Zoya Armor ranked 8 out of 12 polishes. Now, before I continue, I think it’s only fair to state that Zoya markets Armor in it’s Color Lock System and encourages the use of their Hurry Up speed dry drops to quicken the dry time. So I was not surprised to see that the rating for Dry Speed category suffered somewhat – it was to be expected. However, if you take a look at the scores across the board, the lowest score was for shine – something that has nothing to do with dry speed.
One tester did rank Armor as their favorite, but other than one additional ranking at #5, the rest of the rankings were at the very low end of the spectrum. Despite it’s mediocre performance, it did tie for second in the Scent Category. So I suppose if your nose is more discerning than your sight, this would be the top coat for you!
Here are the results: (if you’re just joining us, rating chart explanation is here)
Comments: Tester 1
Applied smoothly, and was very shiny. Took a very long time to dry, but remained shiny and smooth once it finally dried. I had a lot of chipping, tipwear and peeling towards the end of the first day wearing this.
Comments: Tester 2
Test 1: Polish is OPI Suzi Skis in the Pyrenees Suede. Test 2: Polish is Illamasqua Snap. Applied top coat on completely dry matte nail polish (first test only). Consistency was good, neither thick nor thin; polish stayed on the brush until applied, and only went where I applied it. Application was very smooth, no tip pull. The scent was lighter than most nail polishes. Shine after application is fair.After 10 minutes the topcoat was still slightly tacky. After 20 minutes the surface is dry to the touch and feels stable. It does not feel as smooth and glass-like as other top coats do though, but it might be because of the matte polish underneath. For the next test I will use it over regular polish to see if there is a difference. After 30 minutes I cannot even put a dent in it, very nice! But this may be due to putting it on top of dry polish – the next test I will put over the polish right after the color is applied. The fact that the surface of my nails is not smooth is bugging the hell out of me though. The nails were still not smooth during the second test.
Day 1 after mani: no chips, no tipwear, shine is the same (fair). Day 2 after mani: no chips, no tipwear, shine is the same (fair). Day 3 after mani: small chips and tipwear on many of the nails, shine remains the same.
Comments: Tester 3
Polish is BPAL Morgause. Took ages to dry, about 30 minutes to touch then woke up with sheet marks. Although I was careful with application I still had lots of bubbles. Smell was fine. Tried again next day, was more careful and didn’t get as many sheet marks. Had severe tipwear following day and large chip to index finger that warranted removal.
Comments: Tester 4
Great application, smooth, shiny, just thick enough. Slight bubbling though. Quick drying, dry to gentle pressure with no marks in less than 10 minutes. Smell faded as soon as it was dry.This stuff wore like iron, with minimal tip wear even after two days of using my hands A LOT to get my classroom ready to begin the year!
2nd mani – slower drying but my polish was thicker, and 1 bubble. Again, smell faded immediately. Fabulous wear again with mani #2!
Comments: Tester 5
Thin to medium consistency, no drag. Smell faded very fast but wasn’t that bad to begin with. Medium shine.Still tacky at 10 minutes but dry to touch at 15. All dry in 1 hour. No shrinkage.
Minimal tipwear and small chip by day 3. Tried with an old China Glaze but had to remove due to bubbling.
Comments: Tester 6
Hello bubbles. No shine, rough surface. And over UD Toxin too – what a waste! The application was actually very nice, with no shrinkage to speak of so I’ll try with a B3F polish next time as I have a feeling it could be good. I was wrong. It was better, but there were still bubbles and the shine was not good. Mani did not hold up well at all.
Comments: Tester 7
Right hand: Single coat, left hand: 2 coats. Used over 2 coats of BB Couture Midnight Malibu, worn for 5 full days. This top coat is one of the thicker ones consistency-wise, so I deliberately chose it to use over Midnight Malibu which is a fine, but not particularly smooth glitter. I am sorry to report that one coat doesn’t smooth out the surface of my nail, and my left hand where I applied a second coat is a little better, but definitely still textured.My left hand, which had maybe 20 minutes to dry before I went to sleep also shows some sheet marks on a couple of the fingers, though the right hand which had around 22 minutes doesn’t. My go to top coat is Seche, and on my toes, the same 2 coats of Midnight Malibu topped with 1 coat of Seche are totally smooth. Something else interesting to note about this top coat is that it doesn’t seem to do a good job of self-leveling – whether this is related to it being over glitter or not, I can’t say.
Obviously the rough texture created by the glitter prevents this top coat displaying its proper shine, but I can clearly see that the left hand (with the second coat) is shinier than the right, and similarly on my left hand, the free edge of the nail where the top coat is thicker, has more shine than up around my cuticles where the application is thinner.
Day 3: no chips, no tip wear, no complaints. Day 5: Erk, big chip on my right middle finger, though all the other fingers are showing nothing more than a little tip wear.
Further observations/comments from subsequent applications: Using skittle manis with 1 or 2 fingers on both hands this top coat was also tested over: Borghese Ecstasi Indigo; OPI Do You Lilac It?; China Glaze Midnight Ride; Mavala Marine Blue.
Some polish drag for a couple of fingers of Do You Lilac It? but doesn’t seem to pick up colour on brush. Self-leveling. First to chip of top coats A, J, K, and L over Do You Lilac It?. No chips, and very minimal tip wear after 4 days over Marine Blue, but it hasn’t retained the shine very well. I didn’t have the super slow drying time over flat polishes that I did over the bumpy glitter I used it on for the first manicure – nor have I noticed any issues with uneven application… possibly this top coat just doesn’t like uneven surfaces, or is not a happy match with BB Couture but is chemically compatible to 4 brands with which it was subsequently tested.
Comments: Tester 8
Worn 5 full days. Single coat applied. Worn over a single coat of Orly Bare Rose. Didn’t notice the smell of this while applying at all. Very easy to apply. Dried reasonably quickly, nothing to write home about though. Don’t think the shine on this one is quite as brilliant, though still acceptable… would describe as satin, and gives a well groomed effect on my older hands without drawing attention to them. Wore wonderfully. A few chips on a nail that is flaking, but otherwise there was nothing but tipwear.