Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ahhh... Indie polishes...

I’ve been contacted by a number of independent nail polish creators recently asking if I would like to sample and review some of their polishes.  I’ve ummed and arrred about what to do with those emails, and many of them still sit unanswered in my inbox.

I’ve been really reluctant to go down this path for a few reasons. Firstly, do you really know what you are getting from an indie polish?  If something goes wrong with a purchase, what sort of product guarantee will/can they offer.  Are the ingredients they use suitable for cosmetics?  Where do they sell from and what would availability be like for anyone wanting to purchase the polishes.  There are so many indie sellers out there, where do I draw the line – how can I be fair to them all and share my nail polish love evenly?

Finally, and the one that has weighed hardest on me: what if I receive an indie polish to review and I think its crap?  I’ve recently seen some stunning swatches of some really average indie polishes.  Polishes that are just cheap premixed glitter mixed into a lacquer base and sold for $10.  For me being an indie seller means you are putting time, effort and creativity into a polish, so I’d find it hard to give a glowing review for something like that.

I also have a problem with indie sellers blatantly ripping off other indie sellers polishes and selling them for their own profit.  Don't get me wrong, I totally get why people try to dupe polishes and I’m ok with that (hell, I’ve done it before when I couldn’t get the polish I was lemming). Dupe ‘em for your friends I say, but I personally don't like blatant and deliberate copying for your own profit - I just wasn't brought up that way. If I were to receive a polish for review that was a deliberate attempt to copy another indies polish, I'm not sure I could say too many nice things about it.

Which leads me to say: a harsh review can really blow it for a new indie indie starting out, and I don’t want to be responsible for that.  But I also wont sell out and tell people a polish is great because I got it for free.  Readers are entitled to an honest opinion, and that’s what they will get from me.  So I’ve come to terms with the fact that indie polish makers need to put their big girl panties on and be ready for the truth. After all, my opinion is only that, mine! And is only one opinion in the many billions of opinions out there.

This recent realization resulted in me saying yes to Erica from Glimmer by Erica to try the polishes in her first collection.

She has eight polishes in her collection, and she sent seven of them to me to try.  Let me tell you that when I opened my package, I breathed a sigh of relief to see her polishes in real life.  They didn't seem to be deliberate knock offs, nor did they look like half arsed efforts of premixed glitter in suspension base. To be perfectly honest, they looked stunning in the bottles. I'd hoped to show them all, but I only have two of them to show today - simply because I'm enjoying wearing each of them as full manis.

First up is Beneath the Blue.

It has very fine light blue glitter, small and medium aqua hexes and large aqua and navy hex glitters, in what appears to be a clear base.  For this mani I layered two coats over Cult Nails Time Traveler.

I found that the fine, small and medium sized glitters layered perfectly smooth on my nails, but some of the large navy and aqua hexes did get a slight taco curl to them. I know taco glitter shits some people, but I can cope with it ok by using a couple of coats of top coat.  And I actually think that the curved glitters reflect the light in different angles making a more interesting polish.

The second polish to share today from Glimmer by Erica is Muy Caliente, which googling tells me is Spanish for Very Hot.  If google is right, then this is a really excellent name for this polish. 

Muy Caliente is packed full of red, orange, and yellow large hexes, as well as large red squares and red, salmon and fuchsia small hexes in a clear base. I love that the yellow glitter in this is yellow and not gold.

This polish was much much smoother on the nail that Beneath the Blue.  I only saw a tiny bit of curling with some of the red squares.

For this mani I layered two coats of Muy Caliente over two coats of LA Girls Copper Alloy.  I really must show Copper Alloy on it's own, because it's amazing.   Copper Alloy has a pinkish base with a strong in your face orange shimmer.  It was the perfect matching undies for this polish.


Both these polishes were absolutely packed with glitter.  In fact they felt a little dry when getting the brush out of the bottle.  It seems like there wasn't really enough polish, or maybe they needed a tiny bit of thinner.  They take a bit of work to get glitter placement right and you will need to do some brush wobbling, but the end result was totally worth it.  

