Monday, June 18, 2012

Max Factor Max Effect Fantasy Fire with Cult Nails Vicious and Time Traveler

Happy Monday! Granted, there's not much to be happy about on Mondays but it's always a good thing to start the week off on a positive note. Weather's looking not bad either, although all this humidity is messing with my already confused hair and turning it into a big, poofy mess. But hey, at least the sun is (strangely, despite all the greyness outside) out! Similarly, today's post is going to be a weird one. Mostly because it'll be a little different to how we do things here at Polished Indulgence, where we like to shine the spotlight on a single nail polish at a time (except for the China Glaze Capitol Colors but that's only because it ties in with the Hunger Games). We're still focusing on just one today, but there will be a mini-review of sorts that includes two of my favorite cremes: Cult Nails Vicious and Cult Nails Time Traveler. Maybe this will explain things a bit more:

Fantasy Fire proves that it's an awesome color chameleon whether over purple or blue!

The Quick Take

Brand/Name: Max Factor Max Effect Fantasy Fire
Color: Color shifting
Formula:Blue/purple translucent base with color shifting particles
Finish: Duochrome/multichrome
Price: £3.99 for 8mL
Seen at: Boots and other stores in the United Kingdom (I did hear it just recently hit Germany)
Note(s): I was lucky enough to receive this pretty thanks to my wonderful friends across the pond: Jo of Northern Nails and Esther of Fab Fingertips. I am forever grateful to these wonderful ladies as I know I'd never get my hands on Fantasy Fire otherwise!

The Fun Facts

Token bottle shot.

Label at the back.

The brush shot really shows how tiny this mini polish is!

Color shifting goodness that would make even Mystique proud.

What else hasn't already been said about Fantasy Fire? Whoever was the brains behind the name, I salute you! It fits it so well. In the sun (or very bright, direct light), the color flashes a bright red that changes to orange, yellow/gold with hints of green and blue at the extreme edges. It's like a fiery explosion of colors that magically meld and transform into each other. Fantastically fiery. Fantasy Fire. Brilliant, I tell you. The purple/blue base doesn't detract from the almost magical color shifting. Over dark colors, it's barely noticeable. Over lighter ones, it does tend to tint the base color with a slight indigo cast that only serves to highlight the multichrome aspect of the polish. The finish is quite shiny on its own although you barely notice it as the flashes of shifting color tend to be quite the distraction.
***All nail swatches were done with Nail Tek II Foundation Base Coat and one coat each of Cult Nails Vicious, Cult Nails Time Traveler and two coats of Max Factor Max Effect Fantasy Fire unless stated.

Natural light/No top coat/No flash
*ahem, excuse the awkward two bottle hold, ahem*
Dark but still distinctly purple and blue. Just the way I like it.

Natural light/No top coat/Flash
*swoon* Look how shiny that is, even without top coat!

Sunlight/No top coat/No flash
This, right here, is how you do a vampy grape and navy creme.

I decided to include the above photos of the two base colors I would be using Fantasy Fire with mostly because they were too pretty not to show in their natural state. Second only to that is so you can see what the base looks like without the chameleon-esque quality that Fantasy Fire brings to the table. I belatedly realized that a black base would've been the best choice to truly showcase all the color shifting capabilities of the touted Clarins 230 dupe, but I felt that the navy and purple allowed for some of the base color to shine through.

Cult Nails Vicious is a gorgeous purple creme that creator, Maria, describes as "perfect for those nights when you want to be fierce yet classy" and I honestly could not agree more. A true one coater- this pretty shines even without top coat. Definitely a quality you'll want when changing your polish in a rush! Cult Nails Time Traveler is another one coater that applies like a dream and gleams sans top coat. I've been looking for the perfect navy creme that's decidedly dark but still looks blue in all sorts of lighting and Time Traveler fits the bill to a T. I'd wax poetic over how much I adore it but I'll save it for when it finally gets a post all to itself. It's so awesome it deserves as much. You can purchase both online at the Cult Nails website for $10 USD (15mL each). Best nail polish purchase you'll ever make, honest. And while you're there, do check out the newly released Cult Fairy Tale collection; Princess is another must have. Trust.

Natural light/Top coat/No flash
You can better see the green flashes on the edge over the navy, while the purple flashes more yellow/gold.

Natural light/Top coat/Flash
The red flashes over the purple remind me a lot of Zoya Tru or OPI Dutch Ya Love OPI.

Sunlight/Top coat/No Flash
Look at it glow under the sun!

As wonderful as the cremes are by themselves, adding two coats of Fantasy Fire on top turns them into something altogether magical. While the color primarily shifts red with bright light, you do see the other colors of the spectrum from orange to yellow then green and slight tinges of blue in the outermost edges. By itself, Fantasy Fire is somewhat translucent even at three coats. I decided not to swatch it alone mostly because I knew I wouldn't want to wear it that way and I wasn't about to waste a single drop. Besides, if worn alone, it doesn't show its chameleon-like quality to its fullest as it shifts more under a darker base. Now, I've seen others layer it over either purple or blue which made a lot of sense as it should draw out some of the color from the base, but I couldn't decide which to use,so I ended up showing you how it would look over both. Personally, I prefer it over blue, notwithstanding my long love affair with the color as I feel it provides a better contrast to the primarily red shift you'll see. I think it was also easier to see the green/blue color shift over the navy, so you get a larger color spectrum with it than with the purple.

