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OPI Sheer Tints Top Coat Swatches and Review

By on March 18, 2014
in Blue, OPI, Pink, Purple, Spring 2014, Yellow with 42 Comments
OPI Sheer Tints Top Coats for Spring 2014

OPI Sheer Tints Top Coats

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New for Spring 2014, the OPI Sheer Tints Top Coats marry Lucite-esque jelly nail polish with a high gloss top coat to create a transformative new option for those of you who love to layer. These four new shades are designed to be used solo as a sheer wash of color, as a shade altering top coat or for watercolor nail art designs.

Formula & Application

OPI Sheer Tints Top Coats are 5-Free (Formaldehyde, Toluene, DBP, Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor). The OPI Pro Wide brush is flat, wide and medium in length. It’s of average stiffness and easily spreads out on the nail when pressed. The only downside to the Pro Wide brush is that it can be too wide for slim fingers or little toes.

Sheer Tints have a consistency that is very thick and gooey. To the point that when you pull the brush out of the bottle, you can see thin strings of polish still connected to the bottle.

You have to careful applying the polishes because the thick consistency makes it hard to get even coverage. Yes, you can thin them out but you shouldn’t have to. Personally, I look at thinner as a last possible resort. I find that, over time, polish will continue to break down after you’ve added thinner.

That being said, they are fun to layer over colors, though you get a more dramatic color changing effect when layered over lighter colors, like white/pastels.

OPI Be Magentale with Me (thumb) is billed as red, and it certainly looks that way in the bottle, but it would take a lot of coats to get there so I’m calling it pink.

OPI I’m Never Amberrassed (index) looks orange in the bottle but is actually a lemon yellow. It’s pretty strong when layered with other shades so I suggest using it on the bottom in a layering combo to keep it from overtaking the other Sheer Tints shade.

OPI I Can Teal You Like Me (ring) is a pretty true blue, in spite of its name. It’s definitely the thickest and most difficult polish to work with of the bunch.

OPI Don’t Violet Me Down (pinkie) is a warm, red-based amethyst. It’s the most pigmented yet the most streaky.

I’m showing all the shades, with two coats, over an opaque white base to give you an idea of their true color. I also layered I Can Teal You Like Me over I’m Never Amberrassed (middle) to give you an idea of how they combine.

OPI Sheer Tints skittles swatch

OPI Sheer Tints skittles

To see how they would work for a jelly sandwich, I added a layer of glitter (Essie Set In Stones) and another layer of each Sheer Tints shades. You can see how intense they get with additional coats but this is when you have to start worrying about bubbles (see below).

OPI Sheer Tints glitter skittles swatch

OPI Sheer Tints glitter skittles

One of the ideas OPI offers for use with Sheer Tints is an ombre/gradient manicure. They showed the technique in this video.

I decided to give it a go with I Can Teal You Like Me over white, because I hate seeing my free edge under sheers.

The problem… bubbles. Lots of bubbles. It’s obviously an issue of too many polish layers and not enough dry time in between. If you have the patience to wait long enough between coats to avoid bubbles, it’s a cool look.

OPI I Can Teal You Like Me ombre swatch #SheerTints

OPI I Can Teal You Like Me ombre

I even tried it once again with less coats and a minute or two between coats and I still got bubbles. I tested it without the white base, thinking that might be the problem but, no, even more bubbles. I’m at a loss.

The OPI video clearly uses much thinner and fewer coats but that’s not easy with this formula. I’d love to see their manicure, up close, once it’s fully dried to confirm that bubbling didn’t occur.

OPI I Can Teal You Like Me swatch #SheerTints

OPI I Can Teal You Like Me

OPI Sheer Tints Top Coats

Bottom Line: I like the concept of the Sheer Tints and for a 1-3 coat layering combo, they are so fun. It’s when you get into looks that require more layers that you have to budget enough time to allow for proper drying of each coat. If only the bubbling wasn’t an issue, I would give them two thumbs up. As it stands, I’m mixed. Great when used in three coats or less. Not so much beyond that.

