Sephora by OPI It’s Real vs. OPI The Man with the Golden Gun


By now, the novelty of the flakey gold top coat has warn off a bit. Almost every major brand, and many smaller/indie brands, have released their rendition of the gold leaf top coat. Two gold flake polishes have made their way into my collection, so here is a comparison of the two. I wish that I had Zoya Gilty to add to this comparison. Believe me, I felt compelled to buy it and the battle to refrain from doing so was hard fought. From swatches online, Gilty looks very similar to OPI The Man With the Golden Gun so I had a nail polish Sophie’s Choice. I love both brands and feel like I need to collect everything they release, mostly for the purpose of having an adequate “library” of polishes for this blog. Second, I am a total sucker for gimmicky polishes. However, the price tag that these polishes carry was a major deterrent to the “I need to own it just to own it” reasoning that I typically apply to my purchases. (I mean, let’s face it for a second… When you hoard nail polish, you probably don’t need anything because chances are your collection already contains something similar). In the end, I couldn’t justify owning two very similar polishes in the $30+ price tag range. Once I made that decision, the next issue was deciding which one to get. A lot of factors were taken into consideration. First, I love James Bond, love, and I especially loved Skyfall. The TMWTGG packaging and presentation also appealed to me even though I usually abhor opaque bottles. Finally, the price for TMWTGG on ebay, at the time, was less than $35, so it was more cost-effective than Gilty.

I will also admit that I was a little annoyed with Zoya. Don’t get me wrong, I love Zoya but I’m going to hate on them for a minute. Gilty was released around the same time that they released a couple of other limited edition sets of polish. This was incredibly distressing to me as a person who has a perpetually empty bank account. If something expensive is limited edition and I only have a couple of days to buy it, depending on what time of the month it is, the sad reality may be that I just can’t justify the purchase. Gilty and the Peter Som 2013 trio fell victim to this problem. I wanted these sooooo bad but I just couldn’t splurge during the tiny window of time that these were available. Food > Nail polish, right? Zoya’s twitter account taunted me daily: ”Get these while supplies last, once it’s gone - it’s gone!” It made me question my existence a little - my inner monologue: “Why did I go to law school?” “Why did I take out 9 katrillion school loans?” “Why have I made so, so many poor financial choices that have culminated in this paycheck-to-paycheck life style?” “I love my job but this sucks, do I need to give up something I love to find something that pays more?” When those sets went out of stock, I almost felt alleviated. And I quickly came to terms with the fact that I wouldn’t be able to own them since I wasn’t going to pay exorbitant ebay prices.

Weeks later, after all that inner turmoil, Gilty was restocked and the polishes I wanted from the Peter Som trio were released in Zoya’s Spring 2013 collection. I still passed on Gilty because, by then, I had already budgeted for, and purchased, OPI MWTTGG. I wasn’t upset about the Peter Som polishes since I begged Zoya on twitter to re-release those colors and I appreciated the renewed opportunity to get them. But, still, it felt a bit like a slap in the face. One aspect of Zoya as a brand that I love is that they don’t generally make things limited edition and rarely discontinue colors. When they do discontinue shades, it’s usually after the polish has been available for a while. I hope that this situation does not represent a new trend for the company. I also hope that Zoya, before employing the “OMG!!! IT’S LIMITED EDITION!!!” marketing ploy, takes some time to consider the effect that that tactic might have on loyal costumers. Will people be so quick to frenzy over something that is “limited edition” if they know that in the past ”limited edition” actually meant ”limited edition (until we re-release or restock in a couple of weeks)”? On the other hand, I appreciate that I would have been able to acquire these eventually. So, even though I’m complaining, I suppose this weird ‘limited edition but not really’ thing is better than a truly limited edition color that can only be purchased on the nail polish gray market after the initial retail period is over.