Formula-wise, I have no complaints as it applied evenly and without any trouble. It has to be said though, that the brush might take some getting used to. The handle itself is sizable considering the tiny bottle so that helps a lot. It's the actual brush that might be strange to use at first as it's a wee bit shorter that your average nail polish brush. There's not much of a stem at all and the bristles are even shorter than that of an Essence nail polish. Regardless, it's not much of an issue at all given how the magical color shifting qualities of Fantasy Fire far outweigh any possible annoyances the tiny packaging might have. Fantasy Fire also dries with an innately high shine although the use of top coat is still highly recommended. Dry time was also relatively fast, clocking in at less than five minutes before it was dry to the touch.

The Lowdown

The frenzied search for Fantasy Fire was fueled by claims that it was a dupe to the (in)famous Clarins 230, lovingly called Unicorn Pee by hardcore polish fans. As far as how close it is to the elusive and pricey Clarins color shifter, Rhonni over at Polish Ninja has a great comparison here. As far as I'm concerned, Fantasy Fire is enough to kill any lemmings of the ridiculously expensive and hard to find Clarins 230. I doubt I'll ever wear it alone so for all intents and purposes, I'm happy to have the color shifting regardless of the difference of the base for each. Over dark colors, it doesn't really matter much. As for price, this one's a no-brainer with Fantasy Fire priced at about $6.41 CAD compared to Clarins 230 with prices starting at $80 USD. The only real issue is availability as this is nowhere to be found in North America. You'll have to find an awesome buddy in the UK to swap with to get your hands on this pretty. It might be difficult but so very worth it.

I definitely get the hype behind Fantasy Fire. It was exactly what I expected and more. Now, I haven't worn it over black yet so I'm excited to see how much stronger the multichrome effect would be. I predict it to be somewhat stronger, as black usually brings out the duo/multichrome aspect of polishes more effectively than any other color. I'll most likely update this post when I do.

Hammie was mesmerized by how the color shift would happen frequently with the slightest change in angle or lighting. Despite the stubby brush and mini-sized bottle, Hammie cannot find fault enough to dock a single point from Fantasy Fire. It scores (as expected):

10 Hammie Points!

Sorry about the late post but things cropped up as they tend to when you have guests in-house. I hope this post more than made up for it being late! Have you gotten your hands on Fantasy Fire or the very hard to find Clarins 230? What's the most expensive polish you own in your collection? What other effects would you like to see in nail polishes (I'm really curious about the OPI Black Spotted that's currently a French Sephora exclusive)?


  1. Carmela, I'm so glad that you were able to snag a bottle of this magical polish thanks to the kindness of others. :)

    It looks great layered over the colours you selected and, as usual, your swatches are impeccable and your review on it is spot-on.

    P.S. Oh my gosh, I'm with you on the humidity. My hair is a puffball!

  2. thesmalllittlethingsinlifeJune 18, 2012 at 10:36 p.m.

    I laughed when I saw 10 hammie points!! It's beautiful Carmela! Thanks for the review of it!

  3. It probably deserved 12 but Hammie said 10 was enough. ;) It really is, I hope you're able to get a hold of it, Annick! Glad to be of help! ;)

  4. Definitely! I saw your post, too, so I'm stoked to see how much better the color shifting will be over black. :D

    Thanks, Mary! I was curious to see it over red, too, but I think purple and blue, maybe even indigo would best suit the colored base. :)

    *high five* Totally! If you find a good frizz control anything, do let me know, please. I'm trying out the new one from Dove but it makes my hair oily. Not good.

  5. This is such a beauty and I love it over both colors!!!

  6. First of all... love this post and I adore the pairing with Viscous. Do you see a resemblance between Fantasy Fire and Seduction? I think they are distant cousins ... except one has the flakie gene.

    My most expensive polish is Peridot and I cherish it to bits! I might actually craft it a little pillow for comofort in my Helmer ;)
    I am sooo anxious to see the mirror effects polishes from Layla... they look like tinfoil on the nail :D

  7. Will do. :) Haha, I've been on a quest to find a good frizz-controlling product for years. Moroccan Oil helps, but the humidity in the summer requires something even stronger in my case.

  8. Thanks, Marisa! I think the versatility is what makes Fantasy Fire such a hit. I honestly think it would even look fantastic over warmer colors like red and pink. ;)

  9. Thanks, Marta! I knew you would. ;) Vicious is absolutely gorgeous! (This was actually the first time I wore it, too) Hmm, that's actually a good question. I think Fantasy Fire compares more to Clairvoyant/Unicorn Puke. It has some flashes of green that Seduction doesn't have, although that one isn't always obvious (like if it's over purple). I'll do a comparison post for you, along with others like it, soon. :)

    I think it definitely deserves a special pillow. I might just do that for mine, too, if only I had more space! ;) Oooh, I haven't heard of those mirror effects. So it's even better than foil finish? It looks more like chrome?


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