Reds Review: Dior, Lancome, Yves Saint Laurent lacquers

Almost every luxury makeup brand has their own line of nail lacquer. It’s hard to break out of brands like China Glaze and OPI, however, when the cost is $5-7 instead of the $15-25 that these brands cost. And as I’ve learned, higher cost doesn’t always mean an increase in quality (I prefer OPI lacquer to Butter London, for example) but since I hadn’t tried out any brands not known specifically for their lacquers it would be fun to do a comparison!


These are the three that I chose – Dior ($24), Lancome ($15), and Yves Saint Laurent ($25)

I stuck with colors in the red family. It might have been better to try to get some that were all as close to the same shade as possible, but I figured that it would be better for my own collection to get similar shades since reds are great for every season! As far as packaging goes, I think Lancome has the best look. The rounded edges of the bottle keep it much more feminine than the sharp corners of the others. And for as “rich” as it’s supposed to be, I find the gold lid on the YSL container to actually look sort of tacky, unfortunately.


After a quick swatch on my nails (ignore the color on my pinky!) I knew I immediately liked the YSL color the best, while the Lancome color looked the best against my skin.

After a quick poll around my office as well, general consensus is that the YSL color is definitely the most popular, likely due to how vibrant it is. The color really stands out!


Here’s the swatch after a single coat! From left to right, Dior, YSL, Lancome

The easiest to apply by far was the YSL color. The consistency of the lacquer is very fluid, allowing a quick and even coverage. The color is very opaque and dense and there’s almost wearable color after just a single coat! Dior was next, and though the coverage was good the consistency wasn’t quite as nice as YSL. Lancome spread well, but the color was not opaque. There were sheer patches across the nail, and it will require potentially more than 2 coats for complete coverage.


After two coats. YSL is ready to go! Dior has good coverage, but the second coat tended to stick on the base color coat, making it difficult to get a smooth texture. Lancome’s color is getting better, but there are still parts that are not yet opaque.


After a third heavy coat, the Lancome color is finally opaque. All of the colors have a nice gloss to them even without a topcoat


Side by side comparison of the brushes – left to right: YSL, Dior, Lancome

As you can tell, the YSL and Dior brushes are excellent. They’re nice and thick and hold a good amount of polish so you don’t have to re-dip the brush for a single nail. The Lancome brush is very thin and small in comparison which, paired with the very sheer polish, got to be rather annoying as I was trying to get full coverage.


The YSL polish easily wins this one. The color is vibrant and rich and deep, and I look forward to wearing it more even though it’s not the most flattering on my skin tone. Even just looking at how it is to use, the brush is wide and the polish has a great consistency. The dense color makes it easy to get full coverage without spreading the lacquer around or trying to find sheer spots: there just aren’t any. I highly recommend getting whichever of their colors is your favorite as a special treat; I can say with certainty that it will become one that you look for reasons to use.

Dior comes in second with a similarly thick brush (perhaps even thicker than YSL’s!) and good rich color. The color is nice, but a little more one-dimensional than the red of YSL even though it’s a deep raspberry. It was nice to use, but nothing really stood out about it, and given how the lacquer likes to stick to itself (I had similar trouble with Butter London) I’m not sure I’ll be getting more if there’s a similar shade from OPI, especially for $24.

Lancome was the worst of the three. The color is beautiful, but the trouble I had getting it to actually match up to how it looks in the bottle is very discouraging. The tiny brush is sort of the cherry on top of the disappointment cake, and unless I’m looking to do an ombre or art design on top of this background, I don’t think it will be too useful since it will take so many coats to go over another color. It’s much more moderately priced than the other two, so if you see a color you like and you’re into solid nail color then go for it!

Let me know if you like comparisons like this – I can start them up for other cosmetics and brands so you can feel good about making that splurge makeup buy!


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