Sunday, June 14, 2015

Zoya Naked Manicure System Review

Zoya has been hinting about this system for awhile but hadn't given much information about it prior to release. I've heard it best described as part of the less-is-more trend that brought us things like the Urban Decay Naked eye shadow palettes. The goal is to enhance natural beauty subtly while concealing and correcting imperfections. You can find out more about it on their site as well here.

The Professional Nail Perfecting Kit contains all of the polishes in the system and is targeted at salons. I purchased this myself to try everything out. Zoya also offers all of these polishes separately and in smaller kits. 

The purpose of the system seems to be twofold: treat damaged nails (such as from wearing gels or acrylics) and let people who don't want to wear normal polish have a 'better than natural' look. I haven't had the system long enough to say how well the treatment works, but I do think the system does well at giving a beautiful manicure that looks like you just have gorgeous nails rather than any polish on your nails. Zoya is also hoping to get into the market of men who get manicures but don't wear nail polish by offering this natural look. 

Front of the kit's box

Back of box

The professional kit comes with a cute stand for all the bottles. 

I removed my polish right before taking this picture, so you can see my nails are dry and a little discolored.  

This is after applying the base coat and one coat of the Lavender Perfector. Still a little discoloration, but the yellowing toward my tips is reduced. 

Next I added one coat of Pink Perfector, which helped give a little more natural glow. I think I could have used another layer of the Lavender Perfector before this to remove a little bit of remaining yellow tone. 

Finally, I added a coat of the Satin Seal Topcoat, which I absolutely love. It reduced the unnatural shininess that gave away I had polish on my nails. Now it really does look like I just have very healthy nails and maybe buffed them a little. 

Here is a better picture I took the next day at work. 

I'm not a fan of French tips, but I tried the Tip Pefector for the sake of reviewing. It's  not quite opaque at one coat which lends a more naturally looking tip. I free handed these, so apologies on the unevenness. 

One thing I really liked is how fast everything dried. I had four layers of polish (base, lavender perfector, pink perfector, and satin topcoat) and it was dry enough to not smudge with a couple minutes and I went to bed immediately after with no sheet marks the next morning. I'm a quick dry topcoat girl, so I was worried that using the satin topcoat I'd be waiting forever. I do think it will take longer to dry over normal polish since these are so sheer. I had no issues with the base coat peeling off like I've experienced with many treatments, so yay for longevity. I love my Nail Inc. London Nailkale that's my normal go-to treatment, but it does tend to start chipping and peeling within a day or two. 

Here are some swatches of the different colored perfectors to give an idea of their pigmentation. These are one coat with no topcoat. Not sure on the order here. 

Here is three coats with a glossy topcoat. You can see they stay very sheer.  

The little booklet that came in the kit explains how these different colors can be layer to create different looks. 

Bottom line: the Naked Manicure system is not going to be for everyone, and I don't suggest buying the full professional kit (which retails for $96 on Zoya's site) unless you're a salon owner. Most individuals are not going to use all of the different color perfectors because they're aimed at different issues and skin tones. 

My suggestion is if you are often too embarrassed to let your nails go naked whether from staining, peeling, or just normal discoloration, then this is the system for you. The base, lavender, satin topcoat, tip perfector, and the colored perfector that best suits you would be my suggestion. If you need to have color on your nails all the time, this will likely be a pass. You might still enjoy the base and satin topcoat though. 

I will try to update this later with a comparison of all the color perfectors on the nail. I will be featuring each color perfector in my daily posts as well. 

Update (8/3/2015):

I've been using this system for nearly two months now, so I thought it was time for an update to my initial impressions.

One thing I've been asked is what's so special about the perfectors versus just using sheer tinted polishes. Looking at the ingredients, the perfectors actually contain treatments to help your nails.

This is the ingredients list on the back of the lavender perfector (all the perfectors have the same ingredients, I believe): Butyl Acetate, Ethyl Acetate, Nitrocellulose, Adipic Acid/Neopentyl Glycol/Trimellitic Anhydride, Acetyl Tributyl Citrate, Stearalkanium Bentonlte, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Benzophenone-1, Panthenol, Tocopheryl Acetate (this is Vitamin E), Ginkgo, Palmaria Palmata +/- 77891, 15850, 19140, 77491, 77266, 77491, 77166, 77742.

