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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Review: Del Sol Color-Changing Nail Polish from Walgreens

When I walked into my local Walgreens the other day, I literally gasped when I saw this:

Del Sol Color-Changing Nail Polish and Accessories

Do you see the size of that nail polish display?? My jaw dropped! Have you heard of Del Sol before? I had never even heard of this color-changing line of nail polishes and accessories (click the image to enlarge and see the earrings, bracelets, headbands, barrettes, etc.) until I saw this display!

After doing a little research on the 'net, I discovered that Del Sol is a Utah-based company that actually has its own chain of retail stores which are popular in resort-type locations like Aruba, Curacao, Jamaica, etc. In fact, I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't even know there was a Del Sol store right here in my hometown (at Seaport Village, for all you San Diegans).

Anyway, I'm delighted to see that they've branched out and started distributing their polishes and accessories at Walgreens (in addition to what you see here, Del Sol also makes color-changing t-shirts, flip flops, shorts, sunglasses, tote bags, you name it). It's nice that we can all see some of these goodies in person now!

So here's the deal. Del Sol products are designed to change color when you go out in the sun. Now, really, even though the polishes retail for $7.99 a bottle, how could I NOT try one? (Luckily for me, I had a few Walgreens Register Rewards in my wallet which helped reduce my price to $5.99.)

(Note: in this review, I am going to try and answer every single question that I, myself, had about this product. I know I had a TON of questions about how this polish would work, so I tried very hard to address everything here. But if I missed anything, feel free to ask questions in the comments!)

It's hard to see in the above pics, but I'd say about 80% of the colors available are pretty frosty. Which is why I didn't buy a green or blue polish (I'm generally not a frosty nail polish kind of gal). But I did see some lovely shades that had flashes of irridescent color and I was really drawn to a sheer coral that flashed violet, but I decided to go with a lovely red glitter called Heartbreaker. Note: there are three glitters in this collection. One is silver (which turns hot pink in the sun), one is red (which you will see in a second) and one is blue (which turns green in the sun).

For my first experiment with Del Sol Heartbreaker (a lovely, red jelly with red and gold microglitter), I decided to use Orly Bonder base coat and three coats of Heartbreaker. Two coats yielded decent opacity but three coats really made it beautiful. Since I didn't know if a top coat would interfere with its color-changing capabilities, I only applied my Sally Hansen Mega Shine on one hand, leaving the other hand without top coat.

After I painted my nails, I had to see if the color-changing might occur if I just held my nails up to a lamp inside my house. Nope! I held one of my hands underneath a bright lamp for several minutes and no change it all.

Then I decided to try immersing my hand in hot water to see if maybe heat would change the color. Nope!

You really do have to be out in the sun for the change to occur. I think that's pretty neat!

So here is what my nails looked like before I went out in the sun, and then after (the first set of pics below were taken with flash):

(click images to enlarge)
Please note: in these two pics, I am wearing Sally Hansen Mega Shine Top Coat over Del Sol Heartbreaker. So to all of you who might be worried that a top coat will interfere with Del Sol's color-changing magic, it's not a problem at all! You can definitely use your top coat with this polish and still experience the color-changing effect.

Now, it's hard to see, but the little hibiscus flower on the bottle is supposed to show you what color your nails will change to when you go out in the sun. Obviously it's not exactly accurate in this case, but I think my nails definitely turned a distinctively different shade, don't you?

There is also a little sticker on the top of each bottle that tells you what color you can expect to see when you go out in the sun. Here's the top of Heartbreaker:

This next set of pics were taken without flash (before sun and after sun):
If you enlarge this pic, you will see that the pic on the left is of the hand I painted WITHOUT top coat. It's definitely gritty to the touch, but I'm happy to report that just one layer of my top coat made this polish look and feel perfectly smooth.

Also, what I really love about Heartbreaker (and I'm assuming this would be the case with all three of the glitters in this collection) is that once the color changes, the color of the GLITTER does not change. So in other words, the glitter becomes more apparent when you go out in the sun. I love love love the contrast of the deep berry jelly mixed with the red and gold microglitter (the pic on the right). In person it's gorgeous!

It's also interesting to note that the entire bottle of polish changed color when I brought it out into the sun to take these pics (compare the bottle on the left to the bottle on the right!).

Which brings me to the actual color-changing process. OMG, this is the coolest part of the whole Del Sol experience. When I first walked outside into the sunlight, I immediately started staring at my nails, and they literally changed color before my very eyes! It's not a slow, gradual process that takes forever--it happens pretty quickly, but you can actually watch it as it's happening! Also, the change is very uniform (it's not a spotty or uneven transition). When I watched it happening, it was as if it occurred in one smooth, continuous motion. How neat is that?

