China Glaze Optical Illusion Swatches & Review

China Glaze Optical Illusion Swatches & ReviewWhenever polishes have so many shiny things going on like in China Glaze Optical Illusion, my camera has a tough time capturing it properly. (Okay, so I’m blaming my camera. It’s really the photographer’s fault. :P)

Warning: My photos make the polish look more silvery than it is in person. Please refer to my written description of the polish for better accuracy.

Do any of you have tips on how to better photograph really blingy polishes? I’m all ears…and nails! 😉

This polish comes from the China Glaze Prismatic Chroma Glitters Collection, which looked interesting. This was one of the two colours that I was most interested in trying.

Even though I liked the name of the polish and the idea behind the collection, let me tell you why I’m not crazy about Optical Illusion.

China Glaze Optical Illusion Pictures

China Glaze Optical Illusion


China Glaze Optical Illusion Swatch & Review

Natural Light

Optical Illusion China Glaze


China Glaze Optical Illusion Swatch, Review & Photos

Natural Light

China Glaze Optical Illusion Swatch

China Glaze Optical Illusion Swatches

All swatches have:

  • Seche Clear Crystal Clear Base Coat
  • 2 coats of China Glaze Optical Illusion
  • Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
  • OPI Top Coat (Yup, I used more than one top coat to smooth everything out. Of course, I applied the Seche Vite after the OPI one.)

Flash Photos

China Glaze Optical Illusion Swatches & Review

China Glaze Optical Illusion Review, Swatch & Pictures

China Glaze Optical Illusion Review & Swatch

China Glaze Optical Illusion Review & Swatches

China Glaze Optical Illusion Swatch & Review

Optical Illusion by China Glaze Swatches, Review & Pics

Natural Light Photos

Optical Illusion by China Glaze Swatches & Review

China Glaze Optical Illusion

China Glaze Optical Illusion Review

China Glaze Optical Illusion Swatch

Optical Illusion by China Glaze Swatch & Review

Claims: TRUSTED, but Product: BUSTED

√ Aqua green glimmers with a hint of purple filled with pink, yellow, silver, orange & green

Key Notes

China Glaze Optical Illusion Review


If you’re looking for a pow-bam-splat kind of colour, Optical Illusion by China Glaze isn’t the nail polish for the job. It’s an anemic green that just came back from a bachelorette party and didn’t pick out the confetti from its hair. 😉

The soft green has a silvery feel to it, but please note that it’s not as silvery as my flash photos would suggest! The green you see with your naked eye is what I’d call a zombie-ish green because it looks like it was attacked and is feeling a little woozy in da head.

The glitter is multi-coloured – you really get a rainbow in this bottle! There are large pieces of glitter and smaller glitters.

I still haven’t bought a magnifying glass (stubborn Mary!). With my naked eye, I could see pink, yellow, green, silver, and orange large glitter. The smaller glitter looked like it was green and silver.

I feel like there’s way too much going on in this bottle. You know how when you cook food and use spices to enhance your dish, you don’t just dump all the spices into the pot? You use select spices and more of some or less of others to get the best results and help the flavour shine. Well, I think the same is true of nail polish. You can’t just dump everything wonderful into the bottle and expect it to be wonderful x 100000. Because all the glitter competes with each other, nothing really stands out, and you get a whole lot of blah.

I really did want to love this polish, but it disappointed me terribly! 🙁


Optical Illusion by China Glaze is a hardcore glitter polish! There’s no doubt about it. It’s chock full of glitter, and the finish is gritty. On the positive side, it dries extremely fast!

Expect to use more than one layer of top coat if you want a smoother finish, and expect to sigh many times during the removal process because this one is a Freddy Krueger nightmare on Elm Street to remove!

Application & Formula

To give you a better idea…If you have Nicole by OPI Disco Dolls or OPI Excuse Moi!, it has a very similar consistency and feel to it.

While I love a good glitter polish, I’m not a fan of Optical Illusion. So sad! And this is coming from a hopeless green-polish addict!

The reason I don’t care for this is not only because the polish is hard to remove – it also applies terribly thick! I can paint my nails pretty quickly, and despite that, I actually had to add a few drops of nail-polish thinner halfway through my manicure to make this polish manageable enough to apply! Yes, it actually thickened significantly during a single manicure. That’s a huge no-no for me. Imagine how this baby’s gonna dry up in just a week then? *Tsk tsk*

The formula got so thick that I couldn’t paint a layer of polish on each nail. I got a big glob and couldn’t even use the brush to flatten it! That’s when I know that I have a major trouble-maker on my hands…literally!

After thinning it out, it applied well, but then it seemed to thicken a bit even after just a few minutes. I’m a patient person, but this polish was seriously testing my limit.


  • Very blingtastic
  • Dries very fast

  • Formula thickens quickly
  • A pain in the acetone to remove
  • Too much going on that the overall look is ‘blah’

Final Verdict: 3/10

This is a very sad day because I can’t remember if I’ve ever ‘Busted’ a China Glaze polish. Sure, I’ve given some low scores, but this is probably the lowest ever for China Glaze.