For comparison, here are the ingredients for Cecelia from the Summer 2015 collection: Butyl Acetate, Ethyl Acetate, Nitrocellulose,  Acetyl Tributyl Citrate, Isopropyl Alcohol, Stearalkanium Hectroite, Acrylates Copolymer, Styrene/Acreylates Copolymer. 

As you can see, the formulas are quite different. I also compared the glossy topcoat from the Naked Manicure set with the Zoya Armor topcoat and found their formulas are different as well. I still need to do a wear comparison of the two topcoats. 

I've been using the Zoya Naked basecoat as my primary (though not sole) basecoat since June. So far I've found it wears well. No chipping or peeling that I've experienced with some basecoats. My finger nails are in fairly good condition, a little peeling but nothing major wrong. I haven't noticed any change in my nails' tendency to peel from using this basecoat. However, my toe nails have been looking really rough and I'd gone months without polish because I just couldn't get them looking nice again. After one use of the Naked basecoat I saw improvement in the health of the nail. I've continued to use it and the nails are starting to look smoother and more hydrated. Still a long was to go for them to look as nice as my finger nails, but I'm definitely going to keep using the Naked basecoat. In fact, I'm probably going to purchase another bottle in my next Zoya order because I don't want to run out of this stuff. My bottle already has a noticeable fill line. 

I don't have any new manicure pictures, but I've used the full Naked Manicure system several times over the last two months. Each time I've been very impressed with how quickly the polishes dry and the natural, healthy look they give my nails. I'm a quick dry topcoat girl, so I was really impressed that I was able to use the Satin and Glossy topcoats from the kit and not smudge my nails. Eventually I plan to compare dry times to them with both the Armor topcoat and some of my favorite indie topcoats to see how they stand up.

If you have any questions you'd like me to address about the Naked Manicure system, feel free to leave a comment below. I plan to update this review again in the next month or so.


  1. i just got this and tried it using one layer lavender and one layer pink, have you tried it with more than one layer of lavendar? i have a slight bit more discoloration (due to a misguided application of coral nail color with no basecoat) and you can still see it through one layer of each.
    i was worried that it wouldn't dry completely before bed so i just went with the four layers.

    1. You should definitely be able to use two coats of the lavender under the pink. I find that the Naked system dries pretty good with thin layers as well. Haven't had smudging issues even though I'm normally a quick try topcoat person. I haven't done the 5 layers yet though.

  2. My nails have never peeled/chipped before (and don't with other polishes) but since I have been using this product (1 coat base & 2 coats of the pink) the polish starts to chip off the tips after about 2-3 days and it is taking layers of my nails along with it! I have tried it about 4 times now over a month or so & every time it chips & peels my nails, leaving the tips ragged. The last time I tried 1 coat of the base & 1 of the pink and it still chipped & messed up my nails. I am down to little stubs now. Has anyone had this same problem?

    1. Did you get the top coat? That makes a difference.

    2. Did you get the top coat? That makes a difference.

  3. Is the satin topcoat different from matte topcoat? Since the white color isn't opaque, do you think it's possible to find a dupe for it? I bought the Zoya cyber Monday mystery box and it came with part of the naked manicure set (a FS base, a mini pink perfector and a FS glossy topcoat) and I'm wondering if I can find dupes for those. I have matte top coats already and several whites but not sure if they're thin/watery enough, lol. I don't have anything comparable to the lavender perfector but I don't think there's going to be much out there that is going to be sheer enough to get the colors that Zoya has. I was thinking of buying the naked manicure set but now that I have 3 of the 5 or 6 I'd want to buy, I'm going to try to not buy them.

  4. Have you ever tried applying color over the NM? Which layer(s) would you skip? I want to stick to NM for the treatment to get my nails healthy but I really miss color...

  5. Too many types of polish for me to understand the simple way to do maybe two coats! Does everyone start with the base coat and then if I just want a natural pinkish shade, I just put nude or pink protector on top of that? Then, do I also need a top coat?

    What if someone wants to just do a two coat application? Which products?

  6. You really need the base, a color and a top coat

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