Saturday, September 7, 2013

Indie Nail Polishes - I Love Nail Polish and Rainbow Honey (Plus Some Not So Indie!)

Hello! In this post I wanted to talk a little bit about indie nail polishes! And by a little, I hope to keep it at a medium amount; I made a video about indie polishes and the two brands I have purchased from, Rainbow Honey and ILNP and it ended up a little on the long side... I also wanted to talk a little bit about some other brands of nail polish I have recently purchased. Lately, I feel like I've been in a "Julep rut" and now have 50+ Julep polishes...
...which may be too many Julep polishes. Julep is a great brand and they do have nice polish, but I want to explore other brands and see what they have to offer. I'm going to stay a Maven, though I may start skipping boxes if the colors don't appeal to me (which admittedly hasn't really happened yet, though I wasn't too excited for the September collection. But I tend to not like any fall collections, so that's more me-based dislike than anything).

Recently, I've started looking into indie nail polish brands, the first one being I Love Nail Polish (which I will call "ILNP" because I am lazy). I saw a video on Youtube of a small haul from them, and found the idea of indie nail polish intriguing. I feel like indie nail polishes can really cater to niche markets and make colors/finishes that may not be considered "safe" by larger, mass-producing companies. Case in point, the videogame inspired polishes by Rainbow Honey and the Mighty Boosh inspired polish by ILNP; neither of which would likely ever be made by a large company (though copyright issues may also be a barrier to that as well). You can find quite a lot of indie nail polish online, especially if you check out and just search for "nail polish". There was one other brand I wanted to try, Black Luna Lacquer, but you can only pay using PayPal and I'm not a big fan of Paypal (I have an account and I use it because I have to, but, I don't know, I just prefer using my credit card directly). I still may purchase from them since they do have some very interesting colors, I just have to deal with using Paypal.

This may get kind of long, but at least there are a lot of pictures!
There are a lot of pros to purchasing indie polishes (supporting artists and getting unique colors and finishes to name two big ones), but there are some cons as well. Probably the biggest is that, since indie nail polishes are handmade by one or two people (or more, depending on the size of the brand. It varies.), they aren't regulated in the way that mass-produced polish is. There can be issues of quality, consistency, hygiene, and even safety. One of the most common issues of ingredient quality and safety I found was the use of a product called "SpectraFlair". SpectraFlair is an additive that gives a really amazing holographic finish to a polish and it is quite pretty. The only problem is, is that SpectraFlair is not approved for use in cosmetics, which is why you won't see any commercial polishes with the type of holographic finish you get when you use it. According to the wikipedia article, SpectraFlair is a "specialized diffractive colorant for automotive and industrial coatings that show multiple rainbow colors as the viewing angle changes. This pigment is based on microsopic aluminum flakes layered with glass and inorganic pigments." With the amount of nail polish that likely ends up in my mouth (mostly from chipping while I'm cooking, but I do sometimes find myself biting my polished nails which is doubly not good), I don't feel comfortable using a product that basically has little shards of metal and glass. I haven't done a lot of research on this, but I think the glitters used in commercial nail polish are mostly plastic-based, instead of metal or glass (there are a lot of different grades of glitter in the cosmetic world; there are glitters you can use on your eyes, glitters for your lips, glitter for your skin, there's even glitter you can use in soaps and all depends on size and material). Not sure though; I'll have to look into it more.

Now with the public service announcement out of the way, let's get to the indie polish that I bought! I'll start with I Love Nail Polish since that was the first indie nail polish brand I ran across and purchased from! As I said before, I found out about ILNP by watching a bunch of nail polish-based Youtube videos and I thought the brand sounded very interesting. I went to their website, , and took a look around. They are based in Las Vegas, were founded in 2012 and are "3-Free" (meaning their polishes don't have formaldehyde, toluene, or DBP). They have some very unique and beautiful colors, two of my favorites being Animal Cookie and Forever and a Day. They also offer "Ultra Minis", which are 3ml sample sized bottles, for only $3.75 ( a regular, full size polish is 12ml and sells for about $10-$12, depending on what type of polish you get). It looks like the Ultra Minis are pretty popular since they are mostly all sold out. I thought getting a couple Ultra Minis would be a good way to try out the brand, and I managed to get two, a holographic called Your My Boy Blue and a glitter jelly called Old Gregg. I placed my order, paid with my credit card, and my polishes were on their way!
This is the cute box they came in! I really like how ILNP has their own, personalized boxes. It makes them look very professional and really adds to the experience of buying from them. And what's cuter than a personalized box like this?
Personalized tissue! My two little Ultra Minis came wrapped up nice and snug and a bunch of layers of special, ILNP branded tissue paper! I almost felt kind of bad only ordering two minis (not even the price of one full sized bottle...) and getting all this nice, branded packaging.
The polishes themselves even had very professional looking boxes. Everything was printed nicely, and the logo even had silver foil. I was actually pretty surprised at how nice the packaging was, since ILNP is an indie brand. It's packaging is better than a lot of commercial brands I've seen!

