Monday, January 20, 2014

My Favourite Undies - Red, Green and Purple

Welcome back to the second installment of my series all about undies! In my first installment I had a little rant about why I use undies with my indie polishes, that basically boils down to me being clumsy and (relatively) poor.

There was some feedback on the last post that made me want to add a little caveat before we begin - while I myself am a big fan of using undies for indie polish, it is a somewhat divisive subject. Some people think that using undies ruins the jelly effect you so often get with indie polish, and I can totally appreciate it's largely a matter of taste. Personally, I don't get as excited by the jelly look as I do being able to do a manicure more quickly and easily, but that's a personal preference, not any sort of hard and fast rule. If you have the time, patience, and skill to make the most of indie polishes without any undie polishes, then you get down with your bad self.

Lab Muffin, for example, hardly ever uses undies and her indies still look
glorious. One day I will steal her secret. And her crazy long nail beds.
For the rest of us, I thought I would pass on my recommendations (again, not rules just suggestions) of the undie polishes I reach for most frequently. I have a couple of requirements for polishes I intend to use primarily as undies; first, they MUST cover in one or two coats. Two is the absolute maximum. If I have to do three coats of an undie, then by the time I put my glitter on the polish is five or six layers deep and ridiculously difficult to manage. Secondly, a polish I intend to use mainly for undies must be under $10 for a mainstream polish. Indies I make an exception for, because I don't mind paying 10 or over for something someone has designed specially. But for a mainstream, vat grown plain colour, even $5 will make me think twice. So all the polishes I am going to be recommending here will be $10 at most, and all will give you good smooth coverage in two coats.

Let's start with my favourite red undie, from one of my most exciting new discoveries of last year, Powder Perfect. Prior to seeing the Home Alone inspired Christmas collection from Powder Perfect, my go-to red was always OPI's I'm Not Really A Waitress. The retail price for OPI in Australia is absolutely outrageous though, so I was always a bit reluctant to recommend it to people not willing to source it from Ebay like I do. It's also just a little...well, flashy to be a truly great undie polish. It looks amazing on it's own, but when you're putting other things over it the shimmer can sometimes reach out and overwhelm the top polish.

But as soon as I tried Powder Perfect's Don't Flash Those Babies Around, I knew I'd found a red undie I could wholeheartedly recommend. It's consistency is fantastic - smooth without being too thin, and it covers perfectly in one generous coat or two thin ones. While it's colour is a tiny bit cooler and less rich than I'm Not Really A Waitress, this actually makes it much better suited as an undie.

It has a slight shimmer, but not so much as to take anything away from the polishes you put over it, and it matches almost every single red I own pretty perfectly.

This isn't, of course, every single I red I own - just a selection that I think are particularly complemented by this particular undie polish.  From index to pinkie, we have Shades of Phoenix's Who's Been Painting My Roses Red, Bella Belle's Crimson Nebula, Femme Fatale Cosmetic's Mana Ruby, and Alanna Renee's Fawkes. I used one coat of each over Don't Flash Those Babies Around.

Next up we have my all time favourite green undie, Chi Chi Show Me The Money. These polishes don't seem to be particularly quick drying, as claimed, but they do retail for $5 and under, and cover beautifully in two coats. I've tried a couple of colours, but Show Me The Money is the only one that's really stood out for me over other low end polishes. Green polish has to be exactly the right shade to work with my skin tone - too blue and I look anemic, too yellow and I look like a zombie. Show Me The Money hits that sweet spot right in the middle, a lovely true emerald with a gloriously glossy finish.

There is also something about this particular shade of green that makes it extraordinarily versatile. If you've seen me wearing green indie polish at any point in the last six months, this is what would have been under it. I put together the following pictures to illustrate just how versatile this undie polish is.

From index to pinkie, this is two coats of Chi Chi Show Me The Money, with one coat of Shades of Phoenix's Poseidon, Gloss'n'Sparkle's The Huntress, Femme Fatale Cosmetic's Abyssal Reflections and Lynderella's I Can Afford It.

I initially intended to limit myself to just one recommendation for each colour, but when I got to purple I was just too torn. I have far too my many purples that I absolutely adore, so I had to include both a dark and light purple on the list.

Some of you have probably heard me ranting about this polish before, but it's just so goshdarn PERFECT. Miss Priss from Love Thy Polish was the first indie creme I ever tried, and I fell for it SO hard. It's smooth and glossy in two coats, and the colour (while frustrating to try and capture on camera) is rich and lush like an orchid.

