Nail Polish Lemmings — An Exposé

Today, we're going to talk about lemmings. First, here's how The Polish Addict defines nail polish "lemmings." Lemming is a common nail blogger term. This bit of jargon likely came from the myth that lemmings, small rodents that live in the wild, are so foolish that they've been known to commit mass suicide. Lemmings have the fatal habit of mindlessly following each other anywhere... including right off the edges of cliffs. Ouch.

My take on the nail polish term "lemming" is this: if it's a polish you know you'd pay a ridiculous amount for... or if it's a polish that you know wouldn't look good on you but you have to have it because everyone else does (here's lookin' at you, OPI You Don't Know Jacques)... then that color, for you, is a lemming. In fact, you are also a lemming.

To really talk lemmings, we first have to touch upon HTFs and VHTFs. And reader beware, this post exposes the dark, seedy underbelly of the nail polish world. Ha! You though it was all sparkles and ombrés? Think again.

Supply and demand. People want HTFs and VHTFs. But here's the catch; you're craving an HTF? Well, finding one will be a challenge out in the wild. Maybe it's been discontinued. Maybe it's selling like hotcakes. But there is one place you can probably find it — for a price. And that, of course, is eBay. eeeeBaaaaayyyy. The very name is chilling to me.

It's an unfortunate fact that when supply is low and demand is high, it's a seller's market. There are a few sellers on eBay that, like selfish dragons curling their scaly tails around stockpiles of treasure in their foul little caves, hoard precious bottles of polish and then sell them for unthinkable amounts of money. But who's really to blame? It's a vicious cycle, as you're about to see below.

Let's go.

So you liked Polishment's post on OPI My Private Jet Holo, and you can't stop thinking about that color. We warned you, it was an HTF, but check this out.

It can be yours for the bargain price of $74.99. That's not even the result of bidding. That's the "Buy It Now" price. Definitely much more than I'd ever fork over for a bottle of polish.

Have you heard of the legendary VHTF, Clarins 230? Google images will show you its loveliness. Those who have seen it say it's a rainbow in a bottle. It's known to nail polish bloggers as "Unicorn Pee." That's its actual nickname.

If you covet this VHTF, be prepared to kiss $149.95 good bye. Hope you find some gold at the end of that rainbow.

And now the Holy Grail of Lemmings. Essie Starry Starry Night. Sometimes it's called "Starry Starry Nights." Code name: SSN.

What's so special about SSN, you ask? It's a deep blue (nearly navy but not quite) jelly base with small specks of silver microglitter. The most popular application involves three thin coats. The sheer jelly base allows you to build color, and three coats result in a layered look that leaves you with three colors of sparkle: blue from the first coat, light blue from the second, and silver from the third coat. It literally looks like the night sky twinkling about in gleaming glory on your fingers.

This is my lemming.

So imagine my horror when I shamefully turned to eBay and saw THIS.

$81.00! And that's Australian currency! I was shocked. How does a polish get to be that expensive?

Oh. I see. Let's put this in perspective.

What. The. Hell.

I presumed that this was unusual activity for SSN. Because $81 Australian dollars is a heck of a lot. In the world of Essie SSN eBay activity, this transaction must be an outlier. Right? I know it's VHTF but c'mon.

Are you horrified? Good. Brace yourself.

Two hundred and ninety five dollars. US dollars. I know SSN is gorgeous, but no nail polish is worth nearly $300. How on earth did this happen?

It's kind of a relief to see it was a bidding war between two insane people, (neither "upping the ante" nor "setting the bar high" can accurately describe the $29 to $159 jump)... but it doesn't make this any less disturbing.

I blog about nail polish. I have a bajillion colors. And yes — in total, I have probably (mmm, make that "definitely") spent over $295 on my Stash over the years. But I pledge to you all, here and now, that I will never engage is this eBay gouging, so help me GOD.

As crazy as it is that there are dragon-hoarder-sellers on eBay making such a profit on the sale of a tiny bottle containing less than ONE FLUID OUNCE of product, just remember. People bid for it. Someone bought it.

On a lighter note, I am going to share some helpful tips to avoid eBay and get your lemming fix in an affordable way in future posts, so stay tuned.

xxo, Francesca

P.S. The idea of an out of touch person paying ~$300 for one nail polish always reminds me of this scene: