July 10, 2008

Hard-to-Find Week Pre-Party: Black Tie Optional

Posted in Duo/Multichrome, Hard-to-Find, OPI tagged at 5:49 pm by pretear

OPI Black Tie Optional, a deep purple beetle multichrome from the 2001 World Collection, is one of the classic hard-to-find polishes.

I lemminged this one forever until I finally decided to just splurge and get one on ebay. I’ve noticed that some bottles of OPI Black Tie Optional have more of the multichrome beetle effect than others. Mine is a dud *sigh*. The beetle effect is there but it’s very subtle so I couldn’t get a very good picture of it. The non-dud bottles flash gorgeous amber, green, and red.

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July 9, 2008

Hard-to-Find Week Pre-Party: Alternatives to (the evil) NARS Zulu

Posted in Chelsea, Creme, Green, Icing, Nars, New York Summer, Rescue Beauty Lounge tagged at 6:55 pm by pretear

A while back I wrote an article complaining about NARS Zulu and the insistence of the nail polish industry of discontinuing highly sought after colors. I understand that creating ‘limited edition’ nail polish inflates demand and creates profits for nail polish companies, but discontinuing really highly sought after colors doesn’t make any sense from a business stand point. NARS Zulu, for example, has been off the market for over a year and still consistently sells for $70+ on ebay. That’s profit that is going to scalpers when it could be going to the polish companies. It just seems like bad business sense to not re-release those colors.

In any case, I still don’t own Zulu. Whenever I’m near a balcony, I run out on to it à la A Streetcar Named Desire and scream , ” Zuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuluuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!!! Zuuuuuuuuuuuuuluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!!” A long time ago I bought all the supplies to attempt to franken Zulu. I never did it because frankening Zulu was akin to accepting I would never own it. I’m starting to accept that, so I gave the franken a shot.

Here are some of the greens in my collection.

Unfortunately none of these are exact dupes of Zulu. Check out Blogdorf Goodman for swatches of Anna Sui #915 and Chelsea Psycho Green which are traditionally thought of as Zulu dupes and are, unfortunately, as difficult to find as Zulu. Chelsea Psycho Green, also pictured above, is very close but Zulu is a creme with a jelly finish and Psycho Green has very subtle shimmer visible only in the light, no jelly finish.

I bought Icing Envy and New York Summer Amaranth specifically for the purpose of trying to duplicate Zulu. I’ve seen an Amaranth based Zulu franken before, it was dead on. Amaranth has a jelly quality that is similar to Zulu so it’s a perfect base green for Zulu frankens, just add black. The only problem was that I loved Amaranth so much I didn’t want to use it for a franken. I decided to try it out only with Icing’s Envy (which I also love but happen to have two bottles). I’ll order a second bottle of Amaranth to franken with and post my results later, I promise.

I mixed roughly half a mini bottle of Icing Envy with the rest being 1/4 OPI Black Onyx and 1/4 OPI Top Coat. This is what I ended up with:

And this is Ponchy’s picture of Zulu:

As you can see, I failed, while I like the color I ended up with, my franken looks nothing like Zulu.

Zulu escapes me again.

*sobs quietly*

Special thanks to my love Ponchy for allowing me to use her image in this post. : )

July 8, 2008

Hard-to-Find Week Pre-Party: Essie Barbuda Banana

Posted in Creme, Essie, Hard-to-Find, Pastel, Yellow tagged at 5:46 pm by pretear

Every once in a while I’ll see a color on someone else that will stir the addict inside me. Essie Barbuda Banana wasn’t that polish – it was actually Maybelline Banana Puddin’. I searched everywhere for it to no avail. Scalpers aren’t big on carrying discontinued drug store brand polishes, so it’s really tough to find these colors once they are off the initial market. I decided to settle for a dupe instead – that’s when I heard about Essie Barbuda Banana which also happens to be discontinued and hard-to-find, of course. I knew I would have more luck searching for this one since it’s a higher-end brand, and so I renewed my search for a pastel yellow.

Essie actually makes finding discontinueds fairly easy because they sell them on their website under Bye Buy Colors. You just have to let them know what you’re looking for and they’ll message you back if they have it. The catch, and of course – there is *always* a catch, is that Essie ups the retail price from $8 to $10 and charges you an arm for the shipping. Dejected, I turned to evilbay (from hereon – “the place that shall not be named”) where I found Essie Barbuda Banana for about 15 bucks shipped. Normally, I wouldn’t pay that much for a discontinued but I was really jonesing this color. The day after the auction ended someone put up an auction for Maybelline Banana Puddin’ at $3. D’oh.

Do I regret the purchase? No. The application, to put it plainly, sucks, this swatch is 4 hard-as-hell-to-apply coats. But what I can say, I love the color. I hear that Maybelline Banana Puddin’ has equally crappy application so it might just be a function of pastel yellow. This picture isn’t a very accurate depiction of the color, both Banana Puddin’ and Barbuda Banana are a slightly brighter, yet still pastel, yellow. If you don’t want to shell out the mad cash and you just can’t find Banana Puddin’ the easiest way to go about sticking it to the man is frankening your own. This is a really easy franken, you just need a yellow, take your pick there’s about 80 on the market right now (Color Club Yell-oh, Essie Shorty Pants, Zoya Creamy, Misa Hangin’ With the Girls, OPI the ‘It’ Color, OPI Need Sun Glasses, China Glaze Solar Power, Rescue Beauty Lounge Yellow Fever, NYC Taxi Cab and on and on and on) and a white (I would choose one from whatever brand your yellow of choice comes from.) You need roughly 2 parts yellow, 1 part white to end up a pastel yellow.

July 7, 2008

Hard To Find Week Pre-Party: Cover Girl Crackle Lacquer

Posted in Black & Charcoal, Hard-to-Find, Specialty Polishes, Yellow tagged at 8:31 pm by pretear

All next week is Hard-to-Find Week on the MUA nail board. In preparation for the festivities the girls, myself included, have been rummaging through stashes in order to find those elusive polishes we all love so much. So I decided that I’m going to dedicate the next few posts to my favorite hard-to-finds. To kick things off, I present to you, a flash back to the year 2000 – Cover Girl Crackle Lacquer.

These two are Halloween themed, Boo Hou and Jack-o-Lantern, but if my memory serves me, there was a full line of these. I think I remember owning a white one that I used to layer over black nail polish. Oh ho, my teenage self was *so* edgy. If I had it now, I would use it over gold polish to rip off the MAC Antiquitease mani.

Crackle actually has an interesting back story (here’s the original press release), apparently the person who invented it did so by accident while trying to invent something else- then tweaked the formula to be marketed as cracking nail polish. The patent is held under the title “Nail Enamel Composition Having Decorative Appearance”, which I find highly amusing.

This bottle of Crackle was given to me by MUA’s lovely lindyspendy. I almost died when I got it since I’d been hunting Crackles unsuccessfully for a long time. Seriously, opening that package was like opening Tutankhamun’s tomb. The formula has thinned out over the years. This bottle may very well be over 8 years old. You can’t really do multiple layers with Crackle so there’s no way to curb the thinness of the formula – but – I actually think it actually looks cool over black. The thinness gives it an eerie faded quality.

This bottle of Crackle is from evilbay. It was a bit pricey but not horrible, totally worth it. This bottle’s formula was too thick, also probably from age. However, it dried with excellent cracks, so I won’t complain. You guys will notice I only swatched 2 nails for each color whereas I usually do a full hand. That’s how special this polish is too me, I feel bad putting it on just to take it off!