Sideways across the top:
- Enchanted Forest (Nyx) - I think you could make this one opaque eventually, but why? This is very pretty on top of something else, and much less work. It looks green in the bottle, but comes out more blue than I expected without a green under it. I need to experiment with it some more.
- Cutie Colada (Rimmel Cocktail Colours) - the colors for this line really don't seem to have much relationship to the names. This one is the green one. It's almost like they assigned the color-names at random. According to the piece at the link there, Rimmel also claimed that these are one-coat polishes, so apparently somebody was, well, just nuts. I put these in this category for a reason; these are very sheer - this one in particular. The other two I have can be built to opacity, probably, but this one really can't. It's very pretty, though. This is apple-green, with blue-green duochrome shimmer.
starting to the right of those:
- Tiara (Orly mini) - super-shiny silver microglitter, sort of like tinsel, really.
- (upside down) Baby Bellini (Rimmel Cocktail Colours) - this is the same link as above, since PGS is reviewing the same three that I own, and this is the purple one (are bellinis purple?). It's considerably more opaque than the one above, although it's still pretty sheer. From a distance, I think I'd call this a grape color, although close-up you can see the purple base and duochrome flecks.
- (upside down) Pirouette My Whistle (OPI mini) - you know, I haven't gotten around to trying this, and I think it's because in my head I had it classified as something like Tiara, above - but looking at Holly's link, here, that doesn't seem to be what she's saying. If it's matte, then I suddenly become a lot more interested.
- Blue Majesty (NYC Crystal Couture) - blue jelly with cyan glitter, yum.
next partial row, on the left (two rather old polishes, as it happens):
- Two Timer Stars (Maybelline Express Finish) - a very pale-green frosty shimmer. On its own it's practically invisible unless you put on many, many coats, which is why I call it a top-coat. But I've worn it in manicures in the past where it looked really cute layered over things (although I couldn't tell you what that was, offhand!)
- Jailbait (old-formula Hard Candy) - I wore this one as a topcoat just the other day. (By the way, be careful about googling indiscriminately for this one, you can end up in some really unsavory places!) It's kind of the same as the one above, as far as being super-sheer. I can't imagine trying to wear it by itself, really, although I don't think either of these was released specifically as a top-coat. Was wearing really sheer colors really in for a while, at least if you were 15 or so? I suppose it's possible. I don't know exactly how old either one of these is - I don't think that my bottles are all that old, but it's possible that the shades, at least, are in the 15-20 year old range. We know Hard Candy was all the rage in the late 90s, after all.
stair-stepping down, on the right:
- Groupie (Orly mini) - this is the set I bought mine in - Star Light Star Bright - although that's an eBay listing in the link so who knows if that will stay around. I bought mine straight from Orly, though. I can't find any swatches of this online. I know it's vaguely gold - what I'm not sure of is whether it actually looks like a metallic or a shimmer on the nail. In the bottle it looks like more of a shimmer. If I remember to try it out I'll report back.
- Gilded (Sinful Colors) - this was a holiday polish, and not specifically sold as a topcoat, but it's super-sheer - if you look at the link you see LacqLuster complaining about its sheerness! - but I really wouldn't think of wearing it as anything else. It has a gold shimmery/microglitter base and bigger scattered reddish pieces, although I don't really think they're bright red. It's quite lovely, though, and I wore it several times last fall in different combinations. In fact I see that I put it in my top 10 of 2014, which I had already forgotten. (Here it is over red.)
- (upside down) Travel In Colour (China Glaze mini) - this one was intended to be a topcoat, specifically a color- (or colour?) shifting one. This came as a mini with the Holiglaze collection, and as far as I know was only ever released as a mini. I liked it so much that I went and bought a lot of 3 more bottles of it on eBay. It's shimmery and in my experience it shifts everything toward pink, although it doesn't look pink in the bottle and I think it has other colors in it as well! (I've always wondered about why they released it with the British spelling in the US. I've never heard any sort of answer to that, though.)
second row from bottom:
- Mist You (Sally Hansen Salon) - I think Karen may have sent me this polish, so I don't really know how old it is. It seems rather like it may have come from that decade-or-more-ago era of sheer polishes being fashionable, but I'm not sure. (I think they quit making this polish line several years ago, anyway.) Anyway, pale, sheer, what I would definitely call a top coat, and that's all I've ever worn it as.
- Pearl Wisdom (Orly) - this was one of the first topcoats that I got really enamored with. I actually have a couple of bottles of this. Apparently it either pretty obscure or it was extremely LE (or both), because the only pictures I can usually find of this are things like old blog sale listings or non-English-language beauty supply places. Maybe all these older sheers are from the heyday of the French manicure? that seems possible. I do think that these were actually meant to be top-coats or at least used in a French mani, maybe, because they are just too sheer for anything else.
- Purple Pizzazz (Confetti) - totally reads as pink, despite the name. In the bottle, it looks like pale purple (lilac, I guess?) but this does not translate whatsoever to the nail. (Do they even make Confetti polishes any more? I haven't seen them in ages.) It's pretty, anyway, it's just not purple.
- Firefly (Jesse's Girl) - this is the white squarish bottle on the far right, if you're confused. Since you can't really read the white writing over the more-or-less-white polish, that makes it hard to distinguish. I only have a few Jesse's Girl polishes but I love the ones I have. This is sort of in the same ballpark as Travel In Colour, a shimmery color-shift sort of thing. The link calls it gold. I don't see that looking at my bottle, but it does seem to verge on metallic
- Disco Ball (Xtreme Wear) - sheer holo glitter in a clear base. I used to wear this one over everything, back a few years ago. I went through about a bottle and a half of it before I got tired of it. (I think they still make it, and it's still cute. And last I looked, it was still two-dollars-and-change, too.)
- Diamond Love (Orly) - another sheer one that I believe was in the same collection as Pearl Wisdom, above. I didn't ever warm up to this one, though. It's sort of textured and bumpy-looking, but not in a good way.
- Sparkle (Sally Girl Snowman) - holo glitter, similar to Disco Ball, above.
- Added: Crystal Glitter (Jordana) - I managed to miss this one the first time through - holo glitter in a clear base
- unlabeled sheer pink mini with holo glitter (I haven't been trying to look these up as I've gone along, but I've been saying for ages that I think they're actually L.A. Colors polishes - I did look this one up, though, and it does seem to correspond to L.A. Colors Tinsel, if you look at the link)