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China Glaze Poolside Collection Swatches & Review

china-glaze-poolside-swatches-summer-2010 I have a love/hate relationship with brights and neons. I LOVE wearing them in the summer but I HATE photographing them. They are just so hard to capture. Neons just never translate on screen so it’s really hard for me to show you what you’re getting.

Regardless, I took the new China Glaze Poolside collection for a spin. Poolside consists of six bold, in-your-face neons that are bound to attract attention.  From the shimmery blue Towel Boy Toy to the hi-lighter yellow of Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, if you want to make a bold color nail statement, this collection has it.  Check out my swatches after the jump!

My main issue with the Poolside collection is opacity. I’ve always thought of China Glaze as having a great color range with an excellent formula but this collection is lacking. Each color applies a bit differently and the pigmentation just isn’t there. Application tip: Apply a coat of white creme polish underneath to make the neons really pop and to avoid VNL (visible nail line).

Note: As I mentioned, neons do not photograph true to life so imagine each shade much brighter than it appears. Also, because these polishes dry with a satin/matte finish, I used a top coat.

Bonus: If you’ve been hunting for a bright matte polish, just put on a neon.

Pool Party is a hot reddish pink. It’s got a very 80s feel to it.  I realize neons in general evoke thoughts of the 80s but this one really embraces that style.  Like I imagine this color on a vintage windbreaker.  This color applied a little on the thick side but it leveled out well.  What you see below is three coats.


Pool Party with no top coat china-glaze-pool-party-swatch-poolside

Flip Flop Fantasy was the hardest polish for me to capture.  It’s a very bright coral pink and with corals being so prevalent in makeup this season (think Bobbi Brown’s Cabana Corals) this color fits right in with that trend.  It applied very similarly to Pool Party, a little thick but spreadable.


Sun Worshiper is my problem child of the bunch. It’s a pretty thick, streaky, radioactive orange that has issues leveling out.  AND to top it all off, I could still see my nail line after three coats.  I added a fourth to my middle finger just to see if I could get it opaque and we’re not quite there.


Towel Boy Toy is my fave color in the collection. I love the slight shimmer, the cool Caribbean blue color and how incredible it looks both matte and glossy.  It applies very smooth and even though on the thin side.  Again we’re talking opacity issues so four thin coats is your best bet if you don’t apply it over an opaque white creme.


Kiwi Cool-Ada‘s neon kelly green hue makes Four Leaf Clover look dull. Think AstroTurf at a rave.  The formula on this one was pretty thin and smooth though that results in multiple coats.  What you see below is three layers and while it looks opaque on camera, in person, I could still see my white tips.


Yellow Polka Dot Bikini is straight up yellow-green hi-lighter. It’s a very thin polish that applies pretty streaky and never really gets opaque.  I did four coats on my middle finger before snapping this and it was still looking pretty see through.  Even more so under incandescent lights.


Bottom line: Neons are notoriously difficult to work with (hello essie neons!) but if you want to go there, I recommend Towel Boy Toy, Kiwi Cool-Ada and Flip Flop Fantasy.  Take a pass at Yellow Polka Dot Bikini and Sun Worshiper based on their formula issues.

The China Glaze Poolside collection launches in April but it may start popping up online at e-tailers like before then.  China Glaze can also be found at Sally Beauty Supply but seasonal collection availability varies.  Your best bet is to call first if your nearest Sally’s is a trek.

So what do you think of Poolside?  Is it what you expected? Are any colors jumping out at you?  Which polishes are you adding to your summer shopping list?

Disclosure: A product sample was furnished by China Glaze.  For more information view my Disclosure Policy.

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There Are 48 Brilliant Comments

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  1. These are all gorgeous! So bright and I love them. I think I’ll be getting Pool Party, Flip Flop Fantasy and Sun Worshiper. I can’t wait until this comes out! Thanks for the swatches. :)

  2. jen says:

    I’m not a neon fan… I love brights, but these look to be a little too much. I do love the coral (flip flop fantasy) and that blue could be toe-worthy.

  3. Jamie says:

    Honestly, I think I’m kind of finished with neons — I like Towel Boy Toy and Flip Flop Fantasy, but the really strong neons from this collection I just don’t need.

  4. moeysullivan says:

    It’s okay. I like Flip Flop Fantasy, but my aging skin and job requirements are going to keep me outta the pool on most of this anyway. Nothing is ever going to touch the Summer Days collection for me. So juicy!

