Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bitch Nail Polish

Baby Smiley says “You gotta make sure that your ah-browns scream, ‘BITCH!’”

Similarly, I sometimes turn to cosmetics to imbue power in me when I feel like I need a little lift. My favourite is using dark, dark nail polish – not black, because that’s too emo, but black-red, because I once read that powerful women in history liked to paint their nails dark red. I’m not sure if it’s true, but I like to do it anyway.

Enter Chanel.

In ’94, a makeup artist coloured models’ nails with black marker before a photo shoot, and then created an almost black polish for that season’s runway. After that Chanel show, there was a huge frenzy for that nail polish and it quickly became a cult favourite. Originally named Vamp and later re-named Rouge Noir, it was designed to look like dried blood. See? That’s the power thing. It tells the world – Don’t f*ck with me. I paint my nails with dried blood. It’s sexiness, aggression and sophistication in a bottle.

However, Chanel USA “re-released” a nail polish called Vamp some years later, but it’s not the same. The new Vamp has a shimmer finish to it and doesn’t hold a candle to the original Vamp/now Rouge Noir, in my opinion. So caveat emptor: The colour I’m referring to is Rouge Noir today – look for the bottles that say Made in France on the back.

My Aunt K has a bottle and was kind enough to share with me once, but I can’t keep mooching off her because she’s usually countries away from me. It applied just a little bit streaky, but I have a feeling it’s because her bottle’s ancient. She didn’t know that it was such an iconic polish until I told her, apparently.

At about $30-40 a pop, it qualifies as an “affordable luxury” but I really can’t justify spending that much on nail polish, so I’ve set about looking for a substitute, and luckily, there are many dupes out there.

My personal favourite at the moment is Essie’s Wicked (pictured above). It’s a bit darker than the original Vamp but it comes very close and I like how it’s just a shade away from black. It’s sort of a cross between a creme and a gel. It applies slightly streaky but many dark colours are difficult to apply, and this one isn’t as bad as some others I’ve come across. It dries to a beautiful, glossy finish, but I always use top coat with it, so that’s a moot point. And at $11 a bottle ($9 at Wal-Mart) – or less when there’s a sale – the price is right!

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