Shadow is one of the three new violet based polishes launched by Dior for the Fall of 2012. In the bottle it looks like a stunning reddish purple with lots of red/copper sparkles. However, like many other polishes that look so promising in the bottle, this one loses much of its allure when it leaves the bottle. In low light, on the nail it looks like a blackened purple, the sort of color you can get from many other less expensive brands. Those lovely copper/red shimmery flecks? You can only see 'em in direct sunlight or briefly in the flash of a camera's bright burst. A shade similar to Shadow can probably be closely duped with any dark purple. I compared Shadow to a few I have: OPI's Plum Full of Cheer, Sapphires in the Snow and Siberian Nights. While not spot-on dupes, they are really, really close. To get those elusive red/copper bits that appear in Shadow in the bottled stage, a top coat of Lauder's Ultra Violet or Orly's Rococoa A Go-Go over any deep, dark purple polish works well.
Is it too much to expect a polish to look as wonderful on the nail as it does in the bottle? I cut no slack for any polish that disappoints in any way but especially when it comes to shimmer in the bottle that does not transfer to the nail. In the bottle it's not hard to see Shadow's shimmery gorgeousness but on the nail it is gone. This has happened to me before with other brands. I have no place for them on my shelves. They were all either returned or swapped away. Shadow will soon be making its return journey to Nordstrom.
Before I finish this review, I want to give a special shout out to Dior's brush. If you like painting your nails with a huge, horrible mop, you will love this one. It's flat and the bristles end in a weird angled point. I am sure there is a special technique to use with this style of brush but unfortunately I have yet to discover it. I struggled to apply this polish, slopping it on too much surrounding skin and leaving me with lots of clean up issues. I have been polishing my nails for years and thought I was well past relying so heavily on the MeganChair method.
This one is going back to Nordstrom. If it had been a $5 polish I might keep it for the formula alone but at $23 it's not special enough. That's my new rule, by the way, since I have tons of polishes. In order for any bottle to have a place around here, especially a high end one, it has to be totally unique in color and application has to be a breeze. Shadow is not a unique color since I have many "almost dupes" already. The formula is thick (making it totally opaque in two coats) and easy enough to apply but the odd, super sized brush drove me up the wall.