A $5 Dupe for Chanel Riva? Yes Way! The China Glaze Nail Lacquer in Sea Spray

Published in: Nails

If price made your pretty nails pass on Chanel’s breathtaking but budget busting resort collection Riva ($27, ouch!), Anchors Away!


One of 12 nautical shades in the new China Glaze Anchors Away Collection for spring goes by the name of Sea Spray (about $5).

Here she is in her bottle next to Riva…

china glaze sea spray swatch

With a familiar marine-like blue vibe and similarly subtle micro glitter, both could be cousins, judging by the way they look in their bottles.

But how do they look beside each other on nails? Well, they aren’t twins, but they come fairly close. Sea Spray looks a little darker than Riva does and isn’t as creamy. And its micro glitter is silver, while Chanel’s is teal.

If you’re impatient, you might prefer China Glaze’s formula to Chanel’s, so that’s something else to consider (in addition to the difference in price). Sea Spray packs more pigment than Riva and takes just two coats to achieve full opacity; Chanel’s requires at least three to four (I used four here).

Chanel riva china glaze sea spray swatch
China Glaze Sea Spray (left) and Chanel Riva (right)

china glaze sea spray swatch
China Glaze Sea Spray

Chanel riva swatch
Chanel Riva

Chanel riva china glaze sea spray swatch

Is Sea Spray a perfect $5 dupe for $27 Riva? Almost, especially from afar. Unless you’re looking very closely at both colors and/or going toe-to-toe with a hard core polish fan, most people probably wouldn’t notice a difference, which makes Sea Spray a great budget option if you like the look of Riva, but don’t want to pay the steep Chanel price.

Still Partying with Tabs, Vol. 3,677


I feel like I didn’t sleep at all last night. I tossed and turned until at least 3, and while that sucked for me, Tabs was thrilled. It meant he had someone to party with (he loves the night life) and expressed his joy by biting my chin each and every time I was about to nod off.

Cats are so weird…

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. How’s it going today? I know it’s only Thursday, but I’m counting down the minutes till the weekend.


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So far, 50 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. omg sea spray is gorgeous! i actually like it more than riva, its a little greyer which i like. thanks, i may end up buying this!! XD
    aquamarine565 recently posted … TINte Cosmetics Flavored Lip Shine

  2. Dao says:

    Ooh, Tabs is a night owl, eh? Belly also likes to party the night away. Sea Spray looks lovely and China Glaze has awesome colors that I love.
    Dao recently posted … Lengthening Your Lashes with Hard Candy 1-000 Lashes Lash Primer

  3. Gina says:

    Four coats?! As pretty as that Chanel polish is, three coats is my limit. Plus, China Glaze has such a lovely formula. I’ve always preferred mid-level brands like China Glaze and OPI for their price and quality.

  4. jenn says:

    can’t wait to pick some sea spray up πŸ™‚
    jenn recently posted … Watercolor table

  5. i’ve been in love with that blue/grey shade since i tried the l’oréal high tide. sea spray is so gorgeous πŸ™‚

  6. Tekoa says:

    I am unconvinced…..

    Love Sea Spray and Riva. But as a hardcore nailpolish olympian using Sea Spray as a Riva dupe is unacceptable. Toe-to-toe lets go!

    As my Siamese would say on the matter “PIFF!” (Luna tosses her head, flicks her tail and saunters off)

  7. Alice says:

    Oh lawd, four coats of nail polish. I would unthinkingly scrape that stuff off in less than 30 minutes because it would still not be dry. How do you deal?

    • Karen says:

      I paint and then watch a movie. πŸ™‚ Or a couple of episodes of Top Chef!