Glimmer by Erica's are available on her etsy store. She sells 15ml bottles for $10USD.

52 comments:

  1. Well said and beautiful swatches of some equally beautiful polish. Kudos to both of you.

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  2. (...) a harsh review can really blow it for a new indie indie starting out, and I don’t want to be responsible for that. (...)

    I don't think a bad opionion of someone on a product would lead the owner or the manufacturer to the suicide, come on.

    There's always some sort of fear of hurting people, but reviewing nailpolishes is nothing personal, it's only nailpolish!
    If I buy a product and it sucks, I surely don't want to lie about it or sweeten the pill; same if I should review an offered product.

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    1. Gosh I didn't mean suicide, it's only nail polish. What I meant is that a poor review when you first start out, might mean people wouldn't buy the polish and after all it's all about selling and making money.

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  3. The blue one is right up my alley, it's gorgeous. The red/orange one is not me. There's a little too much going on glitter-wise for my likings :)

    Thanks for the intro-text. It's very well said! :)

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  4. I received 3 very bad polishes from one Indie seller recently and her after sale service was shocking. I'm thinking of doing a post on it as customers do need to know that not all Indie sellers make good polish....but I also dont want to be blamed for a flaming either. What to do...I'm still deciding.

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    1. I say go for it. Your post on Lynderella was well written & considered, and I really appreciated your honesty :) A heads up on the not so fab sellers will probably be appreciated by many, and hopefully would be taken as constructive criticism by the seller so that they could improve.

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    2. Hmmm, yeah that is exactly the position I don't want to end up in. I agree that you need to say something, but like you said, you want to be blamed for flaming and to feel the wrath of the nasty nail polish world.

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    3. Just be honest. Don't use any inflammatory language or imply that people should avoid the seller. Just say "This is what I ordered, this is what it cost, this is how long it took to get to me and this is what I received. When I notified the seller, this is what happened. In conclusion, I won't be buying/will think twice before buying/would have to be extremely wowed before buying from this seller again." If you are honest and do not swear or use other inflammatory language, all you're doing is relating an experience.

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  5. One thing I am disliking about many indie polishes are the fact that I need so many different coloured under coat colours to use them effectively. I don't mind special top coats, but most sellers only have top coats. I like polishes that I put them straight on without spending time finding the right base, or buying the right base colour as well.

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    1. I agree. I haven't bought any Indies because I don't like that the majority of them are in a clear base.

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    2. Very true, just about all the glitter bombs will be top coats only, and there are a relatively small number of sellers that create other finishes that are polishes in their own right.

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  6. Great post & oh. my. word....I need that second combination in my life! Beautiful

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  7. Well said. If I was in the same situation I would umm and ahh for the same reasons. But you're right, they need to put their 'big girl panties on'. Thanks for being truthful in your reviews, I think as a blogger your number one commitment is to your readers, not the people getting free advertising out of you. I'd hate to buy a product thinking it was good because a blogger raved about it because it was given to them for free when it's not really all that great.

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  8. I really appreciate that you put your readers first :) I agree with all you've said, it would be hard feeling like you were ruining the chances of a new indie but at the same time, if they don't know of the flaws, how can they fix them?

    My mouth actually dropped when I saw Muy Caliente. Just.... Wow. I don't know that I'll ever be able to start my No Buy at this rate! :)

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    1. I guess if I get a polish I think is crap, I'm better off just emailing back to the maker, rather than posting about it. That gives them the opportunity to fix them. Then depending on that outcome, posting about them.

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  10. Well put. I can appreciate your apprehension and mixed feelings about this. We obviously want to support and help 'the little guy' out there trying to make a business for themselves but with the influx of indies, it's tough to tell who's selling what (as far as quality goes). As far as them blatant duping of other's creations, that happens in the corporate polish world far too often, so I expect nothing else from the independent sellers.