I found when first trying crellies I had a lot of trouble getting as much glitter as I would like to show through, while also having issues getting it to sit smoothly. I got around this by putting a layer of plain creme polish that matched the base of the crelly as closely as possible down, and then putting one or two layers of the crelly on top. As you can see from the pictures below, Miss Priss is a particularly good match for a lot of the lovely purple "crellies" (creme bases with glitter) that you find in the Aussie indie polish scene.

From index to pinkie, this is two coats of Miss Priss with one coat of Gloss'n'Sparkle Fruit Tingle, Glittering Element's Bahamut, Glam Polish's Unicorn Sparkles, and (gasp, a FOREIGN INDIE) Hare Polish's Medusa Luminosa.

For when I want to wear a darker or more jelly based purple, Kleencolor Disco Purple is always the first polish I reach for. In fact, Disco Purple and Miss Priss remain the only two plain colour polishes I've actually run out of and had to rebuy - which is a hell of a recommendation coming from someone like me who is always after the next new thing to try. The only downside to Disco Purple is the same problem that all Kleencolor polishes have - the smell. It's not as awful as the Ludurana "perfume", but it's certainly stronger than a lot of other polishes and pretty icky. BUT, it's so goshdarn cheap and good, I can live with a weird smell. You can get it from lots of places on Ebay, but I usually stock up at SalonSupplyStore, who sell it for $3.

I suppose if you want to be pedantic Disco Purple isn't technically a "plain" polish - there is a lot of shimmer, and itty bitty glassy flecks all over the place. But it does make a fantastic undie, because there is enough sparkle to add a little extra oomph to jelly polishes used over it, but not so much that it detracts from the actual glitter you're trying to show off.

From index to pinkie, this is two coats of Disco Purple with one coat of Celestial Cosmetic's Celestial Night (which actually has gorgeous holo hexes in it, but damned if I can capture them), Glam Polish's IQ, Pretty Serious's Cybernetic, and Femme Fatale Cosmetic's Planar Anomalies.

Phew! That was a metric TON of polishes all in one post! Stay tuned for Part Three, in which I'll give advice on my favourite blacks, whites, and blues.


  1. I really enjoy using undies. For one thing, I'm not one with the skills and patience to get a satisfactory manicure from most glitter polishes with translucent bases. There's also the sense with using undies of having personally contributed to a look. The sum being greater than the addition of the parts, and all. I have felt at times that my pride in combinations like these is kind of selfish, but then isn't self-adornment generally all about feeling proud and unique? My superego needs to lay off.

    I've found I get particularly satisfying results using jelly undies under jelly glitters, but you have to find the right polishes for this or else, as you say, you end up with a pile of polish on each nail and defeat one of the purposes of using undies anyway, that is, to use less polish. Impala, a relatively inexpensive Brazilian brand, has some creme/jelly hybrid polishes that make great undies for jelly glitters. They are opaque enough so that after one or two coats, the coat or two of glitter polish completes the opacity for you without glitter/polish build up. And they are translucent enough for the light to penetrate and not detract from a glitter jelly's look that depends on this characteristic to look its best.

    For example, Hare Polish's Golden Years. It has a semi-sheer dark blue jelly base with a heavy glitter load. I know some folks have no trouble building it to opacity but I'm not one of them. I used two coats dark blue-green jelly from Impala called Azul Pavao under one coat of Golden Years and was thrilled with the result. I also used a coat of this polish under two of Deborah Lippmann's Across the Universe with a similarly happy outcome.

    Apologies for the length of this comment but undies are just something I've thought a lot about. I am enjoying this series and am full of admiration for the contemplative, detail inclusive quality of your writing. You rock!

    1. Aww, thanks so much! I always welcome novel length comments around here :D From the sounds of it, I really need to get my hands on those Impalas. I've only got a few Brazilian polishes because they can be a pain in the behind to get hold of outside of Brazil, but those sound worth the hassle.

      It's an interesting point you make about undie choice contributing to the finished look more than you might think at first - I absolutely agree, if only because of the amount of times I've been turned off a polish by swatches with the wrong undies, and fallen in love with polishes from swatches with just the right undies.

  2. Okaaaaaaaaay your post has inspired me to try using undies a bit more, even just for tigharse purposes! I will let you know how I go.

    By the layer Unicorn Droppings over PURPLE?? You are an actual rebel! This I must try.

    1. Unicorn Sparkles, not Droppings. ;) I don't actually own Unicorn Droppings, and think I'm probably the last person in the world you doesn't.


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