Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Zoya Color Lock System Revisited

The Zoya Color Lock System is essentially a set of treatments that is meant to make your manicure last dramatically longer. It consists of a nail prep (Remove+), a base coat (Anchor), a top coat (Armor) and some quick-dry drops (Hurry Up).

The first two times I used the Color Lock System, I did get extremely good wear time out of my polish, but I also had a lot of bubbling. Since then, I obtained the 'new' Color Lock System, the big set with all the extras and decided to give it another try. This time, my results were much better, and I think I've pinpointed the cause of the bubbling.

Day one. Nothing worth noting.

Day two. Looks the same as day one. I added another coat of Armor.

Day three. One more coat of armor. No tipwear yet, but I was beginning to see where tipwear was starting.

Day four. Now we have minor tipwear. Nothing noticeable from a distance. Added another coat of Armor, but in hindsight that was a bad idea. I'll explain why in a moment.

Day five. Looks pretty much the same as day four.

Day six. Here's where I started to have very obvious tipwear. I think that if I hadn't done all those extra coats of Armor, I wouldn't have this much tipwear.

Day seven. Slightly more tipwear than day six, but now the polish was lifting up at the edges, like what happens when you apply Seche Vite on dry polish.

Here's what I did this time. I prepped with Remove+ and waited for it to dry. I made sure I wasn't by a fan or vent, and that I wasn't next to a window with the sun shining in. I did one thin coat of Anchor and let it dry for one minute. I did two thin coats of Zoya Roxy and let them dry one minute in between. On top of that, I did one thin coat of Armor. I waited five minutes and then applied a drop of Hurry Up to each nail. Total drying time was about fourty-five minutes. The polish was set at around 20 minutes, but very dentable and soft until around the fourty-five minute mark.

This time I had no bubbles. Looking back at it, a glitter polish probably wasn't the best choice if I was trying to detect bubbling.... But I inspected each nail closely under multiple kinds of lighting and from every angle and didn't see any signs of bubbles.

The main difference between this try and the last two was that this time my Anchor and Armor were noticeably thinner. Almost watery thin. The first two times they were both about the thickness of regular polish- not thin but not thick like Seche Vite either. I'm thinking this is why they decided to add the Renew Polish Rejuvenator (basically a three-free thinner) to the Color Lock System. So, if you're having problems with bubbling while using the Color Lock System, try adding a little Renew to your Anchor and Armor.

I was also sure not to apply my polish in direct sunlight. Even with the windows closed, being in direct sunlight while applying can sometimes cause bubbles. I noticed this while swatching one day, and since then I've made sure my hand was in the shade while polishing.

This time around, I also did an additional coat of Armor for the first four days. I'm positive that this was a mistake. Around day five or six, the polish started to pull away from the tips- it very closely resembled the 'shrinkage' that you get when using too thick of a coat of Seche Vite. I think I did too many coats. The more coats of polish you have on your nails, the more likely it is to chip, shrink and peel. On the last day, the polish lifted at the edges where it had worn, exactly like what happens when you use too much Seche Vite or put quick-dry on top of dry polish. If I had only done a coat of Armor every other day, I could have probably extended my wear to around eight or nine days.

On the seventh day, I decided to try a little experiment. I broke the corner off my ring finger nail, so I filed down the rest of them to match. This removed the tipwear from the seven days of wearing Roxy. I added one additional coat of Roxy, since I think it looks best with three coats. Then I did this:

Matte Roxy.

I found an old bottle of Maybelline Matte Maker topcoat!! Since I found it, I've been mattifying every polish I put on. Matte Roxy is truly breathtaking. It looks so much better in person, though. Each little glitter particle now looks like a shiny metal plate. You can see it trying to reflect from under the surface of the matte topcoat. When it's matte, the glitter in Roxy looks like perfectly smooth river stones. This is so ridiculously cool. Tiny platelets of metal suspended in a purple sea. Gorgeous. I don't know if I'll ever wear Roxy glossy again, this is just too mesmerizing!

(That was the polish experiment I mentioned on Twitter the other night! Matte glitter. )

So, overall, I had great results with Color Lock. A full five days without major tipwear and a full week without chipping. And this time, no bubbles! Again, if you're experiencing bubbles, thin your Anchor and Armor. That fixed my problem. I also did Color Lock manicures on my Mom and on my brother's girlfriend over the weekend (Mom got Audrina, girlfriend got Paz) and didn't get bubbles. It had to be the texture of the Anchor and Armor.

