''Cirque is an artisanal line of hand-blended nail polish made in New York. The name Cirque, meaning ring or circle, represents the color wheel and the endless color possibilities in the continuum. Creator, Annie Pham, sought to develop colors that transcend those of conventional brands by experimenting with unique pigments and raw materials. The debut collection, Dark Horse, is a 12-color arrangement that is diverse in its hues and finishes -- similar to the creative energy that abounds New York.'' (Cirque)
I was lucky enough to be contacted by Annie (the creator of the Cirque polishes) and asked to try her polishes. As mentioned above - the first and currently the only collection is called Dark Horse and it consists of 12 unconventional shades in 4 different finishes:
* duochrome (Epoch)
* glitter (Dark Horse, French Roast, Tibetan Nights, Debris, Trousseau, Ophelia, Potosi)
* shimmer (Your Hand in Mine, Vaudeville)
* holographic (Fascination Street, Never Nude)
I got 6 of the 12 shades - they all belong in the glitter/shimmer finish category and they came in a stylish black box with a red wax seal. Does it remind you of something else you've already seen on my blog? When my mother saw this box, she asked me if I got another Illamasqua package...
You open the box ... and there are the polishes. Looking like they've been laid to rest. I do know this box looks like a little polish casket, but I can't help myself. I like this morbid packaging. Say whatever you want. I think it's edgy and avantgarde. I approve.
In my package, I also received swatches of all shades, which was a really nice addition. From left to right: Debris (over red), Fascination Street, Epoch, Tibetan Nights, French Roast and Dark Horse.
From left to right: Potosi (over black), Never Nude, Vaudeville, Your Hand in Mine, Ophelia and Trousseau. I really wonder which polishes Annie used as a base for Debris and Potosi. There's no red or black creme polish in the collection, so...
Color drops of the polishes I received.
Dark Horse, 3 coats + top coat
''A unique black glitter polish with diamond-like rainbow sparkles.'' I would just like to add this polish is made of micro glitter and if you want to see the rainbow sparkle bits in it, you'll have to use top coat. If you want the polish to look really glossy and smooth you'll need a lot of it too. Dark Horse dries matte-ish by itself and is one of the shades/finishes that could be called top coat eaters. I used 3 coats for these swatches and got almost completely opaque look. The removal of this shade wasn't fun at all. Micro-glitter tends to go everywhere... I suggest a foil removal techique for this one.
French Roast, 3 coats
''A sparkling bronze glitter polish that reflects gold and copper.'' French Roast belongs to the same family of 'top coat eaters' as Dark Horse but this time I didn't use any for the swatches. You can see how matte is looks without top coat - plus the golden and reddish copper bits aren't seen here. If you want this polish to look as amazing as it does in the bottle, top coat is a must. Once again I used 3 coats for almost full opacity and I think it might look even better when applied over another polish. Will have to try that.
Potosi, 1 coat (over Wet n Wild Black Creme)
''A glitter overcoat packed with multi-shaped silver glitter in a clear base (best layered over other colors).'' Ah, Potosi, my favorite. Silver chunks of glitter that apply effortlessly.
Tibetan Nights, 3 coats
''A deep blue polish with micronic-sized glitter in a translucent finish.'' Tibetan Nights is a jelly blue base packed with silver glitter but there's one problem. My polishes came lying down and all the glitter got stuck to the side of the bottle. Even after days and a lot of shaking those glitter particles are still there. You know I'm not too crazy about jellies. That visible nail line that is so unflattering and looks like you've got something nasty stuck under your nails. No, thank you. I think this one would be better for layering.
Trousseau, 3 coats
''A luxe gold polish with a sprinkling of chunky gold glitter.'' Trousseau. Not much else to say about it. Gold micro glitter with larger hexagon glitter particles. Not opaque after three coats, so I just stopped trying. Another one that might be more suitable for layering.
Your Hand in Mine, 3 coats
''A soft white polish with a subtle rainbow shimmer.'' Your Hand in Mine belongs to the shimmer family but to me, it almost looks frosty. It's a very tiny shimmer. A great polish for those who like this kind of shades.
Here's a quick recap of the polishes for you:
My very honest opinion on Cirque polishes: I was VERY impressed by the way the polishes were styled (in those little 'coffin' boxes) and by the whole brand look - although it looks a bit too similar and reminds me of Illamasqua a lot. What can I say, I like the morbid look. I also like the way the collection was built - no boring colors that are seen everywhere else but original blends of colors and finishes. Well, more or less. I think the idea was great, but the execution isn't quite there yet. If you know my blog and know me, then you probably know what I want from a polish and it's not too much - good formula, brush and opacity. Cirque polishes are all consistent in their quality. The formula is great (not too thick or thin) and so are the brushes. What I don't like is the opacity. I know they come in finishes that are harder to be opaque, but still. I said it many times that I don't want to bother with polishes that need more than 2 coats. Maybe that's why Potosi is my favorite in this bunch. Dark Horse and French Roast are also great colors, but I doubt I'll be wearing them soon - first there are 3 coats for opacity, then another couple of layers of top coat and don't get me started on the removal. But that's not really Cirque's fault, it's the finish.
One more thing I have to mention about the Cirque nail polish formula: it's big 3 free (contains no DBP, formaldehyde or toluene) and it's scented. There are organic lavender and clary sage essential oils added to the blend which leaves your nails subtly scented. And it's a nice scent, if I may add.
Cirque polishes come in .45 oz /13.2 ml bottles and cost $12.00.
Where to find Cirque polishes?
* Cirque website
* Hester Street Fair in NY (Facebook)
You can find the updates on Cirque on their Facebook page.
*Polishes were sent to me for reviewing purposes.
Thanks for looking and commenting!