My Top Ten \ Number Nine: Naturistics — Crystal Blue Pearl

Some things in life are simply overrated. Like... Taylor Swift. Clubs in Hollywood. Spring Break. Fifty Shades of Grey — and Twilight, for that matter.

But every now and then, something comes along that actually deserves all of the praise and passion lavished upon it. Sprinkles Cupcakes, Game of Thrones, Janelle Monáe, Vodka Tonics at Eveleigh... and Essie Starry Starry Night.

Oh, Starry Starry Night; the ship that launched a thousand hits — on this blog, at least. And it's true; Essie SSN really is a gorgeous polish. And it's also true that no exact dupe exists. Why oh why did it have to go the way of the dodo? If I ever snag the ear of an Essie employee, you can be sure I'll ask!

There aren't many options for those who have an SSN craving. This is one hard lemming to capture. Dusty hunts are one method. Searching for Maybelline Twinkle Twinkle or Naturistics Crystal Blue Pearl is another. The last resort would be shelling out hundreds (yes, hundreds) on eBay.

I feel very lucky to have found my bottle of Naturistics Crystal Blue Pearl last December — probably the closest I'll ever get to Essie SSN. I wrote about my epic dusty hunt and shared my pictures with you guys on this post here.

It could be the thrill of the chase, or the cult status, or the fond memories of stalking this down with my mom as my partner, but this VHTF bottle makes me smile (albeit, smugly) every time I see it in My Stash. And the color, as I said, is really something special.

sparklelikealuckystar, Francesca

P.S. Missed the first few? No prob.

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:


The Polish Addict's "Lacquer Lexicon"

Yesterday, in All Aboard, I explained that the nail polish blogging world can seem somewhat foreign at first. Sometimes it's like we nail polish aficionados are speaking a different language — and we sort of are. Like any closely-knit or subject-specific community, there's some key jargon that you must know. Nobody's put together a better list than The Polish Addict. If you love nails and have not checked out that blog, that should be your next stop. In the meantime, allow me to share her Lexicon with you.

The ones that I see most often are VHTF/HTF, Franken and Dupe. Later this week, I'll fill you in on a lemming of my own that I can now consider captured AND I'll show you not one but TWO glitter manicures... using HTFs, no less.

xxo, GLOSS

O HAI! Here's the plan.

We're baaa-ack! :) Hope everyone had a delicious and relaxing Thanksgiving holiday! Now, get back to WORK. ;)

This week, plan to read Polishment posts on:

  • Water Marble Redux
  • Quest for a Lemming
  • A new Mademoiselle Marie manicure
  • ... and more!

Did anyone do any fun Thankgiving-themed nail art? Let us know, we'd love to post 'em! Check out the Turkey Day Mani on Paint That Nail!

gobblewobble, GLOSS