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My Picks from Sally Hansen Diamond Strength LE Spring & Summer

I'm not sure why, but Sally Hansen's Diamond Strength line doesn't get a fraction of the attention it deserves...even from Sally Hansen!  Hidden among some really ho-hum and "safe" shades in the Diamond Strength core collection there are a few knockout toppers (incl. Glass Slipper, Aisle Be There, and Brilliant Blush) and some surprisingly daring stand-alone shades (like Black Tie and Save The Date) too.  I have a lot of love for a few of them, but I think the best Diamond Shines are their LE collections.  Last fall they blew my mind with a collection packed with tiny, magical multichrome flecks.  So far this year they've had two sets of new LE shades...not that you'd really know it.  For some reason, they don't get much attention.  The spring display didn't show up on Nouveau Cheap until late June.  I had spotted it sooner and I'm not sure why I never sent G. my pics of the display.  I seem to push these beauties aside too.  Summer's LE's seemed almost deliberately hidden.  I've never seen a stand-alone display for them anywhere.  I bought today's polishes in April and June at CVS and Walgreens.  I'm not sure if you'll be able to track them down.  I've seen both sets in those big multi-line Sally Hansen endcaps at Walgreens, along with various Fuzzy Coats and Sugar Coats and other new stuff.  Now that fall shades are coming out, many stores will be taking these down, so check Walgreens clearance sections if you're after them.  My sightings of these shades at CVS were even more random.  A few had a stand-alone display for the spring shades, but I generally saw them tucked down into a low corner of nail bars.  I never saw either collection at a Rite Aid.  Such a shame that they didn't get much exposure.  There are some real gems here.  This is a crazily long post.  It might be the most photo-intense one I've ever written, spam posts aside.  Brace yourself, we're going in!

Spring shades first...

Diamond Jubilee has small blue/green/gold iridescent glitter in a clear base.

over Sinful Colors Cold Leather

Diamond Jubilee isn't exactly unique.  Nichole took a look at a draft of this post and instantly said she has a Confetti glitter like it.  I think that was Ice Ice Baby, but I'm not sure.  We've probably all got one or two that are similar...BUT...the application here is perfect and the shift is very strong.  It goes on in one perfect coat, no dragging or globbing.

The shift just blows me away, especially under incandescent light.

At extreme angles it goes cobalt.

You know I had to mattify it.

It's nice this way too, since the shift looks even stronger, but I think I prefer this combo glossy.  Still...nice...

Gold Setting is a super-dense blend of tiny fuchsia-to-gold microfleck shimmer and larger gold flakes in a lightly beige-tinted base.

over SinfulShine Shine Divine

When I say Gold Setting is dense, I mean it.  All of this is just one coat.  The slightly tinted base can make pairing it with light colors tricky, but the tint is minimal enough that it doesn't affect a darker base.  The darker base also boosts the shift in the microfleck.

I'm in complete awe.  It's even more beautiful in person.  Imagine Sparkling Rosé (without the pink tint) mixed with a touch of Essie As Gold As It Gets.  Magic.  Pure magic.

That pop of fuchsia when the light hits it just right...the shift to gold....and then suddenly at another angle...

The tone of it changes and softens.  I adore this.  One of my favorite toppers, and that's really saying something because I love toppers and have dozens.  Mattifying it only enhances the shift and makes the flakes bolder.

The microfleck almost looks purple at times.  It's hard to even write about it...I just wanna stare.

This stuff's so nice I've swatched it twice.  Oops!  I love that combo so much...I don't know how I forgot it.  I think it might get its own post sometime soon.

Opulent Opal is a semi-sheer pearlescent pink-to-green duochrome.

over Sinful Colors Get It On

I'm...not so crazy about Opulent Opal as I am about some of the others.  It's denser than I want it to be, and pearlier.  This is one coat, as thin as I could get it without risking streaks.  You could probably wear it on its own with 3-4 coats.  It applies well (I usually expect brushstrokes from pearls, but here they're very slight), but the formula wasn't what I wanted.  I'm not big on pearl finishes.

Still...that shift...

Am I crazy or do you *almost* see blue?  Then under incandescent light all of these almost golden tones come out.

It's pretty, but....pearly.  Still, I couldn't stop wiggling my fingers and watching the colors change and I think it needs just one more photo.

Sparkling Jewel has a clear base packed with gold/blue/fuchsia shifting microfleck shimmer.

over Sinful Colors Strapped

One coat of the topper here too, as perfect and even as the rest.  Something about this combo reminds me of tropical fish.  Sparkling Jewel has a flash like scales when it catches the sun.

In lower light you see the shift more.  It's gradual and delicate, with the fuchsia dominating.  The blue and gold stay to the edges.

