two coats for those who like to make completely sure the color is opaque.

[Review] e.l.f. Essential 15-Piece Nail Polish Set - Limited Edition Smokin Hot, Mango Madness, Nude, and Desert Haze
From L to R: Smokin Hot, Mango Madness, Nude, and Desert Haze
[Review] e.l.f. Essential 15-Piece Nail Polish Set - Limited Edition Purple Pleaser, Raspberry Sorbet, Prissy Chrissy, and Blush
From L to R: Purple Pleaser, Raspberry Sorbet, Prissy Chrissy, and Blush
[Review] e.l.f. Essential 15-Piece Nail Polish Set - Limited Edition Wedding Bells (L) and High Tide (R)
Wedding Bells (L) and High Tide (R)

Shimmer Finishes

  • Blush (LE)-- Rose gold was a major trend last fall. I like incorporating it in my nails for a subtler pop on my nails. It is sheer so two coats (maybe three if you do really thin coats) for full opacity. It looks warmer on my skintone than in the swatch as I'm quite warm toned. My favorite accent nail shade to pair with Prissy Chrissy.
  • Sea Escape -- This black nail polish with blue sparkles is really nice for those who are bored with basic black nail polish. The sparkles are more noticeable when light hits the nails. Hard to take off because of the shimmer but totally worth it for pretty nails.
  • Purple Dream -- A chrome finish polish, the color isn't exactly as how it appears in the bottle on your nails but still really opaque. A sheer coat can also serve as a nice layering polish over purples or blues to add a duochrome effect.

elf nail polish in prissy chrissy and blush
Favorite Nail Combo: Prissy Chrissy + Blush (accent nail). Hand swatches done with two coats.
elf nail polish in sea escape and purple dream
Sea Escape (L) and Purple Dreams (R)

Glitter Finishes

  • Gold Star -- Included in most of these collections, the gold specks are suspended in a clear base. 
  • Gina Girl -- Predominately purple dots and rectangles, there's some orange and green to add some spice to the polish.
  • Love Me -- Contains one-size red specks suspended in a clear base.
elf nail polish in gold star
Gold Star with Sally Hansen Golden-I as a base (L) and Gold Star w/o a base (R)

[Review] e.l.f. Essential 15-Piece Nail Polish Set - Limited Edition Love Me w/Smokin Hot and  Gina Girl w/Purple Dream
From L to R: Love Me w/o base, Love Me w/Smokin Hot as a base , Gina Girl w/o base, and Gina Girl w/sheer Purple Dream as a base 


Except for the glitter polishes, these polishes dry very quickly. I paint in thin coats and as I paint one hand, the other has already dried by the time I finish. It makes painting my nails very fast and mess free.

The odor isn't very strong as I paint and by the time they dry, the smell goes away.

The colors apply very smoothly and opaquely in two coats. I don't need to paint multiple coats like I do with Essie nail polishes which is why e.l.f. is m favorite brand of nail polishes. 

The small bottle is surprising to some people but I like it because I've never gone through a whole bottle of polish before and it makes it easy for me to carry more polishes when I travel. I haven't had a problem with leakage or any polishes drying out or getting gloopy. Any ones that arrive gloopy were easily revived with the Develop 10 Nail Polish Thinner, which I will review soon. For all my OCD readers out there,  if the cap don't align with the bottles, you can pull them off and readjust it, kind of like Chanel or Illamasqua polishes. 

Talking about the caps and brushes, they are perfect for my small fingernails. I have really small hands so a wide brush like the ones that come in the Wet n Wild polishes gets really messy as I apply. The thinner brush makes it easy for me to apply as they don't spread polish to my cuticles but if I'm not careful, I do get painted cuticles (but doesn't that happen with every polish if you're an inattentive n00b? >.<) However, the thin brush makes it harder to apply polish to my toes. I have to dip multiple times to completely cover my big toe. If the brush hairs get frayed from shoving the brush back in roughly, you can snip it off with some scissors. None of the polishes that came in this set had that problem, unlike my other set. 

These last 3-4 days without any chipping and a little over a week with minor chipping. I haven't seen how long they last until they look gross because once I see a bit of tip wear, I remove everything and start over. Also, I get bored with the same color or more than a week so I switch it up often. A disclaimer is a must here: I apply base and top coat with every manicure--yes I do! My mom is an esthetician and a manicurist so she drilled that in me when I started painting my own nails almost 8 years ago. Since I haven't tested this without a base and top coat, these might chip faster on you. How oily your nails are and how much you use your hands also affects wear time for polishes.

My favorite formula is the cream. They apply so smoothly and opaquely that you wouldn't believe the polish costed only $2 USD! I've tried Sinful Colors, which is also around the same price point, but was very disappointed in how sheer the formula was. Sally Hansen and OPI also make some nice opaque colors but e.l.f. makes very comparable polishes. 

The shimmer formulas are also very nice. They are a bit on the thin side but they get opaque in two coats. The only con is that they are a b***h to take off because of the shimmer particles but the whole "cotton ball soaked in acetone foil wrap" trick works wonders at removing them. 

