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NARS Vintage Nail Polish Collection 2010 Swatches, Review & Comparisons

By on September 23, 2010
in Blue, Bronze, Fall 2010, Green, NARS, Silver
nars-vintage-nail-polish-2010-zulu Last year when NARS released its Vintage Nail Polish Collection you could probably hear my heart breaking for nail fanatics around the world.  Where was Zulu?  What about Mash and Midnight Express?  Was I the only one with a fondness for Ziggy and Platoon?

Well I’m happy to see that in the NARS Vintage Nail Polish Collection 2010 they brought back three beloved shades and two I was previously unfamiliar with, King Kong and Full Metal Jacket.

The question is, how do the re-releases stack up against their former incarnations?

Application & Formula: The NARS Nail Lacquer formula is 4-Free (including Formaldehyde Resin).  The brush is thin, round and very flexible.  I was able to do a three-stroke application with each polish.  The collection consists of two jelly finish polishes and three metallic shimmers.

This isn’t a collection for the casual polisher.  There’s no slap and go application here.  In all seriousness, if you aren’t willing to put in the time to work with them, you’re going to be bitching.  The application is a bit tricky with all of these colors.

The major downside is the opacity.  Every polish requires a minimum of three coats and if you apply the jellies too thin you’ll need four.  All of my swatches are with three coats. You also need to be careful with the metallics to avoid brush strokes.

Application Tips: Normally I apply thin coats but with the jellies it’s best to load up your brush a little more than usual to get it done in three coats.  With the metallics, I suggest waiting a few minutes between layers to avoid major streaking.  Also, use a light touch.  Too much pressure will cause dragging and patchiness.  Finally, when doing your three strokes, alternate which side gets the second stroke to make sure you get even coverage.


Mash is an army green punched up with gold metallic shimmer.  It can get a bit brush stroke-y if you aren’t careful but for the most part it flows well.  Of all my mossy polishes Mash is definitely a fave which is why I’ve kept it all these years.


At first glance I thought the 2010 version of Mash was a little more gold than the Original but once they were both dry you couldn’t tell the two apart.


I’ve talked about the craze Zulu caused when Sephora released it as a limited edition Holiday item which is why I was so surprised to see it left out of last year’s Vintage lineup.  Well all of you who missed out on this dark green jelly the first time around can finally have your craving satiated.


Unlike Mash, the base color of the new Zulu is a bit different than the Original.  Zulu 2010 is a bit deeper with a hint more blue in its base.  I’m showing a swatch with one coat of each so you can see the slight difference.


Despite the slight variance in the base color, the finished product is still the same.  Because Zulu is so dark it would take a major difference to be noticeable.  Case in point, Nfu Oh 569.  I’ve been told this Nfu Oh is a Zulu dupe but it’s lighter and brighter.  The distinction is more apparent in person.


Midnight Express is the NARS that got away so I’m REALLY happy to finally own it.  Back when it was on clearance on the NARS website I had it in my cart over and over again yet I never pulled the trigger.  This the blue counterpart to Zulu with its bright blue jelly base that darkens to a blackened blue as it becomes opaque.  In daylight you can tell it’s blue but at night, only you will know.


Full Metal Jacket had me cursing when I first swatched it.  What you see below is actually my third attempt with this polish.  It went on so uneven with so many brush strokes, I was ready to label it a POS and toss it.  Then I stopped, took a breath and WAITED between coats.  What a world of difference that made even though brush strokes are still visible.  This is the number one reason that you shouldn’t give up on a polish on the first try.  Play with it and eventually you can make most polishes work.  FMJ is blue-based grey metallic shimmer.


I’m not really sure how King Kong got its name as I’ve always thought of gorillas as being black or chocolate brown.  Regardless King Kong is a warm bronze metallic.  I may be totally off but it reminds me of MAC Naturally Rich from the N Collection with a different finish.  This one actually applied really well.  It almost didn’t need the third coat.



