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Lancôme Ultra-Lavande Spring 2011 – Violet Groove & Le 54 Swatches & Review

Last September I had the pleasure of meeting famed Celebrity Manicurist Lisa Logan backstage at the Chris Benz fashion show in NYC. Lisa is Beyonce’s manicurist among others and I was geeked to meet her.  At the show Lisa was using a bold purple nail polish that caught my eye and I’ve been dying to get my hands on it ever since.

The color is Violet Groove from the Lancôme Spring 2011 collection, Ultra-Lavande.  The collection of purples and pinks also includes Le 54, a sheer lavender glitter polish, and together they make one killer combo.  Keep reading to see for yourself.

Lancôme’s Daniel Martin was inspired by 60′s French pop singer Frances Gall to create a modern take on the mod look for the Chris Benz Spring 2011 presentation. He used the pale lavender shadow from the Cool Lavande Color Design Minerale Quad on the lid and placed tiny black dots along the lash line with Artliner. “From a distance it looks like a fuller lash,” explained Daniel, “but up close it’s just cool.”  Daniel is “just cool.”  Seriously he is one of my fave MUA’s to interview as he always has a fun makeup story to tell and is so down-to-earth and friendly.  He always has a smile on his face and that can be a rarity in the backstage world.

Of course the nails were the star of the show for me.  A few days prior to the presentation I heard that Chris was debating between the two new Lancôme spring colors, a creamy violet and glittery lavender and even though I was hoping for some sparkle, using Violet Groove ended up being the right choice for this collection.  The bold pop of purple against Chris’ playful palette of color added a touch of fun and whimsy.

Formula & Application: Lancôme polishes are 4-Free (including Formaldehyde Resin).  The flat wide brush is about the same length as OPI’s ProWide Brush but it’s more tapered, not as wide.  The bristles are flexible and spread easily across the nail.

Both polishes applied with squishy, jelly-like texture and were easy to manipulate.  Violet Groove is high on pigmentation resulting in a perfectly opaque finish in two coats.  Le 54 on the other hand is very sheer best used as a top coat or for a simple wash of color.  I am showing it with three coats and you can still see my smile line.

Violet Groove is aptly named as it reminds me of my sorority’s official flower, Woodland Violets.  This color is gorgeous and just screams Spring.  Due to the jelly-ish texture it dries with a high shine gloss all its own.  It should be noted that I’m holding a mini bottle in my hand but the polish is sold in the full size bottle.

Though as soon as Violet Groove dried on my nails I couldn’t help but think it looked familiar.  I just happened to have my bottle of Rescue Beauty Lounge Purple Haze sitting on my desk and, ta da, a dupe was found.  I don’t use the word dupe often but in this case there is no other word.  I couldn’t tell these two colors apart if I tried.  They even look identical in the bottle.

Le 54 on its own is a sheer lavender packed with blue shimmer and micro-glitter.  On its own it does nothing for me.  This is the type of pale purple I say gives me “alien hands.”  It’s just not flattering to my skin tone.  The base color reminds me a lot of those old Revlon Glimmer Glosses.  I remember excitedly buying the purple from that set only to have it clash with my coloring.

However, put these two colors together and SHUT IT DOWN.  The sprinkling of blue glitter, the subtle shimmer and the vivid purple base make for one gorgeous layering combination.  I’ve been wearing it on my nails for a few days now and I don’t want to take it off.  These polishes were made to be worn together.

Bottom Line: Since I already own RBL Purple Haze this polish wouldn’t make my personal must-have list but if you haven’t been able to get your hands on the RBL version, this is an excellent substitute.  Le 54 is really best for sheer lovers (unlike me) and layering.  I can already think of so many colors that this would look great under it.

The Lancôme Ultra-Lavande nail polishes are available now at Lancôme counters nationwide and at  Nail polishes retail for $19/ea for a .34oz bottle.

Thoughts on Violet Groove and Le 54?  How many of you are sheer polish lovers?  Could you see yourself picking up Le 54 just for layering purposes?

Disclosure: Product samples were provided by Lancôme.  For more information view my Disclosure Policy.

