Monday, September 26, 2011

Revlon Carbonite

Whoever said "ignorance is bliss" clearly was ignorant. The first time I got my hands on a limited edition, hard to find nail polish, I didn't get it. Why? Because I didn't know it was so coveted and I was still sane enough then to think that the 6 bottles of polish I owned was already more than enough. I only realized my folly when I've gone down the rabbit hole of polish collecting. Gosh Holographic was the one that got away, all because of ignorance.

I've been following the trends and the limited release news since. When Chanel released Graphite, word came soon after of a Revlon dupe: Carbonite. While I wasn't inclined to drop $25 (or even more in CDN) for a single nail polish, I did want to get my hands on the more affordable option. I knew it would be a limited release and once it hit the shelves down south, it had all the US beauty bloggers talking about it. Since these products usually take at least a couple months to cross the border, anyone who knew anything about polish was anxiously waiting to see it on displays.

 Not this Carbonite...

Imagine my excitement when I saw a brand spankin' new Revlon display at my local Rexall with bottles and bottles of Carbonite! (Okay, more like four bottles. But it was a full display!) Now that I have my hands on this elusive find, is it worth all the hype?

...THIS Carbonite!

The Quick Take

Brand/Name: Revlon Carbonite
Color: Metallic pewter gray with silver, gold and charcoal gray fine glitter and glass flecks
Finish: Metallic/Foil
Price: $6.99 CDN for 14.7 mL
Seen at: Lawtons (in the Maritimes), Rexall (might be released elsewhere prior to this post)
Note(s): Limited edition release, might be hard to find

The Fun Facts

 It already looks foil-y in the bottle.

 No number = Limited Edition!

Serial number at the base of the bottle.

Thin, long-ish brush that's surprisingly fairly easy to use with the formula.

Look at all the shimmery sparkles!

The primarily pewter gray base sometimes shows a hint of olive to it in really bright light, with the edges showing the darker pewter gray base. It's a bit of a duochrome in that respect, otherwise it shows mostly gray in the shade. The glitter doesn't make this one shine like chrome. It's finish is more reminiscent of brushed nickel with gray undertones and microglitter. The glass flecks give it a mottled look so it doesn't look like just one solid color; gives an interesting depth to the polish.
***All nail swatches were done with Nail Tek II Foundation Base Coat and two coats of Revlon Carbonite unless stated.

 Natural light/No top coat/No flash
The polish dries to a satin finish. Still shiny though!

Natural light/No top coat/Flash
Notice the different glitter and glass flecks.

Sunlight/No top coat/No flash
The lighter shiny parts show a tinge of olive compared to the darker gray edges.

Shine-wise, this is a dull metallic. Yes, it's still reflective but I definitely wouldn't recommend using this to re-apply your lipstick with. The satin finish it dries to is relatively smooth despite the glitter particles. The most shocking part was that the formula was surprisingly very good! I normally have trouble with Revlon formulas but this one reminds me of an Orly formula, specifically that of Orly Luxe or Rage from their Foil FX collection. It flowed beautifully with a consistency that was neither too watery nor too thick. This could be a one-coater although I thought I could still see my nail line so I doubled up to be sure.

Natural light/Top coat/No flash
Hammie says: I see gray!

Natural light/Top coat/Flash
Love the texture to this!

Sunlight/Top coat/Flash
In all its sparkled glory.

The Low Down

Comparing it to what it's supposed to be a dupe for, it does seem to lack the amped up sparkle that Chanel Graphite has. Based on comparison photos, they share the same base color but not the same glittery goodness. Graphite just shines in full on sunlight photos while Carbonite glows in a subtler kind of way. It also lacks the green/gold shift that Graphite shows very clearly. Carbonite shows more olive and only if you look hard for it as it's only seen in certain lighting. So is it a dead-on dupe? I don't think so. Both are limited edition releases so availability might not be the best. If you have $25 lying around to spend on beauty frivolities, then Graphite is your best choice. Want a similar look for a fifth of the price tag? Carbonite has got you covered.

