Monday, October 1, 2012

A (Indie) Dark Purple Comparison: Cult Nails Vicious vs. AEngland Elaine

There are those unavoidable instances when you don't have any recourse but to purchase a bottle of nail polish online. I try to refrain from doing so just to make sure I get exactly the color that I want. But when availability (or lack of, in store) is thrown into the mix, sometimes, it's just the more convenient way of getting your fix around to it. That's where Google image search and my trusted bloggers come to the rescue. I realize that photographs aren't the best way to judge color. The settings on your monitor/laptop screen/mobile phone/tablet aren't always going to show you the most accurate color. And sometimes, the two nail polishes you'd like to see side by side can look exactly the same in various photographs and lighting. So what's a girl to do? Well, you take your chances. Today's comparison is actually borne out of my own recent dilemma.

See, AEngland had a sale a little while back. And as always, it was free shipping with no minimum. Pretty hard to resist, plus, it was the perfect excuse to snag the other colors I wanted. I had my eye on Elaine but I already have Vicious. I don't like having duplicates of the same color, as much as possible, so I wanted to know how these two vampy purples compared. But as far as Google was concerned, they looked exactly the same depending on the lighting. Huh. Well, AEngland had a fantastic formula so I figured that if they were dupes, I wouldn't really mind. Besides, what are the chances that two indie brands would dupe each other? Highly unlikely, is what I thought. So for anyone else who wanted to know, here's the two side by side:

 Cult Nails Vicious: a purple creme polish perfect for those nights out when you want to be fierce, yet classy.

 AEngland Elaine: a smoky violet amethyst.

Both are pretty true to bottle color, although Elaine dries just slightly darker. I'd also like to note that none of these swatches have top coat. Yep, that shine is all their own. Impressive, isn't it? There's really little wonder these two indie brands have become so successful. Impeccable formula, fair prices and worldwide availability (although both are carried by mostly online retailers) seems to be the trick.

As for the color comparison, it's already quite obvious that Vicious is more red leaning while Elaine is more blue leaning. Definitely not dupes. Henceforth, CN is to denote Cult Nails Vicious and AE is to denote AEngland Elaine.

 One coat of each.
I wanted to show a single coat of each as that really drives the point towards distinguishing the two.

 At two coats of each.
Notice how the color disparity is not as obvious once they are completely opaque.

 Natural light/No top coat/No flash
Still obviously different but the difference is less stark in low lighting.

 Natural light/No top coat/With flash
There's a slight dusty quality to Elaine that sets it apart from the vibrant Vicious.

Artificial light/No top coat/No flash
 Still distinctly different from the other.

Now, it's pretty obvious that Elaine is the cooler toned older sister while Vicious is the extrovert vibrant grape colored younger sister. As far as application goes, Vicious did start out streaky but covered completely in two coats. Elaine was a possible one coater but you get better depth with two anyway. I'm thrilled that these aren't dupes. It's always good to have color options, you know? Good thing I took a chance and decided to get Elaine anyway!

But then you're bound to ask: which do I like better? Well, not to cop out on you but I really do like both equally, so please don't make me favor one over the other. Each brings their own merits to the table: Vicious being the sexier alternative while Elaine brings with it a broody, quiet elegance. Do you need both? Now that's a little trickier. If you can afford to have both, then yes. If not, it really depends on whether you prefer cooler toned or warmer toned purples. Talking about price, Elaine retails for $13.50 CAD per bottle at Nail Polish Canada (plus $3 shipping or free shipping over $25+) or £9.00 direct from the AEngland website (with free shipping). Discounting shipping costs, Cult Nails Vicious comes out cheaper at $10 USD per bottle on the Cult Nails shop. But with shipping costs factored in, buying from the AEngland website comes out to about $14.61 USD for a bottle of Elaine compared to $16.00 USD for a bottle of Vicious. Both are superb nail polishes so it really boils down to preference and budget, if you really must pick between the two.

Another day, another week. By the time this post goes live, Mr. J and I should be on a ferry to Victoria. We're doing a day trip to see the famous Fairmont Empress Hotel, walk around the Parliament Buildings and take a stroll in the Butchart Gardens. Hopefully we'll have time to check out Hatley Castle, too (you know, the castle featured in Smallville and the X-Men movies). We hope your Monday isn't giving you the blues! Do you look up nail polish color swatches online before making a purchase? Do you prefer to shop in store or online? Which do you prefer more: Vicious or Elaine?


  1. honestly, wonderful colors :)

  2. Both very nice colors!

  3. This post was pure gold! I was just about to take advantage if the a-England sale! I have the CN, so I was wondering do I need Elaine ... icious I love, it is super sexy

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