Hard Candy Nail Color Swatches, Review & Comparisons

Hard Candy has three newish nail colors out and I picked them up last time I saw them. Two looked extremely familiar so I wanted to do some comparisons.

The formula on these was hit & miss. One was pretty thick and not so easy to work with while the other two were pretty good.

Sky and Beetle


Sky is a very pale icy blue with subtle blue shimmer. The color itself is super pretty and one of my favorite blues. The formula left something to be desired. My bottle was fairly thick and a bit sticky feeling. It’s also pretty streaky and took three thick coats to get it even. I normally don’t mind doing three coats, but this was so thick it didn’t look all that great close up. Also even after three coats you can still faintly see the nail line. It’s been said that this is a dupe for Chanel Riva. I would say they are extremely close, but not dupes.

Sky on pointer & ring, Riva on middle & pinky

Riva is a tiny bit darker of a blue, less white looking. Also the shimmer in Riva is different. Sky seems more of an all-over opalescent type of shimmer whereas Riva is more just pale blue shimmer. I don’t even know how to explain it, but I do see a subtle difference between the two. But to the average person, I think they are close enough, especially when comparing the price difference!

As far as formula I would give it to Riva over Sky. Sky was so thick for me compared to my Chanel. Both lasted about the same amount of time on my nails before showing signs of wear, which was 2 days. That’s standard for me. I still have a *really* hard time believing anyone actually wears a polish with NO signs of wear for more than 4 days. I just don’t see how it’s possible!


Mushroom is a deep moth brown taupe creme. This is a great dark taupe, super shiny and flattering. Yes there probably is a dupe (or close enough) out there for this too, but I didn’t have time to check my 10,000 taupes to find it. ­čśë This applied really nicely, on the thin side. This was three coats.


Beetle is a glittery duochrome that changes form purple to red to green to brown depending on the lighting. The formula was pretty good with this one, thin and smooth. I needed three coats for total coverage. Does this look familiar to you though? Me too…

Beetle on pointer, Orly Space Cadet on middle, MAC Mean & Green on ring

Beetle is basically the same as Orly Space Cadet & MAC Mean & Green with a very small difference. The glitter/shimmer in Beetle is packed together more closely, so there is less of the greenish effect coming through. You can see more green if you look at my middle & ring finger than on my pointer. So basically the glitter is more dense with Beetle, but the colors are all so similar one is as good as the others.

The formula of this is good, but perhaps not quite as good as Orly, but better than MAC. I haven’t done a wear test on it yet, but am guessing it’s just a couple days for me.


I think all three of these colors are great and if you cannot find or don’t want to spend the cash on the other similar brands, then these are a perfect alternative. The only caveat is Walmart isn’t easy to find in a lot of places, so some people might find it easier to get the Orly/MAC/Chanel, etc.

Folks, I want to know what you think about these comparisons!

P.S. Stay tuned for another giveaway featuring two of these colors! :)




  • December 9, 2010

    Beetle is just amazing!!! Love the bottles :-)
    nail crazy┬┤s last post…Circus manicureimagineMy Profile

  • December 9, 2010

    Oh good, I can pass on Beetle! It’s pretty but I’m good with my Space Cadet. But I love the name. Sky I think I will snag, and I probably would get Mushroom too, because I love those shades of taupe. Thanks for the great comparisons!

  • December 9, 2010

    I love the look of Beetle in its packaging. It kind of sucks that my Walmart always has the rings missing from the Hard Candy bottles… Not that I’d wear ’em (I’m sure they’re too small), but it’s disappointing!

  • December 9, 2010

    Thanks for the comparisons, I know it’s a lot of hard work although it might not seem like it.
    I wish manufacturers actually tried to be a little more original with their color range instead of bringing us the same colors all over again… but with this price tag, one can’t complain, right?

  • December 9, 2010

    I love these!!

    I used to be a huge fan of Hard Candy, before they disappeared…
    Am so glad they’re back now!
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  • December 9, 2010

    Oh wow, that does look close to being a dupe for the Chanel color <3 hurray!
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  • December 9, 2010

    I will definitely purchase Sky since Riva is really expensive and hard to find where I live. Thanks for swatching.

