This is how you're 'supposed to' use these - they're made to be gradient polishes, with sets of 4 steps for each polish name. So, this is Emerald Step 1, Fire Opal Step 2, Fire Opal Step 3 and Fire Opal Step 4, used in order. I didn't buy Fire Opal Step 1, because I liked the Emerald one better, and figured they were close enough.
Here is the same thing without topcoat, to show the almost sandy, matte finish. They're shiny in a foil kind of way, but definitely gritty to the touch, and thick, compared to most regular nail polish. Nothing a coat of Seche Vite can't handle, though. They're very pigmented - easily one-coat coverage when worn alone, so that's a plus.
I broke down the steps here, to show how to use these. No more sponges needed for gradients! Just use the normal brush and start lower on the nail with each color. If your nails are shorter, I don't see why you couldn't skip a step, just using three colors per nail.
|bottle shot, with names for reference|
For the curious, and those still reading, I thought I would include a brush comparison. The Cherimoya brush is very similar to OPI Pro Wide brushes, but the bristles tend to splay out a bit more at the end, which makes them slightly more difficult to use, but nothing terrible.
Overall, I really like this idea, because it makes gradient manicures simple and foolproof, kinda like those labeled eye shadow palettes that tell you exactly where each color should go. I'm always a fan of simple, no-brainer nail art! And the price is right to indulge in a full set, too, but they look just as nice on their own, being very shiny and foily.
What do you think? Would you get a full set and use them the way they're intended, or just buy the colors you like and use them individually?