And that is why I’ve brought my intense, expansive shopping sprees to a grinding halt. Why fill the hole in your soul with a chic skull-patterned dress when a bottle of nail paint works just fine? I spent these past few months lurking in cosmetics stores, sampling bottle upon varnish bottle for the perfect shade. These lurkfests were largely limited to Inglot and Colorbar, because there’s so much color everywhere, and most of it is arranged sequentially- dark to light, saturated to diffuse, glutted with pigment to near invisible- which makes for a superb ombré effect on-shelf, and a feast for my hungry eyes.
No, really. You can wear a threadbare cotton sundress fashioned out of an old school uniform and still feel like a queen, because your nails are purple and shiny. The Husband, who’s miserly and winces every time I fork out a grand or two for a skirt or a pair of heels, thinks that my new love for nail paint is great. Very typically, he likens it to buying your phone a new cover, as opposed to buying a whole new phone. It’s a looks-refresh without the empty wallet. You can see that I’m finally okay with his Depression Era thinking. Huzzah for cheap fixes!
I will come to my favourite shades, but after a short (I promise) rant about my top cosmetics styling cliches, as seen in fashion magazines.
1. Lipsticks yanked brutally from their cases, chopped to bits, and scraped into shavings for good measure
2. Nail paint spilled into little puddles
3. Eye palette colours ground to fine powder
4. Topless lipsticks nestled among fruit of all all shapes and sizes; especially grapes, peaches and avocados
5. Swatches of colour on a plain background
6. A model (with suspiciously feline eyes and no facial pores) eating her fingers
7. A model (with slick, combed back hair and a pointy clavicle) gazing intensely into middle-distance as her lip gloss gives off a glow that could well be an SOS signal, if seen at sea
8. Hair in a bun, tailored clothing, muted makeup and pearl studs, because that’s how you know she’s a working woman who Does Important Businessy Stuff At An Office. Seen mostly in long-wear makeup print ads
9. Absurd reductions to the singular. ‘A red lip.’ ‘A smoky eye.’ ‘A nude cheek.’ ‘A lush eyebrow.’
10. Nude, an outrageously named colour that happily ignores the fact that one ethicity’s Nude is another’s Albino is another’s Sunburnt
And now, here are some pictures of my favourite shades, scored from Inglot, Colorbar and Lakme, and paired with the Husband’s old, broken toys, because whaddaya know- my hands look like monkey paws and my fingers are comically fat you don’t need a model. Just an old toy car. 🙂
From top to bottom-
Inglot no. 112 : Inky blue perfection. Lots of depth with super-subtle glitter. Makes for a witty accessory for writers. (See what I did there? Ink. Writers. Brilliant.) But seriously, this is my colour. I wear it a lot all year round. I just saw Pitch Perfect and fell in love with the way they’ve styled Anna Kendrick- just a kohl-swipe away from Goth, in her oversize lumberjack shirts and her dark blue nails. This is a superb shade for anyone looking to dip into the more daring parts of the palette, away from the safety of the nudes and the peaches.
Inglot no. 643 : This is what you get when you liquidise and bottle Cadbury’s wrapping foil. It’s breathtakingly beautiful and is great for Closeted Goths who instinctively rebel against girly pastels and want a shade to complement their edgy, swear-y personalities, and yet not stray too far from the feminine.
Colorbar no. 89 <Suntone> : This is the light waxy orange of a child’s crayon box. A very happy colour that offers you much-needed respite from Coral Overload.
Lakme Color Crush no. 03 : It’s a beautiful, tranquil blue. Not the shudder-inducing sort you see on teenage girls’ fingernails. This blue is for Grownups, and the ethereal Lupita Nyong’o. Obviously looks great on darker skin tones, which makes it my go-to for the summer. My manicurist rolls her eyes every time I hand her the bottle. This may be the fiftieth time I’ve insisted she apply this and no other.
Colorbar no. 90 <Amethyst> : This is NOT amethyst, Colorbar. Please rectify at the soonest etc. This is true oxblood, which I think is THE most gorgeous, glamorous colour. It looks great on leather and winter fabric, and has something so dark and mysterious about it. It’s very jazz age and Old Hollywood and Halle Berry’s-outrageous-dress-at-the-Oscars-Past, and goes with any outfit- goth or sophisticated, tailored or whimsically flouncy. I wore oxblood all winter. I may have kissed my fingernails a lot.
Colorbar no. 71 <Exclusive> : If pink makes you vomit but also makes you secretly wish you could work it like the other girls do, this is your colour. The purple tint makes it edgy and statement-y. I’ve had people accost me at shops, asking what shade I was wearing. I’m severely tempted to say ‘Purpink’ but I’m afraid they’ll back away from me. Slowly. Whimsy is sadly underappreciated.
A big shout out to the Husband for shooting my nail ales with his old toy cars, and for not eyerolling me when I asked him to curate his toys by colour.