China Glaze’s Chiaroscuro review

Posted on Sunday, at bought • 723 views

  • Manufacturer: China Glaze
  • Availability: from etailers and retailers; part of China Glaze's Classic polish line
  • Description: coral-mauve with green duochrome pearl
  • Cost/Amount: USD$6 for 14 ml / .5 fl oz
  • Would you purchase again: yes

NOTE 03/25/2013: I will no longer be purchasing or reviewing any new China Glaze products, aside from the two that I have in the publishing queue. All previously-published posts will remain up. Info & links of interest

China Glaze’s Chiaroscuro

On so many of the sites and color charts, China Glaze's Chiaroscuro is listed as a “pink” or maybe a “coral”. Its sample doesn't seem all that interesting. Seen in person, in the bottle, there's just the slightest green-gold duochrome effect. I spotted this at my local Sally store and had heard one other person rave about it, so decided to give it a shot. I also picked up a bottle of China Glaze's Fast Forward top coat to try that out (especially now that I had so many China Glaze polishes…I decided to see how the “native” top coat would work with them.)

The duochrome isn't as pronounced as the same effect in Zoya's Reverie colors. The coral color also has to be built - a single coat gets you a light wash of color with a slight gold shimmer, two coats gets you a deeper coral-nude with a slight gold-green shimmer, and three coats gets you a nicely opaque but not heavy coral with a medium-strong duochrome effect.

Photos that show how the product actually performs...! See how I create my swatches

Close-up photo of the middle three fingernails of the left hand, showing the nail color applied. The left hand holding a bottle of nail polish and displaying all manicured fingernails, with 2 coats of China Glaze's Chiaroscuro Four fingers in a row, resting on the thumb, with all nails displaying 2 coats of China Glaze's Chiaroscuro
The pictures show three coats of Chiaroscuro with one coat of Fast Forward top coat, under indoor lighting. This would probably also make an interesting nail-stamping color, even if the duochrome wouldn't show up as vividly. I wore one coat of Chiaroscuro for two days with no topcoat, and had very minimal tip wear - so again, I'm happy with China Glaze's polish durability.</p> Let me just pass along this warning: China Glaze Fast Forward Top Coat stinks. And by that, I don't mean that the quality is poor. It works quite well, applies easily, doesn't smear the polish beneath, and isn't all gaumy like some top coats are...and yes, it does indeed dry quickly. I mean that it smells really, really horrid, and quite strongly. The smell is so strong I could almost feel my sinuses curdling even though the open bottle was two feet away from my face, and I was in a room with an open window. I don't know if this was an older bottle (I did buy it from Sally, and it had a silver cap) and so contained some of the "big three" chemicals that China Glaze has so assiduously phased out over the past few years; or if this is always how FFTC smells. (I know that some folks have complained about the strong smell of Seche Vite top coat, which didn't bother me nearly as much as FFTC did.) When you use this in a well ventilated room. Don't be in a small space like your bathroom, even if you have the window open and the fan on. Don't get right down close to carefully view the top coat application, because that will just bring you closer to That Smell. I suspect that this smell could have been used by the Spartans to even more decisively beat back the Persian army - without suffering so much as a scraped knee. The smell is that strong. Chiaroscuro definitely falls into the "work appropriate" category, but it's not simple. I'm glad I picked up the color. I'm also glad that I tried Fast Forward Top Coat, though I'm not so sure my sinuses (or my cats) agree with me 100%.

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