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Sally Hansen Big Smoky Top Coat

I've been wanting to get my hands on this one for what feels like aaaaaages.  The collection showed up on Nouveau Cheap just after xmas.  In addition to Big Smoky, Big Matte, and Big Shiny there are also Big Crackle, Big Shimmer (which is actually microglitter), and a trio of Big Glitter toppers in this collection.  G. and I were commiserating over not finding it and then suddenly...there it was, turning up everywhere!  I found it at Target first, but waited a few days to get it at CVS instead.  The silly part of this lemming was that I've had a similar topper from NYC for almost two years...and never even used it!  More on that later though.  You might be wondering just what Smoky Top Coat is.  It's a black-tinted topper with a little bit of shimmer, for darkening base colors.  As venividivarnished demonstrated on Nail Board, it's ideal for ombres.  I decided to do something similar-ish, a subtle accent that also shows the level of darkening.

Big Smoky Top Coat is a black-tinted shimmer topper.

accent over Sinful Colors Sheer Genius and Zoya Brigitte, no additional topcoat

As you can see, it darkens and cools the base color.  It's streak-prone, but the shimmer in the base I used hides that a bit.  Major word of advice though, don't go over the same spot twice on one coat.  It gets lumpy and unruly if you do.  I found that thick, almost careless coats work best.  I applied it like a topcoat instead of like a polish if that makes sense.  It is floody, but you're gonna do cleanup anyway, right?

Having done an accent nail with it, I decided to take the next step and added another coat to all four nails.  This way you can see how much darker it is with a second coat.

two coats on ring, one on others, no additional topcoat

 It's a difference, two coats vs just one, but not a huge difference.  I mentioned before that it's lump-prone and you can see it a little, especially on the ring nail with the second coat.  The shine is decent and it seems to be touch-dry relatively quickly, but I decided to add clear topcoat anyway.

two coats on ring, one on others, with clear topcoat

It hid the lumps perfectly and the shinier finish helped disguise the streaks too.  When I wear this again I'll definitely finish up with a clear topcoat.

So that other one I've had for a while?  It's called NYC Rock Muse.  (There's a UK version too, but it has glitter.)  It was part of that brand's fall '12 Fashion Predator collection.  I bought it and Python Green at Rite Aid when they were still available, but never put them on the blog...or even wore them.  I'll get to Python Green eventually, but I figured I had to dig Rock Muse out to compare it to Big Smoky.

1x NYC, 1x SH, 2x NYC, 2x SH - over OPI Skull & Glossbones

Big Smoky is darker, cooler-toned, slightly more shimmery, and less streaky than Rock Muse.  I'm happy that their undertones are slightly different, but if you have Rock Muse you might be able to do without Big Smoky.

Bottom line: It's a bit fussy to apply, prone to streaks and lumps, so it looks better over shimmers than creams.  If streaks bother you, you might want to skip it, but it is less streaky than NYC Rock Muse.  It's fairly shiny on its own, but I prefer it with clear topcoat over it.

Nichole has tried Big Smoky too and her post will be up tomorrow.  That link doesn't work yet.  It's from...the future!


  1. I was going crazy when the Big Top Coats didn't appear, so I got it the moment I saw it. & I love it

    1. It really was hard to wait, but I knew I'd have CVS coupons over the weekend. I like it, but love might be a bit strong for me.


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