Anchors Away China Glaze Spring 2011 review

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Sail into Spring with hues inspired by surf and sand

Anchors Away China Glaze Spring photos: we heart this – nail color: First Mate

All nail polish is not created equal. I used to be of the mind that, save the color selection, it was all the same. The inequality amongst nail polishes is only something that can be learned as one gets older, tries more products, seeks out new color, and concerns oneself with that which one puts in or on her body. Those of you like me who seek to avoid chemical contaminates while still having a vibrant, chip-resistant polish need to stock their cabinets with China Glaze.

China Glaze has been around for more than thirteen years, always providing high quality, on-trend color and treatments. China Glaze is so named because their lacquers contain real china clay as a nail hardener – it’s the same stuff that gives porcelain its shiny surface. Here at wht, we’re big fans of their hard working formula and ever evolving shade selection. Recently, the team got the chance to say “Hello Sailor!” to the Spring 2011 collection, Anchors Away.

Anchors Away China Glaze Spring collection

This new(ish) collection has a timeless nautical theme and contains 12 modern hues inspired by high seas. We have been hearing these shades have an extra ooomph in the pigmentation levels – for a super sleek, deep, yacht-worthy finish. I can’t wait to hear what my review team members thought of this updated formula, so I’ll be sure to read the comments for their reviews.

Anchors Away China Glaze Spring - Sea Spray nail color: Sea Spray

As for me, I received two colors ($6.50 a bottle) from the Anchors Away collection; Ahoy! and Pelican Gray. I tend to paint only my toes since the nails on my fingers must remain neutral for work; therefore, I gave each of these colors a consecutive try on my piggly-wigglies.

Three Anchors Away China Glaze Spring with different shadesHey Sailor, First Mate, Pelican Grey

First up was Pelican Gray, a cool dove-gray, clay color in the bottle (true to the website swatch). Spring was off to a cold, rainy start here in Los Angeles and I felt this was an appropriate first toe color for the season. This color does have a tiny bit of shimmer that was completely undetected by me in swatch or bottle—I was pleasantly surprised. Pelican Gray has high sheen along with that subtle shimmer. Two coats is perfect coverage for me. Gray just got a little less sad.

Three Anchors Away China Glaze Spring with different shades Knotty, Sea Spray, Ahoy

In the bottle Ahoy! appears to be a glittery fuchsia (darker, but similar to the swatch on their website) and this bottle is quite the little tart. This “intense pink flashes with reflective glass” looks like the color the dames wear at Merchant Marine points of call. Bright AND glittery – could this work for me?

Luckily, this doesn’t seem to wear at all the same as the swatch or bottle, appearing a little closer to a burgundy on my nails. The glitter isn’t too over-the-top either, proving to be a great sun-catcher. Speaking of catching…you could also catch a sailor with this color, but he still can take you home to mom.

Wanna see more colors?

Three Anchors Away China Glaze Spring with different shades Lighthouse, White Cap, Below Deck

Three Anchors Away China Glaze Spring with different shadesSunset Sail, Life Preserver, Starboard

Both of these Anchors Away polishes wore well for an entire week. This is quite a compliment as I spend a lot of time on my feet in shoes. Usually, chipping or peeling of my polish is a nearly instantaneous thing. I haven’t given these polishes the real test of wearing them in the surf and sand, but based on what I’ve experienced so far I think I know what I’m in for. Looks like I’m taking the good China to the beach this year.

• Extraordinarily long wearing and chip-resistant
• Smooth, glossy finish
• Free of harmful chemicals like DBP, toluene and added formaldehyde.
• Huge selection of colors
• Great price point

• What cons?
• Ok, here’s one: Pelican Gray has become my new nail color obsession after my initial nose curl at seeing it—and it’s a limited edition color.

Ladies who lacquer, how do you feel about China Glaze?

Shop the Anchors Away collection at Amazon.
What a deal! The “Knotty Nauticals” set contains 6 bright Anchors Away shades while the “Sand & Sea” set has the 6 calming neutrals. $23.50 each

Sherri is co-author of What Would You Do With This Room? My 10 Foolproof Commandments to Great Interior Design, and of course, a wht writer!

