Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tag Team Thursday: A Bouquet for Ava

Hello Lab Partners!

Welcome to another Tag Team Thursday, when the two of us here at the lab each review the same polish and share our opinion. Last time, we reviewed Butter London's Yummy Mummy, and we both came to the same conclusion: Yummy Mummy wasn't for us. After that experience with a nude polish, we wanted to opt for something with more color, so we chose Barielle's A Bouquet for Ava. Will we agree with each other once again? Or will we get different results?


I'm not going to lie to you; I love blue polish, so I was excited to try A Bouquet for Ava. I found the application somewhat streaky on the first coat, which was minimized to some extent by applying a slightly heavier than usual layer of polish. This color was streak-free and opaque in two coats. I found the control during application okay, but not great. If we were going by application alone, I'd be lukewarm on this polish.

But we can't end this discussion at application. There's also the matter of color, and --wow!--does this polish deliver! Barielle describes this color as, "a deep, cool Caribbean blue." I'd call it a highly saturated French blue that dries to a glossy finish. In the first photo (below),  I'm not wearing a top coat so that you can see the glossy finish of the polish itself. In the other photos, I'm wearing a top coat over the polish.

Barielle A Bouquet for Ava. No top coat. Inside, artificial light.
Barielle A Bouquet for Ava. With top coat. Inside with flash.
A Bouquet for Ava. Outside, natural light.
I did find this polish chipped rather easily, but I loved the color so much that I still like this polish overall. Now, what will Ace think?


I am another blue lover so Ava was a no-brainer when I placed an order recently with a 50% off promo at Barielle (on top of their BOGO50% deal for polishes). Unfortunately, I received two polishes that had brush issues with that order. I contacted Barielle and they asked me to return the polishes. I also returned A Bouquet for Ava due to my dissatisfaction with the formula. Barielle customer service was efficient and effective. They refunded me for the three polishes and shipping.

Why did I return Ava? Barielle tends to be on the thick side - but this polish was really thick. Application was clumpy and I tried and tried several times to apply it smoothly. I thinned it and thinned it and thinned it again - but it did not solve the problem. I got really frustrated. Not even my beloved Seche Vite could smooth the clumps out. The polish kept doing this:

My bottle of A Bouquet for Ava applied very clumpy, as shown on my thumb.
At times, I had it on my hands (literally) the same situation Allison found herself in with Julep's Jaime last week! Not as bad, but close. Apologies, I thought I took more blue hand pictures but I can't find them. So I'll show you this:
No idea what this is? You have to watch Arrested Development! Only the best comedy of the 2000s!

Eventually, I got a decent enough application thanks to a lot of time, remover and Seche Vite! But it was way more trouble than it's worth!

Notice my bottle is different from Allison's. I do wonder if this had anything to do with the problems I had with the formula. All my Barielle bottles look like this. Anyone know if this makes a difference?
The color is pretty and sophisticated - kind of a muted but not pale blue. It reminds me of Zoya's Breezi in that way. Breezi was a summer collection polish but I actually don't think this shade of blue is all that summery - they may be perfect for fall actually!

The next day, I spiced up Ava with a coat of Kleancolor Chunky Holo in Teal. Look how pretty that looks! I highly recommend these Kleancolors for layering.
KleanColor Chunky Holo Teal over Barielle A Bouquet for Ava.
This team saved this mani!
Now, since I returned this polish, it's clear that I was not a big fan. I have not had this problem with other Barielles and given Allison did not have the same issues I did, it's fair to conclude this was a bad bottle as opposed to the polish being defective overall.

Barielle's customer service did meet my expectations, however. I was asked to send the polishes back and was promptly refunded for them as well as shipping. Our experience with Julep about a formula problem was quite different! Allison was simply told "blues stain, deal with it". Barielle took the polish back, no contest.

By the way, yes bright colors can stain but this blue lover is happy to report, staining blues are a smaller subset of my collection than the non-staining blues! I just removed a gorgeous OPI blue and have no trace of it whatsoever on my hands. So don't rule out blues, there are awesome ones out there!

Nail polish is relatively inexpensive, so this is not necessarily about money alone. As consumers, we should not have to work hard to get what we paid for, which includes items that perform satisfactorily and customer service to address any issues that arise. Everyone makes mistakes, every company can have some lemons among its products. When problems arise, good companies remember to show customers respect and care for their satisfaction. For this reason, I will continue purchasing Barielle polishes even though I had problems with this particular polish.

(On that note, some of you have heard about the terrible products and customer service I have had from I will write about that separately but for now I can only say do not fall for their cheap prices, especially if you are eyeing that KleanColor chunky holo. They send underfilled bottles that literally are only 80% full, refuse to replace them, and shamelessly lie to you. While some people have had an OK experience with them, I've heard from at least a dozen people who've had similar problems. They've been so rude to me I had to file a BBB complaint. I will happily delete this if they resolve the issue, but I am pretty sure they won't. Spend your hard-earned at businesses that respect you, the customer.)

Conclusions: The lab was not terribly impressed with A Bouquet for Ava, though we noted the color is very pretty and customer service is efficient and effective.


  1. I had staining with a Barielle polish, and we pretty much told "Blues stain, deal with it." from them!

  2. OMG i really love this color!!! its beautiful and everything i love about a color!!!
    check out my blog for an award i nominated you for:

  3. Destany--*sigh* so you got basically the answer I got from Julep regarding Jaime. Yeah, blue stains, but some are soooo bad! There's a limit to how much staining I 'm willing to deal with!

    Taylor--thanks so much for the award nomination! You're so sweet! :)

  4. Two of my Barielle brushes are weird.. They have longer pieces in them, so painting with them is really hard. Is that how your brush was? I'm trying to like Barielle, but it's hard

  5. I've stopped ordering Barielles polishes. Everyone I get, gets goopy after 1 mani! Their customer service is A+. But, the goop continues. I'll save them for stamping.
    I'm wearing Wet & Wild (forget the name but it's a navy blue). Now I'm afraid to see my fingers when I take it off!!
    Debbie ; )

  6. Jodi--I'm sure Ace will jump in here soon to answer your question about the brushes, but I wanted to say that I'm with you--I *want* to like Barielle, but I'm just not wild about their polishes.

    Debbie--I hope the Wet n Wild you're wearing doesn't stain! Yuck! Yeah, no more Barielle's for me,either. I have plenty I haven't even tried!

  7. Jodi, yes the brushes has some long pieces making it messy to paint with. They took them back though so maybe you should also contact them. I didn't even have to send pics to them. If you want to take pics ot send them try taking the pic of the shadow as well as the brush. Sometiems wonkiness shows in the shadow better.

    Debs, yes they are goopy for me too I'm afraid. I already have several Barielles and don't envision getting too many more.

  8. This is a great color you two picked. Too bad it sucked with application and staining. That Kleancolor looks awesome over it!

  9. Amy--yep, *beautiful* color, but it went downhill from there. :(