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Karl Lagerfeld x Shu Uemura | Mon Shu Nail Lacquer reviews, photos, swatches

The product: Karl Lagerfeld for shu uemura Nail Lacquer in Shu Shu RedKarl Black, and Royal Beige

When it comes to this Holiday’s Karl x shu collection, the nail lacquers are probably the easiest item to tackle, honestly. From the awkwardly-shaped curler to the seriously stunning palettes (upcoming!), this’ll probably be where I have the fewest words to say.

Probably, hopefully, maybe. 

Shu Shu Red

To start off, we have a stunning burnt orange-red with a glossy, shimmer-free finish. Smooth and well-pigmented, it’s ridiculously easy to apply, but (as could be expected from anything this saturated) a little harder to get off without staining your fingers terribly.

I usually gravitate to bluer reds (less orange/yellow than this one), but it’s hard to fault such a stunning shade. Shu Shu Red is a fantastic, warm, subdued “red,” and it’s perfect for late autumn/early winter.

Royal Beige

As a lover of neutral nails, Royal Beige was the shade I felt most drawn toward. The formula, however, just isn’t up to par: while the shade avoids the fate of many drab neutrals with ethereal gold microshimmer (and I mean microshimmer) keeping it from looking flat, it’s hard to recommend it at $18.

I like it in theory, but Royal Beige sits heavy on the nails with any more than one thin coat — and needs at least three for full opacity.

Karl Black

Next up is Karl Black, which–while a little harder to apply–is probably the most unique shade of the three varnishes. This inky black isn’t quite as dense, but the extra coat is worth it: the formula is packed with gorgeous gold flakes and mixed microshimmer, which give the polish a stunning complexity. The final effect has more depth than a layered topcoat, but the added texture isn’t really in-your-face, either.

While removing this one, I noticed that the flakes and base colour remove at different rates, which reads like a challenge if ever I met one was interesting. If you’re up for something a little more finicky, try applying two coats of Karl Black, then removing the black pigment gently to uncover a unique metallic finish. (Add a matte or glossy topcoat for better wear & a smoother feel.) 

& those darling nail stickers… 

Aren’t they adorable? (And a nice added touch to the collection — each varnish comes with a strip of stickers, which peel off their paper backing & stick firmly to your nail, over polishes, under topcoats, or even on their own.)

The verdict?

At $18 each, I don’t think any of these are must-haves — but Shu Shu Red and Karl Black are definitely nice-to-haves! Royal Beige is one you can pass on, I think; though the shade and shimmer are absolutely gorgeous, the formula’s just not quite as good.

These are definitely more of a luxury than a necessity, but hey: it’s a holiday collection, after all! The three shades do work gorgeously together, conveying a “holiday” vibe without leaning on it like a crutch, and the collection overall is a great buy for a Karl Lagerfeld fan.

(Don’t front, readers. Deep down, aren’t we all, at least a little?)

Karl Lagerfeld x shu uemura nail color in shu shu red, karl black, and royal beige

Karl Lagerfeld for shu uemura – nail swatches & stickers

Karl Lagerfeld for shu uemura: Mon Shu Holiday 2012

shu uemura nail color ingredients – Karl Lagerfeld collection

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  • mostlysunnybunny

    Loooove Karl Black! I still don't know how I'll react to having a near-black polish on my fingers (last time I tried I freaked. It was some years ago though), but I will definitely lay my hands on one soon :)
    My recent post I’m on Cloud Nine with Chanel Harmonie du Soir!

    • LOL, I know what you mean! Dark polishes always have me on edge :P

  • kuri

    They all look gorgeous! It's a pity about the formula of the beige, as it looks so classy!
    My recent post the ridiculous state of shoe sizing

    • I know! :( I still haven't found the perfect nude polish, but I was really hoping this one would be it.

  • The stickers are adorable!
    My recent post Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro Matte Lacquer Swatches

  • they look beautiful yet edgy!! you have the best nails' shape, by the way!
    just stumbled upon your blog and love it!!
    My recent post Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara

  • Love Karl Black, and the nail art things. Not a huge fan of the packaging though, I would have expected more luxe from Karl Lagerfeld.

    You have the most perfect nails!!
    My recent post Vera Wang S/S 2013 inspired bridal makeup FOTD

    • Hmm. I hadn't thought about that (this is more or less the standard shu polish packaging, but with silver lids instead of black), but it's a good point. The packaging on these is certainly a step up from Revlon or Sally Hansen, though! :P

      Thanks, dearling. I kind of hate my hands, but (thankfully) that doesn't quite extend to my nails!