Cult Nails Enigmatic

Sometimes, with a stash of a bajillionty polishes, one manages to not get around to something purchased until loooooong after it shows up at one's house.  And clearly, by "one," i mean me.  Anyway, after Cult Nails had a sale, oh, last year I think, I picked up Enigmatic to try the brand out.

indoor CF lighting
Cult used to maintain a "vault" section on their website, but I don't currently find it.  The original description for Enigmatic said it was "sheer but buildable," and I'd certainly agree with that.


The first coat is a very sheer charcoal, quite similar to the base the Picture Polish space collection has.  With 2-3 coats, the plum-wine shimmer builds up to visible opacity.

indirect early morning sunlight
This above pic is how Enigmatic looked on me most of the time: in most indoor lighting, it's an earthy off-black, somewhere between purple and brown/taupe, glossy jelly with very subtle shimmer.

indirect afternoon sunlight
You can see the purple flash more in the bottle above than on my nails.  It's a grown-up black cherry color that reminds me a whole lot of the vampy nails of the late '90s, with a more modern glassy sheerness instead of goth opacity.  In very bright sunlight, Enigmatic gets much prettier:

direct sunlight
A-ha!  If this polish looked like this more often, I'd love it.  As it is, the bright light only shows me what I'm missing out on 80% of the time with Enigmatic.

GAH!  it's gorgeous in bright light and macros.
I also got instantaneous edge wear with this (<12h), enough that I'd be suspicious that there was post-top-coat shrinkage except that a)HK girl has never shrunk anything else and b)there was a big ol chip in one nail to go with it.  I needed a tip touch-up before I could take most of these pics.

I swear I remember something in the original description saying this could be used as a shimmer topcoat.  Hey, Sally Hansen and Ulta and plenty of others have come out with "smoky" TCs, so why not give this a test drive?

indoor CF lighting
On my thumb, I have the 3 coats of Enigmatic by itself.  For the rest, there's one coat of Enigmatic over one coat each of index: Sinful Colors Peppered Amazon, middle: a England Perceval, ring: Wet n Wild black crème, and pinky: a England Avalon (no TC or cleanup for these comparison pics).  I think we got smoky, sure, but shimmery, eh, not so much.

outdoor shady sunlight (no more direct sunlight to be had today)
The comparison of my thumb (in the middle) to the surrounding black ring (top) and purple pinky (bottom) shows you just where this falls in the spectrum between the two.


Rating:  2 out of 5 stars.  It's kinda surprise black, it doesn't wear well, and the shimmer is too stealthy.  If you like the idea of smoky top coats, this could work.

Where to buy:  as far as I can tell, this color has been discontinued.  Check for blog sales or ebay.

~Michelle

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