Monday, January 30, 2012

Nina Ultra Pro Ink-ling hints at how well it goes with white (snow).

Isn't it funny how people have so much influence on each other without anyone actually realizing just how much exactly? Oh, don't worry, I won't delve into psychology and sociology, with all the intricacies of human interactions. I'll leave that to the experts. What I'm alluding to is far more simpler than that. See, a few posts back, Liz commented that Color Club Shabby Drab would make for such a pretty pairing with white cashmere sweaters (or white knitwear in general, I guess, but that's what she said so we'll stick to that). I hadn't even thought of it that way. Silly fashion retarded me. Of course it would look amazing with white! I, then, scrambled to search my stash for any other colors that might be deemed acceptable in that same category. I thought it would be timely as, if the weather men are to be believed, we were in for a bit of snow. This is what I found:

Pretty greblurple digits are part of what makes (a white) winter (wonderland) a good thing.

The Quick Take

Brand/Name: Nina Ultra Pro Ink-ling
Color: Grey with purple/blue undertones
Finish: Creme
Price: $2.99 - $4.99 CDN for 14mL
Seen at: Sally Beauty,
Note(s): Nina Ultra Pro is a nail polish brand available exclusively at Sally Beauty Supply. It can be ordered online in US and Canada via their website although it's also available at Amazon (where I hope they ship internationally-- sorry, I wasn't able to check).

The Fun Facts

It looks like your run of the mill grey here, doesn't it?

Yay, Big 3 Free!

Serial at the base.


Your standard (and somewhat stubby) Nina Ultra Pro brush.

A grey, blue and purple smorgasbord of awesome!

In the same vein as Color Club Shabby Drab, Ink-ling starts out as a deceptively straightforward grey creme. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't magically become a shimmer or jelly. It's still very much a creme but a super shiny creme. Like the lovechild of a creme and a jelly, with the opacity of the creme and the unbelievable glossy finish of the jelly. The magic lies in the color. The base is a nice blue-based grey that leans purple, even blue in various lights and angles. Apart from that really cool color shift, it also looks darker in certain lighting conditions and paler in others (particularly in bright light). That much is obvious just from my bottle shots above (compare the photo for color and the bottle photos)!
***All nail swatches were done with Nail Tek II Foundation Base Coat and two coats of Nina Ultra Pro Ink-ling unless stated.

Natural light/No top coat/No flash
Yes, that's WITHOUT top coat.

Natural light/No top coat/Flash
Is it purple or grey?

Sunlight/No top coat/No flash
Notice how it looks somewhat lighter in this photo.

I've heard a lot about how there have been issues with Ink-ling's formula and how it was on the thicker side of the spectrum. I'm happy to report that the bottle I got gave me no problems at all. Application was like applying butter with a stubby brush. Not meant as a knock to Nina Ultra Pro brushes, but they are considerably shorter than your average nail polish brush. It's actually not that big of a deal, but I thought I'd point it out in case there are some out there who are nail polish brush connoisseurs. I was even impressed with how well the polish covered as this could have easily been a one coater. No brushstrokes or patchy areas, either. Even better is the wonderful shine you get even without top coat. Unfortunately, this one took a bit longer to dry. I'm chalking it up to the fact that I used medium to thick coats for my two coats so that definitely could've played a part in the longer than usual dry time.

Natural light/Top coat/No flash
No top coat? With top coat? Who cares with a shine like that!

Natural light/Top coat/Flash
Hammie says: Wow, if I look close enough I can see the sky reflected on your nails, Carmela!

Sunlight/Top coat/No Flash
Hammie says: Look, I can even see Mr. Sun!

While you still can't use your nails as a mirror (and really, why would you want to?), top coat might or might not have added to Ink-ling's innate shine.

The Lowdown

I'd love to say that Ink-ling is a unique color and there's nothing else out there like it. Unfortunately, that rarely is the case (hello, Clarins 230). When looking for possible color duplicates, I first thought of Color Club Rad Nomad. Not because I knew it would be a match but because I owned Rad Nomad and I always thought they seemed pretty close in color. I couldn't be more wrong. While they both share a grey base, Rad Nomad leans more purple (and warmer) while Ink-ling leans more blue (and cooler). Essie Smokin' Hot was a closer match to Rad Nomad than Ink-ling in that same respect. But the difference was less obvious between Smokin' Hot and Ink-ling. But of all the colors I've seen, Zoya Kelly is the closest that comes to Ink-ling's grey-blue-purple hybrid. They look to share the same color family and might be close sisters. The only variation I could spot was that Ink-ling has a dusty quality to it that makes it look more muted compared to its vibrant sister, Kelly. Unless you lack any of the other options I mentioned above, I doubt you need Ink-ling. But for such a great price (it's currently on sale till the end of January for $2.99USD/$3.99CDN!), how can you resist it?

It now makes a lot of sense to me why the lady at Sally Beauty told me that Ink-ling was easily one of her favorite colors. Heck, no one in my family could quite agree on what the exact color was! I love when that happens. Even better that I got it on sale AND that it's such a simple and classic creme. No bells or whistles on this one except for a really stellar color. Have I mentioned how well this goes with my white knitwear?

Hammie is in all agreement about the merits of Ink-ling. It might be considered nitpicking on his part but he says that the polish line needs to have a wider distribution for better availability. I have to agree. The two colors (the other was Mossy Britches) I've worn from Nina Ultra Pro are stunning, on trend and with such great value, it's hard not to appreciate their awesomeness. With that, he scores Ink-ling:

9 Hammie Points!

Do you own a lot of white knitwear? How do you pick your next nail polish color? Do you consider how it would go with your outfits and/or makeup looks for the next few days/weeks?


  1. I love this color!! Give me a good gray and I'm happy. I used to own quite a few white knitwear pieces of clothing, but not anymore. The way I choose my polish really depends on my mood. Sometimes I want something to go with my outfit, sometimes I just really want to wear a certain color, other times, I just want to use one of my untrieds.

  2. Do you have it? I think it would look fantastic on you, Marisa! You know when I picked this up at Sally Beauty, the saleslady said "you really should get it; it's such an awesome grey". I wasn't even supposed to get it as I had my eye on Never Glum Plum but I ended up with Ink-ling instead. :D No regrets!

    I do the same thing! I don't like to be too matchy-matchy so I usually pick my colors depending on my mood and/or any events I might be going to, tho I try very much to go through my untrieds before the trusty go-tos. :)

  3. You pull off colours like this so well - seems like it's more lively on you than it would be on me. :) And I also love how the colour seems to change - makes you more intrigued when you wear it.

  4. Aww, thanks, Mary! :) I'm thinking it's the cool tones in it that works really well with my cooler toned skintone. I've seen some swatches of this same color on others and it leans more purple on them while it looks more blue on me. I guess skintones really do play a role in why a color suits one and doesn't another. I do enjoy how simple yet complex this shade is. Plus, for the price tag, you really can't go wrong with this pretty! :D

  5. thesmalllittlethingsinlifeMarch 18, 2012 at 10:27 p.m.

    Mine totally gave me intense application issues - it was pooling around my cuticles and the formula was really really thick. Shame because the color is so pretty!

    I love your review format! So informative!!

  6. Oh, wow, really? That sucks.. I didn't have much trouble with mine. That reminds me of a Fingerpaints polish I got last fall, Vintage Velvet, where as much as I loved the color I just couldn't deal with the atrocious formula. Maybe some thinner will help?

    Thanks, Annick! I really try to get most, if not all, of the details to help people make an educated decision and be more discerning about their purchases. After all, I wouldn't want to enable to the point of bankruptcy. That would be horrible!

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