Sorry this picture is so blurry and that my hand looks huge and elephantine for some reason... The color names are black stickers stuck to the tops of the boxes. Not sure if this is how it is for the full sizes though, since I only bought minis.
And here are the bottles themselves! Nice looking logos and matte black caps. The logo is actually a sticker on the front; one thing that I do wish ILNP would have done is put the color name on the bottles themselves. It's on the box, but it's not on the bottle. Once again, not sure if that's what the full sized polishes are like, but I would hope that they have the color name on them somewhere. It can be very confusing if you have a large collection; I can remember what colors these are because I only have two. The one on the left is Your My Boy Blue, which is a holographic baby blue, and the one on the right is Old Gregg, a teal, blue, green, and gold glitter suspended in a slightly green tinted base. I picked up Your My Boy Blue because I thought the color was pretty (and it was the only holo left in mini size...) and Old Gregg because I found it absolutely hilarious and amazing that there was a nail polish based on the character Old Gregg from the sketch comedy show "The Mighty Boosh". If you don't know who/what Old Gregg is (and don't mind being slightly disturbed), you can watch the sketch here: . I even went so far as to give myself a truly awful, Old Gregg themed manicure:
The base color is the color of "as close as you can get to Bailey's without getting your eyeballs wet" (also known as layers of Sephora by OPI in Leotard Optional and Neutral Beauty) and it is topped with two coats of Old Gregg. Awesome, right? But honestly, despite its inspirational origins, Old Gregg is a very pretty glitter topcoat and I can see it working really well over a deep emerald color.
Here are the two polishes swatched, Your My Boy Blue on the left again and Old Gregg on the right. Your My Boy Blue is a very pretty color, but I'm a little worried that it has SpectraFlair in it. I purchased it before I really knew about SpectraFlair and its unapproved use in nail polishes. The holographic shimmer of Your My Boy Blue is absolutely stunning and very unique, at least compared to my commercial polishes. The ingredients don't list SpectraFlair by name, so I'm not 100% if it's in there or not.

Overall, I'm very pleased with ILNP and the polishes they make! They have a nice, easy to navigate website, it's very easy to purchase from them, they have reasonable prices, and their polishes seem to be good quality. If you're interested in indie nail polishes, check out ILNP!

Along with ILNP, I picked up some polishes from another indie brand, Rainbow Honey! I actually found Rainbow Honey because they have a special collection of My Little Pony inspired nail polish, but what really got me interested in purchasing from them was that they were included in a subscription box. I forget which one (...I watch a lot of subscription box openings on Youtube. I have no idea why, I just like them.), but I thought it was really cool that indie polishes are becoming a "thing" now and that Rainbow Honey is trying to get themselves out there and make themselves known. If you want to check them out, too, you can visit their website at .