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  1. Novidades: Revlon, OPI, Nail Art de Cora | February 12, 2011
  2. Just Another Mani Monday: Lancome Violet Groove & Le 54 | February 28, 2011
  1. Ulmiel says:

    Love Violet Groove, but I thought it looked familliar too, thanks for the comparison! But I really dislike LE 54, even over Violet Groove. It does nothing for me, not a thing. I expected more from it judging the promo pictures.

  2. Danny says:

    soo pretty! :) love such colors!

  3. Lauren says:

    LOVE Violet Groove! But I already have Purple Haze, so I don’t have to get it. Also, I prefer Violet Groove without Le 54.

  4. Erin says:

    i totally LOVE these! purple/violet usually but these are gorgeous! being olive/red i stay away from violets but these are nice– especially with the blue glitter! what i’m REALLY waiting for are the swatches from Texas– sorbet-like… can’t wait to see it on you, ALU!

  5. Emily says:

    You mentioned that your sorority flower is the violet, so correct me if I’m wrong but you’re a Sigma Kappa? So am I, at the Eta chapter of Illinois Wesleyan.

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      I’m an Alpha Delta Pi from the now closed Beta Pi chapter.

    • Angel says:

      I thought the exact same thing when I read it! I’m from the Delta Nu chapter at Longwood. Looks like we aren’t the only violet carrying sisters!

  6. Jenny says:

    I squealed when I read that the woodland violet is your sorority flower. Hello, sister! :)
    I don’t really love either polish alone, but together, BAM! Gorgeous.

  7. KatieM says:

    RBL is bringing back Purple Haze so I’ll wait

  8. Alllison says:

    I know how you love your purples!

    I like the combo together. I have at least 2 shimmering ones that I can add over nudes and I love the look.

  9. starlight says:

    These are two very pretty colors,I would love to have.

  10. Brooke says:

    omg your ADPi!!! Me too! From University of Pittsburgh! Where did you go to school???

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      How cool!! I’m from University of Cincinnati. My chapter is closed now. :(

      • Brooke says:

        That sucks they closed your chapter =( It’s such an honest and wholesome sorority (well we did our fair share .. but…. lol) – I had some friends pledge other sororities who went thru hell and back. Why did yours close?

  11. Jen says:

    Oh, dear. I thought they were going to blow my mind. But the LE is just plain poor. And the creme is ….well, we’ve seen it all before.

    Thanks for this as I was lemming these polishes and now I can stop!

  12. Kellie says:

    Can you swatch Violet Groove with Malia by Zoya too? :) They look VERY similar.

  13. Anna L says:

    How does it compare to american apparel african violet? Looks like african violet might possibly be a bit darker, think I might prefer it :)


  14. Laura says:

    Wow – I like this A LOT more than I thought I would! It doesn’t get any more perfect for spring.

  15. Kathryn says:

    how does it compare to Lippmann’s Call Me Irresponsible?

  16. Violet says:

    I’m waiting on Violet Groove in the mail and I’m torn now! I still want RBL Purple Haze when it comes back… I voted for it! I might get it anyway. I love these kinds of colors.

  17. KayDiKat says:

    “SHUT IT DOWN”… Love that line :) Purple is my fave color of polish and I’ve been seeing LE in magazines, just crossing my fingers that you would swatch it. Love the layered combo! I was gonna get Purple Haze when it comes back, but now I think I’d rather get both Lancomes. I’m a sucker for packaging and the bottles are purty ;)

  18. Kitty says:

    I love when both are used together. It looks best that way. :)

  19. Lillie says:

    Really enjoying your blog. Purple is my favorite color; I’m excited it’s so in right now! Can you comment on the significance of being 4-Free? That is new to me. Does it have to do with the health of your nails or an environment thing? I love nail polish, but it really makes my peel-y, weak nails worse. Maybe this is the answer?!

  20. Zemlet says:

    While I’m liking Le 54, it seems a bit pricey for layering. I would rather shell out for something more special like Lippmann “Today Was a Fairy Tale”, or go the drug store route.

  21. BL says:

    I have Purple Haze, but in your picture the Lancome polish looks a tiny bit lighter than the RBL on my screen. Does it show up that way for you too but just look identical in person?

