Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Zoya and Qtica Holiday Gift Sets

Every year I say, "Oh, I'm going to get my Christmas shopping done early, I'm going to have everything all wrapped up weeks before Christmas! I'm not going to be one of those crazy people out shopping on Christmas Eve..."

And every year, inevitably, I end up being one of those crazy people out shopping on Christmas Eve. Every. Single. Year.

Instead of doing what I do, why not just shop online? No crowds full of hacking, coughing people and snotty-nosed kids running through the store screaming while their parents are busy elbowing you in the ribs to get the last insert popular item here off of the shelf before you do....

One thing I really love are gift sets. I've always been attracted to gift sets. The way they're packaged with special shiny paper, all the little products inside all lined up and pretty looking. I just love them! When the gift sets are filled with beauty products, it's even better.

Not very many nail companies do good gift sets (or any gift sets for that matter). OPI has some minis and little bottles of lotion, Essie does some minis, CND sometimes has special polish... Nothing impressive, really. Nothing even different than what they do the rest of the year.

So who has the best gift sets? That would be Zoya. They're actual, useful, jam-packed full of awesomeness, honest-to-goodness gift sets. I'll show you a few of my favorites (the ones I'd love to unwrap on Christmas morning instead of another pair of driving gloves.)

In my opinion, this is the best gift set of them all. It has all of my favorite things! The Holiday Nail Gift Kit has three of "my holy grail" products: Qtica Natural Nail Growth Stimulator, Qtica Intense Cuticle Repair Balm and Qtica Half Time Polish Drying Accelerator, plus one product I like but just don't use all that often- Qtica Extending Topcoat. I would love to receive this gift, and I'd love to give this gift as well. At $25, it's a very affordable gift to give. It's also a great deal- it comes with full size products, and the Nail Growth Stimulator alone costs $20.

The Natural Nail Growth Stimulator had me skeptical at first, but after using it consistently for months, it's all I use now. I'm sold. It really does help my nails grow quickly! You can see the evidence just by looking at the pictures I post here. I really like this base coat. It helps prevent staining, it helps my nails grow, and even though Zoya says there aren't whitening ingredients in it, I feel like it really brightens my nails.

The Cuticle Repair Balm is just amazing. It's not greasy or liquidy- it might take a while to get used to because it's so different from the usual cuticle products. It's a thick, rich, heavy-duty balm that really hydrates and locks in moisture. It even lasts through hand washing. I use this when I've been neglecting my cuticles and doing heavy cleaning without gloves, and it pretty much fixes them immediately. It also has no scent, so it won't bother you if you're sensitive to scents.

The Half Time Drops are a total staple for me. I was introduced to them when they were included in my first Zoya order as a gift with purchase, and I've been hooked ever since. You apply it to your nails after you put on your topcoat and it helps the polish dry faster. I notice that when I don't use the drops, it does take longer for the polish to dry. I don't know how this works, but it does. It also has the added bonus of preventing dents while your polish is wet. The oil adds a layer of protection that you don't get with just a quick dry topcoat. It makes the polish a lot more forgiving- you won't be able to smudge them or dent them as easily while they're drying. Again, no idea how this works, but it does, and now I use them all the time.

My second favorite gift set is this one. It's called the Holiday Mini-cure, but I call it genius. Genius! It's a mini color lock system, a mini bottle of Remove+ (the Cadillac of Polish Removers) and a mini bottle of Zoya Lacquer in Shiloh. It's like an Intro to Zoya set.

Two reasons I think this is a smart gift set:
1. Maybe you don't want to drop the $36 on the full-size Color Lock System because you've never used it before and don't know if you'll like it, but you still want to try it. This set is $15, comes with the entire system in mini size, PLUS a mini polish. If you don't like it you're not stuck with full size bottles that you spent a lot on. If you do like it, this brings me to my second reason...

2. It's a portable nail survival kit! Maybe you travel a lot, or maybe you're like me and like to always be prepared. This kit has everything you need in one place, but takes up very little space because it's mini! You can keep it in your purse or your car or your desk for a nail emergency.

Like I said, it's an Intro to Zoya. Great idea, especially for people who like to have long-lasting manicures. They also have just the Color Lock items- Anchor, Armor and Hurry Up- in a mini trio for $12.

And my third favorite gift are the Color Cubes. It's a cute little set with a full size Zoya Hot Lips gloss/balm plus a coordinating mini Zoya polish for only $8. It's a perfect stocking stuffer, or a good inexpensive yet still luxurious gift that I'm sure any girl would love. My top picks would be:

  • Enchanted Evening which has Hot Lips in Starlet (which is drop-dead gorgeous) and mini lacquer in Evangeline. The colors would be flattering on most skintones, and the colors are not too flashy but still unique.
  • Sugar Plum Party which has a Hot Lips in Visa and a mini lacquer in Casey. Casey is one of the most gorgeous vampy colors in existence. It's impossibly stylish and very sexy.
  • Fairy Dust includes Hot Lips in Paparazzi and mini lacquer in Austine. Gold is hot for the holiday season, and these are two nice, wearable metallic gold shades.
Really, all of them are nice sets, but those are my favorites.

