Bleu Majorelle, Take 3: Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Byte Blue

Posted on February 05, 2016 under Reviews


Okay, guys. Is this getting ridiculous yet? I now have five bottles of nail polish in this shade range, all acquired with an eye to duping Sally Hansen’s reformulated and completely different Pacific Blue.

(I may be getting slightly better – I found a shade at H&M that I thought was similar, said, “I know it’s not going to be the same, but I’m going to buy it anyway,” and then a few minutes later decided against it. No promises for the future, though. Swatches of that product are scarce, but from what I can tell it is far too light, with an almost periwinkle tone. Still gorgeous, just not the right colour.)

I’ll answer my own question: this is getting ridiculous. I know this. And yet I cannot help being utterly bewitched by the hunt for the nail polish that best encapsulates the bleu Majorelle of Marrakech. I now identify strongly with Captain Ahab, which is for obvious reasons quite a surprise.


Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech, January 2015

My dupe hunt has been going on for months now. I’ve looked at endless swatches of supposed “dupes” online, instantly dismissing all of them. (HOW ARE THESE PEOPLE NOT SEEING THE BLATANT DIFFERENCES?) And I’ve given two polishes a try myself. First I tried Barry M’s Damson, which was close but a bit too deep for my (extremely) discerning eye. Then I tried YSL’s Bleu Majorelle, which despite its name fails to capture the electricity and vibrancy of the real deal. The old Pacific Blue (much lighter, brighter, and more opaque, as well as sans sparkle, compared to the new one) is the closest polish I’ve ever found to the bleu Majorelle I’ve seen in person.

It seems that Sally Hansen, breaker of Pacific Blue-loving hearts everywhere, may be the answer to our prayers. In a newly-launched addition to the Miracle Gel line (which I have previously reviewed), Sally Hansen has brought out Byte Blue. As soon as I unloaded it from a box of new releases at work I gasped, showing it to my work friend who is also aware of my quest.

“Is it the same?” she asked as I swatched it on a piece of paper.

“I… think it might be,” I said. “I have to buy it.” Never mind the fact that I have two backups of Pacific Blue plus the Barry M and YSL shades. I bought it for the blog, people.

(She then suggested two other colours to me, which I quickly refuted as completely incorrect. My bleu Majorelle eye is finely-tuned!)

As we all know, a swatch (on paper, nonetheless) is very different from wear on the nails – so is Byte Blue the new Pacific Blue?

In a word, not quite. But it’s the best I’ve found so far.

Let’s have a look at the two on the nails:


Here I’ve indicated with an asterisk which nails have been painted with Byte Blue. The other three (thumb, middle finger, and pinky) are sporting Pacific Blue, the colour which I am trying to dupe.

Now, I fully admit that 1) They are similar, and 2) I have a very discerning eye. (I refuse to admit that I’m just seeing things. Nobody else sees the differences because they aren’t looking for them and because they have no horse in this race.) But I think you can see from this image that Pacific Blue is deeper and slightly more purple than Byte Blue. Is Byte Blue a vibrant, gorgeous, electric blue? Yes. Is it similar to bleu Majorelle? Yes! But it doesn’t capture the essence and depth of that colour quite as well as Pacific Blue, which I find to be far more complex.

Byte Blue lasts just as well as most nail polish does with a top coat: that is, about 5-6 days without chipping and then another 2-3 days after that with only minor tipwear. (This, of course, changes when I’m working with my hands a lot, when even the best top coat will not preserve a manicure past the 2-day mark.)

I painted my other hand using Barry M Damson and YSL Bleu Majorelle:


Here I think my conclusion from the YSL post is especially stark: Bleu Majorelle, the nail polish, is far too dark and, to me, lacks both the vibrancy and depth of Pacific Blue and its other imitators.

Let’s see all four colours together:


Here we can see that Pacific Blue (PB) is deeper and slightly more purple than both Byte Blue (BB) and Damson (D), though lighter than Bleu Majorelle (BM) while retaining that vaguely purple undertone. Byte Blue and Damson look nearly identical both in pictures and on the nails, but Byte Blue is a hair deeper than Damson and has a very vaguely creamy quality that is more reminiscent of Pacific Blue.

So, in all my Pacific Blue dupe-hunting, I have come to the following conclusions:

A) There is no exact dupe for Sally Hansen Pacific Blue on the market.
B) The essential qualities of Sally Hansen Pacific Blue, which set it apart from other nail polishes of a similar colour, are as follows: 1) It retains its vibrancy while being slightly darker than most similar colours, something which makes it peculiar and adds to its allure. 2) It has the very slightest purple undertone – not noticeable on its own, but something that can be picked up on when swatched next to comparable colours. 3) It has a creamy quality (to the colour, not the texture) that other colours lack.
C) Sally Hansen Pacific Blue is very hard to describe to accurately. My descriptions seem to gain complexity as I try new possible dupes.
D) I am very picky in my assessments of these dupes, but I am also correct. Whether or not anybody else notices the differences (or cares), the fact is that Sally Hansen Pacific Blue is singular.
E) Sally Hansen Byte Blue is the closest dupe I’ve found, but it’s still not close enough that I am ready to end my dupe hunt.

(Conversation with my roommate last week, as we compared all four:

Me: You know, it’s just a bit more purple and darker. And it has sort of a creamy base, I don’t know.
Her: You don’t know?
Me: Okay, I’ve thought about this a lot.

She also agreed that they are different, SO THERE.)

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