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

Updates & Notices

This blog and some info within is out of date, with the occasional exception of the Chameleon Pigment Suppliers list, but it stands as is for reference.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.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Glitter Review: Bleeders & Flecks

Links checked 12/12/13

This is going to be a review of glitters both new and old.

My collection of glitters comes from various companies: Coastal Scents, TKB Trading, Glimmer Body Art, Hobby Lobby, Sally Beauty, Esters Nail Center and Kit Kraft Inc. Although some are cosmetic grade and others are craft glitter, both are subject to bleeding or being otherwise uncooperative when used in polish. I think of these glitters as bleeders or fleck-prone. I hate wasting money on glitters that do this but there's no way to tell by looking at the package so I've ended up with a lot of glorified craft glitter- some of those being the new Tulip brand I just bought.

By fleck-prone, I mean that certain glitters go from brilliant colors to white flecks (or lightly colored if the glitter was) after sitting in polish for minutes or hours. In my experience, the ones that do this are either neons, which I'll cover later, or those with an aurora borealis effect, a term more commonly used for beads. Shown below is Coastal Scents' Fairy Dust glitter, with the inset displaying a Swarovski bead with A/B finish.
Coastal Scents Fairy Dust (in both sizes), Black Magic Hologram and Jade Green glitters will do this.

Also in the fleck category are the Disco-named glitters made by Polyflake I mentioned last year. Disco VHT, Disco ZHT, and Disco GHT, shown below, are iridescent and even better, are duochromes.
Outdoors in sunlight

Dry swatches, photo indoors under lamplight.

Update 9/17/11: Researching something else the other day, I stumbled upon the item below. The Disco Glitters are made by the Glitterex Corporation but sold under the Poly*Flake brand name. I found this on the MSDS/TDS sheet:

CHEMICAL RESISTANCE: Poly*Flake WSR has proved highly resistant to most commonly used commercial solvents, such as water, MEK, MIBK, alcohol, and high flash naphtha. Because of this excellent solvent resistance, this glitter can be used in most solvent, acrylic, vinyl, and aqueous systems.
  1. Each chip of glitter has a minute edge of exposed aluminum created when the particle is cut from the sheet. Therefore, caustics and all chemicals normally affecting pure aluminum could react with this exposed edge. This does not preclude use of this glitter with these chemicals, however, since the short duration of most industrial processes may not afford enough time to cause significant damage to the finished product. It is advised that contact be checked carefully.
                  Solvent Resistance
Alcohols (Ethanol, Isopropanol)
Aliphatic Hydro-carbons (Hexane, Naptha)
Aromatic Hydro-carbons (Benzene, Toluene)
Ketones (Acetone, MEK)
5 min.
7 days
(Butyl Acetate,
 Ethyl Acetate)
Fully Halogenated Hydrocarbons (CarbonTet., Perchloroethylene)
Partially Halogenated Hydrocarbons
(Ethlyene Dichloride, Trichloroethylene)
5 min.
7 days
N - No Change
CS - Color Shift (Sample has started to change color due to solvent immersion)
CC - Color Change (Total color change due to solvent immersion)
CL - Color Loss

This is important because some those ingredients or a variant are used in nail polishes, they knew the glitter would bleed and fleck but they still put on the packaging, "Great for nail polish." Read that limitation again. Glitterex doesn't have the same solvent resistant test on the MSDS for every type of glitter they manufacture but that limitation is. Nail polish and frankening is not a short industrial process, it's a permanent immersion. NO truth in advertising at all.

Disappointingly each one, like the Fairy Dust, quickly disappeared in my polish becoming this:

For an example of the colored A/B glitters and neons turning into flecks, we'll use my recent purchase of the Tulip brand Fashion glitters. The first picture are the pastels, the second are the neons.

I tried pastel and neon blue, neon pink, neon orange and pastel green, adding them in turn to the same bottle and in each case the glitter lost its iridescence within minutes. I didn't think to capture a before photo but shown below is the polish after I dumped it out on a paper plate. It is multi colored but still flecks.

