I was thinking earlier this week whilst scouting through my twitter timeline ‘what are my limits when it comes to nail polish brands?’ What are the factors that put me off a brand such that, no matter how gorgeous or desirable a polish or a collection is, I wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole? Is there any moral high ground when it comes to nail polish?
Of course it’s a fairly hypothetical question when the brand in question isn’t of any particular interest to me. And despite my overwhelming objective of hunting down and trying brands of polish from across the globe, there are a few brands that I look at and think ‘meh’. Cutex for example. I’m not sure if Cutex is a global brand or not but here in Australia it’s your bog-standard supermarket low-end brand. As a child and teen of the 80s I have memories of botched manicures with cheap, crappy bottles of Cutex in frosted pink and it isn’t something I wish to re-live. And I don’t think it’s just the price factor. I’m certain that there will be other not so low-end brands out there that I will just find uninspiring for some reason and will readily skip past.
So what are my ‘no-gos’ when it comes to nail polish? Well I found one the other day when I happened across a tweet from @bootiebabe and followed the link to the associated website bootiebabe.com and their Flicker page. Now I get that I’m not the demographic that they are aiming for. I’m assuming, given the colour range and the, erm, design of the bottle, that they’re aiming for teens and early twentysomethings who’s idea of sophistication is wearing underpants. But really? I’m never going to be attracted to a brand the signature marketing gimmick of which is a bottle shaped like a girl’s arse and fanny. To the point that I can safely say that I will never, ever purchase any product from that brand. Perhaps not surprisingly, the creative brain behind the brand is a man. Now given that I adore the brand Nfu Oh with it’s corset shaped bottle am I being a hypocrite? I don’t actually think so. My response is more complex than simply ‘I don’t do brands with anatomically shaped bottles’ because clearly I do. There is something that draws me in about the Nfu Oh design and the lusciousness of the brand, whereas the BootieBabe design just leaves me cold, if not a little queasy. Don’t get me wrong. Good on BootieBabe for having a go and getting their product out there. I realise how much hard work that takes. And I’m sure they’ll do well as the world is a diverse place and the same is certainly true of the sub-world that we nail polish lovers inhabit. But there’s no future for BootieBabe and me.
The other brand that, after the events of this week, leaves a distaste in my mouth is Ciate. Now if you’re a follower of nail blogs (or nail tweets) you’d be familiar with the Caviare Manicure furore. But for those muggles amongst you (and I know there are couple of you out there humouring me by reading this) I’ll recap as briefly as possible.
Over a year or more ago, a nail polish devotee or two developed a technique (if you can call it that) of basically dunking your freshly lacquered nails whilst still wet into a container of tiny beads, the object being to coat the nail with the beads. Now move forward to the second half of 2011 when Ciate releases it’s marketing campaign aimed at flogging squillions of wee packets of the tiny beads used in this manicure for £18 each. Presumably the Ciate campaign piqued the interest of numerous nail bloggers since there sprang up many posts instructing the reader how to achieve this look. Even me, being the relative newcomer and not overly interested in ‘nail art’, had come across blog posts of this nature. The chief point of which seemed to be where to source the beads for a fraction of the price (as with most other things nail polish-related, the answer is eBay). Anyway, about a week ago Ciate’s lawyers saw fit to email at least one of these bloggers (presumably others also) demanding that the bloggr cease and desist from referring to the technique as ‘Caviar Nails’ or ‘Caviar Manicure’ on the basis that Ciate owned the trade marks and was in the process of having said TMs registered world wide. The response from the nail blogging community has, in the eyes of this relative newcomer, been endearing to say the least. In order to show support for the blogger(s) concerned, a whole host of other nail bloggers participated in ‘Fish Egg Friday’ (PolishAholic, The Swatchaholic, and A Lacquered Affair to name but a few) which was a wonderful response to the issue.
But seriously. Ciate needs to get it’s lawyers and it’s public relations or brand advisers together in the same room (having preferably equipped the PR types with rather large bats). Who thought, in this era of online social networks where word, truthful or otherwise, can spread faster than the time it takes to boil the kettle, that threatening a blogger was a good move from a branding perspective. I get that they’re legally entitled to do what they did but really. There are times when asserting a legal right or remedy is not commercially astute response and I would have thought that an idiot could have seen that this was just such a time. There is no question that Ciate’s brand has been damaged by this. I for one, despite that Ciate looks like a brand that otherwise ticks all my nail polish boxes, wont be looking to purchase their polish. Such an ill-calculated move demands a consumer response. The innate association that I now have with the brand as a result of this incident isn’t a positive one and I certainly don’t think I’ll be missing out anything by bypassing them in my ongoing exploration of the nail polish world. As to how long term the damage done to Ciate’s brand is, well I guess that will just depend on the longevity of the nail blogging community’s collective memory. May we have the memory of elephants in that regard.
So those are the things so far that have put me off brands. What has led you to dismiss or boycott a nail polish brand? Are there principles that you just wont betray in the search for the perfect nail lacquer? Or does the desire for a particular colour or shade lead you to overlook your response to a brand? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Ok so now on the nail polish porn. Yesterday I gave OPI Russian Navy a go for the first time. I’d bought it off eBay a few weeks ago and despite that I was really looking forward to it, hadn’t got around to trying it sooner. Well, can I tell you it was a humbling experience to apply. Not that that was anything to do with the formula. Rather my crap skills, or lack of. Just when I think perhaps I am beginning to improve in my application Russian Navy reminded me of exactly why I used to avoid dark shades of polish even outside of the office. Man it was the crappiest polish job I’ve done in some time and, I’m ashamed to say, took a lot of clean up. So I was quite disappointed with myself. I’m not sure what the problem was. Perhaps I was just impatient. My left hand (being left handed) was a particular mess as I was shaking quite noticeably whilst painting my left hand. Anyway, as originally planned I topped it with MaxFactor Fantasy Fire which turned up in the mail last week. That improved things somewhat but it is still far from a perfect job. Anyway, prepare for the pics.
Despite that OPI Russian Navy has left me a little heavy hearted, it is a beautiful shade. It looks closer to purple in the bottle but comes out a shimmering navy on the nail. MaxFactor Fantasy Fire is worth the money to get it from the UK. We get the MaxFactor Mini polishes here but the range doesn’t include this beauty. I may be forced to admit my nail polish addiction to my UK relatives to secure further supplies of this polish for a price approximating the £3-4 it retails for in the UK. It gives off the most gorgeous range of copper, claret and olive green hues depending on the light. I distracted myself driving to work this morning because the colour shifts were so pronounced in the sunshine. So despite that it is far from a perfect effort, the colour of this combination warranted the pic spam. Hope you don’t mind too much:)