  • December 9, 2010

    Will snag Sky if I can find it! Love the Mushroom too. I’m all set with Space Cadet, so I’ll pass on Beetle. Thanks for doing these comparisons!!

  • December 9, 2010

    Beetle is a really nice color..I actually like it better then the others (MAC) on the compare hand.

  • December 9, 2010

    I like Mushroom alot. Like you, I am in love with anything taupe!

  • December 9, 2010

    I picked up Sky and Beetle a few weeks ago. I actually picked up Beetle because I wanted to see if it was the same as Space Cadet (which I already owned), and I found the same thing with the tightly packed glitter.

    I can’t get sky to look right. It was sooo streaky and caused some wicked cuticle drag. I got so frustrated that I took it off right away. I do like the color – so I’ll probably try again more carefully.

    My son has fun with the rings and tells me, “look, mom, JEWELS!”
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  • December 9, 2010

    Great comparisons! I’d grab Sky in a second, it’s a cute colour. And I’m seeing so many dupes of Space Cadet, it’s really not funny anymore. But such a cool colour …
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  • December 9, 2010

    Does anyone know if these are available in Canada?

  • December 9, 2010

    Wooow, I really like the sky colour and then the beetle colour <3 Thanks for the swatches! :)
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  • December 9, 2010

    Thanks for the swatches/comparisons! I didn’t get Space Cadet and won’t pay for Riva so Sky and Beetle it is! :)

  • December 9, 2010

    I bought beetle but haven’t tried it yet. I read that beetle is more opaque with less coats than Space Cadet.
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  • December 9, 2010

    Hard Candy was the first “trendy” polish I bought in high school :) *memories* I bought the new Sky right away when Riva came out hoping that it would be a dupe. Thanks for the comparison pics! I have yet to try my bottle, but I wonder if adding a little polish thinner would help with the poor application?

  • December 9, 2010

    Sky looks lovely! I can’t get Riva anyway since apparently we can’t find here in Italy so..

  • December 9, 2010

    I just picked up sky the other day. It looks so pretty and cant wait to use it! I was looking for beetle, but my wal mart didnt have it.

  • December 9, 2010

    I’m glad that there are more dupes of Orly Space Cadet. It gives people a better chance of getting hold of this incredible colour. Thanks for the on-the-nail comparison!

  • December 9, 2010

    great colors! i’m loving sky and mushroom!
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  • December 9, 2010

    Oh uh! I want them :O
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  • December 9, 2010

    I wish Walmart wasn’t so far away. I’d get these in a Heartbeat.

  • December 10, 2010

    I like Beetle!
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  • December 10, 2010

    Sky looks close enough to Riva for me…do you think polish thinner would solve the thickness problem?
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  • December 10, 2010

    Damnit, when is my Wal-Mart going to have the damn polishes??? I’m seriously considering propositioning someone on here to buy them for me and ship them out….

  • December 10, 2010

    I too was skeptical about anyone being able to wear polish for over 4 days without wear or chips, but this week I am wearing china glaze in recycle with a revlon top coat…and 5 days after applying I only have 1 tiny chip in the polish! I am very impressed!

  • December 11, 2010

    did you ever try the original hard candy nail polish in sky? that was awesome and wondering if this was in anyway the same……that was a long time ago, though circa 1997

    • December 11, 2010

      Hi Ann,

      I might have but I was more into Urban Decay back then rather than Hard Candy, so I can’t remember!

  • December 11, 2010

    These are so pretty! I want them all 3! <3

  • December 11, 2010

    Sky is really pretty. I never go to Walmart. I know the other two I have dupes for.

  • December 11, 2010

    I love my Beetle, I got it because I couldn’t get the other two and I’m totally happy with it.

    That Mushroom color looks like something I’ve see before, something EXPENSIVE!
    Man! it’s going to bug me now… what does that look like… is it a Chanel color i’m thinking of??
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  • December 13, 2010

    Beetle looks pretty.
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