|Photo from SinfulColors.com|
First up: dry time. The reason I love my Julep toppers is because they dry in minutes, but I go through them pretty quickly and hate giving up one of my coveted Maven box spots for yet another bottle of topcoat. I tried the Sinful Shine topper with Sinful Shine Picante (an absolutely gorgeous shimmery red based orange). I found that in about 15 minutes it was dried to the point where I could get around without ruining my nails, and at 20 minutes it was dried hard. No sheet marks, no wrinkles, no dents. I tend to paint at night, so drying to the point that I can go to bed shortly after is a must. To double test, I tried it again with several more manis, including two non-Sinful Shine polishes. Same results every time, no wet polish malfunctions. I can confidently say that it's fast enough that I can put it on, watch a TV show or read a few articles, and be good to go. While it isn't as fast as Julep's Freedom and Oxygen topcoats, it's fast enough to meet my everyday needs, and it's much cheaper than Julep toppers.
Second test: shine. It's all about shine for me, and this topcoat passed that test, too. Once again it wasn't quite at the level as the Julep toppers, but Sinful Shine was satisfactory for me. I do not mess around about shine, so if I tell you it's sufficiently shiny, it's still about a level shinier than most people would probably be satisfied with. It didn't dull, either-it stayed shiny until I removed it.
Finally, lasting power. This was the least impressive area, but I would still call it mixed results. I had lasting power ranging from minor chips and tip wear in a day or two to several days with no sign of any wear at all. I tend to have chips and tip wear fairly quickly anyway, so I can't hold that against them too far. I would say Sinful Shine is about average in this respect- no worse than most other topcoats I've used, but not spectacular either.
So the final verdict is BUY THIS! I got similar performance to my favorite topcoats at a fraction of the cost. I'd compare it to Sally Hansen Mega Shine, but better. I'll still use my gold standard Juleps when I need to polish and go right away, but for everyday use, this is a great match. The brush is thin-ish, a little thinner than normal Sinful Colors brushes; I wasn't crazy about that, but otherwise, no complaints. This value topcoat is a great buy, and will probably be my go-to topper for a while.