Watercolor nails: Sally Hansen Palm Beach Tropical Jellies

A long time ago (seriously, like 15 years, maybe?) sheer nail tints had A Moment. I don’t remember the brand, but I remember stopping by one particular endcap in Fred Meyer every time I was in the store and thinking long and hard about a collection of sheer polishes from one of the drugstore brands (for real, it was so long ago I don’t even remember which one, but my gut is saying maybe L’Oréal?). But I was either a broke college student or a broke high school student (one or the other; I’m really kind of fuzzy on the exact year), so I never actually made the purchase. The display had suggestions for all these ways to layer the different colors, and I never had enough cash (back then we used cash) to get more than one or two colors, and I didn’t feel like it would be worth it.

Not buying those sheer tints is a regret that has haunted me to this day. When, finally, tints are having another moment.

I was going to try to track down the OPI Sheer Tints collection even though I sort of choke on the price point with OPI, especially when there’s a collection I want in its entirety. But then the Sally Hansen Triple Shine Palm Beach Tropical Jellies came out, and when I saw them in my local Fred Meyer ($4.99 each), I snapped them up and ran straight home to try them out.

First reaction: This collection has just one flaw, and that’s the lack of a yellow tint. I’m not convinced it was necessary to do a red and a pink but no yellow.

That aside: I can finally let go of my sheer tints regret.

I just started playing around with these last night, so my first layered sheer manicure is a little all over the place — I was just messing around to see how the polishes worked together. Next time I’ll probably start with a nude base coat to eliminate visible nail line or maybe try a white base coat to make the colors pop (like All Lacquered Up did). But I like the watercolor-esque effects from my first effort. (I added a layer of a holo topcoat to a few just to see if they played well together.)

These polishes are very sheer — each of those color washes on my nails took several passes. Still, I’m happy with the sort of Easter egg-y look. They use the wide, flat brush, and I found some success turning the brush on its side to get a narrower edge. And I’m looking forward to trying them with some different base coats and effects (some good ideas in the video below).

Looking at the OPI video really makes me feel the lack of a yellow in the Sally Hansen collection, so odds are good I’ll try to pick up the OPI yellow. Other than that, though, I’m pleased with the Tropical Jellies, looking forward to doing some more experimenting with them — and finally letting go of my jelly regret.

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