Even in the sun the flecks don't have much sparkle or shine.

Thus far the only A/B glitter I've found to work in polish are those already in store bought polish. Thankfully, every brand seems to make one. It's possible the glitters could work if applied indirectly (versus being put in polish) but I'm not patient enough to do so and the last time didn't yield smooth results. I tried sprinkling it on (the disco glitter) but it felt rather like sandpaper.

Further illustrating my point are the new glitters I ordered from Ester's Nail Center. Shown below without lids, the set of 12 is a pretty even collection of colors but not finishes. The majority are translucent and iridescent; only the silver, red and olive green glitters are metallic and of the three, only the red and green are holographic.

Their website says in the description, "Put them onto nails, acrylic or UV gel nail polish for nail art.". It does not say put them directly in polish but I attempted it anyway.

The first test was with the Ester's glitters shown next to the bottle. I also included various sizes of blue glitters from Kit Kraft Inc. which proved to be colorfast. The base was nothing more than your basic cheap glitter polish and initially I was pleased with the result. As it sat there though, the iridescence slowly disappeared leaving behind silver and only the holographic green has survived unchanged. Update 9/17/11: The green holo from ENC is still holographic but contains no trace of green color. The red holo from this set does the same thing.

My second test was with the same brand of cheap glitter polish used as a base with the displayed glitters from Ester's and various sizes of my fuchsia glitter from Kit Kraft Inc., also color fast. Again, I was pleased at first but watched as the iridescence faded away into silver.

My final test playing around with Ester's glitters was not a real polish because by this time, I suspected what would happen. I mixed the neon yellow and orange glitters with clear polish in a small bottle from TKB Trading and took before and after photos this time.
The glitters used.

The glitter after I first put it in.
A couple minutes later, already starting to fade away at the edges.
And even more...
The bottle now has no color at all a week later but as I've said before, metallic glitters can bleed too. Update 9/17/11: I was reading something the other day about glitter and it mentioned that while some glitters are solvent resistant, the bleeding starts from the edge because they are cut and thus more vulnerable to solvents over time. 

Shown below are most of the cosmetic glitters I own from Coastal Scents as well one from Glimmer Body Art and TKB Trading. You can see from the picture pretty clearly which ones are the bleeders.
From left to right...
In the top row: CS Tinsel, CS Ocean Blue, CS Ripe Orange, CS Pinky & CS Purple Punch.
In the bottom row: GBA Lime glitter, CS Emerald, CS Crimson, CS Sahara Sand, CS Golden Fairy Dust & TKB Blue glitter, now discontinued.
The worst of the bunch are Coastal Scents' Crimson and Golden Fairy Dust which have partially bled and left the silver behind. CS Emerald has also done this but not as much. Glimmer Body Art's Lime glitter hasn't faired so well either. 

A more recent example would be the mixture of Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear In the Spotlight with my new Martha Stewart tinsel glitters. As shown below, what was formerly a clear polish base is now orange toned and in general all the colored tinsel glitter has become very pastel.

Out of the new glitters I got from Kit Kraft Inc., it appears so far that very few of them are colorfast and over time the majority warp in polish. You can see the actual colors in the previous entry, the list is too expansive to put here, but I ordered every color of the rainbow ranging from Medium to Extra Fine in size. Royal Blue, Turquoise Teal, (Golden) Orange, Emerald, Light Pink or Lavender and Fuchsia are the only ones I can still see in the polish. The silver I'd imagine is just fine as well. I still need to do an individual color test for each but those are the preliminary results. In the bottles below, I used every color. Now where the heck did the color go?

Update 9/17/11: Honestly I'm not sure that I can consider any of these entirely ok. I've begun to think that with the polish so heavy in glitter, the ones that retained color did so because they were buried under so many other layers and were protected. I'm leery of every color I purchased from Kit Kraft Inc.

