I have a very special post to share today with a group of other bloggers - our first indie nail polishes! To me, this represents the celebration of a wonderful hobby, along with the friendship of the great women and men I have met along the way. It's a delight to look back at 2012 when I first bought indies and reminisce. Join me after the break....
I have collected nail polish on and off for 30 years. About eight years ago, I became interested again and followed blogs, but didn't really participate actively in the online community. My main passion lay with my beloved vintage polishes. I scooped up the amazing multichromes and holos that I had missed in my off years from collecting and enjoyed them privately. However, there were certain shades in holos that were really hard to find - the deep rich jewel tones I loved in shimmer and creme polish. I found a brand online, A England, that had an amazing deep jungle green scattered holo, Saint George. I looked around, and found a web store that offered this line, Llarowe, and gradually built up my collection. My first order of A Englands was big - I bought Avalon, Ascalon, Bridal Veil, Excalibur, Holy Grail, King Arthur, Princess Sabra - Tristram's Eyes, Princess Tears, Saint George, and Tristram in that order, on February, 20, 2012. I was impressed at the vibrancy of the color and the pretty holo shades I could not get from mainstreams. They lived up to the great raves I had read online. I was definitely getting more! Saint George is incredibly glossy and opaque in only one to two thin coats. It is super pigmented, so you want to minimize clean up. Also, I rubbed my fingers in Aquaphor before removal to minimize skin staining.
I realize that A England is a lab-made polish, but we did not really distinguish between lab made and hand mixed with indies back then. But Etsy came on the scene as a venue for buying and selling polish and many smaller makers entered the picture. One was Enchanted Polish. Originally the maker, Chelsea, sold Spectraflair, the magical aluminum flake that creates the linear holo finish, but then offered her own polishes. I had eyed them but had not taken the plunge as I was a little skeptical of buying off Etsy at first. Then Llarowe started to carry Enchanted Polish and I'd thought I'd give them a try. They were pricey by my standards, however, the colors and finishes were unlike what I could get from the old OPI DS Series or China Glaze holographics so I scooped them up. On that fateful May 9, 2012 order, that made me accept handmade indies as worthwhile collection, I also got Austin Powers, Cray Cray, Frosted Icicle, Gummy Worm, Hey Jude, Octopus's Garden, Once Upon A Time, Starbright Sparkles, and Vampire's Dessert. Some were out of stock, but I placed a second order on May 16 for Cranberry Cosmo, Disco Barbie, Dizzy Miss Lizzy, Marge's Blue Beehive, Midnight, and Ocean Potion. Cranberry Cosmo was one of those polishes unavailable from mainstreams, and this is still true. It is an incredible, vibrant linear holo cranberry-pink with an almost metallic finish and little shimmer flecks, possibly gold, hidden in the pigmented base. It just glows. It's also one-to-two thin coats for complete coverage, fast dry time, and perfect flow. A marvelous polish, even by today's high standards! I would love more than anything for it to be re-released as it is one of the most desirable "vintage" indies out there, for good reason. This collection formed the core of my hand-made indie stash in the beginning, a big investment, but worth it for the quality and beautiful finishes.
Now for a blast from the past! One of the first brands I actually bought directly on Etsy was Enkelini, sadly no longer in business after the maker Pat moved from California to Australia (ironically now the home of many amazing indies!). I also was attracted to her brand for the wonderful linear holos and they remain some of the best and longest lasting polishes I have. This photo below was the first hand-made indie I posted on my Flickr, on June 17, 2012, and I still remember putting it on! It is a sky blue jelly holo called Enkelini Arctic, worn in four thin coats, with so much depth. Enkelini sold me on the virtues of jelly holos, for sure. Pat, if you are out there reading, some of us really miss you and your beautiful polishes! This photo was taken with the same camera I have now, but before I learned to use it properly and left the flash setting on >.< Jeanette from The Swatchaholic, a gifted photographer and Twitter buddy who is sadly no longer blogging, gently encouraged me to learn proper photography and wean myself from flash. It was a difficult and frustrating process but I really can't thank her enough. Her basic idea was that you can take great pictures with even an inexpensive camera as long as you understand how photography works. I am forever grateful for the gentle push that led me to acquire a solid working knowledge digital photography and photographic principles that has served me extremely well outside of blogging, too.
Please be sure to check out the other participants in this feature on our earliest indies, including some of the bloggers that I followed from early on, before I posted my first picture online. You guys inspire me!