Bottom Line: No matter what I say about Zulu, collectors will be lined up to scoop up a bottle.  I honestly prefer Nfu Oh 568 because it’s lighter and you can tell it’s green.

As far as the rest of the collection goes, I’d say that Mash is the only must-have.  King Kong gets the runner-up prize though there’s a BIG difference between 1st and 2nd place.  The application issues are just too much.  If you’re really willing to work with these colors, go for it.  Otherwise, you’ll just end up irritated.

NARS Vintage Nail Polish Collection 2010 arrives on October 1st 2010 and will be available online at and at NARS counters nationwide.  NARS Nail Polish retails for $16/ea for a .5oz bottle.

Okay so how many of you are still planning to snag Zulu?  Will any of the other Vintage colors find a home in your collection?  Do you think Zulu is worth the hype?

Disclosure: I received these polishes as a gift from a friend.  For more info, view my Disclosure Policy.

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  1. Esmaltes de u | April 8, 2013
  1. Chris says:

    I would love to own Zulu and ME, but my budget forbids me from purchasing any new polishes. :(

  2. melli says:

    Thank you for the swatches! On the NARS website, it says these were all named for movies that they liked :).

    • melli says:

      Oh, forgot to mention for Canadian readers, that these will be release in Canada on October 1st. Holt Renfrew and some Bay stores carry NARS, and it may be at Sephora as well.

      • Deery Lou says:

        The NARS doesn’t ship to Canada *tears* — So I’m super glad to hear that I can get Zulu and Midnight at the Bay or Holts!

  3. Heather says:

    How does ME compare to Lippmann’s Rehab? Also, are there any dupes/near dupes you’ve seen for Mash?

  4. christi says:

    I am SO GLAD they are bringing back king kong! Of course I will be buying zulu as well.
    Ya know I use to have such an issue w/prices on all these polishes, but I look at it as a different approach now. To me $16 here, & $18, $23, etc etc is a price of a shirt. The polish will outlast the shirts, so that’s always a bonus!

  5. I want Zulu and Mash.
    I have the Nfu-Oh, but it seems like such a crime to not buy Zulu. After all the fiending and beasting and crying about Zulu, they finally re-release it. It’d be like slapping God in the face to not get it.
    Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

    But $16….$32 for both…damn, that’s hard to swallow. Especially because I do not have a job at the moment. If I get one before these come out, I’ll probably get it though.

  6. They’re nice, but nothing really grabs me, you know? Great swatches, though.

  7. Cristina says:

    Zulu is really just Stunning. So dark and liquid looking.

  8. Andrea says:

    the first and second green and that cream blue

  9. Alison says:

    I read on another website that NARS will have it online on 9/24 and Sephora will have it 10/1. Does this mean I don’t have to stalk NARS for another week?

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      I confirmed with NARS that the launch is 10/1. They may go up as early as 9/29 or 9/30 but it’s up to the e-commerce department.

  10. Lauren says:

    I’m liking King Kong for October/November, but there are so many amazing fall colors to squeeze in this year, I wouldn’t have time to wear it! Mash is a color that I would admire on someone else, but not for me. It’s definitely on trend for this season.

  11. Elvira says:

    Ugh. I have no desire to “work with” nail polishes. if the application isn’t good I don’t want to bother. and honestly, I don’t get the hype over Zulu. Yeah. It’s a nice green Jelly, but it’s no Magical Unicorn like Clarins 230. LOL

  12. Amanda says:

    I am loving King Kong – I have nothing like this and was planning to snag a bottle…until I saw the $16 price tag. Any ideas for a more affordable cousin?

  13. lacquerholic says:

    I’m all about Midnight Express. I have Nuf-Oh 568, but I don’t think I’ll be able to resist Zulu. I may pick up Mash.

  14. Winnie says:

    I think I may pass on Zulu and go for the Nfu-Oh instead, I’ve been really happy with their polish so far, it’s a smidge lighter so you can see the green more and it’s a few bucks cheaper, what’s not to love?