  5. Melissa says:

    I only like Pool Party and Flip Flop Fantasy. They’re GORGEOUS! I’m only going to be purchasing those two out of the collection as the other colors look like they have horrible formulation. Maybe I will also buy Sun Worshiper because I don’t own an orange polish; are there any other orange polishes worth trying??

    Thank you for this, I’m still ogling over the Up & Away collection and cannot wait for my order to come in of that =D This will definitely be next, thanx again<3

  6. The more I see of this, the more excited I get! I was wondering whether the Towel Boy Toy was at all dupable. Sunworshipper is my favorite – I’m just going to have to work through the application issues.

  7. Jennifer says:

    Wow, those are some seriously bright colors! I’m surprised they are so thin though, four coats seems like a lot. Thanks for the great swatches, as usual.

  8. Tenns says:

    Wow! I really like the coral, the yellow and the blue. What a fun set of colors!

  9. Rachel says:

    Wow! These look so cool! Neons are hard to work with, as you said. My main problem with Essie neons is how fast they chip. Did you leave any of these on long enough to determine how they wear? Side note – your nails are so nice! You must spend a lot of time painting them so perfectly for each picture! Thanks!

  10. Em says:

    Hi, thanks for the swatches! Honestly, I’m just not sure if I can fully commit to buying them! There’s so many neons to choose from anymore, they’re all so similar too, ex: bad formulas, too sheer or too thick. Getting there, but not what I expected, so I’m a little disappointed. I’m more excited for “Vintage Vixen” and “Naughty and Nice” for fall/winter! Woohooo. Skip and pass on the neons, bring out the dark, mysterious vampy colors, I want something new and original that we haven’t seen before.

    Also, they seem like a pain.. white, then neon, then top coat. I hate VNL, and I’m tired of matte finishes. I want super shiny, eye-catching polish without having to do all the extra work with topcoat, etc. Summer is about being on the go, outside, enjoying the weather not inside waiting for your 5 layers of polish to fully dry in the 80+ degree heat! lol.

    Anywho, the only 2 I’m looking at are Flip Flop Fantasy & Towel Boy Toy. They seem to stand out more. Although, I prefer the INK collection over these… nothing really compares to their “flying dragon” purple. And I’ll ‘probably’ take “Sky High Tops” from “Kicks” over Towel Boy Toy. Sorry for the rant, just felt like expression my opinion, whew. Thanks again!

  11. Brooke says:

    Towel Boy Toy is really, really beautiful. Thanks for sharing the collection. I appreciate sheers in the summer – very cool during the hot weather.

  12. JenB says:

    Thanks for showing one without a topcoat! I love the matte finish. These colors are amazing! I want all of them. I know I’m in trouble when I still want the yellow one even though it applies poorly! Sigh, I’ve always loved yellow highlighters! Thanks for the tip of putting a coat of white cream underneath.

  13. autumn says:

    I SQUEAKED when I saw Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, transparency and all. Can you recommend a white polish that is opaque in one coat to go underneath?

  14. Romy says:

    I love your blog and am a burgeoning blogger myself. I actually just wrote a post about Four Leaf Clover by CG and had the same problem with getting the color true in the pic. What is the secret to shooting nail pics? Any tips are welcome cause I am a newbie at the whole blog photo thing.

  15. msbobbitt says:

    Blech !!! Not seeing anything different. Want bright and sparkly and blingy for summer. Wanna hafta wear shades ‘cuz my nails sparkle so much. There doesn’t seem to be any depth to the colors, just your standard bright…

  16. Rebecca says:

    Try to take the picture under water. Not the camera i mean but the nail, it seems to make the neon pop.

  17. Helen says:

    I love Flip Flop Fantasy!
    LOL at “radioactive orange” – great description :)

  18. Kelsey says:

    Towel Boy Toy looks a LOT like Sky High-Top from the 2009 Kicks Collection. Are they really dupes?

  19. Pinch says:

    I love Towel Boy Toy and Flip Flop Fantasy! They look absolutely gorgeous. But I think I’m gonna pass on them both, these are a little too bright for me I must say :)

  20. Jywoi says:

    Thank you for the swatches! I don’t know if I’ll dare to wear them ;)
    Can’t wait to see Opi summer collection (the Shrek, right?) and the Zoya one <3

  21. Debbie says:

    Waaaaaay to old for neons, but agree with earlier poster that Towel boy could be a nice summer pedi shade. Am seriously off expensive polishes that you have to work at right now, bought a great shade in a polish that cost

  22. Danielle says:

    I love love love neons for my toes. My family always makes fun of me for wearing another CG neon green on my tootsies. It’s almost glow-in-the-dark bright and I love it. I doubt I could pull it off on my fingers though.