SOPI It's Real vs OPI TMWTGG swatch

*whew* Okay, I’ll stop belly-aching now and get to the actual review. Both swatches are over black. Sephora by OPI It’s Real consists of very small irregularly sized gold flakes suspended in clear polish. I picked this one up at Sephora on clearance for $8, reduced from around $30. I had been eyeballing it after I saw it on twitter used over Sephora by OPI XOX Betsey. I passed originally because of the price tag but did a little happy dance when I was able to pick it up at such a reasonable price. This swatch is one coat. OPI The Man with the Golden Gun consists of larger irregularly sized gold flakes suspended in clear polish. This is two coats. It’s Real had an easier application, surely due to the smaller gold flakes. TMWTGG didn’t disburse evenly so I had to dab to get an even placement of flakies. I picked TMWTGG up on ebay for a reasonable price – I can’t remember now but I want to say it was around $20. These are different enough that owning both is justifiable. I think I like SOPI It’s Real a little better just because it’s more subtle – but I do love the Rorschach test-like  look of TMWTGG. Can you spot the continent of Africa on my nail? Haha.

Did you pick up or skip the gold flake trend? If you indulged, which one did you get?


19 Responses to “Sephora by OPI It’s Real vs. OPI The Man with the Golden Gun”

  1. Jess Says:

    I agree about Zoya creating false hype; pretty disingenuous on their part! I mean, I love Zoya polishes but I knew they were full of it because Nail Polish Canada had it listed in their Upcoming Collections section. Shady.

    I bought TMWTGG and I love it. The price tag was a bit painful but I don’t regret it. I wore it over Dior Diva for my bf’s work Xmas party and got a ton of compliments. I want to wear it over a turquoise like For Audrey next.

  2. Emi at Project Swatch Says:

    I was annoyed by the Zoya thing too – I kind of hate limited editions. Out of the SOPI & the OPI, I definitely prefer the giant-flake look of the OPI; too bad it’s so expensive! I’d rather buy a cheaper, not-real-gold polish that looks similar, really.

  3. Pam Says:

    I see Africa! I see Africa! Haha! :)

    I also got lucky and picked up Its Real for $8, woot!

  4. Nageldraken Says:

    I kinda like this trend but I am not prepared to pay for TMWTGG, so I got Ninja Polish The Midas Touch instead. I think it is very similar to TMWTGG and the price was a lot nicer… :-)

  5. Angie Says:

    First of all, I completely agree about the Zoya issue. I was so sad that I couldn’t purchase the Peter Som collection, only to find they were releasing the colors in the spring collection (which BTW, I bought the WHOLE collection!). What is the point of making something LE, just to months down the road, release it? Anyways…..

    I also bought the SOPI on clearance for $8.00! While I like the OPI, I can’t justify the price!

  6. beachgal Says:

    I do have MWTGG and Guilty – I got in on the first release of Guilty when it was $30 for 3 polishes – and since I did not own Purity or Raven I felt I could justify the price since I was ordering my first and only order from Zoya for 2012…I wanted a couple of the Ornate collections and still had an eyeball on Song from Fall. I like MWTGG best of the 2. Both really look about the same to those not really looking close. I did not like the Sephora by OPI when I saw it in a sample in the store last summer – it looked like a gold glitter to me but then the tester was pretty abused. Oh and I only paid $9.50 for the MWTGG – I got it from a friend who’s husband is an OPI distributor!

  7. beachgal Says:

    I forgot to add – I think we will see imitation ones of gold flake in all sorts of shades – pewter etc..already there are white gold and rose gold ones out there…but it’s not going to be too hard for other co. to make it out of a Mylar.

  8. Cindi Says:

    “I love both brands and feel like I need to collect everything they release”, ha ha ha that is Soo me. I did miss all the gold flakies though as they are out of my price point. I balk at $15 for a Butter London much less anything over $20. It can’t be THAT cute. I do like the look a lot though. But I think gold belongs on my hands in the form of jewelry rather than nail art that will be taken off and disposed of with a mani change.

  9. Dream Mom Says:

    I don’t care for the gold fleck polishes at all-they look cheap to me however I do agree with you about the Zoya Limited Edition.

