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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Deborah Lippmann Mermaid's Dream dupe for $0.99

So I sat down and made a list of the dupes for Deborah Lippmann Mermaid's Dream (I use the term "dupe" loosely here since some are closer than others) and it goes like this:

Clearly, you have a lot of options if you're looking for a Mermaid's Dream dupe, which is wonderful since Mermaid's Dream will set you back a cool $19 per bottle. For the record, some of these dupes are better than others. Some are more gritty, some are more sheer, some are more opaque, some are more metallic-y, some are smoother, some are more blue, some are more get the idea. So today I want to share with you one of the most affordable options if you want to get your Mermaid's Dream on:

Sally Girl Nail Color in Brainy
(retail: $0.99 at Sally Beauty, 0.18 oz)

If you're new to Sally Girl polishes (available both in-store and online), they're minis:

Sally Girl vs. Revlon, for perspective

Sally Girl Brainy is one of the new-for-2013 shades that Sally Beauty added to the Sally Girl line (there are a few others, which I'll be reviewing in the weeks to come).

This polish is sheer (I hear that Mermaid's Dream is sheer as well):

 Three coats

Three coats didn't do it for me, as you can see above. So here's four:

Four coats

 Four coats

Much better! I realize some of you may not have the time or inclination to apply four coats of polish and to you I say: stick with Revlon Wintermint. I hear that dupe is opaque at two coats (and smells like mint!). 

But let me break down for you why I like Sally Girl Brainy and why I'm so happy with it that I don't even want to purchase another brand's dupe.

 Four coats

First of all, it doesn't have the lumpy metallic base that some of the other dupes have. It's smooth and does NOT leave brush strokes behind. Yes, it's sheer, but if you don't mind building up coats, the payoff it well worth it. This polish is not too bumpy or gritty to the touch, and one coat of a good, thick top coat will smooth it out perfectly (but even without top coat, this one is not too bumpy to the touch).

Another reason I love it? It dries quickly. Even after four coats, this baby was dry in less than 20 minutes. Also, the color is 10x more beautiful in person. My photos just don't do it justice (I've heard from several of you that Mermaid's Dream is difficult to photograph as well, in terms of capturing its true beauty). This is really one of those polishes that you have to see in person to appreciate. I think I looked at a zillion photos of Mermaid's Dream online and I still wasn't "wowed" by it. But now that I have Sally Girl Brainy, I totally get it.

And one final reason why I love Brainy: it's gorgeous mattified too! I picked up a Sally Girl Matte Top Coat a while back (also $0.99) and when I applied it on top of Brainy, it was swoon-worthy. So smooth and a mermaid's tail suspended in ice! You really need to try it with a matte top coat--I promise you'll love it.

FINAL VERDICT: What's not to love about a ridiculously affordable alternative to Deborah Lippmann Mermaid's Dream? If you're like me and haven't been drawn to this polish (or its dupes) based on the photos you've seen online, TRUST ME, it's a whole different ball game when you get this one on your nails. I love Brainy because it's not lumpy, bumpy or gritty, and it dries quickly. The only downside is that you'll need four coats to get this to a decent opacity, but I promise it's worth the extra time. And don't forget to try it with a matte top'll love it!

Do you own any Mermaid's Dream dupes? If so, which ones do you own, and how do you like them?

The products featured in this post were purchased with personal funds. For more information, click here.



  1. Great descriptions! But my obsessive brain still has a question: the base of Mermaid's Dream seems to have a subtle duochrome. Do any of the dupes have that? I know Sea Dust doesn't but I still love it and wear it a lot.


  2. Such a great find!! It looks so close to the Deborah Lippmann version too.

    Whimsical Allure

  3. I have Brainy and love it. Definitely wish it came in a bigger size! I felt the same as you about the online swatches of the DL. You are 100% correct about this being one of those must put it on the nail first to see the true beauty polishes. I am a Revlon and Funky Fingers polish fan so must pick up those two as well. Thanks so much for the info. BTW, my fave way to wear brainy is on my tips as a funky french with a coordinating color or a neutral color. Just gorgeous! That way you wouldn't have to use do so many coats sometimes. 8-)

  4. I have both Deborah Lippmann's Mermaid's Dream and Revlon Wintermint and they are pretty much exact dupes. Any differences that they have are very subtle because I literally cannot tell the difference between the two of them. The only thing that I wasn't too keen on was that Revlon's Wintermint is scented, it's not too strong of a scent, but you can definitely smell it the whole next day. After I wore it I ended up getting a wicked migraine because of it, but I am really sensitive to smells, I can only wear one perfumed body lotion (Philosophy Amazing Grace) because everything else sends me into instant migraine, so if you're really sensitive to smells like me then Revlon Wintermint might be one to avoid.

  5. Wow, this is amazing for 99 cents! I already own a bottle of the real deal, but this would make a really nice gift. I may buy out my local Sally's if they have this one in stock!

  6. I tried Fing'rs In Mint Condition, and it was awful -- so thick and gloppy and cheap-looking. Immediately gave it away and wouldn't recommend it.

    1. I'm with you. Absolutely would not reccommend it to anyone. AWFUL polish. However after picking up Brainy I am sooo happy with it- I even got two!

    2. Wow, good to know! Also good to know that it wasn't just me on the Fing'rs polish. Really awful.

  7. Thank you so much for including my dupe find! I love it so much! I actually bought this one as well & though sheer it is quite lovely! No reason for my to seek out the DL one! The Sallys one is also really pretty to use for layering because it is so sheer, adds neat dimension.

  8. Whoever told you Mermaid's Dream was sheer mislead you. It's completely opaque in two coats and really worth the money.

  9. Fingrs heart 2 art polish in "in mint condition" is a good two coat dupe for under $2

  10. Thanks for this review and round up of the Lippmann dupes. I knew about the Sally and Revlon versions, but not the others.

    FYI, the matte topcoat was a limited time only product at Sally's. I don't think it's available anymore. It's too bad, because it was great quality matte topcoat. I found it to be comparable to Essie's Matte About You.

  11. Thanks for the swatches & the roundup of other dupes... knew about them all but Funky Fingers! I have the Charlotte Russe one and it's opaque in two coats, costs about $3 at Charlotte Russe stores.
    Now if only someone would dupe the other DL mermaid shades... sigh.

  12. I picked up Brainy, and because it's so sheer, I wore it over a coat of For Audrey. I love it, and actually got quite a few compliments on it. Great wear time, too.

  13. Shoot, I just put out out SH Triple Shine display, and there's a top coat that resembles a sheer Mermaid's Dream glittery look ... I forget the name of it, but it would go great on top of Revlon's Wintermind (or any pale minty shade).

  14. GO TO URBAN OUTFITTERS!!! I picked up an EXACT dupe for Mermaid's Dream a year ago before I had even seen the DL version of it! Urban Outfitter's nail polish in "Sea Dust" has an AMAZING formula and, unlike the Sally Girl dupe, it only takes two coats! I'm seriously in love with the polish and it's only around $5!!!


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