Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Battle of the "Penny" Polishes [Part 1]

[EDIT (09/24/2012): You can find more photos and Part 2 of this Battle here]

Today's nail polish battle began as a simple nail post for Revlon's "Copper Penny." However, when I saw Essie's "Penny Talk" at Walmart, I knew I had to pick it up and do a comparison post with "Copper Penny." Both nail polish names hint that they desire to replicate the copper color of a penny, so I thought it would be fun to compare.

(photographed [left to right]: Revlon "Copper Penny," Essie "Penny Talk")

I will start with my older purchase, Revlon's "Copper Penny." "Copper Penny" and I have had a shaky relationship. I bought this polish towards the end of last year, with high expectations. The first time I painted it on my nails, I thought it looked absolutely horrible with my skin color/tone, removed it immediately, and shoved it in the back of my nail polish drawer.

(photographed: Revlon "Copper Penny")

I recently came across it again and figured I was probably just overreacting. The color looks decent in the bottle. How bad could it be? The answer is: not as bad as the first time, but not great either. I don't know if it's the little bits of ground-up silver in this polish, but "Copper Penny" makes my skin look dull and is overall unflattering.

"Copper Penny," as you can see much more clearly in the photo below, is a mixture of ground-up copper and silver. There is definitely more copper than silver, however, the silver is still very noticeable when I look at the color on my nails (probably not from someone standing next to you though). "Copper Penny" has almost a foil finish that embellishes its silver quality.

(photographed: Revlon "Copper Penny')

Maybe you can see from the photo below that this color really does nothing combined with my skin color. It actually makes my skin look rather dull.

(photographed: Revlon "Copper Penny," 2 coats, shade)

  • Application is completely opaque in two coats.
  • I think this color would look good on someone with either fair skin or deep skin. (The color isn't flattering on my medium skin color).

  • Chips very easily. (Less than 24 hours for me)
  • I really, really dislike how this color is a foil combination of copper and silver. The concept is just strange for me, and results in a very dull, lackluster color that is unflattering with my skin color/tone.
  • Lastly, there is something strange about the finish of this polish. It dries semi-matte even with a reliable top coat that always makes my nails glossy (which is my preferred finish).

After my experience with Revlon's "Copper Penny," I was excited when I came across Essie's "Penny Talk." "Penny Talk" is part of Essie's new Mirror Metallics collections, a name that perfectly describes the finish of this particular polish.

(photographed: Essie "Penny Talk")

When I picked up the color and read its name I thought it would be perfect to compare with "Copper Penny." They both appear as if they were trying to achieve a copper look. However, as soon as as you apply "Penny Talk" on the nails, the two colors are, without a doubt, nothing alike. Depending on the lighting, "Penny Talk can either appear copper

(photographed: Essie "Penny Talk")

or, more like a rose-silver color.

[edit (09/29/2012): if you're interested in seeing Essie's "Penny Talk" compared to more rose gold polishes, I've done a recent one that you can find here]

(photographed: Essie "Penny Talk")

"Penny Talk" really does change with the lighting. Once again, it looks copper in the photo below,

(photographed: Essie "Penny Talk," 2-3 coats, outdoors)

yet more rose-y when put in different lighting.

(photographed: Essie "Penny Talk," 2-3 coats, shade)

And here's one more photo just so you can see how incredible the finish is.

(photographed: Essie "Penny Talk," 2-3 coats)

  • Incredible finish. I have never seen a polish with such a beautiful metallic finish. I think Mirror Metallics was a perfect name for the collection.
  • Beautiful color. Even though the color doesn't resemble a copper penny as much as the Revlon one it is still a beautiful color. I cannot stop staring at it when it's on my fingers.
  • Horrible formula. Possibly one of the worse I've ever used. (The formula is so thick and difficult to work with I almost wonder if I got a bad bottle. ) You have to apply thin coats or else the polish gets really thick and hard to maneuver around the nail.
  • About 2-3 coats to reach opacity since the polish is both thick and streaky and will bubble as a result.
  • You must use straight strokes with this brush or else you end up with a complete mess. I had to redo many nails in the process if I made even the smallest mistake.

Final Verdict: Both of these polishes have qualities about them that I utterly dislike and make me never want to use them again. However, the qualities that determines whether or not I would wear a color again are finish and overall appeal of the color on my nails. And because of this, Essie's "Penny Talk" is without a doubt the winner.

Which would you choose?


  1. :/ Aww, I got excited when I saw a Revlon "Penny' shade--I believed the Essie hype. From the initial release I thought "Penny Talk" would've leaned more brown/copper...I've been disappointed with every swatch I find of this color.

    My only hesitation is that the Revlon polish may lean more orange-y on me. I don't know how to explain it but certain metallics just shift colors on my hand.

    On the bright side, this means we just need to find more polishes to fill this category!

    1. Did the color really look more brown in promos? I didn't think so.

    2. Does it not look browner? ( http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-dLDeY1h7-MM/T4sC0dmsWsI/AAAAAAAACCQ/IcccmGj38rU/s1600/ILLU.jpg ) Maybe cuz it is right next to the gold metallic?

    3. Hm. Not in my opinion. Looks pretty copper-y to me. The photos I have that come closest to that color are the up-close shots. The sunlight can make it look lighter.

  2. These are both amazing stamping polishes.