    I do like Zoya(it’s my favortie brand) but I wish they would classify their polishes better-I love their polishes with “shimmer” in them (Colbie, Mikka, Isla) as opposed to the polishes with more “glitter”(Sarah, Julieanne) in them. That’s my personal preference and I’d buy a ton of the shimmer polishes if they’d categorize them.

    Overall, in terms of pricing on the specialty polishes, just because a woman likes nail polish doesn’t mean that anything goes price wise, in terms of polish prices. Also, if they are going to charge a premium price, it better be something really spectacular.

  10. Dream Mom Says:

    In terms of glitter type polishes, my absolute favorite combo is OPI Smokin in Havana (2 or 3 coats) with OPI Extravaganza (2-3 good coats so it’s covered with glitter) as a pedicure. I love this combination in the winter. I am very pale and when I wear this on my toes they glitter like diamonds in the sun. I do it only as a pedicure since it’s too much for a mani.

    BTW, your nails are gorgeous.

  11. saucyabby Says:

    I really hate gold anything so I was able skip on the whole gold flake thing. I really admire it on other people though!

  12. Deborah Says:

    I do spot the Africa flake haha! I love the look of both of them ♥.

  13. Jenni Says:

    Late to the party! You’ve been posting since August 2012. How did I miss this? You are my favourite ever nail polish blogger.

    I’m not a gold person but I am a PolishAddict person! I also see Africa.

  14. aksaiyo Says:

    I really wanted the man with the golden gun but my local beauty supply didn’t get any in, even though they had the rest of the collection. In the end, as my desperation waned, I saw a post in a nail polish group I am in on Facebook discussing an indie maker who made it. The indie maker is apparently also one of the spectraflair suppliers, and she made white gold, yellow gold, and mixed versions of the gold flake topcoat as well. I ended up with a yellow gold one from her, and according to reviews the flakes of gold were larger than the commercial branded ones.

    In the end, if you had some clear posh lying around it would be hard to make your own with some cheap pieces of gold flakes form eBay. Though tbh a suspension base might be needed.

  15. Steph Says:

    Jess – Yea, I totally don’t regret splurging on TMWTGG – that sounds like a ridiculously gorgeous combo.

    Emi – Me too!!! *holds up picket signs: DOWN WITH LEs* The not-real-gold looks pretty similar to me in swatches, there’s no difference I’m sure other than the novelty.

    Pam – LOL!! : )

    Nageldraken – Is it worth me checking that one out if I already have these two?

    Angie – I’m so glad so many of were able to snag the SOPI on clearance – yeay for bargain shopping. I got one for my MIL too. : )

    beachgal – Good to know – you’ve confirmed what I figured from looking at photos online. I feel more at ease. : P

    Cindi – lol!!!I don’t disagree with you – I’m just a sucker. : D

    Dream Mom – I’m planning to do a lot of Zoya swatches really soon so hopefully that will help more with differentiating their descriptions. And thanks! : )

    Saucyabby – Hilariously, I’m not a fan of gold for jewelry but like it for nail polish… and shoes… lol.

    Deb – HAHAHA. : )

    Jenni – Thank you SO much! I decided to get back into it now that life has calmed down a bit. : )

    aksaiyo – I *really* want a white gold one. I’ll have to hunt around for that.

  16. Nageldraken Says:

    I think The Midas Touch is very similar to TMWTGG, so you probably don’t need both. You can see my pictures of The Midas Touch here: At least to my eyes the polishes look nearly identical.

  17. Nageldraken Says:

    Oh, I just saw that you wanted a white gold flakie. Ninja Polish has one in the same collection as The Midas Touch, He Went to Jarred:
    It is out of stock at the moment, but you can sign up for an e-mail notification when they get it back.

  18. Aksaiyo Says:

    Here’s where I got my gold flakies, they’re on sale now too! In tempted to get more lol
    Not affiliated:

  19. Katlee Says:

    A little late, of course, but… I just went with getting gold flake (fake, of course) at the art/craft store and doing it myself… Oh, early-ish last year. Still have the foil, can control the size of the flakes and didn’t have to ‘fight’ to get it at a salon or online. heh

    Oh, and silver, too. I like both.

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