The hype around it being a dupe of the coveted Chanel polish might be well-earned, but in my opinion, I think Carbonite can stand well alone without the Chanel connection. Carbonite, by itself, is a unique color. I have nothing quite like it. The texture is something that really makes it memorable and I like how it's such an unexpected take on the usual metallics. That olive shift is something that definitely sets it apart.

For those looking for Carbonite, I found my bottle at a local Rexall in Scarborough in a separate Revlon Expressionists display along with Facets of Fuschia (another rumored dupe of Deborah Lippmann Bad Romance). The display only had four bottles and I don't know if they restock it once the display runs out so I suggest you head to one nearest you soon. They were actually doing a 25% off sale with Revlon nail polish so I was able to purchase my bottle for $4.58 CDN! They have it till Thursday so better head over if you're thinking of picking up other Revlon polish as well.

Did you know that Hammie is a closet Star Wars geek? He giggles every time I say "Carbonite". He was a little let down by the sparkle factor that he was hoping to be eye spots inducing. The amazing formula and unique texture was something he really liked, though. The Limited Edition-ness of it was another definite plus! Hammie's score?

9 Hammie Points!

What polish was the one that got away from you? Do you collect limited edition anything because they're limited edition? Are you still wondering why a cast of Harrison Ford is the first photo in the post?


  1. Maybe it's too gray. :) Oh, definitely! Maybe something space-related.

  2. This is a bit too glittery for my taste (either that or it's too gray), especially for every day. Could be good for a thematic party though. =)

  3. I don't like using pure acetone as polish remover. I can almost see it shrivelling up my poor cuticles. I really would prefer doing that too, but it feels like I have to do some catching up since I started posting before I had a lot of material to go on. I'll ease up when I have maybe a month's worth of photos in stock. :D

    Well, let me know because I'm going to be near Rexall again this weekend. The hubby has to renew his license and there's one conveniently across from the Service Ontario we're headed to.

    Oh, very exciting! I'm also sending yours out later today. :D

  4. I should definitely take a cue and use more hand cream and cuticle oil. I tend not to swatch many colours in one day - I end up wearing them for at least a day (usually longer) because I think my fingers just can't handle the acetone remover (even though it's not pure acetone).

    No, I haven't gotten Facets of Fuschia. I'm going to check my local Rexall, but I think lots of polish lovers live near me (hehe) because all the good stuff often sells out by the time I get around to going.

    By the way, I'm going to send out your package most likely today. (I'll e-mail you to let you know.) :)

  5. Aww, thanks, Mary! Yours look awesome, too! They're actually not very happy with me right now because I've been changing polishes so much to get more swatches (and posts) done. I think the trick is loads and loads of hand cream and cuticle oil. :)

    Have you gotten Facets of Fuschia yet? I actually wore it for the weekend. Definitely a fast fave. I don't believe it's limited edition though so it shouldn't be too hard to get a hold of. If you still don't have it by the weekend, I might be able to pick one up for you.

    I still really want to get my hands on the entire China Glaze OMG collection but it was sold out before I even knew what it was. Ah, well, Nubar's Prisms should keep the lemmings in check. ;)

  6. Your nails and cuticles are so pretty. Carbonite looks wonderful on you, Carmela! :)

    Lucky that you got your hands on Facets of Fuschia! That one looks sooooo gorgeous.

    The polish that got away from me was Sally Hansen Project Runway! Held it in my hands and foolishly put it back. This was before I found out how rare it was. Actually another one that got away (that I regret not getting before) is China Glaze LOL.

  7. Beauty ReductionistaNovember 5, 2011 at 9:04 p.m.

    This post wins just for the Han Solo pic & reference! LOL

    I was tempted to pick up Carbonite for a direct comparison but plenty of people have done that already. I wasn't a fan of Revlon's formula but it sounds like they've revamped that recently. From what I've seen, Carbonite's pretty solid. Looks great on you!

  8. I'm pretty sure Revlon was also trying to target the Star Wars fans with Carbonite in hopes of further upping sales. ;)

    If you're still wanting it, I've still seen bottles of it in random Shoppers Drug Marts. I don't think it's as scarce as I originally thought it would be. The formula was pretty spot on and comparable to Orly foils. They've definitely revamped their formulas. Thanks, Liz! :D


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