Listen, one thing I’ll forever love about China Glaze and something I hope they never stop doing is releasing collections just for Halloween. Some of their iconic and most talked about releases have been previous Halloween collections, and I’m sad that I didn’t join the nail community until after some of these classics. (Forever wanting a bottle of Don’t Let the Dead Bite). They have come out with some of the most weird and unique shades for these collections and just GIVE ME MORE.
Now 2020 has been real weird, and of course has affected releases overall. Because of –you know-, China Glaze didn’t release a fall collection for the year, but we still did get a Halloween release and that’s all I need. (I fully know at the point of posting that most of these shades are sold out, but I did still want to get this review up! Mostly for archival purposes, or for anyone who happens to run across them in a destash or otherwise!)
So today we’re looking at the China Glaze Spellbound collection, a 6 bottle release for Halloween! This features 3 matte finish shades, and 3 “normal” finish polishes. I grabbed 3 from PolishPick, but this collection was definitely very popular and was sold out in a lot of places by the time I was getting around to reviewing. I posted about missing out on 3 shades and one of my nail friends Joy from @JoyDumpling (follow her immediately) sent me the 3 I was missing! Forever the nail community is one of the most generous and the friendships I have from it are my favorites.
Alright random little wholesome friendship story aside, let’s get into the swatches!
We’re looking at the 3 matte shades of the collection first!
Just wanted to mention first: For the 3 matte shades, they definitely have thicker formulas than normal creams – and I believe I had the “2nd batch” of bottles, as it definitely was thick, but not completely unmanageable. I’ve heard from others that immediately bought the mattes that they were almost unworkable and so uneven, so I’m glad I didn’t have that issue, but something to watch out for, and if you have those issues, it’s not just you!
Alright starting it off, ‘Covens & Caviar’ is a matte black shade. As mentioned, it’s definitely a thick formula, and I can see this needing thinner throughout the next couple of years. So it can skip a touch if there’s not enough polish on the brush, so make sure to load ‘er up. Because of the formula, you won’t have issues with it flooding the cuticles when you use a thicker coat as well.
As with matte polishes, of course it dries more quickly, but not so quickly that you have no time to work with it and smooth it out. I know there have been cases of China Glaze mattes specifically drying so dang fast you had to paint them on in super-speed. I’m glad to report this is not one of those. (Looking at you, Combat Blue-ts).
Overall it’s fully opaque in just 1 coat and self levels very nicely – which I expected with such a thick formula, and I actually love this for swatching glitters or anything that needs a black base. It makes the swatches go so easily.
So do you need it? Probably not, let’s be honest here. If you have a black polish in your collection, just add a matte top coat to it. (Although I can probably say that for any sort of matte finish cream shade.. you know what I mean here, it’s a straight up black, there are lots around). I’m glad to have it for swatching.
Next up we have ‘Hex Boyfriend’, and now this one is more unique. It’s another matte finish, this time in a super deep forest green base with bright green and golden glitter all throughout. This had a very similar to ‘Covens & Caviar’ above, in that it’s definitely thicker and can skip if you don’t have enough on the brush. It dries more quickly, but you have time to paint it on smoothly.
For this one I did find it can get a little uneven if you manipulate it too much, so I did add a 2nd coat to fully smooth it out.
It’s so deep and vampy, with the matte finish it just reminds me of a Disney villain.
And of COURSE, I had to add a glossy top coat, and oh wow, it’s like a whole different polish! The glitter and sparkle just POPS on the nails and it’s so beautiful. It’s a shade that gives a different look depending on the finish, and I love it both ways!
The last matte shade is ‘Kiss & Spell’. This is a deep burgundy red base with larger orange and gold glitters throughout. This definitely had a thinner formula than the previous two matte formulas above, so it’s a little easier to control in the way of not needing as much polish on the brush to get a smooth coat on the nails. I did find the 1st coat was a little uneven, but 2 coats is easily opaque and smooth. The color deepens up to match the bottle with the 2nd coat as well.
Matte polishes will always show my ridges a little more – so the lines here are from my nails, not the polish. Just a heads up. Since it’s a touch thinner formula, it doesn’t fully smooth those out. If you want a completely smooth finish, you can add another coat over it as well!
And again, adding a glossy top coat to it just transforms it into a fully different polish! The shimmer really pops against the base, and it’s so beautiful.
Another that I can’t decide which finish I like more!
And now we’re into the 3 non-matte polishes of the collection!
First up we have ‘Payback’s a Witch’ and yes, Essie also had a shade of this same name in their 2020 Halloween collection, so it’s a popular pun this year.
This is a lovely marigold orange base with tons of golden shimmer to it. This had a smooth but sheer 1st coat, with my nail line showing through. It builds up well in 2 coats, and is pretty well opaque so depending on your preferences you can stop there or add a 3rd coat like I did. It was an easy formula overall and went on nicely!
And just look at that shimmer, it makes the polish look like it’s glowing on the nails and I love it.
‘Having a Crystal Ball’ is a blue-purple base with a blue flash to it. This was another that was smooth but more sheer with the 1st coat. It builds up well with a 2nd, but I did prefer to add a 3rd to make it fully opaque. I did find the color continued to build up with that 3rd coat.
It can have a few brushstrokes to it because of the shimmer, but only with a thicker coat. Otherwise they level out nicely – just wanted to point it out with that larger one showing on my middle nail.
And last up we have ‘Spell the Tea’. This is a deep, smokey gray base with larger flakes of red and orange shimmer and smaller silver glitter. This was an easy 2 coat formula, and was so smooth and lovely.
Definitely one of my favorites of the collection, and it’s so unique to my stash! Perfect for Halloween as well.
And that’s the collection! I will definitely say the mattes had some thicker formulas than I’ve experienced before, and weren’t my absolute favorites. I did appreciate that they didn’t dry obscenely quickly and that you were able to work with them. I’m glad I didn’t get the batch of super thick and unworkable shades, though as I said before, if you got those you weren’t alone!
I will say ‘Spell the Tea’ was my favorite for the unique finish and combo, and it just felt so spooky. I do always love that China Glaze does a Halloween collection in general, and I just want more from other brands! Give us weird polishes!!
Essie Blue Moon Halloween 2020 • OPI Shine Bright Winter 2020 • Orly Metropolis Winter 2020 • Color Club Halo Jewels Collection • Zoya Intriguing Winter 2020 • Holo Taco Frosted Metals