Chips, Ahoy! It’s Estee Lauder Pure Color Nail Lacquer, Matey

Published in: Nails, Product Reviews

estee lauder pure color nail lacquer
Estee lauder Pure Color Nail Lacquer shades clockwise from the purple bottle on the left: Violet Diva, Fuchsia Flame, Purple Passion and Hot Coral

I try to treat my nails well. I really do. But the constant clacking away at the keyboard, coupled with the opening of countless cans of gravy, take a toll. That’s why I’m looking for nail polishes that do more than merely look good. They also need to stand up to the everyday drama/trauma I put my nails through.


I was hoping to find such a polish when I tried the new Estee Lauder Pure Color Nail Lacquers ($19 each). Last month the brand launched a newly reformulated line, adding eight bold, pigmented shades to their permanent collection (Frozen Fantasy, Rosa Rosa, Hot Coral, Pure Red, Enchanted Garnet, Fuchsia Flame, Purple Passion and Ultra Violet), as well as eight limited edition shades bound exclusively for Nordstrom stores (Sizzling taupe, Oyster Cult, Perfect Storm, Chocolate Crave, Mega Fuchsia, Violet Diva, Wicked Green and Wild Blue).

I’ve long loved EL’s polishes and really hoped these new ones would be just as great as their predecessors.

By all appearances, they are. The new shades sure look gorgeous on nails, don’t they? Vibrant, un-ignorable colors with a finish so shiny that it could cause temporary blindness? Hello!

Last week, along with my usual base and top coats, I wore two coats of Hot Coral on my fingers and Fuchsia Flame on my toes. From the get-go, things looked good; they applied just as smoothly as I hoped they would.

estee lauder pure color nail lacquer
Fuchsia Flame (left) and Hot Coral (right)

estee lauder pure color nail lacquer
Violet Diva (left) and Purple Passion (right)

But ’twas a love not meant to be. By the end of the very next day, I started seeing chips — a few on the nails of my right hand, and a large one on my big toe. By the fifth day, almost all of my fingers and a couple of toes were chipped.


It’s not a question of loving the way these look because I do. The shine? Off the hook, but the wear time isn’t nearly up to par, especially not for a $19 nail polish. Maybe they’ll last longer on you (I hope), but I’m gonna have to pass.

PRICE: $19 each
AVAILABILITY: Available now at Estee Lauder counters and also online

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. Long day! But we made it. Now, with Monday out of the way, it should be all smooth sailing from here. 🙂 How was the rest of your afternoon?


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So far, 17 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Vijaya says:

    Wow. Expensive and prone to chipping? No thanks. The colors are lustworthy, though. xP
    Vijaya recently posted … Dare To Wear Challenge- Japan

  2. Mehak says:

    Too bad 🙁 I was really loving the colors..
    Mehak recently posted … Inglot Lipstick Swatches- Review – Whats Your Number

  3. Violet Diva and Purple Passion are GORGEOUS so it’s a shame they chip so easily. i could never justify splurging on nail polish and this kind of proves it :p.
    dani@callitbeauty recently posted … A Birthday Haul &amp A Sob Story Not Really

  4. I’ve noticed that some polishes don’t respond well to my usual combo of base and top coat. When that happens (and I like the color enough) I’ll usually try other combinations until I find something that works. But it has to be a pretty special color for me to do that with. And these, while pretty and unique for a high end brand, seem fairly dupable.
    Jessi (Lacquered, Painted, Polished) recently posted … These 069 Wet n Wild Lipsticks Just May Convert Me

  5. Hot Coral looks absolutely perfect for summer! I generally try to avoid buying polishes with price tags that high though…they’d have to be something super special to catch my attention. I think I’ll pass on these 🙂 Don’t think there’s much room left in my polish drawer anyways!
    Makeup Morsels recently posted … Miscellaneous Monday Morsels 4-11-11

  6. gio says:

    Too bad they chip so easily. The colors are gorgeous…
    gio recently posted … Product Review- Essence Silky Touch Blush in Secret It-Girl

  7. Jen W says:

    Love the look of Violet Diva! I’m a purple polish kinda gal 🙂
    Jen W recently posted … Lancome Erika F International Giveaway!

  8. Vonvon says:

    Beautiful colors! but sad to know that they chip easily for the price tag!
    Vonvon recently posted … KENZO NEW LAUNCH – Leau Par Wild Edition Ltd Ed

  9. Tania says:

    Beautiful colors, but I definitely have dupes for these and they were much more affordable. Love them tho!
    Tania recently posted … MAC Fashion Flower Lipstick Preview Photos

  10. Ana says:

    Hi Karen!
    I’ve been using Hot Coral for the past two weeks paired with OPI base and top coats and it lasts for a few good 6 days without chipping. And I’m not very kind to my nails either! Typing, doing dishes, it ususlly takes its toll, but Hot Coral has been working for me!!
    As Jessi pointed, polishes react diferently to combinations of top and base coats, so maybe that was the problem. 🙂
    It’s a Great summer color!!

  11. Nina says:

    that red is pretty … maybe on the toes? where there’s less friction involved? 🙂

  12. Rae says:

    Are they $19 or $9? If it’s $9 I could tolerate having to play with them before finding a way to make them last, but not for $19.

  13. Crystal says:

    I really like the green one, I think it’s a Nordstrom exclusive. But I cannot bring myself to pay $19 for it, and those are smaller than a standard size nailpolish! .33 oz versus .5 oz normally I believe.

    About opening cans of gravy, for Tabs? This may sound silly but I use a spoon to pop the pull tab thing up, like the thing on a can of soda? I figure I’m already going to have to use a spoon to get the cat food out, so I use it to help me open the can as well. xD

  14. Eileen Eldrich says:

    I very rarely splurge on anything, but years ago I bought a bottle of Christian Dior nail polish and I’m STILL using it. It never got thick and gunky, and the color is gorgeous. It looks fresh on my toenails for 3 weeks. The only reason I re-do it is because my nails have grown! If I add up the cost of all the $3 bottles of nail polish I’ve thrown away, the Christian Dior was well worth the price. Try it, Karen, and let us know what you think. I guarantee it’ll be better than the EL.

  15. Izzy says:

    Oops. I think you meant $19.
    Izzy recently posted … Hello!

  16. Phyrra says:

    Ouch! That’s bad to chip so quickly.
    Phyrra recently posted … David LaChapelle- Katy Perry &amp GHD

  17. That sucks about the chipping, I really love the color of Violet Diva.
    KimmiKillZombie recently posted … LOOK- Black and Green Smokey Eye

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