12/4/11: Upon a closer inspection (and a second test), Kit Kraft's Medium Fuchsia, Royal Blue, & Red pass the color fast test. The Gold, which I think I knew already, failed by first bleeding to silver and then into some corroded & melted-looking flecks. They do warp slightly but have held onto their color (so far)

As an alternative to glitter, you might want to consider the Reflecks collection from TKB Trading. Although they are not polyester glitter and are more expensive than glitter is, they have exceptional sparkle and don't bleed their color. The color range is somewhat limited, for instance there's no green but I try to use them often. And an ounce goes a long way.- MK

Other good entries pertaining to glitter:

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Glitter Haul

Links checked 12/12/13

I've noticed many of you are on a "No Buy July" whereas I apparently don't know the meaning of the phrase.  Kudos to those of you that have chosen to do that and been able to stick with it instead of being like me and being drawn to every sparkly thing that catches the eye. Thankfully though, my birthday was recently so my glitter haul was due to more than my own generosity.

The first part of the glitter I did buy for myself, from the Hobby Lobby: Martha Stewart's Tinsel glitter which was a set of 12 colors, about $16.00. I could've potentially gotten it cheaper off eBay but I preferred instant gratification.

My use of these so far is limited to one bottle of polish where every color was mixed in with clear polish and Sally Hansen's Xtreme Wear In the Spotlight. In the Spotlight, if you don't already know, is a holographic silver tinsel and they all blended well together. But there is a bleeder in here, the most likely culprit(s) being the red, the orange and dark pink, judging from the color of the polish now.

On impulse, I also bought these, $9.99 each. This is a brand called Tulip which I've never used but since one was neon and the other pastel, both being a set of 6 colors, I grabbed them.
Photographed indoors under lamp light.

Photographed from the bottom, outdoors but no sunlight. The pastel set is left this time, the neons on the right.

The Tulip sets are not holographic but neither are they flat colors. The effect of the color is more like Coastal Scents' Fairy Dust glitter or the Jade Green, sparkly without a metallic holo look. I haven't tried them in polish yet but I fear that effect may be lost as it was with my Disco glitters and the Fairy Dust.

My other purchase was from Ester's Nail Center: Hexagon glitter flakes in a set of 12. I bought mine for $4.99. These are no longer available, 12/11/13. 

As their description says, these are roughly 2-3mm in diameter, hex cut glitter. To me, the word flake implies an entirely different shape. The individual containers are not huge (I bought three sets for that reason) but there is plenty of glitter in each. I haven't done a side by side comparison but I'm fairly certain they are around the size of my TKB samples.

The major part of my glitter haul came from Kit Kraft Inc. as a birthday present from hubby. Kit Kraft Inc sells many hobby related items but my interest was in their large glitters.

Shown here, 5 of the available colors in Kit Kraft's Medium size glitters. All are hex cut, .094" in size, ½ ounce containers. Red, Silver and Gold were $1.49 each, Blue and Magenta were $2.79.

Here are 16 of Kit Kraft's Fine size glitters, all $1.49 each, ½ ounce containers. Fine size is .040" making it one size down from Medium.

Just to round out my size selection, I also bought 13 of Kit Kraft's Extra Fine size glitters. Also sold in ½ ounce containers for $1.49. Extra fine is .015", two sizes below Fine and two sizes larger than the Micro Fine glitters from TKB Trading (currently discontinued), Coastal Scents, The Conservatorie and to be fair, many other companies as well.

I'm sure there will be more bleeders in this recent haul but that is to be expected and will not necessarily interfere with my plans. As I learn which of these do I'll be sure to post them. -MK

Related Entries:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Confetti Collection

On a recent grocery store trip I stopped in CVS Pharmacy to check out their cosmetics in hopes of finding more of Wet 'n' Wild's limited editions. I found a few of those but I also discovered a brand I'd never heard of called Confetti, priced for $1.99, the same as my favorite Sinful Colors.

The first time around I bought those shown in the first pic. The second time I took my flashlight and bought more. It turned out the flashlight came in handy because I would've missed some hidden behind others, shown in the second pic.

Below these are single nail swatches but please don't hold my paint job against me. I could make comparisons to other colors but we'll save that for another day.

