I finally found it! I was so excited that I rushed to swatch this one before properly rehydrating after running errands, hence the wrinkly fingers, sorry!
L’Oreal Masked Affair, one of the polishes from L’Oreal’s recent Dark Sides of Grey collection (an obvious but apparently unofficial tie-in to a certain movie/book) turned out to be a bit of a challenge to track down. Looks like it’s been a highly sought out color, at least among the online nail polish fanatic community – and probably for the same reason I was attracted to this polish when I saw swatches posted by other bloggers over the past month: it’s pretty rare to find a decent holographic polish, let alone a linear holo, from a mainstream drugstore brand at a mainstream drugstore brand price point.
In natural light, three coats, no top coat:
Masked Affair is a subtly lavender/lilac-tinged silver linear holographic polish with some scatter. It looks more obviously purplish in the bottle than on the nail, but against the pinkish notes in my skintone, it mostly looks silver. The linear holo effect is decently visible in strong light, though not the strongest I’ve seen. Certainly not bad, though, especially for a mainstream drugstore brand! In most lighting, I can see some rainbows, but not a super strong linear effect. This one’s opaque in two to three coats, depending on how it’s applied.
The formula isn’t my favorite, though it does dry remarkably fast, which I love. It’s manageable, but probably less frustrating for folks who can polish fairly dexterously, since it dries so quickly that going over one spot twice with the brush will pick up your polish and leave a bald spot. I think this is par for the course for holo polishes, though. Otherwise, application isn’t bad.
I recommend doing the sides of the nail before finishing off the middle – three quick swipes, and that’s it. Use thin coats and don’t go over a spot twice in that one coat; just fix any patchy spots with later coats once the previous coat’s dried. That worked out best for me, anyway.
Again in natural light, with Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat:
The holo effect looked a bit dulled when I first applied top coat, but it got better when fully dry. See?
Still plenty of rainbows. :]
Is it a must-buy? Well, it’s probably up to personal taste, really, as well as your budget for polish and how much you care about the strength of the holo effect. I bought Masked Affair at my local Walgreens for $6 something, including tax, was able to find it after checking maybe five different local stores (CVS, Target, etc.), and I don’t regret my purchase. It’s certainly a decent holo polish at a reasonable price point, compared to $10+ for other holos I’ve seen – though the more expensive polishes also seem to have a stronger linear rainbow effect.
I almost picked up Revlon Holographic Pearls, a scatter holo special effect top coat, in the same shopping trip, and I may still eventually buy it after I think about it a bit. I hope this means we’ll be seeing more drugstore holos in the future!