OPI San Francisco swatches and comparisons, Pt 1: Cremes

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How to cite: Wong M. OPI San Francisco swatches and comparisons, Pt 1: Cremes. Lab Muffin Beauty Science. June 10, 2013. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://labmuffin.com/opi-san-francisco-swatches-and-comparisons-pt-1-cremes/

Parts 2 and 3 are out! Click through to check out the liquid sands and shimmers in the collection.

Recently I was very fortunate to be invited to the launch of OPI’s San Francisco collection, inspired by the vibrant (and foggy) city’s sophisticated urban chic. It was a very exciting day! I got to hear what OPI are up to, from the amazing and passionate George Schaeffer who started OPI based on his work in dental products (OPI actually stands for Odontorium Products Inc).

Equally excitingly, I finally met the lovely Sharon of Polish Infatuated, who was one of the original bloggers who inspired me to start my own blog! And perhaps most excitingly, I had a sneak peek of the new OPI collections coming out later in the year! Unfortunately, I arrived a bit late (Sydney public transport, gah) and didn’t have time to take good photographs of the new swatches, so here is a quick and dirty phone photo of a new Mariah Carey collection coming out later this year (including holo dot glitter!) – Sharon has better photos on her post of the event!

In the incredibly generous goodie bag, I received the whole of the San Francisco collection, and naturally I’ve been busy wearing them all. I feel like I get a better feel for how much I’ll end up wearing the colours when I actually road test them instead of hastily swatching, and whether they make me feel sophisticated/pretty/mismatched/trashy. So that’s my excuse for the belated post! 😉

There are 6 cremes in the collection. They’re all moody and dramatic – when I first saw swatches of this collection on US blogs I wasn’t excited, but now that it’s finally cooled down here in Australia, I’m really loving the deep, rich colour.

Keeping Suzi at Bay is my absolute favourite creme, possibly favourite polish, in this collection. It’s definitely my favourite blue creme right now! It’s a deep, slightly murky blue, somewhat similar to OPI… Eurso Euro in the Euro Centrale collection, but less purple-toned, and more of a true navy. It’s a bit more wearable in my opinion. I didn’t want to take it off!

Incognito in Sausalito is an inky, almost black, blue shade. I like how it looks a bit less harsh than a true black, but I don’t tend to reach for almost-black shades.


Here’s a comparison of the two blue cremes from this collection, along with OPI… Eurso Euro and Wharf! Wharf! Wharf!, a creme liquid sand I’ll be swatching a bit later.

A-Piers to Be Tan is a yellow-toned brown, with a kind of terracotta look to it. I really want to like it, because the formula and application are superb, but it just doesn’t suit my skin tone – the yellow tones are just too similar for my liking.



It’s actually very different to the other browns I own – here are the two nearest in my swatch stick collection. It’s more strongly orange-toned than both Nubar Milk Chocolate and OPI A-Taupe the Space Needle.

And onto the reds! Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, OPI’s artistic director, apparently always starts with a red when making new collections. (It’s probably every nail addict’s dream to pick her brains – I get a bit drooly when I read US bloggers’ posts on meeting her!) Almost half this collection is made up of reddish shades, including 3 cremes:

In the Cable Car-Pool Lane is a burgundy shade, straddling the fence between red and purple. I was originally ambivalent about this colour, but in the 24 hours I wore it, I got compliments from 3 different people, including my sister who tends to ignore my nails altogether (we live together, and she’s commented on my nails maybe three times). It’s not a unique colour, but it’s very sophisticated, flattering and work-safe. A shade like this is a must in every collection, in my opinion (right after a bright red). This one will be on high rotation this winter!



It’s just a smidgen lighter than China Glaze Purr-fect Plum.

The final two reds are incredibly similar, and I’m surprised they were released in the same collection.

First Date at the Golden Gate is described as a ruby red. It’s a tad orange and muted.



Lost on Lombard is darker and more neutral. It’s described as garnet.



They look quite different on my hands… but then I tried painting First Date at the Golden Gate on half the nail over Lost on Lombard, and took photos in both shade and sun:


I can only just tell that I’m wearing two polishes – in fact, when browsing through my photos, I assumed these were single colour swatches! But against my skin they look quite different. First Date at the Golden Gate is more the sort of colour I gravitate towards, but I think Lost on Lombard is more flattering against my skin, so I’m undecided about which one I like more. What do you think?

Here’s what they look like next to some similar reds:

As usual, all the cremes gave full coverage in 2-3 thin coats and applied beautifully. OPI have really nailed opaque creme formulas!

In the coming weeks I’ll be showcasing the shimmers and liquid sands from the San Francisco collection – stay tuned…

These products were provided, which did not affect my opinion. For more information, see Disclosure Policy.


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27 thoughts on “OPI San Francisco swatches and comparisons, Pt 1: Cremes”

  1. Aww, it was so great to see you too! 🙂 Beautiful swatches as usual and I agree, I know I will be constantly reaching for these shades throughout the upcoming cooler days as well.

  2. Great swatches and review! I am wondering if you could give some insight on how “In the cable car-pool lane” compares to OPI Anti-bleak and OPI Casino Royale?

    • I’m a massive sucker for OPI as well! Applying a perfectly smooth creme makes me so much more excited than glitter… I think I’m in the minority here!

  3. Thank you so much for the comparison photos. In the Cable Car-Pool Lane was on my to-buy list, but I have several similar/same shades so I’ll give it a miss at least until I spend at least one of the similar polishes.
    I’m sooo looking forward to seeing your swatches of Muir Muir on the Wall.

  4. I love these swatches…when the textured ones appear I won’t be able to hold myself back!…and I can always dream of San Francisco 🙂


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