  23. Jackie S. says:

    I really like Pool Party and Flip Flop Fantasy….but nails can not be too long to wear these “traffic stopping” colors, short is best! Why is Yellow Polka Dot Bikini so thin? Too bad.

  24. Sarah says:

    Wow, only five weeks after Scrangie swatched the colors… you’re really ahead of the curve!

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      Sarah, I don’t know why you continue to make nasty, snarky comments here but if you don’t like my site, you don’t have to read it. It’s a waste of your time to post this negativity and it’s just plain rude. The collection isn’t even on shelves yet so I don’t know why it matters when I swatch it. This isn’t a race or a competition so I don’t know why you’re making it into one. If you don’t have anything constructive to say in the future, I won’t be publishing your comments. They have no benefit to my readers.

      • Becca says:

        I actually really like when it works out that you and other bloggers post at different times. It reminds me that the collection is coming out soon and I always find out something new about the colors.

        Overall, you’re awesome. I love your swatches and how much effort you put into this site. :)

        • Gauri says:

          I agree with Becca. I am just entering this amazingly huge community of fellow nail polish worshippers, and find myself looking at many different blogs to determine an overall experience with particular polishes. It is interesting and useful to read reviews when bloggers have differing encounters with color, consistency, and wear.

          • Debbie says:

            The other key thing for me is that different cameras,different light, different length nails, different skin tones all have an effect on how the polishes look so its actually useful to see a collection swatched by a few people, especially if the pics are to the quality of yours and scrangie’s. As my mum would say “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” still holds true even with the relative anonymity provided by the web.

  25. Andrea says:

    I might get Flip Flop Fantasy, as I don’t own many corals already; and like you said, coral seems to be an “it” colour this spring, but I think I won’t buy any of the other shades. I’m just not very interested in neons for whatever reason. However, perhaps once the true summer months come and we’re all in bikinis, I might change my mind and go buying on eBay.
    Thanks for making the swatches though. You have beautiful nails!

  26. Jeanne says:

    Not really diggin’ the neons. Just not enough interest in them.

  27. Stef says:

    I loooooove neons, but I think these are a pass for me. I like a solid neon, not a sheer, and I don’t want to mess with four coats of polish. I think I will pick up Pool Party and Flip Flop though, I have to have some new neon!

  28. Tavia says:

    Wow…this is what I call a vibrant color collection. All the colors are gorgeous but my top 3 favorites are actually those first 3 nail polishes in sweet peachy pink shades. :)

  29. Meika says:

    They are all nice but I really want flip flop fantasy. Its going to look lovely on my toes.

  30. V. says:

    the trick with ANY super sheer neon is to put an opaque white base beneath it. i usually do two coats of OPI’s Alpine Snow, and 1 coat of the neon color. it works WONDERS. seriously.

  31. M says:

    Hey, would Grape Pop (Up and Away CG collection) or Towel Boy Toy be more suitable for mani pedi in the summer?

  32. Anastasia says:

    I just wanted to say these swatches are beautiful and I can’t wait for the collection to come out!! Thanks so much for these, because I always rely on your website and Scrangie’s for new collection swatches. Towel Boy Toy, Flip Flop Fantasy and Pool Party are must haves! The shimmer in Towel Boy Toy makes it a real unique shade of neon blue.

  33. Jamie says:

    I can’t wait only a few more days. I know I’m going to get FF and PP but I think I’m going to wear the kicks collection most of the summer.
    Especially after seeing some previews of OPI’s flutter.
    Of course going to wait till it’s reviewed before I make up my mind
    (hint hint)

  34. Kristen says:

    This collection epitomizes what I look for in a summer polish: the colors are bright, fun and trendy. When I came across “Pool Party” and “Flip Flop Fantasy” I was in love and couldn’t wait to get home to apply them to fingers and toes! China Glaze is at the top of my favorites list but they definitely missed the mark when it came formulating these colors. It took 5 coats of each to get an opaque look and even then you were still able to see my nail lines and, here and there, streaks! *sigh*

  35. Jenn says:

    dont like the yellows but love the rest!

  36. Ally says:

    how did you paint your nails so perfectly

  37. Alexia says:

    where you can buy these glazes??

  38. Katy says:

    Coming back in time to say, what an awesome collection! Line up some of these on the same nail for a ’90s southern California look. The coral really does it.

  39. Lolita says:

    Gorgeous!! I bought Sunworshiper and flip flop fantasy, can’t wait to try them :D