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    1. You’re so right about the corporate polish world copying left, right and centre (although this often a result of many companies using the same manufacturer). It’s understandable that indies see it as ok to do the same, but it doesn’t mean that I like it . I think I have a hard time separating the person from the polish, the difference for me is hand made vs manufactured. The hand made stuff seems so much more personal, so copying it seems more personal too.

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  11. An honest review is not only refreshing but necessary. I think you really hit on it when you mentioned reviews being nice due to receiving free polish.

    Honest reviews are especially important with indies because we are essentially buying blind. We're making a decision based on pictures alone and that can be a very dangerous thing in terms of the end result being what is expected.

    I've seen too many indies get upset and offended at a less than perfect honest review. Sellers are not their product and they need to distance themselves from that line of thought.

    Taco glitters for me are a no-no, just because once it starts to taco it usually continues to where the polish is unusable after a period of time.

    I would love to see more of your indie reviews because I do want honest feedback and opinions.

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    1. I wonder if maybe you could revisit the taco'd glitter un a month or so and see if it is the same or if it curls more.

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    2. Great idea, I will revisit the taco'd glitter in a few months to see how they fair.

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  12. Dude, taco glitters are never cool.

    And I think that this kind of disclosure/thought process would have been nice when you got that other "indie/franken" brand, The Lynnderella.

    But I do agree about giving an honest opinion.

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    1. Why are taco glitters never cool if some people like the look? I think there is a difference between reflective curl and straight up taco, and I happen to like the look of reflective curl. So Im cool with you. I respect that you are not, but dont say its never cool if others like it.

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    2. I was referring to a straight up taco curl. Glitters that are solvent resistant should not curl and any polish maker should be doing their homework to test for this.

      Glitters that taco can cause damage - they can scratch and cut skin, corneas, fabric, etc.

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    3. Oh dear, you must have really experienced some nasty taco glitters if you got scratches and cut skin, corneas and fabric.

      I've never experienced anything like that with ANY of the glitter polishes (indy or commerical) I have tried and reviewed. And these polishes certainly don't exhibit those qualities.

      Like I said, I quite like the multi-dimenional look that you can get from a curved glitter, maybe I just use more top coat?

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  13. Hi guys, I am Erica from Glimmer by Erica and I want you all to know how much I appreciate Cathy for her honest reivew and opinion! I also appreciate all of your comments as well. I do want you all to know that I am aware of the curling glitters and I know which ones are doing it and they will not be used any more and I will not purchase any more glitters from that particular place. I have done extensive research but sometimes the glitters don't curl right away so it can be hard to tell if it's going to curl. Also FYI all the glitters I have ever purchased were labeled "solvent resistant" =). Again thank you again to all of you!
    Erica--GlimmerbyErica

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    1. Thanks for coming by. Honesty the curl in some of the glitters is very minimal and like I said, I like it. I'm wearing Treasure Chest today!

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  14. I recently started getting into indies and I only regret not doing it before. If you like glitters but refuse to buy indies, you are really missing out. Not you Kitties26, I mean in general. I'm not saying it's a perfect system, I've had a few dissapointments, but this movement is just getting started. Some are here for the long run, some just for the "glitter rush" (gold rush, anyone?), it's not hard to recognize which is a real artist and which isn't. If you need a list of the ones I've tried and liked (Yes, you Kitties!!) pm me, and I'll be happy to help ;)

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    1. Love to hear your thoughts, I'll send you an email.

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  15. Oh my goodness, I am in love with Muy Caliente!! That's such a unique polish and I love the glitter colors.

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  16. OOOOOH i want the blue one !!!

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  17. wow - again, your swatches rock and your photography is always amazing. I completely respect your views, and actually love you a little bit more because of them. Integrity - it exists !! xx Oh, AND I just went and bought some. Naughty MNP, naughty!