    I’m a Tri Delta alumna but I was a Rho Chi one year and learned all the chapters’ recruitment chants. I still find myself occasionally singing “deep in my heart I love my ADPi” to myself =)

  22. Sarah says:

    Hi Michelle,

    This is totally irrelevant to your awesome post, BUT, by any chance will you have a swatch in the near future of DL Glitter in the Air? It’s backordered right now from Nordstrom, so I’m assuming that means it shall come out sometime in the very near future. I’m DYING to see a swatch of it!

  23. NailPolishFan says:

    How does Violet Groove look next to China Glaze’s Spontaneous?

  24. jen says:

    I am so stoked that I just bought this duo today! I was only going to pick up Le 54 but decided I needed them both. Splurge!

  25. Rebecca says:

    Adore purples anyway but throw in that touch of ADPi and I’m sold! Eta Phi Furman University – school color also a purple but more like your own RBL Mismas! Love the blog.

  26. Erin says:

    I’m not a fan to spend $19 for nail color but I adore all things purple! I’m tempted to splurge on this one! Zoya’s Malia doesn’t have the richness and vibrancy of this groovy violet.

  27. E. says:

    Violet Grove also looks like a dupe for OPI’s A Grape Fit.

    • Faith Dunning says:

      I was thinking the exact same thing! And wondering… Anybody know the answer to that one? How does Violet Groove compare to OPI’s A Grape Fit?
      I tried to find a comparison of RBL Purple Haze and OPI’s AGF to get an idea, but couldn’t find that either.

  28. katie says:

    Unrelated to this post, will you be swatching OPI’s Texas collection? All of the swatches out there right now are sorta sub-par, i can’t really tell the true colors on some of them! :)

  29. Frankenstyna says:

    I like Violet Groove on it’s own better. The Le 54 combo is great too, but I have been going so many glitters lately I’m looking for a change.

  30. Cat says:

    I’m so glad you swatched these! I love the creme but I already have Purple Haze, and I think I will pass on the glitter. France Gall (with no ‘s’ ) was my *favorite* singer when I was three, in the ’70s, lol! I just loved the song “Poupee de sire, poupee de son”!

  31. Phoebe says:

    I’m not a purple girl, and this polish took my breath away! Please let us know if there are any more budget-friendly dupes.

  32. EmilyEms says:

    I just bought Le54 at the counter. My 8 yr old insisted I needed it. Who was I to argue? I love it. It is sheer, which makes it perfect if you do your own nails as it is very forgiving. But I have already ordered the opaque color. Im not sure if Im going to do purple tips (french) with the sheer over it, or layer the two together. In any case, it looks great layered over my favorite Essie french color. It was worth the splurge. I cant wait to get my other color in the mail.

  33. Decor Girl says:

    Love the purple / lavender colors! I’m a blue fan but these are much better to wear on a daily basis. Color is nice but not when your hands enter the room before you do.

  34. rachael says:

    i just layered Le54 on top of Butter Victoriana and it is FABULOUS!!!!!! Love it! I cant wait to do a mani with Violet Groove

  35. Phyllis says:

    They are not bringing these colors to Canada! They are only selling Pure Lavende (I picked this up today and I think it’s similar to Violet Groove) but they are NOT carrying Le54!!!! They are selling Disco topcoat instead (silver sparkles only!)^F1_MU_Collection^F2_Ultra_Lavande&

    Lavender is my fave color and I love Le54, but I can’t even find it on ebay!!! ARGH!

    oh, and Canada is selling the polish in mini size only… how weird (the rest of the collection seems the same).

    • lauriestrode says:

      That’s the same i Denmark, both with the colours and the size – I did buy Lavande anyway, it is GORGEOUS, a tad darker than Violet Groove as far as I can tell.

    • Irene Power says:

      Don’t worry…i got my hands on the Violet Groove and it’s IDENTICAL to the Pure Lavande…just the name difference – kinda dumb really….

  36. Krystle says:

    Gorgeous! I’ve been looking for a bright purple for this spring and this will be it when my wallet allows!

  37. Kay says:

    I can’t get my local lancome counter or the website to cough this up! What gives? I tried back in April 2011, is it already TOO LATE to get this color? Why are some lines so hard to buy on line? Any advice?