I’ve found ‘it’. The elusive colour you put on and know is you all over. Hello OPI Suede in Lincoln Park After Dark.
Given that I hunt down nail varnish colours from music videos and rogue snapshots from years gone by, you know I’m a picky one. But Lincoln Park In The Dark Suede was almost enough to turn me into a one-colour woman.
It’s from OPI’s range of nail lacquers with a matte finish that they’ve rebranded as ‘Suedes’ – which, let’s face it, is a much more appealing term than matte, which sounds like a dullard DIY word. Instead, suede conjures up images of rich velvety colours perfect for wintry walks in the park and the OPI range more than justifies such plush fantasies.
Lincoln Park After Dark in its normal maroon guise is the furthest you can get to black without being black. But in its Suede incarnation, it’s a luxurious muted plum, packed to the hilt with a dense silver glitter. And I know my hostile thoughts on glitter have been previously well-documented but this liberal scatter of silver turns the shade into an expensive metallic shimmer, stopping it becoming a flat energy-zapper, like many other mattes I’ve seen on the market. It’s also ridiculously versatile – like the village tart, it just goes with everything!
Unfortunately, OPI weren’t joking when they say in their literature that Suede ‘does not wear as long as original OPI lacquer’. Count yourself lucky if your talons last 24 hours. Given that I’m currently sans employment and my most strenuous activity is deciding which side of my bed to sleep on, this stuff really does chip without the slightest provocation! At least OPI’s fantastic self-levelling properties ensure you can tidy up the chips relatively unobtrusively, although it’s a near Sisyphean task keeping them pristine for any great period of time. OPI also sternly tell you not to use hand cream if you’re wearing Suede but since my hands are still ravaged by a year of dealing with snotty kids, adhesives and constant disinfecting, I couldn’t not use lotion and can’t say I noticed any ill effects.
There are still plenty of pros. This is by far the quickest drying OPI polish I’ve come across, one coat provides excellent coverage and for once, I found the brush easy to work with, ensuring a solidly smooth finish (although it’s worth noticing that it can feel a little gritty to the touch, if that bothers you). And the colour really is beautiful – a grown-up metallic amethyst that’s totally striking without being attention-hogging. It also looks fantastic under different lighting (I’ve shown it with flash here to try and capture how under artificial light, it really looks like you’ve dipped your fingers into some mauve mercury) and, as I’ve mentioned, with any colour, any pattern, any time, anywhere.
The highest recommendation I can give to Lincoln Park After Dark Suede is that as soon as I’d applied it, I rushed out to buy the rest of the range. Apologies to your bank balance in advance… but one try and you may well find yourself doing the same!
Looks great with: possibly easier to say what it doesn’t look great with. In which case, let me know once you’ve found something!
Drying time: <1 min
Coats required: 1-2
Chips: 1 day
OPI Suede Lincoln Park After Dark nail polish, Fall 2009 Suede Collection, $70, Cher2