Monday, December 12, 2011

Zoya Isla is the one red to rule them all.

Don't you just love it when something as simple as changing your nail polish color or putting on a bright lipstick can up your confidence level and make your day seem just a little better? While I'm all about the blues (music and color but that's about it), red holds a special place in my polish loving heart. It's such a classic color that matches just about anything and can be worn at different occasions and most places (if your workplace denies you the joy of sporting red nails, I feel your pain). A great red polish is a wonderful way to add a pop of color to an otherwise drab winter outfit. It's definitely a great way to join in on the Christmas spirit! Starting the week right, we're taking a look at one of my all-time favourite red polishes:

Zoya Isla in all its lit from within gorgeousness.

The Quick Take

Brand/Name: Zoya Isla
Color: Deep ruby red
Finish: Shimmer
Price: $5.50-9.00 CDN for 15mL
Seen at:, Nail Polish Canada, Glowing Beauty, Spa Boutique, Trade Secrets and various beauty supply stores
Note(s): While Isla isn't a limited edition release, it can be a bit tricky to find the Zoya brand in brick and mortar stores. I haven't really seen it anywhere and have purchased my Zoyas from online sources. I have heard that it's not all that hard to get a hold of in the US. Some Walmarts even carry the line stateside. Unfortunately, doesn't ship to Canada (or internationally, for that matter) either.

The Fun Facts

Token bottle shot. (Look at how it glows!)

Serial at the base.

One of the best brushes out there.

Notice how the edges look almost black.

You know how Zoya likes to name polishes with female names? Well, I was thinking about famous women named Isla and the first that comes to mind is pretty Isla Fisher. I have to wonder if the polish namers (name makers? name brainstormers?) at Zoya had her in mind when this gorgeous red was named. She is, after all, a redhead and it's a red polish. She had a pretty well known movie, Confessions of a Shopaholic, released in the same year Zoya Isla was released with the Truth or Dare collection in 2009. Coincidence? I'm starting to think not. Irregardless, this is a gorgeous blackened red shimmer that sizzles. In different lights, it shifts from deeper shades of red and just glows. Like other reds, this one is a stunner but it's not one that's too in your face. Definitely an easier red to pull off for even those who shy away from bolder colors. This can easily be a date night mani staple or simply something to add a little more oomph to any ensemble. Come to think of it, the last time I wore this was on our anniversary. (Needless to say, Mr. J loved it. :D) The finish isn't very shiny on its own. A bit of top coat love will help amp up both the glow and shine factor.
***All nail swatches were done with Nail Tek II Foundation Base Coat and two coats of Zoya Isla unless stated.

Natural light/No top coat/No flash
Not very shiny on its own, but still a lovely red.

Natural light/No top coat/Flash
Loving that color gradient!

Sunlight/No top coat/No flash
Even better.

Application was a breeze. I was a little impatient though and should've allowed the first coat to dry more before placing the second so I ended up with a bit of cuticle drag (leaving a thinner layer of polish closer to the nail bed which results in something that looks a lot like a bald spot in some angles) on one of the nails. I don't know if you can tell though as the formula is just stellar with its coverage and self leveling properties. I have never met a Zoya formula that I've never liked. I've already waxed poetic about how much I love the packaging and the brush here, so I'll spare you the redundancy. Isla performed just as well as all the other Zoyas I own. No complaints at all. Even the time to dry was faster than the average. I'm also very happy to report that as dark a red as Isla is, I've never experienced any staining with any of my base coats. You might end up with a case of "bloody cuticles" (wherein the red stains a bit of the cuticle area that makes then look bloody) after removal but it's nothing that a good scrub with soap and warm water won't fix.

Natural light/Top coat/No flash
Top coat makes something awesome, awesome-r.

Natural light/Top coat/Flash
Hammie says: Look at how glow-y that is!

Sunlight/Top coat/No Flash
Hammie sings: "Rudolf, the red nosed reindeer..!"

If Isla was already glow-y to begin with, top coat just amp'd it up. Why, even Hammie spontaneously burst into Christmas carol singing about something distinctly scarlet.

The Lowdown

Even if you might have trouble with finding this older release in a brick and mortar store, it's easy to find in a lot of retailers online without any of the exorbitant prices that other more rare polishes are being sold for. I actually got my bottle from Nail Polish Canada when they had it in their Hot Deals section for $5.50. Best $5.50 I've spent so far! This is probably the only polish I feel I have to get a back up of as I tend to use it more often than all the others I have in my meager collection, especially during the holidays.

If you're doing a double take and wondering if it looks familiar, it might. I've read that China Glaze Thunderbird from the 2009 Retro Diva Collection is a very close match, even though it's a teeny tiny bit darker. It also tends to show more brushstrokes compared to Isla's more flawless finish. Another possible twin (triplet?) is Jessica Shall We Dance. Again, it still looks a hair darker than Isla but for all intents and purposes, they're close enough to be called dupes. So unless you can get a hold of these other two easier than Isla, I doubt you need them all.

With Mary's Cheshire Cat egging him on, Hammie has kept up his singing about a certain red nosed reindeer. He insists it suits today's post, anyway. He had nothing but good things to sing about Isla that he scores it:

10 Hammie Points!

How do you feel about red nail polish? Will you be sporting the color in your Christmas outfit (red lips, red cheeks, red dress)? What's your power color (a color that when you wear makes you feel more confident)?


  1. This is a red that really gets attention - very sexy, and it looks spectacular on your nails! Good to know that the formula's spot-on, too.

    My power colour is also my comfort colour - greeeeeeen! ;) You saw that coming, right? Although, sometimes anything neon is my power colour just because it's funny to wear it and watch people stare at it.

    Haha - Hammie still has a wonderful voice! I will soon have to ask for his autograph before he goes touring with Mariah Carey or some other songbird. :P

  2. Thanks, Mary! I finally got it to stick with Orly Bonder. Strange that it didn't work with Nail Tek but worked with Orly Bonder so well that I didn't have a chip and only minimal tip wear last I wore this.

    Hahaha, you remind so much of my little sister that way. She loves anything and everything green, too! :D Neon definitely sounds right up your alley. I'm not surprised at all. ;)

    Oh, do stop egging the little guy on. ;) Hahaha!

  3. I was too lazy to do my nails today and now I wish I had done a red for the holiday party tomorrow. DAMMIT.

    Zoya makes gorgeous polish but I don't know why I only own 3-4 Zoyas. I think their vibrancy scared me in the past. And they also don't have a Liz polish. :(

  4. Oh, that sucks! I think reds are so perfect for the holidays, trends be damned.

    They do! Maybe because they're not particularly easy to find in stores (rather, I haven't seen ANY in stores). Huh. I didn't know that. Nor do they have a Carmela. :(

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