Emily S. Whitten: Literary Lacquers
I have a thing for rainbows. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always liked rainbows. Not the upside-down-smiley-face, fluffy-clouds-on-the-ends drawings of rainbows (I kind of don’t like those), but real, elusive, illuminated water droplets in the sky and spectrums created by prisms rainbows. I have even been known to run out into the rain to get pictures of a really good (really big) rainbow.
I also have a thing for nail polishes – my collection of colors and varieties is embarrassingly large – and have been known to play around with sort of complicated designs for kicks, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle nails, Iron Man arc reactor nails, magnetic polish nails, and Union Jack nails. (And so many more, but I can’t find all the pictures, alas! You should have seen the Burberry nails.) I’m also always on the lookout for cool nail polish products, like for instance the Espionage Cosmetics geek nail wraps.
And of course (of course!) I love literature; and especially genre literature. So when I was browsing Etsy for some lilac jewelry to wear on April 28 in memory of Sir Terry Pratchett and stumbled upon a brand of a) holographic (rainbowy!) nail polishes b) inspired by literature, including a fair amount of genre literature, I was very excited. The pictures looked awesome, the descriptions were great (read them!), and the literary inspirations showed that the creator of these polishes is clearly a kindred spirit. I immediately wanted to try them all; so I contacted Literary Lacquers to see if I could get some samples to review, and the great gal behind the brand kindly obliged.
I was stoked to receive my samples a couple of days ago; a sentiment echoed by Catbug and Baby Groot. After much browsing of the many, many choices in the store, which included options from favorite literature like Discworld, The Dresden Files, Stardust, Lord of the Rings, Anne of Green Gables, The Chronicles of Narnia, A Wrinkle in Time, Harry Potter, Dandelion Wine, and so many more, I made my selections.
Based in part on what colors would actually look good with my skin (I craved Dandelion Wine but doubted it would work for me) I went with Phenomenal Woman, Strong Steady Hand, Avada Kedavra, The Mad Ones, Ether Binge, Swallowed Up In Blue, The Ultimate Outlaw, Marilla’s Amethyst Brooch, Laters, Baby, Sidewalk’s End, I’m Drinking Stars, and Goodnight Moon. I picked mostly holographics, given how much I love them, but threw in some other types for variety to see what the full line is like.
Right off the bat, I will say that they seem to be of a consistently good quality. They go on evenly, and with three coats (I do thin coats) they give me solid color coverage. (They could also be put over e.g. a light colored or silver or gold base coat for a light sheen on top.) They also seem to be fairly durable when it comes to chipping. I have only been wearing them for a couple of days; but in that time I’ve had no major chips and only a little bit of wearing off on the edges of a couple of nails (which happens with pretty much every polish I’ve ever tried).
Most importantly, the colors are great. Even though I have some difficulty in photographing holographic effects (they always look better in person!) here are photos of ten of the colors so you can see what they look like on and in comparison to each other. Also here are a couple of close-ups attempting to capture the holographic effect. And best of all for seeing the full effect, here’s a quick Vine video of Strong Steady Hand in action.
The pure holographics (Phenomenal Woman, The Mad Ones, Ether Binge, The Ultimate Outlaw, Sidewalk’s End, I’m Drinking Stars) all have a consistently high-quality holographic effect in bright light, and even in low light you can see a bit of a rainbow. The glitter holographics (Strong Stead Hand and Laters, Baby) have the same sheen, only outshone by the bigger glitter flecks. I really like these for the fact that the larger flecks of glitter add to the gradient rainbow effect of the holographic, and are of a brighter, more dimensional and holographic quality than glitter I’ve seen in other polishes. Swallowed Up In Blue, the holographic blue that also has a pink shimmer to it, is also particularly cool, because the holographic effect is as strong as the pure holos, but on top of it, even in low light, you can see the pink sheen over the blue.
Marilla’s Amethyst Brooch is one of the rare non-holos I chose; and although I always prefer rainbows, it has a good depth and rich purple glitter to it that is actually slightly more striking in low light than a pure holo. Goodnight Moon, another non-holo, is nice for its light purple sheen and tiny rainbow glitter, along with the bigger flecks, including moons. As with any of the larger glitter fleck polishes I’ve ever used, it needs to be applied with care to get the bigger flecks off of the brush and onto the nail, but it’s no harder to use than any similar polish I’ve used. Avada Kedavra, the only matte I chose (I like the look of mattes but have bad luck with them chipping) is very cool; without a top coat, three coats gives a nice slightly sheer black, with a much more evenly distributed coating of large glitter flecks than similar polishes I’ve tried; and chipping so far is no worse than for a regular polish. With a top coat, the mixed-in tiny rainbow glitter flecks are made brighter, which gives it a bit more pop.
Altogether, I am very impressed with this nail polish line (as well as with the cool themes and descriptions. You should read them! If you like any of the books that inspired them, the descriptions will make you feel happy and nostalgic for your favorites). I would not single out any color as a non-favorite; but I would say that my favorites of the pure holos by a small margin might be Phenomenal Woman, Ether Binge, and I’m Drinking Stars (the holos are particularly visible in them); and of the others, Strong Steady Hand (excellent bright rainbow effect!) Avada Kedavra (cool even glitter application, and can be worn two ways!), and Swallowed Up In Blue (good effects in both high and low lights!). In summary: I recommend!
So if you’re into literature, nail polish, rainbows, and the like, hop on over to Literary Lacquers and give some of these great colors a try. (And speaking of geek shopping, remember my recent column about it? Well I’ve just created a Pinterest board to show some of my favorite recent purchases. Check it out!)
And until next time, Servo Lectio!