      • Alice says:

        Ah! See, there’s the problem. I don’t have the kind of attention span required to sit down for an hour and a half. I am obsessed with Grey’s Anatomy though, and am about to settle down for the new episode in a couple minutes. I think I shall take this rare opportunity to paint my nails with the new Wet n Wild polishes I bought today! πŸ˜€

  8. Appu says:

    I kinda have the feeling Sea Spray would look better on me since the color is a wee bit darker and toned down !
    Appu recently posted … NYX Powder Blush in Peach

  9. Glosslizard says:

    I don’t regret shelling out for Riva, it’s beautiful and the story behind the acquisition makes it a cherished memento in addition to a nail polish! πŸ™‚ That said, Sea Biscuit, er… Spray is gorgeous too… I might just end up with both!

  10. Tracy says:

    Well, see now I like both!
    I wish I could still party til’ the break of dawn… I am too old for that! πŸ™‚
    Tracy recently posted … Do You Remember Your First MAC Product

  11. Sea Spray is gorgeous, but hmm I still like Chanel Riva a little bit better. Could it have something to do with that logo on the bottle? Nah… πŸ™‚
    Makeup Morsels recently posted … My Skincare Routine

  12. yiota says:

    Hey Karen!
    I might be having a little shopping spree in the states and I’d love to check these China Glaze nail polished out, because we don’t have them in Canada! Which stores sell them?

    • Faux Flush says:

      I hope you’re not coming too soon. I went to Ulta AND Sally’s today looking for Sea Spray and Below Deck, but no luck. The managers said FEBRUARY for the collection! How will I make it that long???

  13. I really liked the color of the China glaze sea spray, but I’m wondering what the wear was like? Did it chip easily, or lose its shine quickly?

  14. Nina says:

    im ready for Friday. :/

    i felt so much in need of a pick me up that i dragged the hubs ot have soup and salad for dinner out.

    thats an awesome dupe alert! πŸ™‚

  15. Martha says:

    I kind of like the ChG color better anyway- especially for $20 less!
    Martha recently posted … Some Clinique FOTD

  16. Phyrra says:

    Oooh nice dupe!
    Phyrra recently posted … Delurk!

  17. amy says:

    Sea Spray is one of the polishes that caught my eye when you did the previous postings. Though, I don’t own RIva, I think Sephora OPI’s Havana Nights is a closer dupe than Sea Spray. Michelle from All Lacquered Up did a side by side comparison a few weeks back and it is the closest match I have see. I have Havana Nights and I really like it, but it also have opacity issues like Riva.
    amy recently posted … Fabulous Pinkish Purple Lips LOTD MAC Stylishly Yours Cremesheen Lipstick in Style Curve

  18. kana says:

    loving the china glaze color! πŸ™‚ where do they sell them at? i gotta go and grab me one!

  19. Ariel says:

    Pretty! I love anything that gets me daydreaming of summer and the beach!
    Ariel recently posted … Makeup Ramble

  20. Elizabeth says:

    I don’t think Sea Spray is a good dupe, but then again I think I am one of the hardcore polish fanatics you are talking about! XD I think Eyeko Pastel Polish is a lot closer! http://the-swatchaholic.com/?p=3055

    On the other hand, I can see how some people might just be interested in the general light blue nail polish trend, and in that case Sea Spray is a much more economical choice than Riva. πŸ™‚

  21. Amee says:

    Nice shade Karen πŸ™‚
    Amee recently posted … My New Year Haul

  22. ooh, has anyone thought of essie’s barbados blue- i havent tried that nor riva, but they look rather similar?
    aquamarine565 recently posted … TINte Cosmetics Flavored Lip Shine

  23. shelby says:

    they’re both so similar but ohhh i lurrvvvv chanel’s, to me chanel’s looks much more creamy and opaque, and that’s what draws me too it. I have a chanel nail polish in a very very light pink/peach color and I love it so much, but no matter how hard i try i feel like it never dries all the way, I’ll put it on while watching a movie and even after the movie is done, if i bump my nail it still smudges, gah so annoying! is it something i’m doing? someone help me please, i would love me my chanel if i could actually wear it

  24. Lisa S. says:

    Love the Chanel color, but I think Sea Spray is the winner for me. It’s cheaper, AND has better coverage.
    Lisa S. recently posted … Life gets in your eyyyyyes! sung to the tune Smoke gets in your eyes

  25. Bisbee says:

    Speaking of Riva, I had it on my toes (just got another pedicure today, so it’s gone), but I was very disappointed in how it wore. It faded!!! Each toenail was a mix of lighter and darker color – and it didn’t look like that when it was first done. No exposure to sun…I don’t understand why it happened!

