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A hand, with sparkly nail polish, in front of a sunset.
A hand, with sparkly nail polish, in front of a sunset.
Kate Green

Is This Influencer Nail Polish Worth the Hype?: Testing Out Holo Taco

This past Christmas I was lucky to receive a box of nail products from the popular, Youtuber-owned brand Holo Taco. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve been tempted to try out this company’s famous holographic shades, but I couldn’t quite justify spending around $14 plus shipping on each nail polish. Also, in this climate where it seems like every social media influencer in the world is launching a cosmetics brand, I’ve grown slightly incredulous as to if these companies are legit. Eager to see if Holo Taco lives up to the internet hype, this week I set about putting my new polishes to the test.

For a bit of context, Holo Taco is a relatively online-only, indie brand launched by Canadian influencer Christine Rotenberg. The name “Holo Taco” refers to the brand’s signature holographic formulas and special topcoats (which they have dubbed “tacos”). Christine, better known online as Simply Nailogical, has over 7.6 million YouTube subscribers and many viral hit videos like painting 100 layers of polish on her nails. I’ve enjoyed watching her content when it pops up on the trending page; however, I’m not a dedicated member of her fan base, so I can offer an honest review. 

The first thing that caught my eye when I opened my box from Holo Taco is the packaging. I love how the nail polish cartons are minimalist black and white, but they have cute details like cutouts and holographic effects. Also, I appreciate how the bottles themselves feel heavy and high quality, and the brush handles are a nice matte texture which makes them easy to grip. Even more importantly, I noticed how each polish is clearly labeled cruelty-free and vegan. That was automatically a win in my books! 

My gift consisted of an ombre, glass nail file, a Super Glossy Taco (a shiny topcoat), Coral Chaser (a pastel, linear holographic shade) and Party Punch (a silver and pink holographic glitter). In order to test out the two different formulas, I decided to paint Coral Chaser on my right hand and Party Punch on my left hand. To keep this trial strictly Holo Taco, I just filed my nails and skipped a base coat, using a generous layer of the Super Glossy Taco to seal my final manicure. 

Overall, I found the application process incredibly smooth. It just took me two coats to get a completely opaque look with each color, and I could’ve stopped with one coat of Coral Chaser for a truer pastel effect. I didn’t notice any annoying clumping or streaking, and I only had to wait a few minutes between my coats. Also, the Super Glossy Taco lived up to its name and gave my manicure a smooth, glassy shine. The only possible con I noticed when painting my nails was the viscosity of the polish. Holo Taco formulas all seem to be quite thick (probably because of the glitter and pigmentation?) which sometimes means that I ended up with more product than I wanted on my brush. If you ever use this brand, I would definitely caution you to only pick up a small amount of polish before touching down on each nail.

When the polish dried, I immediately fell in love with both of the shades. The main appeal of Holo Taco is of course their unique holographic range, and I have to say that the products really don’t look like other formulas that I’ve used in the past. In regular lighting, Coral Chaser is a relatively demure light pink, but when I look at my nails in the sunlight or under my camera’s flash, the polish reflects tons of tiny rainbows and gives a metallic-unicorn vibe. Light also activates the rich, berry-toned Party Punch, creating a pink-disco ball effect. I love the fun versatility! I’m also interested in how the holographic particles in Coral Chaser blend together and form a smoother, reflective quality, while the glitter in Party Punch is chunkier and more dispersed. The colors even pair well together; I don’t feel the need to repaint my nails all the same shade. 

My first experience trying this brand was super positive, and I can say with certainty that Holo Taco’s products aren’t just a quick, influencer cash grab. If I ever want to treat myself to special nail polish, I will definitely purchase new Holo Taco shades. Everyone who has seen my nails this week has given me a compliment, so there’s definitely something special about the products! That being said, I can’t see myself purchasing non-holographic shades from Holo Taco in the future (they offer a range with classic creme finishes). The rainbow refraction effect is what truly makes the polishes stand out from their competitors and justifies their price point.

Kate is a San Francisco native and second-year English major at UCLA. When she's not writing articles for Her Campus at UCLA, she enjoys getting lost in a good book and experimenting with vegan recipes.
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