OPI Sheer Tints Top Coats are available now at salons and spas nationwide including Beauty Brands, Beauty First, Chatters, Dillard’s, jcp Salons, Pure Beauty, Regis, Trade Secret, ULTA and ULTA.com for $9/ea for a .5oz bottle. You can also get a set of minis for $12.95 on Amazon.com.

What do you think of the OPI Sheer Tints? Do you plan to pick up any of the shades? Have you successfully thinned them or found a trick to avoiding bubbles, besides time?

Disclosure: Product samples were provided by reps for OPI. Affiliate links appear in this post. When you purchase through an affiliate link, you help support this site. For more info view my Disclosure Policy
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There Are 42 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Deborah says:

    I love the look of these polishes, I have a Dior nail tint from last year but these colours are far more interesting x

  2. Lisa N. says:

    Great review and swatches!

  3. kelliegonzo says:

    BUBBLES! I freaking hate bubbles :( I think I would like them if they weren’t so thick.

  4. Alexandra says:

    I like the concept of sheer nail polish, but I’m not sure it really works, unless you layer it over other colours. That said, I actually love the bubbly effect on your nails, it looks almost mermaidish … and the one without the white base looks like decorative green glass :D

    • I was going to say the same thing! Especially with that watery teal color, I want to get it expressly to make a cool beachy manicure, maybe with a sand colored textured polish (I’m sure I can find one) :)

  5. Thanks for the heads up on the bubbling issues. It gives me more to consider on if I really need these or not.

  6. Moni says:

    Ouh, they are just great, I love the layering possibilities *_* shading other polishes….hmmmm :-)

    The bubbles, well could they not be “used” for a sea themed mani? ;-)

    I’d love to try them, but they are over my budget. Well, maybe I’ll get them in some day?
    Thanks for showing!

  7. Bunny says:

    “What do you think of the OPI Sheer Tints? Do you plan to pick up any of the shades? Have you successfully thinned them or found a trick to avoiding bubbles, besides time?”

    Meh. :/

  8. Kaitlyn says:

    definitely not picking these up. i hate sheer polish. if they worked better for ombre effects, i would possibly think about it, but the bubbling has turned me off! btw – am i the only one who is reminded of egg coloring when looking at these? i swear, the polishes look like what egg color water looks like!

    • Michelle Mismas says:

      No, you’re not the only one. Someone on Twitter made the Easter egg reference as well. I think that’s what I like most about them.

      • Hey that’ll come in handy for Easter – Easter Egg Nails! Again, now I want this sheer tint more :)

        • Mary L says:

          That’s what I noticed and loved about these right away! Easter colors. My favorite. Brings back so many memeories. Thanks for the swatches. Beautiful. Maybe I’ll spring for the mini set from Amazon.

  9. Yvonne says:

    Hi there
    I bought this polish because I am obsessed with trying a syrup effect. I love this polish with other colours ( I got the purple one). It transforms my creme colurs and I get a nice syrup effect when I use it with a sheer purple I have. The consistency is very thick, I did not get any bubbles though.

  10. Looks like candy with bubbles, actually!

  11. Sam says:

    Oddly – I kind of like the bubbles. Reminds me of under water or slightly imperfect glass.

  12. Miss Louise says:

    hmm, I would never think I would like a ‘sheer’ polish, but I really dig the effect! However, the bubbles would irk me…a lot!

  13. Viktoria says:

    I wish these were issued in a set of 4 mini bottles, it seems a bit too much for me to buy 4 full-size bottles that are too sheer to be worn on their own :(
    Dear OPI, you’ve mixed it up:please give us mini bottles of Sheer Tints and full-size bottles of Brazil Liquid Sands )))

    • Michelle Mismas says:

      Hi Vicktoria! I emailed you to let you know they do make a mini set.

      • Kim Parsons says:

        I have the mini set and it is awful! Because the brush is smaller they are much harder to apply, and they go on super streaky! I could not get the color even at all, so I think I might pick a full sized bottle to see if that’s easier to work with, but the mini ones are atrocious!

  14. Danii says:

    The bubbles actually look pretty neat in the ombr

  15. Sarah says:

    You know, I kind of like the bubbles in the green ombre – looks a bit like a mermaid-y cocktail!