    I’m all over Mash and Midnight Express though, they will be mine!

  15. I love deep dark greens so I’m very tempted by this lovely polish! Does anyone know if it’s going to be in Sephora too?

  16. You take the best pictures! I actually love all of those colors, but I just can’t bring myself to spend $16/bottle!! Thank you for the comparisons, because there are a lot of times there are dupes/close enough dupes that are almost better than the original and CHEAPER. I digress… I just wanted to say your pics are amazing!

  17. augusta says:

    how does mash compare to greenwich green or at your quebec and call?

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      Unfortunately those are two green OPIs I don’t own. Back when those collections came out I was more into emerald shades so I didn’t snag those up.

  18. Kara says:

    How does Midnight Express compare to other dark navies (the only one I can think of off the top of my head is China Glaze Calypso Blue)? Because it’s gorgeous! Also, is Zulu similar to Zoya Envy? All dark greens look essentially the same to me…although Zulu looks a little lighter?

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      I would say Envy is a bit lighter but the big difference is the base color. Envy is a mossy blackened green whereas Zulu starts off as a vivid blue-green jelly that gets deeper as you add layers.

  19. All the colours are lovely! Would love to own all of them. The only one i’m not too keen was King Kong.

    I definitely want to get Zulu because I found this unknown brand varnish that might very well be a dupe for it! I need to compare!

  20. Pleshette says:

    King Kong is gorgeous. I’m with Amanda on this one…would love to learn about a comparable shade.

  21. Caity says:

    Is it bad that I want all of them except for FMJ?? Don’t know if I can swing 4 bottles of $16 polish though… Luckily I have a few days to figure it out :P

  22. Lillian says:

    I also like the Nfu Oh better than Zulu. My favorites out of all of these are Midnight Express and Full Metal Jacket. Although I don’t know if I’ll get them..I’m not that patient with application. But I seriously love that blue… ): Any OPI, China Glaze, etc. dupes?

  23. Great review! Do you know how Zula compares to Zoya’s Envy? I know Envy is a dark green as well and I’m curious to see if they’re close dupes:-)

  24. Kirsten says:

    do you think you could do a comparison of king kong and foxy from china glaze?

  25. Katie says:

    I love my Nfu-oh and they have a dupe for ME too (I don’t know the number tho’). I would be a shame, after all of the bitching and moaning about bring Zulu back, if nobody bought it. I really like MASH but sadly I have to budget my money for something else so I won’t be buying it anytime soon.

  26. Jackie S. says:

    Zulu and Midnight Express will be mine! *insert evil laugh* :)

  27. Deb says:

    Zulu reminds me of a shade of Illamasqua polish I have called Rampage. I think Rampage may be more green though, thoughts?

  28. gtenn says:

    Will you compare Mash to OPI At Your Quebec and Call? For some reason, to me they look similar. Or compare to other dupes.

  29. Taffy says:

    I had always been dreaming of Zulu but now that I am looking at Mash, I think I might change my mind!

  30. Katy M says:

    Thank god! I’ve been waiting forever for Zulu!!! (cue angellic choir)

    I’m also going to be jumping on the Midnight Express for a long ride to polish loveville!

    Thanks for the old/ new comps! Soooo helpful!

    If I faint today it’s because of these pictures.

  31. zb says:

    I just know if I don’t get Zulu I’ll be sorry, even though I love Nfu Oh’s 569. I am definitely getting Midnight Express!

    Any idea if Mash is similar to MAC Seriously Hip or Chanel Or de Russie?

  32. Rebecca says:

    I am loving Mash! Zulu is of course very cool too, as well as Midnight Express. My only question if if these stain when you remove them?

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      The majority of blue & green polishes stain as do a lot of reds. I apply cuticle oil around my nail edge before I remove and then I never get stains. If you’re worried about your nail plate staining, add a 2nd coat of base before applying polish.

