Sunday, January 27, 2013

Hades and Zeus - Shades of Phoenix Review

You might have noticed a little bit of a change in the way I've been doing nail polish reviews of late. I've decided in order to give some extra value to those of you kind enough to read even though you're not super into nails, I'm only putting up reviews I can either spin into an interesting article, or reviews of local indie polishes, because I really like supporting people putting themselves on the line to create something. Happily, today's review knocks both those birdies down with one stone!

Shades of Phoenix is a brand new Australian indie maker, and like Alanna Renee are a really good example of just how exciting and interesting indie nail polish can be. As with any kind of "home made" product, indie nail polish in general can be a bit of a crapshoot - some of it is godawful, but some of it just blows me away. And Shades of Phoenix definitely falls into the latter category.

I picked Hades and Zeus for my first two purchases from this company, because if there is something I love writing about, it's Greek mythology. The Greeks viewed their mythology as almost the Days of Our Lives of the time, and unlike those hoity toity Abrahamic gods, the Greek gods were forever getting up to ridiulous shit, tearing across reality on long trips full of shenanigans. And no-one got into quite so many shenanigans as Zeus.

From the description, you would think this would be quite a lovely, feminine polish. Lavender flecks, matte white glitter - sounds very  pleasant, the kind of thing you would wear to high tea. Much to my delight, it actually turned out to be much less restrained and much more attention grabbing than I had expected. Over white it looks incredibly blingy, and over black the tiny little holo flecks really pop out between the white flakes. This is all very suitable for a polish named after Zeus, because he was just not what you would call a subtle guy. Imagine a slightly overweight guy, who shows up to a party he's just a little bit  too old for, late, already drunk, who immediately beelines for the nearest group of women and slurs, "Laaaaaadies!" That's more or less how Zeus was portrayed a lot of the time. He was forever sneaking off to the world of the mortals, picking up chicks (and when I say "picking up" I really mean raping while in the form of a bull, some rain, or a swan) and generally causing havoc.

To keep going with the party metaphor, let's imagine that right behind the drunk frat boy, a sulky little Goth boy slinks in, and sets up in a corner somewhere. He's got a sketch book, and every time a girl asks to see what's in it, she runs off pretty rapidly. That is, until one girl takes pity, and sits down and talks to him for five minutes. The next day the Goth boy is telling everyone they've been dating for months, and there is nothing the poor girl can do to convince anyone otherwise. That guy? That's Zeus's brother, Hades. Poor  Persephone ended up being Hades bride-by-force for half the year by his use of just this sort of sneaky shit. Hades kidnaps her, tricks her into eating some pomegranate seeds, and the next thing you know he's insisting she has to marry him and stay in the underworld with him forever. It was only because her mother Ceres threw a truly magnificent tantrum (she stopped anything growing anywhere) that Persephone was ever allowed back at all. Even then, Zeus refused to totally cock-block his bro, and insisted she had to go back and pretend to like him for half the year.  What total dickheads. 

As much as I'm a little embarrassed by it now, I fell for that little Goth boy more than once back in my youth, and I've fallen for this polish just as badly. Because the base is a jelly, I assumed I would have to put something under it, but it's actually so pigmented this is totally unnecessary. However, the jelly base still lets the chunks of holo and blue glitter shine through beautifully, in a way that reminds me a lot of Illamasqua's Glitterati.They both have this delightfully seductive glitter, that lies in wait until you move your fingers and then flashes like little flashbulbs of rainbow colour. If you couldn't afford or couldn't get your hands on Glitteratti this Christmas just  gone, or if you just wished it was done in black instead of red, Hades is a much more economical polish with just as awesome a formula.

You can check out either of these lovely specimens and the rest of Shades of Phoenix's brilliant mythology themed Olympus Collection at their Etsy shop.


  1. Heh, brilliant description of Hades. Whole lotta Greek myth instantly retconned into a high school melodrama for me...

    1. Someone needs to make that cartoon, stat.


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