Now here's the only fault I find with this polish so far. I noticed that, on day two of my manicure, the hand WITH top coat started to peel. And when I say peel, I mean I could peel off the polish in sheets. BUT, the hand with no top coat? It's still on and it's wearing like iron. So perhaps it's just that my Sally Hansen Mega Shine doesn't play nice with Del Sol? I don't want to assume that ALL top coats are going to cause peeling, but I just want to tell you that it happened in my case. I will definitely try it with another brand of top coat and see how that works.

I think Del Sol is perfect for a fun, playful, summertime nail look. I mean, who doesn't want to change their nail color without having to remove it? All you have to do is go out in the sun! I can imagine that children would have fun with this polish as well. I can't wait to paint my little niece's toes with this and see her reaction to the "magic" when we go out in the sun!

Do you already own any Del Sol products? Have you seen this display at your local Walgreens yet? Are you intrigued? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!


  1. yay for you finding del sol polishes :)

    I don't have one tough, but been hearing and seeing some swatches at a few nail bloggers who really seem to love them (i think there's one which is a silver and turns ruby red in the sun)

    You also should avoid the topcoats who have an built-in uv/sun blocker(sally hansens insta-dry in the red bottle has one i think) because then the polish wouldn't change at all

  2. I actually got a bottle of Del Sol polish years ago (back in the 90s when they first started up) from one of those mall kiosks. It was a light blue color and turned lavender in the sun. I only wore it the one time, because, similar to your experience, it peeled off in chunks after a short period of wear except that I didn't have any top coat on mine. I hadn't seen them for sale since then and thought the company was gone until I discovered nail blogs recently. LOL. They're fun but I don't think I'd shell out the money for another bottle. (And my one bottle is gone now too because I sent it in to the Zoya exchange)

  3. I've been looking for this polish and thought it was only available online ($10 per bottle) - I got some for my birthday and absolutely love it. Very long lasting - has been on my toes for 2-3 weeks and no chips - yay! I think the color I have is "Calypso" a orangey coral frosty color that changes to a pink/mauve color - love the stuff!!

  4. These look so cool! I went in to my Walgreens today and didn't see them, but I'll keep checking back. :)

  5. I bought a bottle of this polish at a store in utah the first of the year. After putting it on my nails, I too, was amazed at what it did. But it was short lived because after just one day of wear the polish started to peel. It is just too expensive to have it last for such a short time. Maybe my bottle was defective though. Who knows? Ps love your blog!

  6. I love these polishes! I first purchased them probably in 1999 in Hawaii. I've held on to one of them and the color changing seems to have stopped after all these years. I know they have stores that sell them here, but for $10. I LOVED these.

    My favorite I think is called Ruby Slipper which is a silver glitter that turns in to that hot reddish pink. I hope these turn up at my Walgreens because I'd definitely repurchase that one and possibly some others.

  7. I remember my mother buying me some of these polishes when we were on a trip to San Francisco about a decade ago! I loved 'em! And then just this past winter, my boyfriend went up to San Francisco with his friends, and he brought me back one of these polishes! =] I have mine in Peekaboo, which indoors is a super sheer jelly peach color, almost clear. In the sun, it becomes a super pigmented magenta pink creme color! It's a great choice if you want something clean and proper for work, but cute and flirty once you hit the sun outdoors! I've found that layering the polish affects how the sun-changed color appears (more layers, more obvious color), but I'm not sure if that applies to all of them. I almost can't believe you didn't know about these before! haha! Yay Del Sol! I'm excited to see if my Walgreens has these now! It's like getting two polishes in one!! <3

  8. There is a mall kiosk here that sells these. I think it is pretty cool however, I don't spend any time outside. :(
    It would be fun for someone who hangs out by the pool or beach. There are a ton of colors. I didn't see any of these today at Walgreens. But they sure would be missing the boat not selling these in Florida.

  9. wow so cool!

    i wonder if it has to do with UV rays.

  10. I've had some Del Sol polishes since last summer, when I got several from their site during their 50% off sale. My favorite is Spike: a light-green pearl that changes to a light blue pearl and is a lovely iced-mocha pearl in mid-change. I'll have to check my local Walgreen's and see if they have the display up there...I've been wanting to try some of their newest colors.

    Sparklecrack Central

  11. Oh - and I almost forgot. I use Seche Vite as the topcoat, and it lets the UV through so that the colorchanging isn't effectively blocked. Otherwise, these polishes don't hold up too well.

  12. My question (possibly answered by implication in one of the comments, but I'm not sure): does the color CHANGE BACK once you leave the sunlight, or is it permanent?

  13. R, how could you not know about Del Sol, lol. I mentioned it couple times on my blog. $7.99 is a better price than $10 on their website, but right now they have 50% off everything on the site and free shipping w/ $50 purchase. If shipping to Canada is not that expensive, I'd be buying a bunch already.