  33. sara says:

    I’ve been looking for a navy/dark blue non-shimmery polish. All of my navy polishes have shimmer and/or glitter, so I might have to get Midnight Express. Unless someone knows of a navy creme that’s less expensive. :)

  34. Patricia says:

    I like Mash, but I’m not likely to spend that much to buy it…

    Thanks for the swatches.


  35. Laura says:

    I have At your Quebec & Call, it looks pretty similar to Mash in the bottle, but on the nail is actually quite different. Quebec is one of my favorites, it is gold with a greenish tone. Mash is more of a green with a gold shimmer. Which was a bit of a downer for me, I was looking to replace my dwindling supply of Quebec :(

  36. Lily says:

    I preordered Mash & Zulu @ Nordstrom today. I adore greens so much and these are just beautiful! *so excited!* Thank you for the gorgeous swatches and great info – will definitely set aside extra time, care, & patience for doing manis with these. The gorgeous colors are worth the effort.

  37. Victoria says:

    i want zulu and midnight express ’cause of the brighter color outline. it’s sooo pretty! =D

  38. Corinne says:

    Does anyone think that Mash is similar to China Glaze Wagon Trail?

  39. Mc Huggs says:

    Hi Michelle: NARS “Mash” is gorgoeus and love how “Zulu” and “Midnight Express” look so rich on your nails. (Thanks for tip on making sure that each coat dries before the next one dries to prevent streaking) and I love the silver metallic of “Full Metal Jacket,” sensational and gorgoeus, as always. “King Kong,” is such an unusual name/color I am willing to bet it would get the most attention. Nameste.

  40. melvel says:

    They’re already out here in the Philippines! I got my Zulu and Midnight Express yesterday and I love them!

  41. Julia Arenas says:

    Too bad about full metal jacket, i thought it was beautiful…application issues suck when you see such gorgeous color.

  42. Jen says:

    Mash reminds me of Nina Ultra Pro Mossy Britches, close enough for me to not spend the extra cash. ;) Lovely swatches though and always an interesting and insightful blog!

  43. Kimber Y. says:

    The collection is up on the Nars website…I want them all!

  44. Nancy says:

    Just placed my order for Zulu and Midnight Express and Can’t wait until I get them!

  45. Kam says:

    I picked up Zulu (of course) yesterday along with Mash and King Kong. I wasn’t expecting to get those 2 colors, but when I swatched them in person it was love. I’m going back next week to get Full Metal Jacket and Midnight Express. Liking these other 2 colors was also an unexpected surprise. Nars’ Vintage #2 is a nice collection. As usual, thanks for your blog.

  46. riss says:

    Any idea how Midnight Express compares to Lippmann Rehab?

  47. ggggg says:

    I heard that NYC Flat Iron is a pretty close dupe to Zulu. And it’s only about $2 a bottle.

    I have Flat Iron but I have not used it yet (I think tomorrow is the day). I don’t have Zulu and I don’t have the $$ to purchase it. Flat Iron will have to do – and I’ll bet when all is said and done, no one will be able to tell when I am food shopping!

  48. Kara says:

    The film Midnight Express is about my uncle Billy. I feel obligated to purchase this color. Good thing I love blue polishes!

  49. GwenSA says:

    Zulu sold out in less than 24 hours, but I found out it’s back in stock @, if anyone is interested. I just bought it along with Mash. I haven’t found any of these colors on Sephora either.

  50. Christine says:

    Would Foxy by China Glaze be a dupe for King Kong?

  51. cocofiere says:

    How does Mash compare to Nina’s “Mossy Britches”? I’m on the fence about Zulu although I’ve been wanting it for a long time, now I’m not so sure.

  52. Bailey says:

    midnight express is gorgeous!

  53. Issaca says:

    I just purchased NARS Zulu and ME as well as Illamasqua Collide and Rare at Free shipping over $50.