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Monday, September 24, 2012

Review and swatches: New Nicka K. New York Nail Color Collection

Nicka K. New York, an affordable cosmetics brand, is probably best known for its NK nail polishes, which you can often find at indie beauty supply stores for around $1 each (or order online). Back at the beginning of August, I posted a sneak peek of the new Nicka K. New York Nail Color Collection, and today I'd like to review a few of these new polishes for you.

I received four holiday-themed polish shades from Nicka K., but these are actually part of the permanent collection, which means you can order them now.

Nicka K. New York Nail Color Collection polishes
Left to right: NY127 Velvet Green, NY116 Red Hot, NY120 Silver Star, NY124 Sparkly Sand
(retail: $3.99 each, 0.5 oz)

Keep reading for more pics and swatches...

I love these bottles. They're sleek and elegant and the handles are easy to grasp:

Also, unlike other handles of this nature that I've used in the past (colored faux metal), I was very happy to discover that the bronze color doesn't fade, turn black or transfer to my fingers during use (even in hot weather). 

Another thing I love about this cap/handle is that it's long, but the brush itself is short. I was afraid that such a long cap would mean a long brush, which tends to mean a sacrifice of control and precision. But that's not the case because the brush is short. It's a very easy brush to control, and you don't have polish dripping down a long pathway to the bristles, which is great:

Reformulated and Redesigned. Nicka K New York introduces a professional collection of nail lacquer - our Nail Colors - the answer to every manicurist's dreams. These quality polishes come in 44 on-trend variations, and are available in opaque, sheer, shimmer, bright and vampy shades. The exceptional formula will glide across your fingernails with minimal effort for vibrancy that is not only dazzling, but long lasting.

Unfortunately, the shade names don't appear on the label--you only get the corresponding codes. You can see the shade names on the Nicka K. website here (click on a swatch and the name will appear). These polishes are made in the USA and they're DBP and toluene free.

So let's start with NY127 Velvet Green:

At first glance, this looks like a standard Christmas green shimmer. But looking more closely, there's actually a subtle teal blue duochrome to this polish that gives it a little bit of added dimension. It's actually quite lovely in person but I'm afraid neither of these photos really capture that. The formula is great--it's a one-coater (although I applied two for these swatches) and I encountered no streakiness or pooling during application. 

Next up, NY116 Red Hot:

This is a standard tomato red creme, but the formula is anything but standard. I have hundreds of cremes in my polish collection and the formula on this one ranks up there at the top. I don't know if it's a combination of the shorter brush and the formula working together, but application of this polish is absolutely seamless. It's like it paints itself, with perfect opacity at one coat (the above photo is of one coat). The formula flows onto the nail evenly and precisely and it's smooth like melted chocolate.

Next up, NY120 Silver Star:

Just like Velvet Green, you think you know Silver Star until you get it on the nail and then you find out there's more to the story. I thought this was going to a basic silver metallic foil, but I was surprised to discover that it actually has a hint of taupe to it, setting it apart from the bevy of silver metallics we see during the holidays. This one will probably leave you with visible brush strokes unless you're really good at application (I'm not), but I was happy to see that it's not a watery formula (some drugstore metallics I own are very watery and sheer). I did two coats for these pics, but it's actually fully opaque at one.

And finally, we have NY124 Sparkly Sand:

For these swatches, I applied one coat of Sparkly Sand on top of two coats of Silver Star. As you can see, a little bit of Silver Star is peeking through, but if you were going to go without a base color, you could get full opacity with two coats of Sparkly Sand by itself.

Another thing I'd like to note is that in the above photo, Sparkly Sand looks bumpy to the touch. And without top coat, it is bumpy (it also has a matte finish). But I can confirm that one coat of Seche Vite top coat results in this:

Smooth to the touch with one layer of top coat.

FINAL VERDICT: I think that based on the four colors I received, the new Nicka K. New York Collection is living up to its promise of a polishes with an "exceptional formula" that will "glide across your fingernails with minimal effort". Three of these polishes are one-coaters (the glitter will require two for full opacity) and I didn't encounter a streaky, sheer or difficult formula in the bunch. Dry time was great on all of four polishes and I tested out the green and red colors for four days each and both had very minimal tip wear with no chips or peeling by day four. I think that for an affordable brand to show such consistency across finishes is pretty impressive. All of the finishes (shimmer, creme, metallic and glitter) were very easy to work with great results after one coat. If I had to recommend just one color of the four I received, I would go with Red Hot, just because the formula of that polish really stands out in my mind as one of the best cremes I've worked with to date. But the green and sliver polishes are also fun because they're not your standard green and silver--they both have a bit of a twist to them which makes them interesting.

You can purchase the new Nicka K. New York Nail Color Collection here, and hopefully it starts to show up at beauty supply stores soon. I think this new line is worth checking out, and I think my fellow lacquer heads might be pleasantly surprised with these new offerings from Nicka K.

A sample of this product was given to Nouveau Cheap for editorial purposes, either directly from the manufacturer or from the agency that works on behalf of the manufacturer. All reviews on are the honest opinion of its author and editorial samples do not, in any way, affect the outcome of product reviews.


  1. I've never seen this brand before. I really like the cap/ brush, it looks like they are really easy to apply with out making a mess.

  2. Great review. I love Sparky Sand and Red Hot. I will have to give these a try! :)

  3. Holy moly that packaging looks so cool! I do prefer the smaller brushes to the wide ones - it's much easier to control during application.

  4. These I'll definitely check out!

  5. The bottles resemble Hershey's kisses! I like the green shade and the silver. Can't wait to see what they have on the website. Thanks for the intro to this brand, G!

  6. Sparkly Sand looks like my next favorite christmas polish!!!!

  7. G. This is another great review. I do have a question do you have a favorite frosty or shimmering white polish , one that is fairly opaque?

  8. More nail polish I need? I'm in love with these colors, great review!

  9. Very interesting--I've not seen these anywhere before. Sparkly Sand over the silver looks great!

  10. Loving Red Hot - First I have seen of this brand. Thanks. I need to watch another brand like a hole in the head - my lemming list is so long now. I admit since I have collected 'forever' I need to shop my stash first before I buy esp on line and pay the postage. I come up too often with 'darn - looks just like X' if I don't do that first.


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