In my opinion, the colour and glitter combination isn’t worth the troublesome application and removal headache. There’s so much going on that it’ll make your nails dizzy!

Save your money – China Glaze has far better polishes in their vault! 🙂

Were you as disappointed by the China Glaze Prismatic Chroma Glitters as I was with Optical Illusion? What’s a hard-to-remove polish that you actually put up with because you love it?


14 thoughts on “China Glaze Optical Illusion Swatches & Review

  1. Barbara

    First thing I thought of when I saw the swatches was how hard it would be to remove! I am getting so lazy LOL!

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Barbara!

      Oh, even the most energetic person would dread taking this baby off! All those different-sized glitters really lock together.

  2. Melissa

    When I first saw the collection I loved the look of them. When I looked at each one by it’s self the only two I really liked, (and bought, :~) hehe) were the Liquid Crystal and the Prism. They are okay, I like the way it looks in the bottle way better, but I will wear it at some point. Love the blog, awsome job. :~)

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Melissa!

      I agree with you – they look much better in the bottle. On the nail, I wasn’t wowed by this one.

  3. Another Cristina

    Oh, boy, you touched on so many good points, Mary. As someone who owns the polish and is so-so about it myself, I want to put in my 2 cents. *I* would describe the green as more of a seafoam, myself. Further, I didn’t have the problems with formula that you did. I’ve worn the polish twice and didn’t experience any of the things you did. Bad batch? FInally, thanks to the foil method, I didn’t notice this polish being any harder to remove than any other glitter, but maybe I’m just oblivious. 😉 Is it ok for me to post a link to my blog post of this color? Let me know if so. 🙂 No matter what, I think you hit the nail on the head on this polish and why I don’t love it- it has way to many color going on, you cant find *what* to focus on!
    Another Cristina recently posted: Unspeakable beauty-Sinful Colors Green Ocean over Orly Royal Navy

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Another Cristina!

      It’s possible that my bottle had a drier formula than yours. It was terrible! I can’t remember the last time a polish dried up this quickly on me while I was using it…and for the first time, too!

      Yeah, sure…go ahead and post the link. It’s related! 🙂

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Nina!

      You’re lucky! 🙂 And very smart! If I wear this one again, I’ll only use it as a layering polish.

  4. ManiCuriously

    So sorry you’re disappointed 🙁 Totally understand!! That’s how I felt about Zoya – Julieanne!! Anyways, I was just thinking though… this might be a good color to layer thinly (after you get it to be workable!) over a green you do like so that they can sort of use eachother to bounce off of… THEN I would suggest a lovely stamp on top to sort of calm the competing glitter colors… That way when you see the glitter it is more of a pop of WOW than BAM IN YOUR FACE lol… anyways, I’d say give it another shot with some of the great suggestions I read already in the comments… you MIGHT be able to find some hope for this so that it isn’t a wasted $3 xo E
    ManiCuriously recently posted: Holy May Polish Haul! *pic heavy*

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey ManiCuriously!

      It’s so very hard to give up on China Glaze because they’re such a beloved brand! 🙂 I’ll definitely use this to layer over another polish if I wear it again. And if I still don’t like it, well, I’m sure that I can find it a new home…hehe!

  5. Marta

    GASP… You failed this polish… not even a you-made-it-half-way-there-so-I’ll-give-you-a-five pitty vote…. but a #3!!! Though three is my favorite number I am glad I didn’t pick up this polish… there seems to be a consensus that this collection just wasn’t all that well received because it is all too busy without doing all too much. I guess you COULD use it for glitter tips!?
    Though this shade may not be winning, your description of it is!!!
    “an anemic green that just came back from a bachelorette party and didn’t pick out the confetti from its hair” AWESOME doesn’t describe this description!!!!
    Mary… write a book will you!!!? 😉
    Marta recently posted: NEW MASH PLATES- A Review

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Marta!

      Yup, it seriously flunked out. And despite it pleading to do extra-credit assignments, I had to lay it down hard. It needs to go to summer school now. Maybe it’ll learn the error of its flashy ways. 😛

      Haha, I’m glad you enjoyed that description! Wow, I haven’t worked on the humourous office-politics book I told you I was working on in quite some time. I need to get on it.

  6. Lizzy

    omg Thank you! Yep, just looked this one up since I’m comparing the three I have today. 😉 I like the small base glitters, but I do NOT like that they ALL have the same rainbow of bigger glitters. Lazy much? They should have made them all complimentary or contrasting, but there is definitely too much going on for me to really love these like I wanted to.
    Lizzy recently posted: Essence: Lily Bloom +Loose Glitter Experiment

    1. Mary S. Post author

      Hey Lizzy!

      I remember being disappointed in this. Maybe I had ridiculously high hopes for it, but I feel like this polish didn’t excite me at all. In theory, it sounds amazing, but when I wore it, I wasn’t wowed. It’s not often that I have to “BUST” a nail polish on here.


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