Disclosure: This review includes products that were provided by the manufacturer/PR firm for our consideration. It also contains an affiliate link, a link that gives us a small commission if you purchase the item. For more info, or any questions, please see our disclosure policy.


  • sherrishera

    Sherri is a writer, dog lover, old movie fanatic, history detective, political junkie, fashion pundit and social media consumer advocate. “A fancy dinner and expensive champagne are better than writing a rent check any day of the week.” skin tone: NC 25 skin type: oily/sensitive favorite beauty product: anti-aging anything

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  1. Great post, Sherrishera!
    I have seen China Glaze here and there, but never thought to pick a bottle up..until now!
    I am seriously crushing on the color First Mate (that must be Stef’s incredible mani!) I am wondering if the colors come off the nails without staining? For such a deep, blue, I am afraid my nails and cuticles will look like Smurfette for days to come…

    1. @glamazon56 – you’re right, that is Stef’s patented perfect mani – but she’s wearing my color! I was all over First Mate – a rich yet bright blue that looks great with my cool skin tones – but let Stef borrow the bottle for these images – we had to get that color in a swatch!

  2. @sherrishera – I’ve loved China Glaze for ages but had no idea their polish contained real china clay! Thanks for enlightening us, and for the tempting review. I see at least three colors I must own NOW!

  3. I wasn’t too thrilled with this collection at first, but after seeing swatches everywhere I am really liking these.

    And Sally’s Beauty has a sale going on right now, buy 2 get one free! YAY!

    1. I know what you mean @JoElla – at first I wasn’t overwhelmed with this collection, but it has really grown on me. There’s a number of really pretty and unique colors.

      And thanks for the BOGO hint!

  4. Great post – thank you for the background on the china clay to harden – interesting! I didn’t know this company used that or didn’t use the harsh chemicals – those facts will make me consider them in the future when I usually just stick with one brand. I’m not very hip to keeping on trend with my polish colors, so I pretty much just like Ahoy, Below Deck, and Sunset Sail – but they sure do look lovely!

    1. Try going a little crazy on your toes. Like I mentioned in the post, i can’t have anything but neutral/clear polish for work (not to mention I can be a nervous nail biter–yuk, I know) but I really try anything on my toes.

  5. @Sherrishera , I’m in the same boat as @turboterp , I never knew China Glaze contained real clay! How cool.

    I received “Starboard” to test. I knew right away it was a match made in heaven because a) it’s China Glaze, and b) it’s green! Anyone who knows me knows about my green nail polish obsession.
    Starboard is the perfect creamy green. It’s not too dark, not too bright, but juuuuust right. It reminds me of the boats in Boston Harbor, totally perfect considering the collection! Because it’s China Glaze you can be sure that the quality and lasting power is top notch. With only two coats I had full coverage. With out a top or base coat the polish lasts about 3 days with minimal to no chipping, and with a good top coat I made it nearly 5 days with no chipping, and that included a trip rock climbing!

    5 Stars! China Glaze is a hit every time.

    1. I never knew the real clay bit before researching the product for this review. Pretty cool…and why didn’t someone think of this before? Forget porcelain skin–go for porcelain nails

  6. I tested First Mate – a dreamy deep blue – not too dark and not too light – it really straddles the line between navy and royal blue. It also has a nice amount of shine so the blue never looks dirty. Like @mandaleem described her green Starboard this polish is a creamy hued blue.

    I only had one quick mani test so far (@stef has my bottle of First Mate so she could take her amazing mani pictures) but my fast test showed the polish applied super smooth and almost opaque on the first coat. I needed two coats to get a great finish. My mani lasted 4 days until I got chips but I was very hard on them (packing and shipping lots of boxes, organizing closets) and did not use a top coat.

    Another 5 star nail polish from China Glaze – and check out these colors in person if you can – they’re pretty great!

  7. @sherrishera, great review! Very informative.