Rainbow Honey is a small company founded by a lady named Dee located in New Jersey. They are also a 3-Free company and can actually be purchased internationally; check out their "Retailers" page at to see who stocks them in your country! It's pretty awesome that they do offer their polish internationally since it's basically impossible to buy nail polish from overseas due to shipping restrictions (...this is why I can't have Sailor Moon polish and that makes me very sad). They offer a lot of "geek" based nail polishes; they have a My Little Pony collection, a collection based on the SNES game Mother/Earthbound, a collection based on robots, and even a collection based on a Cherry Blossom Viewing Festival! These types of collections really appeal to me because you have an actual connection to the polish you're wearing; it's not just a pretty color, but it's a color inspired by something you love. Rainbow Honey sells their 15ml full sizes for $10 and their mini 5ml sizes for $5. They also offer sets of either all full sizes or all mini sizes. They did offer a collection of cuticle balms as well, but they don't seem to be on the site anymore. I purchased the "Summer of 199X Part II" collection (which is based on Mother/Earthbound) in mini size for $20 and a Vanilla Dreams cuticle balm for $3.50.
Everything shipped to me safe and secure in this big, white padded envelope. It was actually folded over to give even more protection for my polishes and it's laying upside down to hide my shipping address.
Inside, my collection of polishes came in their own little box and the cuticle balm was shrink wrapped to it. It was all very well sealed and I had no concerns about the safety of my polishes. While the packing isn't as professional and self-branded as ILNP's (the box is just a plain white box with stickers on it), it kept my polish safe and it provides me the information I need, such as ingredients.
Back of the box!
The polishes were also shrink wrapped together inside the box, but I was so eager to try them out that I forgot to take a picture! This is how they came packaged in the box, minus the shrink wrap. There are two "parts" to the Summer of 199X collection, each consisting of five different polishes. Part I are all super glittery jellies ("glitterbombs"), while Part II has three shimmers and two top coats. I went with Part II because I liked the more "neon pastel" colors of the shimmers and the versatility of the two top coats. Also one of the top coats is called "Magic Cake", so I basically had to buy it.
Here are the polishes swatched. Each swatch is two coats, which provides an opaque finish for the shimmers, and a good glitter coverage for the top coats. From left to right (starting with the pink) is Apple Kid, Tessie, Mint Flavor, Magic Cake, and I Miss You. One thing I also really liked about Rainbow Honey's minis is that they have the color names on stickers on the caps, which makes it easy to pick which one you want. Formula-wise, these are pretty good. They can be a little fiddly/streaky, but after two coats they evened out nicely. I was especially pleased with the glitter top coats; sometimes with top coats that have very chunky or weird shaped glitter pieces (I Miss You has butterflies and hearts!) it can be difficult to get a good distribution of glitter, but these went on very easily, including the special shaped pieces. I wore Mint Flavor with Magic Cake on top to PAX and it stayed on pretty well. My only issues with it were if a glitter piece from Magic Cake started to peel, it would take the base polish with it. It ended up lasting for a few days until it really started to chip, but then I had a manicure at Julep (which I will hopefully touch on a little more in a PAX/Seattle post) so I can't say for sure how long it would have lasted.
This is the cuticle balm stick I also picked up on impulse. As I said, I don't see them on the site anymore, which is kind if a shame since I actually really like this product. I got mine in the scent "Vanilla Dreams" (they had a bunch of different scents, included an unscented one and you could get the full set of five or six for $20 with free shipping), which is a Tahitian vanilla with hints of florals and herbs. I was kind of worried that it would smell weird with the "hints of florals and herbs", but it actually works really well with the vanilla. It's not sickingly sweet and it has a gentle, bright not quite sweet, not quite floral scent which really works. These balms are made with cold pressed avocado oil, tropical cupuacu butter, babassu oil, organic coconut oil, maracuja oil, and vitamin e, so a lot of really good for your skin ingredients! I've used it a few times and I can't really say how much it does for my cuticles, but it definitely smells nice and feels good on. I'm kind of sad they aren't on the site anymore since I would have liked to have tried the other scents, but hopefully they'll come back some day.

Overall, I would also highly recommend checking out Rainbow Honey, especially if you're into geek pop culture and want a color based on a videogame or even The Magic School Bus (their special limited edition for the month is called "The Frizz" and is an " assortment of hexes, squares, dots, stars, and other shapes pays homage to the spectacular adventures (and those dresses!) of the Frizz and her class.")! They have a variety of unique colors and the formulas are good quality as well. I would also recommend the cuticle balms, but alas, they seem to be no more.

So that's my first taste of indie nail polishes! From what I've seen, I'm very intrigued by them and will gladly try some more (especially Black Luna Lacquer; they were actually mentioned in the most recent issue of Nail It!). I will be a little more careful, though, about which types of finishes I purchase and checking the ingredients to make sure there's nothing in the polishes I don't feel comfortable with putting on my nails.

