Did Sephora Nail It With Formula X?

Does Sephora's new 200-shade nail polish collection live up to the hype? Let's see...

Be still, my beating heart. Sephora has just launched Formula X, a new three-free nail polish collection consisting of more than 200 shades in an almost limitless selection of textures and finishes, plus nail care products, too. The are four main categories: The Colors, The Effects, The System and The Treatments. And the claims? “Invincible long wear” and “incredible saturated shine.”

Sounds good, but do these lacquers actually live up to the test? That’s where I come in! (With the exception of Bionic, a splatter top coat, all of these swatches are two coats with notop coat.)

New Classics

First, let me get into more detail about these categories. The Colors are broken down into two sub-categories, The New Classics (62 shades):

And The New Neutrals (31 shades):

These are the creamy-finish colours in the collection, and they promise a fast-drying patented formula infused with luminescent ingredients to “enhance sheen and overall shine.” We’ll see.

Frenetic, a New Classic,is a deep hot pink, which is super, I mean super opaque–so much so that you don’t need more than one coat.

I applied two coats for this one, just because one feels odd, but seriously, I could’ve easily got away with one. No streakiness, just pure polish perfection. Plus, with no topcoat? I’m impressed.

This true navy blue cream, Centigrade (also a New Classic), was just like Frenetic: smooth with a no-fuss application.

Again, this one could have easily been a one-coater. And I love a good blue nail. There’s literally nothing bad to say about this colour. The creams in this collection are amazing, if the two I was sent are any indication. They just apply like velvet.

Xplosive Top Coats

The Effects are broken down into 12 different subcategories, including 14 Xplosives Top Coats:

Right off the bat I loved Bionica lime green and black glitter topper:

I figured this shade would pop most on plain white (Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear Nail Color in White On), and did it ever. I like my glitter packed on, so this was two coats, but could easily be built up even more (or less) if preferred. I love the unique colour combo—it’s something I’ve never seen, so that’s always a plus. Imagine it over another neon colour? And in the summer? Yes and yes.


The Chromes are the metallics:

I have a soft spot for anything purple, so this pastel lavender, Racy, had my heart racing as soon as I saw the bottle.

I knew I’d be swooning over it, even if it was hard to apply (which metallics usually are—they tend to be streaky and leave visible brush strokes). But quelle surprise, this one wasn’t all that bad! You can still see some slight brush strokes, but ut went on smooth and didn’t need more than two coats. Come spring, I think I’ll wear this on the daily.


The Celestials are described as metallic "micro-glitter" lacquers that dry down to a shimmery yet matte texture, and need only one coat for full coverage.

Unfortunately this charcoal and silver polish, Orion’s Belt, was probably my least favourite of the shades I received.

It’s nice, don’t get me wrong, but it just didn’t wow me like the others. Nonetheless, it's a great alternative to black if you’re not comfortable going that dark.

The other sub-categories in The Effects include The Superwatts (should that not be a girl band's name?), which are vibrant glitters in a jelly base:

The Electrics, which are neon shimmer and pearl shades:

The Shifters, which are metallics with a kaleidoscope effect:

The Lusters, which are textured glitter lacquers:

The Holograms, which have a holographic effect:

The Sparklers, which have a 3D effect with a combo of micro- and macro-glitter:

The Brilliants, which are glitters with disco ball-like sparkle:

And finally, another type of top coats, The Transformers, which come in a range of textures to transform any base colour:

There are also The Translucents, which are sheer, muted washes of colour:

They have 12 ASAP 3D Nail Appliqués:

The System is all about nail care and includes cleanser, base and topcoat.

Lastly are The Treatments and they’re all about the extras one might need for a killer mani, like cuticle oil, nail drying spray and strengthener.

The bottom line

While I can’t speak for the polishes I haven’t tried yet, I can totally vouch for the ones I have. The creams are unbeatable, and if the rest of the shades are anything like them, then they’re so worth the slightly steep (US$10.50/C$13) price tag. Still not convinced? Give their mini set a try before it sells out. For US$55/C$66 (in other words, a steal) you can test out 22 shades in classic creams, neons, chromes and splatter top coats. I know what I’m putting on my holiday wish list…

Have your say

Have you checked out Formula X yet?

What are your favourite shades in the line?

Are you a classic cream girl or are you into glitter and texture?

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