Anything "Duochrome" or "Chameleon" can also be found using the tag "Color Shifting"

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This blog and some info within is out of date, with the occasional exception of the Chameleon Pigment Suppliers list, but it stands as is for reference. The date of any updates are noted at the top of each page/entry.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Swatches: TKB's Travel to…Pigments

Links checked 12/12/13

I mentioned TKB Trading's Planetary Sampler in prior entries but nothing in depth because, until recently, I didn't own them and couldn't provide swatches. I did say they were on the more expensive end and that TKB's descriptions were a little vague which at the time I felt they were. Now that I own them I can see that they aren't easy to photograph or describe. Read, click to enlarge pictures if desired and make your own decision as to whether they were worth the cost.

In TKB Trading's Planetary Sampler are the following seven pigments. Click on the names to go to their website and view individual descriptions.

Shown in containers below. Top: Neptune, Pluto, Jupiter. Bottom: Mercury, Mars, Earth and Venus.

These pigments are more expensive then most of TKB's other micas but purchased in a set, 1 ounce is approximately $12 versus $14 if purchased separately. All but Mercury appear much like the Hilites, white powder with interference. The image below is (one of) my "swatch cards" showing the white Planetary pigments next to several of The Conservatorie's interference pigments. Each is a mixture of pigment with plain clear polish. Below that is the swatch card with only the Travel to's.

Unlike the Hilites however, the Travel to series are all duochromes and it might not be a stretch to say "triochromes". I'm sure most nail polish enthusiasts remember Sally Hansen Nail Prisms, the colors Turquoise Opal, Amber Ruby, Emerald Amethyst and Garnet Lapis in particular. These pigments have as much variation in color as those did.

The image below is of the same swatch card but this is a spliced together picture to show the color shifting. Taken under "daylight" lamp light.

When I photographed these pigments dry the color shifting effect was hard to capture as you can see. The order they appear in below is from left to right: Mercury, Mars, Earth, Venus, Neptune, Jupiter and Pluto.

This pic was taken in morning sunlight.

Daylight, not direct sunlight.

Here they are shown as finger swatches. This usually adds some dimension to colors but they still look sort of unimpressive. Pictures taken in evening daylight.

Mercury, Mars, Earth and Venus.

Neptune, Pluto, Jupiter

Swatching them "wet" which I've never done before, brings out a bit more of the color and duochrome. All pics taken in evening daylight from varying angles. From left to right: Mercury, Mars, Earth, Venus, Neptune, Pluto and Jupiter. Mercury showed up the best in these.

TKB Trading suggests using the Travel to pigments, except for Mercury, "alone or in with small amounts of dark colors such as blue, black or green." so when I mixed up polishes from these, I chose a basic black store bought polish as my base (Mercury, too). I'm not going to get into the formulation of them in this entry because that belongs more in the franken category.

In all three pics they are in the same order: Venus, Mercury, Pluto, Jupiter, Neptune, Mars and Earth.

Photo taken indoors, daylight but no sun.

Photo taken outdoors, daylight but no sun.

And from the side to show the duochrome effect further.
Photo taken indoors, daylight but no sun.

Below is my swatch card with the pigments used in polish but in black rather than clear. Photo taken indoors, daylight but no sun.

The image below is of the same swatch card but this is a spliced together picture to show the color shifting. Taken under "daylight" lamp light.

Because I do not have seven fingers on one hand, I've used my "models" to show you how they appear on nails.

Photo taken outdoors, daylight but no sun. Earth, Mars, Neptune, and Jupiter in back, Pluto, Mercury, and Venus in front.

All three pics taken from varying angles, indoors, daylight but no sun. From left to right: Pluto, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Neptune, and Jupiter.

The Travel to pigments are sold individually and in sets. Individual samples are $1.50 or as a sample set, $9.00. If bought by the ounce, they're $14.00 each or $85.00 for a complete set.

I have to admit, I am glad to be done. Come again and thanks for stopping by. -MK

Related Entries:
Franken: (Travel to) Jupiter


  1. Wow! Thanks so much! Your swatches are very effective at showing the color shift way better than their website does.

  2. I thought so too although as you can see, they are nearly impossible to capture without many, many photos... and the manufacturer's website while slightly better (as in photos) still left something to be desired.

  3. hi, i was wondering if you've tried using the ones you made in the clear polish as layering polishes like CND effects line? i really love the look of their effects polishes, but i can't justify the prices. thanks for all your hard work!

  4. I don't own any of CND's polishes so I don't want to be unfair. I did go look up swatches of the different colors but I wasn't impressed. If they are duochromes, I'm not seeing it and certainly can't justify the price. CND appears to have more sparkle though and the Travel tos can't compensate for that but the Travel tos pack wayyy more duochrome and offer up far more variance of color. Ok, maybe you knew that but I was on a roll. The short answer is no, only with some super sheer Sally Hansen Nail Prisms but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.


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