The microfleck in Sparkling Jewel is on the translucent side and mattifying makes the density much more obvious.  They're really packed in there!

Summer didn't have as many standouts, but I still picked up a few.

Myst-ique Pink has super-dense, very fine purple and copper shimmer in a clear base.

over SinfulShine Mirror Mirror

Some shimmer toppers dominate their bases, but Myst-ique Pink's particles are so tiny that this looks more like a single polish than a layered combination.  The application is completely perfect, absolutely ideal.  This is one coat.

I don't think the shimmer is duochrome.  It seems like a blend of copper and purple without any shift, but the particles are so tiny that it's tough to tell.  The way that the purple and copper mingle suggests a blend.

Private I is a deep plum jelly full of copper microfleck.

Overwhelming.  Just...out of words.  The base is sheer, so this is three coats.  It reminds me a bit of FingerPaints Plum Startled, but it's so much sexier.  It's got a darker base than Plum Startled and the shimmer is coppery instead of blue.

Such depth!  I'm in love.  (Yes, again.)  In artificial light it takes on a much warmer tone and reveals a different side to its beauty.

Mattifying it kills the depth, but puts more focus on the microfleck shimmer.

I prefer it glossy, but it's beautiful this way too.

Royal Invite is a frosty deep periwinkle blue with fuchsia-to-blue microfleck shimmer.

accurate for finish, but not color

Oh boy.  The best I can say about Royal Invite is that it's almost a one-coater.  My review goes downhill from there.  One word.  Frost.  The photo above shows the finish best, but the rest are more color-accurate.  It's the borderline metallic kind of frost, but it's still a frost.  I wasn't expecting it to be *this* frosty based on the bottle appearance and I was seriously unhappy about it.  The first coat is not quite enough on its own and the second coat tries to drag the first.  Ugh.

Then there's the microfleck shimmer.  Interesting idea, but the reality is just not good.  The microfleck gets lost in the frost and just makes it look uneven and even a little lumpy.  The tiny flecks almost dig in, making little pits in the frosty base.  It's also brushstrokey.  Honestly, it seems like a franken.  A beginner franken.

I sponged it to see if it was worth keeping.

Sponging helps dig the microfleck shimmer out a bit, but...still...just not good.  I returned it, which I almost never do.

I was tempted to swatch all of the layering polishes over black, but I had more fun matching them up with base colors.  Still, I couldn't leave black out of the post entirely.  I decided to highlight the different colors and finishes of the four layering shades over black.  You could also wear Opulent Opal over black, but it's denser than these and could stand alone with 3-4 coats, where these four are toppers and would never build to opacity.  I think the photos can speak for themselves here.  Each is one coat of the topper over a black cream base.

Diamond Jubilee * Sparkling Jewel * Gold Setting * Myst-ique Pink

Diamond Jubilee * Sparkling Jewel * Gold Setting * Myst-ique Pink

Photos below are with one coat of OPI Matte Top Coat.

Diamond Jubilee * Sparkling Jewel * Gold Setting * Myst-ique Pink

Diamond Jubilee * Sparkling Jewel * Gold Setting * Myst-ique Pink

The last photo (below) is under a multi-bulb incandescent lamp, to maximize the shift of the three duo/multichrome toppers.

Diamond Jubilee * Sparkling Jewel * Gold Setting * Myst-ique Pink

Bottom line: I'd call Gold Setting and Myst-ique Pink the must haves for layerers. Diamond Jubilee and Sparkling Jewel aren't as unique as the other two, but are still gorgerous.  Private I is stunning too and perfect for fall, even though it's from a summer collection.  I was underwhelmed by Opulent Opal and Royal Invite got returned to Walgreens.  Hot mess, that one.

So I hope you can find these if I've triggered any lemmings.  Diamond Strength LE's have been known to show up in discount stores, especially in those value packs at Ross.  Weirdly, last fall's LE's went to Canada's dollar stores.  Your best bets for now are Walgreens endcaps and clearance sections and weird random spots in CVS.  I'm thinking that since they did spring and summer we won't see fall LE's in this line this year.  They put out new LE Complete Salon Manicure, Insta Dri, and Xtreme Wear collections (and I got some of each, plus a lot more) over the past few weeks, which also makes me think we won't see any new Diamond Strength shades again until Spring.  As long as the next bunch has a few cool toppers, I'll be there!


  1. Gold Setting is much prettier than I gave it credit for in the bottle ! I looked at that blue one, glad I didn't get it.
    Kinda kicking myself for not getting Private I, it's one of those I looked at a bazillion times, but never made the commitment.
    Maybe I'll find it somewhere for super cheap in a few months.

    Thanks for all the swatchiness. Bring on the fall !


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