The lovely people at Zoya kindly sent me a Color Lock System after they stumbled upon my blog during May's Month of Zoyas! It's nice to get that kind of helpful offering from a company, buying polish in the quantities it takes to keep my fetish satisfied and be useful as a blog does take money, and everything helps. I don't think I really need to mention I am an honest reviewer, do I? Well okay I'll mention it anyway. I consider Zoya's gift a kindness, and I will review the product honestly, and I cannot imagine they would expect anything less. I am horribly embarassed it took me so long to finish this review, and it isn't quite finished, but it's SO past time to post it I am going to anyway.
The Zoya Color Lock System comes in a very large plastic ziplock bag, which was surprising. I expected a little package. While it was lovely and impressive I have to ask if it is truly necessary. I doubt I will use the bag again, and all of the separate bottle packaging save the polish remover was very large plastic boxes with plastic inserts to hold the bottles. Not very "green" and I felt kind of gross throwing all that plastic out. See pics below.
Okay now that has been said let's move on. The Zoya Color Lock system is a nice little set. It is numbered to let you know when to use each product, and comes with a nice placard with directions, and nice artwork. It's easy to understand and the directions are simple. Use the Remove+ to remove polish and clean and prep the nail, choose one of two offered base coats (Anchor or the ridge filler Get Even), use two layers of nail polish in your choice of color (not included), then use the Armor topcoat. Then use one drop drying solution per nail for quick 5 minute drying. A small bottle of Renew polish reviver is included for refreshing clumpy old polish.
Let's start with the Zoya Remove+ 3 in 1 polish remover. This is a low acetone formula. It is designed to remove Zoya polish. It doesn't remove glitters as easily as pure acetone, of course. But Remove+ is also meant to clean the nail and prepare it. And my nails felt FAR cleaner after using Remove+, and my skin did not need lotion like after using plain acetone. What I ended up doing after I used half the bottle was mix it half and half with acetone. This left a nice clean nail and no whiteness on nail or skin. After using it over a series of days, I grew more and more impressed with this. It was far easier to remove polishes than I had hoped, even glitters. It had a great herbal smell, and it left my nails feeling great! The only drawback I see for me is the price, when I factor in how much polish I remove. For a non-blogger, a large bottle should last you a long time and be very worth it. I really liked this product a lot. If I could afford to use it all the time believe me I would! This product gets an A from me. I bought a big bottle of this and love the crap out of it. I hope I can always afford this incredible polish remover. IMO, it's a must buy.
My plan: use the Zoya Color Lock System on both hands for three full days and review with pictures the condition of my hands and nails every day.
Day One: I applied one coat Zoya Anchor basecoat, two coats Zoya Jo, and one coat Zoya Armor. I did not use drying drops, I don't like them and planned to test them separately. Initial thoughts - Zoya Armor feels like a plastic protective coating. It seems to hug the nail, which I don't really love. It flows around the ridges and bumps and imperfections, rather than filling them in. So the feeling is not much like the glasslike feeling of Seche Vite, though it does feel slick. Slick and bumpy. The shine is very nice, but once again is not a glasslike shine because of the imperfection of the surface. But my nails DO feel very protected. Another unfortunate problem - lots of little bubbles. I know Scrangie had this problem too, and lessened the bubbles, here.
My Nails on Day One:
Day Two: Tiny bit of tip wear on one nail. Forgot to photograph.
Day Three: Absolutely the same. Part of the Color Lock System is you should use the topcoat "Armor" every two days. I think this strategy is going to give you the advertised results, VERY long polish longevity. My nails on day three looked exactly the same on Day Three as Day Two, in fact I can't tell the difference between Day Three and Day One. Unfortunately I failed to photograph them. I have no idea why. I'm a doofus? I wanted to do this again, but you know, I keep forgetting and I'd rather get a partial review up than wait longer. Take my word for it there was very little wear. The set does what it claims.
So is it a good buy? Yes. Just know you'll have perhaps some bubbling, maybe you can work out a technique that minimizes or eradicates this. You'll also get that plastic coated feeling, but you might not even mind it at all, it's a subjectuive thing you may not even notice, and may be completely acceptable for the polish longevity you will recieve in return.
The other two products, the Hurry Up 5 Minute Drying Drops and Renew are easy to make a decision on. I hate drying drops. i don't think they work. These are like every other drying drops I have ever used. If you like drying drops, these will make you quite happy. The Renew does the job just fine, but I only got to use four drops. Reason: The entire bottle sublimated out right through the too-small dropper cap, which was badly seated. The four drops I used seem to do the job. The only solution to this I can see, is with both products, leave the dropper caps off and only use them when you need them, leave the regular caps they come with on. Annoying and messy solution? Yes, but necessary.
So I hope I answered your questions. I DO think this set is worth the money, and you will at very least be pleased with the longevity it gives your polish. It's designed to help you keep better looking nails longer, and it keeps that promise.