Conga Line, Blue Bombshell, Pop the Cork Purple, Happy Birthday, Smitten and Ice Ice Baby.
In the top row: Dreamdate, Debutante, Pink Confetti, Purple Parade, Dressed to the 9s and Papa-Razzi.
The second row: Masquerade Ball, Purple Pizzazz, Tiara, My Favorite Martian and Tahitian Turquoise.

Blue Bombshell, Purple Parade, Masquerade Ball and Pop the Cork Purple. Each of these were 3 coats, could have used 4. Pop the Cork Purple, despite it's name, looks more blue rather than purple.

Dressed to the 9s, Smitten, Papa-Razzi, Debutante. These were 3 coats each.

Happy Birthday, Tiara (over Smitten), My Favorite Martian and Dreamdate. Happy Birthday is 4 coats, the rest 3. Tiara is a very sheer glitter-like polish. The flecks are neither white or silver but somewhere in between. Dreamdate is also very sheer but sparkly.

Tahitian Turquoise, Pink Confertti, Conga Line, Purple Pizzazz. Tahitian Turquoise is 4 coats, the rest 3. Pink Confetti is also very sheer; think along the lines of Sally Hansen's Shooting Star.

This is 3 coats of Ice Ice Baby over Tahitian Turquoise. I should have picked a more contrasting color.

$1.99 isn't a bad price but I would've liked to see a bit more glitter and brighter colors. I may go back and acquire a few for frankening. -MK

Monday, July 11, 2011

Wet 'n' Wild Fast Dry Comparisons

Links checked 12/12/13

In my last post, I showed you Wet 'n' Wild's new line of Fast Dry polishes in bottles and made comparison to other brands. In this post I've got actual nail swatches of those comparisons but please don't hold it against me that the paint job leaves much to be desired; I am aware, believe me. Even when I try to do it neatly, it ends up… well, you'll see.

The first set is Sinful Colors Let's Talk versus Wet 'n' Wild Buffy the Violet Slayer. Shown below, Let's Talk is left and Buffy on right.
Both of these are 3 coat, very vibrant purples and I do like both but Let's Talk is slightly more pinkish while Buffy leans more towards the blue side. Both are more purple than they appear here. If I had to choose between them I'd still choose Sinful Colors because its thicker consistency seems to suspend pigments in frankens better.

The next comparison I'd made was Sally Hansen Hi Def (original HD line) and Wet 'n' Wild Sage in the City; they are similar but hardly identical like they appeared in the bottle. Hi Def is left, Sage is on the right.
 Outdoors, direct sunlight.

I'd never worn either one before this and I found myself surprised by how much I actually liked Hi Def with its lime green color with mint green highlight. Sage doesn't have a minty highlight and is more green in person as well as being more sparkly. These were both 4 coats.

I made a visual assessment and compared SaGreena the Teenage Witch to Sinful Colors HD Nails in the prior entry but found, once I did a side-by-side, that they really are nothing alike. HD Nails is far lighter and stands alone. SaGreena is closer to Sally Hansen (Xtreme Wear) Emerald City and I added Sinful Colors San Francisco for further review. From left to right: HD Nails, SaGreena, Emerald City and San Francisco.

Shown here are, from left to right, Sinful Colors Midnight Blue, Wet 'n' Wild Saved by the Blue, China Glaze Frostbite and Sally Hansen (Xtreme Wear) Blue It. By appearance, Saved by the Blue is most similar to China Glaze Frostbite but I must admit the quality and application of Frostbite beats Saved by the Blue hands down.

After painting these swatches of Sinful Colors Cloud 9, left and Wet 'n' Wild Magic Trident, on the right, I decided I really don't like this color on me. That being said, they are identical in color but Cloud 9 has far more sparkle. They were both too thick which could be fixed with thinner no doubt but I didn't bother.

Wet 'n' Wild Gray's Anatomy, left is next to my polish Venus (middle) with Sally Hansen (Nail Prisms) Emerald Amethyst on the right. Since these three are true duochrome polishes, it required several pictures to even come close to capturing the color shift. Venus is the more pigmented version of Gray's Anatomy but Emerald Amethyst is very close on the color wheel.