Zoya Gemma & CrowsToes Me & This Army

I picked up Zoya's Gemma during a promotion last spring, and loved the sparkly violet fire that's visibly peeking through.  Wearing it, though...

indoor, bright CF lighting
Gemma is a greyed-out olive green crelly that occasionally looked actually grey in overcast, rainy morning daylight (we haven't seen the sun for a while around here).  As you can see in the corner of the bottle above, there's a glimmer of violet sparkle visible when the light hits.  Unfortunately, without a bright light source and a macro lens, the shimmer was almost completely invisible IRL.

overcast daylight
The crelly formula gave this a wonderful shine and good self-leveling even before topcoat, but the green tint stubbornly clung to my cuticle edges, making cleanup more obnoxious than you'd expect for a color this light.  3 coats was absolutely needed for opacity; it was still a little streaky at 2.

yup.  overcast.
Well, this wasn't working for me.  I mean, it's a nice olive green and all, but eh, kinda too plain for me.  I pulled out CrowsToes Me & This Army to see if that could help.

Gemma on the left, M&TA on the right
M&TA is a murky army green, several shades darker and more blue-grey than Gemma, that's packed with a nearly glass fleck-y purple and violet sparkle.  It's also sheer enough to require 3 coats for good coverage - my swatch sticks above show 2 coats each, and both polishes remain streaky at this point on the perfectly smooth plastic surface.  The two are nowhere near dupes at all, but are instead opposite ends of the spectrum of the idea of violet shimmer in army green.

bright CF lighting
I took off Gemma and replaced it with 3 coats of M&TA on my ring finger.  There's a suggestion of violet shimmer in the Gemma here, but M&TA is tons of it.  Since the shimmer is so dense and the polish is so sheer, I layered one coat of M&TA over the rest of my Gemma manicure for the next day.

M&TA alone on the left, and one coat over Gemma on the right
even in overcast lighting the shimmer is visible
Ultimately, I like the layering combo more than I do either polish alone, but if I had to pick one, Me & This Army is a clear winner.

Rating:  2 out of 5 stars for Gemma.  I'm (obvs) not a fan of ninja shimmer, and I'm definitely not a fan of the quick wear and chipping.

Where to buy:  Zoya is sold at Ulta and other beauty supply shops.



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