  26. Jill says:

    To help polish dry better, be sure to apply thin coats of polish. 3 thin coats will dry better than 2 thick coats. Don’t try to get it perfect on the 1st coat . The following coats will correct the streaks. Always allow a few minutes between coats for solvents in the polish to evaporate. Then, apply a fast drying top coat. My favorite is Seche Vite. Hope this helps rid you of your smudges!

  27. Andrea says:

    Sea Spray is close, but seriously, look to Hard Candy Nail Polish in Sky for a MUCH better dupe! It’s amazing how close they are! and I know HC is sold at Walmart for like 5$!
    Andrea recently posted … Just in case you were interested

  28. Tessa says:

    Funny thing is I saw Riva in 2 different magazines this week, It looks good on you. The problem i see with it is how many coats you have to put on, i have a light purple and felt like 3 coats started to look to thick. Im really just starting to get into nail polish, and i dont think that one would look good on me.

  29. marisol says:

    Wow that’s pretty close. I may need to get it just in case hahaha

    I am so ready for the weekend. This first week in 2011 has kicked my booty.
    marisol recently posted … Monday Weigh In – Week 15

  30. Zuzu says:

    I just posted about Hard candy Sky which is the closest color of riva (for me =)

    But that one is amazing color too, I will definetely get it when they release. Thanks for sharing and this wonderful blog =)

    If you want to check, here is my Hard Candy post.

    Zuzu recently posted … Hard Candy Sky Deborah Lippman Happy Birthday

  31. Kim says:

    They both definitely have that seafaring vibe! I really love the lightness of Riva; it’s such a happy color. However, as you said, for the price and the number of coats necessary to get to that color, no thank you. πŸ™‚

  32. They are not dead on similar in color and I actually prefer Sea Spray. I like the grayish undertone, very nice!
    Beautiful Canvas recently posted … Calvin Klein Euphoria for Women Review

  33. Silva says:

    Not the same enough for me! Well, this makes me a hard core polish fan, doesn’t it? I think I prefer Sea Spray! I know I prefer the price πŸ˜‰
    Silva recently posted … Happy New Year &amp New Years Manicure

  34. Katie says:

    Sea spray looks a lot like Essie Sag Harbor, doesn’t it?
    Katie recently posted … Vacation Haul

  35. Eileen says:

    I don’t see how the two colors can be compared. They are completely different. They are both lovely in their own right and neither one is a dupe of the other. Personally, I like the depth that three coats of Riva achieves. Each transluscent layer with it’s subtle teal glitter adds to the overall effect. Some polishes just need more patience. Ich-a-bod-y was the same: one coat looked streaky and weird, two coats showed the direction it was heading in, three coats and it was the perfect Halloween color.

  36. I love the aquamarine colour! Think I prefer the finish of the Chanel varnish though.
    Paintthetownscarlet.wordpress.com recently posted … Top 5 Hairsprays

  37. Chynna says:

    I love both of these. I’ve seen Sea Spray compared with Essie Sag Harbor and they’re definitely dupes. Another $5 dupe for Chanel Riva is Hard Candy’s new release of Sky. It’s available only at Walmart, but it’s $5 and nearly dead on.

  38. Trisha says:

    Those colors looked so different in the bottle, but were almost EXACT on your nails. And now I totally want the China Glaze version. Right now!
    Trisha recently posted … Nails of the Day- Pink and Purple Candy

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