    I received “Knotty,” which is a golden-tan/champagne shade, with TONS of fine shimmer. It’s really a pretty shade, a fun variation of “neutral.” The color is fairly pigmented, looking good at one coat (a little sheer but not streaky), and opaque at two coats. The brush is nice and spreads the polish evenly, and it lasted me about a week (with the base and top coats that I usually use). I was really pleased with this polish!

    I can’t wait to try out some of the other shades. :) 5 stars!

  8. Great review! While I don’t own much CH, I LOVE what I have. My two current faves are Drummer Boy(don’t remember which collection),which is a very dark navy and a lime green glitter one(I can’t remember the name, but it’s “Ogre” something. I do have all the Crackles-which I love!

  9. Ugh, I want Lighthouse and First Mate so bad. I love blues and yellows!

  10. Very interesting to learn they use clay. I love their great selections of colors. China Glaze is one of my favorite polish brands and infact I’m wearing it now. Going to have to check these new nautical colors out. Perfect for spring!

  11. I’m late to the commenting party, only because I wanted to make sure I got my color right. I got Sunset Sail to test, but I couldn’t remember the color name. (Even though I was wearing it!) I kept looking at Knotty going, “Is it that one? I don’t think so, but…”

    Anyway, I mention this because though I adore everything China Glaze (my first CG polish was from WHT!) this is a fairly sheer polish. And with all sheers, the color can vary due to the opacity in which you apply.
    In the bottle, Sunset Sail looks to be a beige-peach with teeny tiny shimmers. However, it took three good coats to get a color that matched the bottle. (And still have a slight VNL, visible nail line.) That may be a turn-off for some. I think the best way around this is a white basecoat.

    However, I’m a nail junkie, so I didn’t mind. It is a great wearable color for a wide range of skin types, and it’s got the lasting quality of China Glaze that I love. I wasn’t super impressed when I first saw the line, but I think that’s because they’re all fairly solid colors with no one big stand-out “OMG, I NEED IT!” color.

    I give this 5 stars, even if it requires a few coats, this is still a solid color. And it doesn’t advertise itself as a polish that perfect for a quick mani, it’s just a regular polish with great color and staying power!

  12. I so did not want to give First Mate back to @tyna after that photo shoot! It’s the perfect blue to me, not so dark that it borders on black, dark enough to still be sophisticated, but light enough so it’s fun. I’m getting my own bottle pronto!

    My shade is Sea Spray, the lighter blue shown above. I was all wrapped up in the fact that Beauty Bloggers were saying it’s a dupe for Chanel Riva, so I had to have it.

    This is a pretty, pretty shade. It’s pastel, but more of a grey-blue so I think you still get that pastel vibe, but in an easier to wear color (a bit more womanly than little girl). It also has a super fine micro shimmer to it that I actually notice more in the bottle than I do on my nails.

    And the formula, China Glaze just can’t be beat. 2 coats, perfect consistency, 5 stars!

  13. Looooving the first blue! would be perfect for summer boating and matchy patchy with a good pair of denim <3 it! xoxo

  14. I’ve never tried China Glaze but I might need to change that…Starboard is really pretty, perfect for spring and summer.

  15. “First Mate” is calling my name—I love the true blue shade!! I’m also pretty intrigued by “Life Preserver” :) I’ve only been using China Glaze polishes for a little over a year or so now and I’ve been really impressed with how well they wear and how unique the colors are–I always get compliments from strangers when I’m wearing China Glaze!

  16. I’m still on the “eh” side for this collection. It seems like I saw a lot of the colors saw last year!

  17. I received Lighthouse which was very very suncatcher-esque for me! I own a few of this collection already and had not purchased Lighthouse so I was excited for a new addition :) I love China Glaze polishes. They never disappoint, quality wise. I was a bit unsure of this color at first but it really is such a summery color, I can definitely pull it off. This whole collection unfortunately does not compare to the “Up and Away” collection from last spring but I still think that this is a cute collection with some unique colors! I give it a 5 :)

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