  16. Lisa says:

    Not at all what I was expecting. I thought it would be a clear top-like coat with a slight tint. Thanks for the review. I don’t like polish that is thick.

  17. Jen says:

    Call me old fashioned but for some reason these sheer tints do not appeal to me at all. I like what you did with the white base though but I thought I already have similar colours without the need for a white base… the ombre look I’ve never mastered and I think it’s because I’m not particularly artistic LOL. Ultimately, the concept sounds interesting but give me a flakie, a glitter or a creme and that’s all I’ll ever need! :-)

  18. Ohh! I have so many of the Zoya jelly colors. I need some of these!!!!

  19. MissDoll says:

    Wow, I never thought I would find them interesting but somehow I do and even with bubbles it looks interesting enough and I honestly wouldn’t bother I would make them intentionally ;)

  20. Amanda says:

    Honestly, I am kind of surprised but I rather like the colors. They seem very intense and yet nicely pastel-ish at the same time. I am intrigued enough to get the mini pack from Amazon, even though I do not like thick polishes (seche vite top coat being the exception) nor do I like the nail line showing. I have kind of steered clear of jelly polishes so far, just because of the VNL…. but I might be caving. Thanks for the review!!

  21. whitelace says:

    I’m with you in that I like the concept of these, but I don’t see the advantage over other regular jellies. I like the syrupy, thinner formula of jellies, so the thick formula of these put me off. I also don’t want to have bubbles to deal with all the time. I was excited about the collection at first, but I’ll skip picking any of these up. Thanks for your very helpful, thorough review!

  22. Kinsey says:

    I like these sheer tints best in ombre form. I can’t get over blue/green combos, so I may grab the mini set for mixing.

  23. Joy says:

    I tried these over a basic French manicure. Pretty cool. Thanks for mentioning the thick consistency, I thought it was just me!

  24. pema grey says:

    wow! Thanks for the review! I’d been wanting these so bad, as i don’t have any jellies in my collection yet.. But when i hear ‘thick, goopy, bubbles!!!’ o_O no way!! Bubbles are my worst nightmare.. And it seems like they happen no matter what in the summer months. Idk if the warm, humid air has something to do with it. I always allow ten minutes between coats, and i still have bubble issues in the summer time with my thicker polishes. Guess i won’t be getting these :-(

  25. lilly says:

    I tried the ombre effect with the pink and there were absolutely NO bubbles. I’ve done the effect several times now-because I just love the look-and not a single bubble..and we’re talking 4 layers per nail per manicure. The look is also easy to do and really does look great. I have gotten many positive comments on it!

  26. ms1234 says:

    I came to your blog specifically looking for sheer nail polishes…so it’s kind of a disappointment to see that you don’t have any examples of what sheer polishes look like on bare nails! It would be great if you could include some pictures of sheers without being layered on top of white for those of us that do not like opaque nail colours. Thanks!

    • Thank you for your comment. I’m sorry you didn’t find what you are looking for but I don’t like or wear sheer nail polish. So, if that is the only type of nail polish you like and want to see, this isn’t the blog for you.

  27. su says:

    I bought the set of minis awhile back, and found them to be too thick for me. Today, I thinned them down a little, and then did the ombre manicure over a white base, and did not get any bubbles! Really didn’t wait too long between applications, so maybe try it again with some thinner, because now I’m loving these sheers!

  28. Megan says:

    Sorry I’m late to the comment party, but I was just wondering: if you got a thick batch of a Jelly or tint polish like this, could you use top coat (instead of nail polish thinner) to thin it and maybe reduce bubbling a bit? I have done this with thick glitter suspensions like OPI’s When Monkeys Fly, and that did the trick. The key has been to use a brand new bottle of top coat and to add it in small increments. Do you think that could work for this type of polish ? Thanks!

    • Hi Megan! That’s a great question and something I haven’t tried with the Sheer Tints. My thought is it depends on the top coat. As long as it’s thin and not a quick dry, it should work. But considering how sheer these polishes are, that will just dilute the color even more.

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