I have not yet used the Color Lock system on non-Zoya polish, but I don't see a reason not to. I would assume that any big three free polish would work. I'm going to try it with a variety of three-free brands (Which is... like... all of them now...) and report back.

Zoya polishes and the Color Lock system can all be purchased directly from Art Of Beauty. Keep an eye out for special deals from Zoya on Twitter as well!


  1. 0o0o0 I really like that Maybelline Matte Topcoat.
    Is it hard to find in stores??

  2. GerryBerry620, Sadly to say, it's near impossible to find. It's been discontinued for... 7 years or more? 10? But you can use Nailtek II or Orly Nails For Males instead.

  3. THANK YOU for your tips regarding your tips (HA!) with the Color Lock system!!! I, too, have experienced the bubbling issue, which has made me shy away from it all. (I'm a fan of the stinky Nubar Diamont.)

    I'll try using the thinner and see what happens.

    Liking that matte Roxy, too!

  4. I LOVE ROXY!!! lol, I honestly think it's (or she?! haha) my favorite Zoya. Matte glitters are amazing; I used Nubar V for Men on top of ChG Ruby Pumps and WOW! I finally gave in to ManGlaze and I'm very impressed.

  5. Fauxfun, you are very welcome! I am really growing to love Diamont, too. It doesn't shrink!! But it reeks to high heavens, LOL

    The Asian Girl, I see we're on the same wavelength!! Matte Glitter has opened up a whole new world to me. it's SO. COOL.

  6. Roxy looks really cool matte. I have a bottle of Essie Man-E-Cure I got for my boyfriend when it was on clearance at Ulta. Do you if this would work the same as using Nailtek or Nails for Males? If so, I got some mattifying to do!

  7. I would love to see your results with other brand polishes using the zoya system. I have thought about purchasing it, but don't want to buy a system that will only work with my meager collection of zoyas =) I like something that works with all of my brands. =)

  8. Can you tell me why Zoya's bubble?
    I had Katy on my nails and some of the nails had no bubbles, but other ones had tiny bubbles. And does the Color Lock system fix this? I picked up some of the dry drops from a local spa that stocks Zoya exclusively.

  9. I just got this system after I read about that sell/special you let us know about (thanks! by the way) And I can't wait to try it! Although I don't know if I could wear the same polish for that many days in a row! I think I would go crazy!

  10. I bought the Color Lock System but haven't used it. I love the matted Roxy. I have to try it. I have Orly Matte Topcoat. I can't wait for the mattes to come out!

  11. Deb, is it cloudy in the bottle? I've never used the Essie, but it sounds like the same thing, I bet it would work :)

    Anonymous, you got it! But, I really don't see a reason why it wouldn't work, but we'll see :)

    Phyrra, you know, I never have bubbling issues with Zoya, only when I used the old Color Lock system the first two times. I'm not sure what it could be! Maybe since Zoyas are a little thicker than most brands, try doing very thin coats? Hmm... Puzzling!

    Kittyluvscolor, haha you're like me! That was the hardest part- wearing the same color for a week! I was dying to take it off by the second day!!

    Lucy, they are gonna rock, I just know it. Zoya always does such a good job. I can not wait to see them!!!!

  12. Thank you for this very thorough review... I have the Zoya ColorLock system but it's never lasted me as long as your nails have, and has sometimes bubbled! Probably a combination of me being tough on my hands and also definitely NOT having the patience to wait 45 minutes for an entire manicure! I will try thinning out my base and top though and see if that helps at all... Do you think I'd get similar wear if I used the Qtica top or Seche Vite with the Qtica drying drops (on top of Zoya Anchor and Zoya polish)?

  13. Ms. Lady, I'm not very rough on my nails, so that might be why mine lasted longer than yours. I think you would get similar results with the Qtica Extending Topcoat, but it takes just as long to dry as Armor. I can almost guarantee you would not get good results using Seche, though- I think the fact that Armor and Qtica Extending are non-quickdry topcoats are part of what makes them last so long.


Please be respectful. Refrain from using my comments for unsolicited advertising. If you would like me to check out your blog or product, please email me. Thank you!