Now for something completely different! I actually picked up a few mainstream polishes over the last couple weeks that I wanted to share with you guys as well (but that I didn't think warranted their own post/video). On my most recent trip to my doctor's office (I've been dealing with an ongoing, but seemingly very minor, health issue so I've been to the doctor more times than I would like in the past month), they had a woven basket filled with special little nail polishes to help promote their new OB/GYN department!
The other side says the name of my clinic which I didn't think would be a good idea to show to the internet. Although admittedly, if you read my blog and do a little research, it wouldn't be that hard to figure out where I live... It's a pretty cheap, low quality polish, but I thought it was such a cute idea to give away little bottles as a promo item! It's smart, too, since it will likely last a long time and people aren't going to just throw it away like a button or a pencil. I also hate to say it, but it especially appeals to women, which is obviously the target audience for an OB/GYN clinic.
This is the color swatched; it's the warm pink right in the middle. It took about three coats to give a nice opaque, relatively streak-free finish.

I also picked up two polishes from a brand I never tried before but have heard a lot about; Zoya.
Here's a picture with the flash...
and here's one without. My camera didn't seem to like how glittery these were and had a hard time getting a good picture. I picked these up at my local Ulta, since I don't really know where else to get Zoya polishes except from their website. I used the "store locator" thing, but it only listed one hair salon that's kind of far from me. If you know of anywhere else that regularly stocks Zoya nail polish, let me know, because I really like it and my Ulta is not the best at keeping things in stock (or clean for that matter...). I got two super glittery polishes, Hazel, the blue one, and Faye, the purple-gold-brown one. I was going to pick up Neely, a pale green that has been very popular, but I went with these two instead. I've been trying to get back to Ulta to pick up Neely and a Pixie Dust finish color, but I haven't been able to. I'm hoping to go to tomorrow and get more since I have a coupon and they have a special where if you buy three Zoya polishes you get a special nail care set valued at $22!

I really really like these polishes! They go on smooth and opaque, the formula is easy to work with, and they last a long time without chipping. I even like the bottles; they're so rounded and smooth, they're nice and easy to hold. I don't know why I've never tried Zoya polishes before; I know I've seen them in Ulta and I've heard people rave about them on Youtube, but for some reason I just never picked one up. Now I want more!
Here are the colors swatched. Hazel is next to Old Gregg, and Faye is to the right and on my thumbnail. Faye is such a pretty and interesting color; it looks like a purple/gold in the bottle, but it actually has some brown undertones when you wear it on your nail. At first I was a little disappointed since I tend to not like browns (they look weird on me), but it's such a complex and interesting color that I really grew to love it. If you haven't tried Zoya polishes before, I say take a look! They come in a huge variety of colors, have a good formula, and are pretty inexpensive at about $8-$9 a bottle.

Finally, I picked up a drug store nail polish, mostly on a whim.

This is Maybelline's Color Show Polka Dots in Blue Marks The Spot. I really wanted the green colored one, but I couldn't find it. When I first saw these in an Allure ad, I really wanted to try them since they reminded me so much of the speckled polishes that Illamasqua has. Also these are only about $3, which is pretty awesome (but kind of worrying quality-wise...). It looks like it would be more opaque in the bottle, but this is actually a bunch of circular white and black glitter suspended in a blue tinted base. I'm not sure how this would wear alone on your nail, but over another color I think it would work quite well.
Here's a swatch of it, right in the middle. You can see how the white color of the wheel shows through the blue. It would probably look really cool over a white polish base, actually. For what it is, it's pretty neat. The glitter particles come out well and are quite plentiful and the formula isn't too bad. One thing I have noticed with these cheaper polishes is that they have a much stronger chemical-polish smell than my other, higher end polishes. It's kind of off-putting and something that I wasn't really prepared for since I've been using higher end polishes for so long. Maybelline also has some "vintage leather" textured polishes that I'm interested in trying out, so I might pick some of those up as well.

And that's everything I wanted to get through in this post! I'm sorry it's so long, but I hope the photos helped break things up and at least made it somewhat visually interesting. I guess what I want to say overall is that experimenting with different styles and brands of polishes is really fun and exciting and I highly recommend you take some polish chances as well; you might find a new brand or a new finish that you absolutely adore!

Thanks for reading! <3


  1. Custom made Indie Nail Polish and Canadian Nail Polish. All of my nail polish is made in Canada and is one of a kind, kickass, and cruelty free. Be the Black Sheep!

  2. I really didn't know about alternative options to the drugstore polishes. I thought that was it. When I stumbled upon ILNP I thought it was just high priced. Hearing about this has given me a new perspective on buying nail polish. I'll pull together the money and give it a try as soon as possible.