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  18. Great post! I need that second combination in my life it's so beautiful

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  19. Great points about indie polishes. I think you should agree to review the products you choose and kindly decline the ones your aren't interested in - reviewing products takes a LOT of time! If you don't like something about the polish, you should share it, but there is probably something positive to say as well about it. Honest reviews are much appreciated :)

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    1. You're are right. I'm sure there would be some good things about every polish. I mean I pretty much love all polishes. And if a polish is particularly crappy, then I can alwasy just email the creator and tell them personally that I think it's crap, tell them I don't want to write that on my blog, and given them the opportunity to fix what is crap.

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  20. There are so many indie polish makers out there now that I think people are looking for honest reviews before they buy so they do know what they are getting. I really like these two and I probably wouldn't have heard about them without your review so thanks for decided to give them a go. Taco glitters don't really bother me. If I like the look of the polish then I'll deal with them and use extra top coat.

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    1. It sure is hard to keep track of the indie sellers. There needs to be a master list or something.

      Nice to see I'm not a complete freak and the only person that don't get bothered by taco glitters. Yep, just layer on that top coat!

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    2. i'm pretty sure the blog - xoxo jen has a master list. at least the most comprehensive one i've ever seen.

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  21. I agree, there are a lot of new indie brands and makers popping up and we need to be careful in who we buy from, the hype and craze over indie polishes can really suck us into buying something that's not worth the 10 or 14 dollars. Thankful, my first indie brand polish buy (Girly Bits) was good and not disappointing. Anyways, I really like Beneath the blue, it remind me of Blue-Eyed Girl by Kleancolor. Muy caliente is awesome, the name fits it perfectly.

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  22. I really appreciate the honest take. When I spend the premium dollars, I would like to know that this isn't something I could do at home with some premixed glitter and some base. Thank you so much!

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  23. Those glitters are super-pretty but anything that taco's will continue to taco until it's unusable. Taco-ing glitters are simply cut too thin to maintain their shape once saturated. I love the look of indies but between the quality control issues, inconsistent customer service and, too be honest, lack of originality (pre-mixed glitter in a milky/clear base? Be still my heart!) I don't seek most of the recent 'indies' out--I'll buy from reputable independent creators like Rescue Beauty Lounge, A-England, etc.

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    1. That's interesting to hear ANA. None of the glitter polishes I own that have curling glitter have ever got to the point where they are unusable. I wonder how many years it would take? Some of my JQ glitters are the tacoiest ones I have, and they haven't changed in the year I have had them.

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    2. Hi Ana, I'm Erica from Glimmer by Erica and I just wanted to let you know that none of my polishes are pre-mixed glitters. I buy individual glitter colors from many different places and I mix each and every one by hand by myself. I put my soul into each bottle. I am completely nail polish obsessed and I try to reflect that in my polishes. =)

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  24. I don't know those polishes, but it looks very awesome!
    Hopefully tose ones will come to Holland some day!

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  25. Loving muy caliente!

    Maybe you could let them know that you're going to be totally honest, that if you don't like their polish you are going to say so. If they still want to send it to you....

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  26. holy awesome...i've never even heard of this brand but i am sold. i cant even decide which one i like more but i know i can't wait to see the rest!

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  27. @Kitties26 Here's my thoughts on the matter. When you get the first email from the indie maker, reply back with your disclosure policy stating that you won't give them a glorified review for free polish if it's bad. Ask them if they understand this, if they do. proceed. I know most people's disclosure policy states that they have the right to not review something they receive for review if they choose not too. It should be no different with indie's than it is with the big polish brands. I think it would be really nice to have some indie's featured, especially honestly. Most of us, buys and the people selling knows that not everything that glimmers is gold.

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  28. Hi. I was wondering...how can someone become an indie nail polish manufacturer? I would like to try it myself but I have no idea how to start :-(

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    1. I see trhough Google+ that you are in Romania. The hardest thing about starting your own indie brand would be finding a supplier of nail polish bottles and suspension nail polish base in your country. We only found a supplier in Australia about a year ago, and as a result a whole lot of indie brands are now popping up. It also takes a bit of money as start up to buy all your supplies.

      Once you have all your supplies, it's just a matter of testing your combinations together, and going from there.

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