I'm really impressed with Zoya's gift sets. They're all practical yet lovely. For the price, you wouldn't expect something as nice as these. I'm on a super-tight budget this year, and the prospect of being able to give gifts that are affordable but still *nice* and useful makes me very happy. I might have a hard time giving these because I want to keep them for myself... Heh. *shifty eyes*


  1. Give us a sample of one of the color cubes in the Enchanted Evening: Lips AND Nails! You can wear some driving gloves, too.

    I have a few questions regarding nail polish and your nails in particular. Do you freehand paint your nails? The close ups show 'perfection.' What is the difference between a shimmer and and a frost. I'm ok with a cream compared to a frost.

    plus, 1st to post

  2. Hi Scrangie! I have a bottle of Half Time drying drops, but I've never used it yet. In your expert opinion (because you are definitely a nail expert!) would you say that it's better, the same, or worse then using Seche Vite to dry the polish fast? With Seche Vite I tend to get tip wear very soon because it shrinks the polish, but it does dry the polish super fast. Do the Half Time drying drops give you tip wear as much as Seche Vite?

  3. I am SO glad to hear that about the Qtica Natural Nail Growth Stimulator! I just splurged on it (w/ a $3.50 off coupon at Ulta) and am trying it for the first time as of today...I was so nervous I wasted $20 for nothing!!

    Now I might try the Half Time drying drops too....

  4. Scott- I have a picture of Zoya Evangeline *somewhere*... I'll have to dig around and find it! I don't know about the lips, though- I always get self conscious and feel like my lips are crooked or something, lol.

    I do freehand my nails. I make mistakes sometimes, but I'm just so used to doing it that it's like I have muscle memory or something. And a shimmer vs frost...
    Shimmer is more sparse and 'sparkly' while a frost looks... hmm... frosty? Like a thick, even layer of fine shimmer that's not particularly sparkly. Like frost on your car windshield on a cold day.

    Atomica, I use my drops *with* Seche Vite, so I'm not sure how it works with just polish alone. I don't notice any difference in shrinking/tipwear when I use the drops, so I think I can say it doesn't effect it that much. I'll have to give a test run with just the drops to know for sure :)

    J, I *really* like the Qtica, I don't use anything else now. I hope you like it as much as I do :D Zoya still gives away the drops as a gift with purchase, so on your next Zoya order you could try them for free :D

  5. Sold!! I want them all! Great review Scrangie <3

  6. i think my nails are defective. i keep trying to use the colour lock system and failing miserably. all was going well last night and i was going to apply the armor and attempt to use the system and then i changed for bed and mysteriously took off a huge chunk of my polish (for the record i had painted them 2 days ago). and i used all zoya stuff...remove+, anchor, yasmeen, armor and the quickening drops.

    okay that was lame. but i needed to vent!

  7. You can check out our blog for pics of the cubes...


    Happy Nail Polishing To All!!!!
    ho, ho, ho

  8. I love zoya! I have more zoya than anything else in my polish stash. I am test driving the Anchor and Armor right now. So far so good.

    I really want to try the Qtica stuff now though after reading your post!

  9. Hi Scrangie - I just ordered the Qtica gift set as a gift for me :)

    Thanks for all you do for us nail obsessed!


  10. Are Qtica and Zoya the same company?

  11. Carla G, yay I'm glad you liked my review :D I'm excited about these gift sets, they're nice and cheap cause I'm super broke this year!

    Sara, it just came off in one piece? A big chunk? That's very strange! I've had that happen with Seche Vite but never with the Color Lock system :( If you're really puzzled, I'd email Zoya- they have people who can help with Color Lock problems :)

    Art of Beauty, thank you for such awesome products!!!!

    Angel, I love Zoya too! The have a lot of great stuff. I love Qtica stuff too! I'm surprised I don't hear more about them in magazines and stuff!

    Hey Laeny :D I hope you love it as much as I do- it's a really great deal for $25! Good way to stock up on my favorites :D

    Anonymous, yep! They're all by Art of Beauty. Zoya is more of the color line and Qtica has all of the treatments and spa items :)

  12. Thanks for the info. Wow, you are really nice!


  13. Hi Scrangie, can you recommend a good site for me..i'd like to purchase China Glaze and other nail polish online ? These products are ridiculously expensive here.thanks.

  14. Luckymirai, you should check out 8ty8beauty.com, head2toebeauty.com and transdesign.com! That's where we all get our OPI, China Glaze, Essie, Misa, Color Club and CND polishes from :) Less than half retail price, usually!


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