I remember when I first created my Instagram account a few years ago, I was so excited to follow beauty bloggers, beauty vloggers and nail art fanatics (this was before I started my own blog). I used to ogle at the amazing nail polishes these bloggers were sporting on their nails and in their Instagram photos. My heart would always skip a beat or two whenever I saw the amazing nail art Nicole from Young Wild And Polished created. And later on she started featuring incredible holographic nail polishes from indie brands. Now those are two words you don’t often hear in South Africa: ‘Holographic’ and ‘Indie’. I bet you probably didn’t even know there’s a whole industry of independent nail polish brands that are not sold in your local beauty salon or drugstore.
What exactly does ‘indie’ mean? Indie nail polish is a category of brands that are independently owned and operated, and generally have a smaller distribution. Some people say indie also means each bottle is hand mixed, hand poured and hand labelled but I don’t think that is necessarily true. There are certain indie brands that have more brand recognition and subsequently larger distribution channels compared to others. Technically speaking they are still ‘indie’ because they are independently owned and operated (and is usually considerably smaller than other nail polish giants like Essie and OPI). For me, indie brands are relatively small businesses with big ideas. They’re not brands you’ll find at Dis-Chem, Clicks, or even Edgars. This niche market is thinking outside the box, constantly experimenting, and making nail polish because it’s a form of art.
Getting back to my own experience, I am already quite familiar with indie nail polishes as I started collecting them about 2 years ago. I don’t own that many indie polishes because the only place I could find them was on Etsy. Until now…
piCture pOlish is an Australian brand that was started by two girls (Jules and Meg) who followed their dreams. All the polishes are lab created in Australia, and although each bottle looks sophisticated enough to be sold at Stuttafords, piCture pOlish is still a true indie brand. They hold high environmental standards, plus their products are 5 free (contains no formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resin, or camphor), vegan & cruelty free.
They create the most amazing holographic nail polishes that make nail-lovers flock to the brand, plus glitter, jelly, and creme are just a few other finishes offered. Something else I love about their brand is that they often collaborate with bloggers to create their very own nail polish shade – how amazing would that be!? Me creating my own nail polish called ‘Pivoine’ – it would be a midtone pink, with a white gold duochrome finish, containing a sprinkling of holographic shimmers. Oh, and one unicorn tear.
When Shann from We Heart Nail Art, a local online store, reached out to me and asked me to take a look at her website, I was very surprised to see piCture pOlish nail polishes in the online store. She later told me she is the sole reseller of piCture pOlish and MoYou-London nail stamping plates in South Africa. All deliveries door-to-door via courier, and you are able to choose whether you would like ‘Express’ (R 99,00) or ‘Standard’ (R 50,00) delivery. If you choose ‘Express’ you will receive your parcel the very next day, and ‘Standard’ delivery will have your parcel on your doorstep in +- 4 days.
Before you read any further, do yourself a favour. Open up Instagram and search the hashtag #picturepolish. Prepare to be amazed – their nail polishes are all kinds of beautiful.
Shann offered to send me a couple of nail polishes and a MoYou-London stamping kit. It took me quite some time to decide on which colours to choose because they are all so unique and have clearly been created with polish-lovers in mind. I decided on Grace, Minty and Pharoah and as for a stamping plate, I went for Fashionista 04 because I love chevron prints. I eagerly waited for my parcel to be delivered because I knew these polishes were going to be something truly special. Turns out I loved the moYou-London stamping plate and stamper so much, I bought another stamping plate and stamping nail polish a few days later. You can expect a review and ‘How To’ blog post on how to use a nail art stamping kit within the next few weeks. Today, though, will be a review and swatches blog post of the 3 piCture pOlish nail polishes I received.
What is a holographic nail polish? Often referred to as ‘holos’, these are nail polishes that have very fine microshimmer that gives off a rainbow-like effect when viewed in different lighting and from different angles. Holographic particles are usually silver particles with a coating which splits or diffracts the light into a rainbow colour spectrum. You get 2 kinds of holographic polishes – linear and scattered. A scattered holo contains particles that are spread throughout the nail (they flash different rainbow colours) but there is no uniformity to it. A linear holo forms a prism effect where you can actually see a rainbow form on the nail.
Holographic nail polishes are hard to find in South Africa, and so I am very excited to introduce you to these gorgeous polishes. Head over to We Heart Nail Art to take a look at their variety of piCture pOlish and MoYou-London products. The piCture pOlish nail polishes pricing starts at R 160,00 per nail polish and MoYou-London stamping plates retail for R 150,00 each. Remember, these are very special indie nail polishes and so it’s only natural that one would pay a price that is slightly higher than other drugstore brands.
Before we take a look at swatches of the 3 nail polishes I chose, let me start off my saying I am no nail polish photography expert. Especially when it comes to capturing the true beauty of a holographic nail polish. Trust me, it is VERY difficult to photograph the rainbow holos. I researched how to take a good holo photo, then tried taking photos in normal daylight, sunlight, studio light and I still wasn’t able to capture just how stunning these nail polishes are (I don’t think the below photos do them justice). I think it might also be because I chose 2 holo nail polishes that are quite light in colour, I think darker holos are easier to photograph because the light reflects off the darker colours a lot better. Heck, I don’t know… If you are a nail polish photography pro, please let me know what I’m doing wrong?
Pharaoh – This is one of piCture pOlish’s newer shades (one of their Opulence shades) and is a champagne gold scattered holo. Pharoah is a white gold that is packed full of scattered holographic flakies, plus there is a gold sheen to the finish. The formula of this polish is great, it applies smooth and was opaque in 3 coats. This was a tricky polish to photograph because it changes colour ever so slightly in different lighting. You can see the yellow gold shimmers in the first photo which was taken in normal daylight, but in direct sunlight you mostly see the rainbow holos. Click on the above photo to open it up in full size view, you’ll be able to see the rainbow holos in the enlarged photo.
Grace – Also part of the piCture pOlish Opulence collection, this is a pale pink scattered holo. The glass-fleck holographic particles seem finer and a bit more subtle compared to Pharoah. I really love this shade, it’s super flattering on the nail and will suit most skin tones. The formula was also good, a bit sheer but easily buildable and opaque in 3 coats. Grace looks stunning in direct sunlight, you can see a beautiful rainbow effect on the surface of the nail (click on the photo to enlarge it).
Minty – This is a collaboration shade with Belgian blogger La Paillette Frondeuse. It is a beautiful soft milky mint green shade with a sprinkle of matte coral and white hex glitters. The polish isn’t saturated with glitters (which I prefer), so it gives a gentle sprinkling of glitter on each finger. The formula was thick and a bit difficult to work with, but required only 2 coats for full opacity. I suggest topping it off with a glossy top coat to even the surface out.
I’ve already added a few other piCture pOlish nail polishes to my ‘To Buy’ list: Unicorn, Allure, Desire and Voodoo.
Ultimately I believe indie nail polishes have a higher volume of love in each bottle. Whether you’re a nail polish fanatic or someone who owns a handful of polishes, trust me, you need one of these beauties in your collection.