Review e.l.f. Essential 15 Piece Nail Polish Set Limited Edition


The small size may be annoying for some people, especially if it's your favorite color. I don't mind repurchasing my favorites because the small size ensures that I use it all up before it goes bad. I have sooo many nail polishes that I don't get to use them all up before they go bad. Nail polish thinner works to a certain extent but sometimes, the polish is too far gone for anything to revive it. 

As much as I love the cream and shimmer finishes, the glitter polishes are disappointing. There's no polite or easy way to say it but they really suck. In the bottle, it looks like it will be nice and thick on your nails but once you start painting, the 5 or 6 specks of glitter on your nails is dissatisfying. Trying to build up the glitter is just a pain as the coats take a long time to dry and I just get frustrated waiting. Dabbing rather than swiping makes it an eensy, teensy bit more dense but nowhere near opaque. I would just avoid the glitter polishes unless you are just looking for a couple specks for nail art or something. When I try to remove it, it's also a pain in the rear to take off.


While the polishes were phenomenal for the most part, I'm feeling meh about it. Keep in mind that I do own all the Nail Cubes released so far so there's a lot of repeats in here--seven in fact. I wish that each cube came with its own unique colors so those who buy all of them won't get so many repeats. If you don't already own other Cubes or polishes, I'd totally recommend it as there are only 3 duds out of 15. The Cubes also come out to be cheaper per ounce than the regular bottles so you'd be saving some money with the kit. 3 of the colors included in this set are exclusives (Purple Pleaser, Raspberry Sorbet, and Blush) and cannot be found in the regular offerings as I'm writing this, which ameliorates my annoyance at the 7 repeats. Blush happens to be one of my all time favorites so I'm glad I got this set. Unfortunately, you cannot get this get anymore. You can, however, get the all the non-LE shades here and Love Me and Gold Star here. There is also a limited edition 4-piece set that contains polishes that look like Gold Star, Raspberry Sorbet, Smokin Hot, and Nude. As the names of the polishes aren't listed on the site, I'm just going off the pictures.


As I was moaning on and on about the repeated colors, the bright idea to give them away to you all came to being! Getting your nails summer ready is no easy task but these polishes will cut down on your drying time so you can have more tanning time. Unfortunately, I cannot ship nail polish internationally so only US readers can win this prize. The polishes included in this giveaway are: Nude, Desert Haze, Smokin Hot, Mango Madness, Sea Escape, Purple Dream, and Gold Star. Just follow the rules down below and you'll get your chances to win all 7 polishes plus a bonus China Glaze polish in Seashell.

But I didn't forget my international readers! You can enter to win 2 essie Sleek Stick Nail Appliques in Croc'n Chic and A to Zebra as well as a sheet of nail glitter stickers! I had a lot of problems with people entering both giveaways last time. I'm going to make this as clear as possible: please enter in one and only one (1) giveaway. If I find your entries in both, I will remove all of your entries--no exceptions.

Instructions to Enter:

  1. Use Rafflecopter widgets below to enter. There are two separate widgets--one for the e.lf. polishes for US residents only and one for the Essie Nail Appliques for international residents (outside the U.S.) onlyOnly entries received using the Rafflecopter widget will be counted. To make things clear: You are to enter in only ONE giveaway; you will be disqualified if I see you entering both. I want this to be fair for everyone. :)
  2. I'll give the winners 48 hours to get back to me; if they do not get back to me, I will continue to keep picking winners until someone responds with their email and mailing address. My brothers are coming to visit so I'll ship your prizes out 10 days after the giveaway's conclusion. :)
  3. For the e.l.f. nail polishes, you have to have a US mailing address, be 18 years or older or with parent's permission to enter. For the essie prize, you can live anywhere in the world--just make sure your country accepts incoming packages from the United States and doesn't have restrictions on the items mentioned below AND be at least 18 years old or entering with your parent's/guardian's permission. If you are under 18, please make sure your parents/guardians are aware of your entry into my contest as I do not want to freak them out. I really want this prize to go to someone who will enjoy them so I don't want there to be complications from parents or shipping restrictions getting in the way.  Please don't enter for the essie set unless you are from outside the US because I want to show my international readers some love too. ♥ 
  4. Odds of winning depends on how many entries received. I will have two winners for these prizes but I will be hosting future giveaways, so if you don't win this time, look forward to many more upcoming ones!
  5. No purchase necessary. If you get an email saying you won before the giveaway's conclusion (July 19, 2014 at 12 AM PST) and/or asking you to fill out some external forms/follow some external link, it is a 99.99% chance of being a scam so don't do it! I will announce the winners on my Rafflecopter widget and email them personally. 
  6. If you don't receive your prize within 4-6 weeks of the giveaway's conclusion, I will try my best to locate the prize. If there is an unfortunate event that the prize cannot be located because of technical errors or was shipped to the wrong address because of some printing or posting typological error on your end 
  7. My opinions are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are in no way associated with this giveaway. By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to me and me alone. I do not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of contacting the winner.
e.l.f. essential 15-piece nail polish set review. Nude, Desert Haze, Smokin Hot, Mango Madness, Sea Escape, Purple Dream, and Gold Star.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

e.l.f. essential 15-piece nail polish set review. Nude, Desert Haze, Smokin Hot, Mango Madness, Sea Escape, Purple Dream, and Gold Star.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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