    And yes, the colour only changes under the sun, or the black light that they have in stores for colour testing. The store here sells it CAD10 but buy 3 get 1 free.

    Top coat won't affect the colour changing. People even layered Del Sol with other polish and it still changes colour, so no worries there.

    Also they have guarantee that if the bottle doesn't change colour, you can send it back for a refund.

  14. I remember seeing these in Hawaii (big indoor mall that wasn't DFS's in Honolulu close to Waikiki), but also saw them sold in ABC stores along Waikiki beach and also in St. Lucia when I was on my southern carribean trip in Sep 09'.

  15. Kristen,

    No, the colorchange isn't permanent. The color changes back when you're out of the sunlight.

    Sparklecrack Central

  16. This is so cool!! not to happy to hear that they don't wear long but I'm sure they would be fun for a day or two if your going on an outing. thanks for sharing!1

  17. I like the look of these polishes! I'm so glad you reviewed them! Really pretty swatches :)

  18. amusedPolish: I'm sorry you haven't been able to get your hands on one of these yet. But thanks for the tip about using a top coat that's free from UV blockers! Looking at the other comments on this post, that seems to be the consensus! :D

    cupcakequeen22: Sorry you experienced the peeling problem! I have to say though, that the hand I painted without top coat is *still* going strong with no chips. I used Orly Bonder base coat underneath three coats of Del Sol polish and it seems like a winning combo! Now hopefully I can find a good top coat to use with it now. :)

    Deanna: Yay! Now you can get it at Walgreens! And I'm glad to know you didn't experience any chipping (did you use a top coat?). Hopefully you'll see this line at your local Walgreens soon. :)

    In Her Makeup Bag: Awww, I'm sorry! Hopefully it'll be there soon.

    Richard Larson Family: Thanks for the kind words about my blog. :) Also, did you use a base coat when you applied this polish? So far, my Orly Bonder is working like a charm (on the hand I painted without using top coat, that is!). Hope that helps!

    Stephanie: You are so ahead of the curve! lol. I feel like a loser for not knowing about these sooner. Also, I saw that silver glitter at Walgreens (you can kind of see it in my pics) and I wanted it so badly! But I decided on trying the red first because I love red on toes. So thanks for letting me know that you like the silver. I think that will be my next purchase. :)

    wingsinheaven5: Wow, what a SWEET boyfriend you have! :) And thanks for the great tip about Peekaboo (and what a perfect name for that shade, right?). You make an excellent point about how it's great for a conservative office environment but when you want a pop of color all you have to do it walk outside! Love that! :)

    Kimberly: I don't spend a ton of time outside these days either, BUT, it's still a lot of fun watching my nails change color even when I'm just running out to check the mail! lol! And then of course it's fun watching them change back to the original color once I'm indoors again! And I believe they do sell this polish in Florida--just not at Walgreens (yet). Hopefully it'll be at your Wags very soon. :)

    Candi: I think you nailed it on the head. I believe it does work with UV rays. :)

  19. LiAnn: Thanks for the great description of Spike. Sounds lovely! Also, as of yesterday (when I checked the site) the 50% off sale is still going on (just in case you want some more until you can find these at Wags). :) Good to know about Seche. I'm very happy to report that the hand I painted without top coat is still going strong with no chips. I used Orly Bonder base coat, so maybe that's the winning combo for me. I'll have to try it with Seche as a top coat now and see how that works!

    Kristen: Great question, and YES! When I walk back indoors, it changes as quickly as it does when I go outside. It's fantastic! :)

    Bunny: Wow, you've spotted them at several locations! Lucky you! :)

    Audrey: Yes, but that was just on the hand with top coat (Sally Hansen Mega Shine). I am VERY pleased with how this is holding up on my other hand though, which doesn't have top coat. I used Orly Bonder base coat and three coats of Del Sol and it's still going strong. :)

    Phyrra: Thanks!! Hopefully you can find them in your area soon. I'm so curious to know which shade(s) you end up getting. :)

  20. Wow, the world of nail polish is quite impresive, between layering, franken polishes, and color changing polishes, I have so much to explore!!

    Thank for posting this, that color is beautiful, I haven't seen these at my walgreens, I hope they make it all the way to the midwest.

  21. I had two pairs of color-changing press-on nails when I was about 8 (they changed color in cold water, so I spent a summer running my fingernails under the stream from all water fountains I could find), and adored them. I had no idea there was actual color changing nail polish until I walked into Claire's a few weeks back and saw theirs... and I am so happy to hear there's another brand! Hope these show up at one of my displaying-year-old-makeup-displays-as-though-they're-new-displays Wags, i just may have to buy a bottle or two.


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