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 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.
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:
(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!