December 31, 2015 02:00 PM

What Is It: SuperDuper: an app that offers look-a-like, less expensive alternatives to luxe nail polish shades. And Shade Scout: an app that finds a myriad of nail polish colors to match an item you point and snap.

Who Tried It: Jackie Fields, Beauty Editor

Why I Did It: Simply put, I am disillusioned with current nail trends (like, bubble nails? Nah…) and needed some new inspo.

Brian Nichols

SuperDuper: I was really, (ok, you could say “super”) excited about testing this app. Pricey nail polish bottles are my Achilles’ heel. I collect them, only painting my fingertips with them once before strategically placing them around my apartment like tiny pieces or art. My friends always flock to my bottle of Christian Louboutin’s Rouge Louboutin, but at $50 a spiked bottle, most of them won’t make the splurge. Enter: SuperDuper, which has carefully curated a list of drugstore nail polishes that closely resemble colors carried by more expensive brands.

I opened the App, tapped on “Rouge Louboutin”, and began swiping through the suggestions. There were seven total, including the high-end brand’s own Loubi Under Red. (That happens to be the exact same color as Rouge Louboutin. But because the brush is slightly smaller, as it’s intended to paint the under side of nails, it’s five dollars less. So…a steal?) Also suggested: NARS’ Torre Del Oro. Also not a drugstore buy, but the app pointed out: “We wouldn’t normally call NARS a bargain, but compared to $50…”. The other five options were $8.50 and under, so even if you weren’t quite buying the above spiel, you would still have a handful of very reasonable options.

I pit Rouge Louboutin against the NARS shade and Sinful Colors’ Go Go Girl. There was no need to invest in Loubi Under Red for this experiment. As for the other four shades: two I couldn’t find at my local drugstore, one was discontinued (a flaw in what I thought was otherwise a totally on-point app) and the other I had some technical difficulties with (the defective bottle wouldn’t open).

For my test, I applied Christian Louboutin’s color on my pinky finger, middle finger and thumb, the NARS red on my ring finger and the Sinful Colors shade on my pointer finger. The result? No one could tell my painted fingers apart.

Verdict: From the app’s spot-on suggestions, to its’ crazy cute descriptions of suggestions and the fact that picks are listed in ascending price, this free app is a must-have, hands down! The only thing you can’t do is shop it, which some may find super duper annoying. But the beauty of it is you can find a good number of the options in your drugstore’s makeup aisle while you’re stocking up on every day essentials.

Get It! SuperDuper

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Brian Nichols


ShadeScout Nails: After the success of the other app, I was eager for my next experiment. Because ShadeScout Nails allows you to take a photo, then provides a list of similar shades of nail polish to pick from, I thought it would be fun to snap a Red Bottom (a.k.a the rouge sole of a Christian Louboutin) to see its’ take on the iconic color.

I snapped a few different pictures of the bottom of the shoe, and each generated in a slightly different list of suggestions (some of which included red polishes from Christian Louboutin, but not Rouge Louboutin, the very color inspired by the sole). I suspected some combination of strange lighting/shadowing was the culprit, so after taking another photo in natural light, I surveyed what I figured were the closest matches.

The app provided 13 (!) options, which I honestly found overwhelming. To be fair, the app does allow filtering by brand, but I wanted to see what indifference would yield. Among the choices (from left, above): Butter London’s Knees Up, Londontown’s Ring Me, Zoya’s Dita, Revlon’s Roulette Rush, Formula X’s x Rouge, China Glaze’s Seduce Me and Essie’s Thigh High. Also recommended were Gabriel Cosmetics’ Classic Red – True Red and OPI’s Big Apple Red, and rounding out the sidebar were additional colors from Butter London, China Glaze and two additional picks by OPI.

There is also a “try on” option which displays each nail shade on a hand. But I don’t think the app allows users to zoom in to really get a good look at the colors. And without a side-by-side comparison to the original inspiration, I found it really hard to commit to any of the colors on the shoppable app. That’s when I decided to get my hands on a sampling of the shades.

Some were gorgeous, but way off: one was very berry while a couple of others appeared to be a much deeper ruby hue. There was even a metallic lacquer! The classic reds in the group were much closer to the original inspiration. The seven colors ranged in price from $8.50 to $16, which while reasonable for any one bottle, but would start to add up if you, like me, needed to see the shades in the flesh to really get a sense how well they resembled their muse.

Verdict: The app is insanely fun to play with, and guarantees a fun range of nail polish colors to choose from for pretty much anything you photograph. As long as you’re not committed to making a near-exact match, you’ll probably end up satisfied (sometimes it’s about the journey, not the destination!). And the fact that you can shop the app is a major bonus in my handbook.

Get It! ShadeScout Nails

Have you tried any nail polish apps? Do you have a favorite? Share below!

–Jackie Fields

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