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Thursday, August 25, 2011

SpectraFlair or Something Like It

Prices updated 12/11/13. Options also updated but there are fewer and no SpectraFlair in dry form at all. Links checked 12/12/13

Holographics are probably number one on the list of favorite polishes and the reason for this is obvious- spectacular color display. While there are brands that have indulged our desire like OPI, China Glaze, Nubar, Color Club more recently, and the old Sally Hansen Nail Prisms, they are, at least in my opinion, too valuable to franken with. The alternative is to buy holographic glitter/pigment to use but finding it is easier than finding some that is fine grade like that.

What I used prior to purchasing SpectraFlair was TKB Trading's .004" size hex cut Holographic Holla Glow glitter (it's since been replaced with a square cut, $2.95 an ounce. I like the effect it gives off BUT the polishes it's used in never apply visually smooth enough- a slightly bumpy glitter can be overcome with a topcoat but this one resists in heavier concentrations. Again, that’s not a texture issue so much as an appearance issue because the glitter itself has a very thin profile. The holographic effect compared to SpectraFlair is more random and not as linear although it’s at least as brilliant.

Then SpectraFlair caught my attention on the blog More Nail Polish when Kitties26 posted her first franken using it. She, along with many of you, have made beautiful holographic polishes so naturally I wanted some for myself but I soon found at that time that SpectraFlair was not widely available in the USA and comes at a premium price, premium compared to most pigments and glitters I previously used.

I am guessing that it is the small particle size that enables this pigment to create a linear holo and SpectraFlair comes in 3 particle sizes. The largest, the coarse grade, is 35 microns, still smaller than the finest glitter available which is 50 microns. Remember, most cosmetic glitter is .004" or 100 microns and while more .002” options are becoming available, the two really don’t compare.

From JDSU's website:
- Fine grade pigment (D50 average of 14 microns) - creates a diffractive rainbow effect that appears to emanate from the surface in pleasing and subtle tones but with noticeably smoother, softer and more satin-like effects.
- Standard grade pigment (D50 average of 20 microns) - optimally balances the diffractive rainbow effect with a high level of specular reflection.
- Coarse grade pigment (D50 average of 35 microns) - produces a silver-based color with a diffractive rainbow effect that is more distinct and chromatic with a noticeably coarser and more sparkling appearance.

Why the premium price is a question I believe I can answer, at least partially. The majority of glitter, specifically the cosmetic, crafting and automotive glitters I own, are PET plastic (polyester) based. They start out as a polyester film that is dyed and then cut, the smallest size I've found being .002" or 50 microns. But JDSU says this about SpectraFlair: "SpectraFlair® pigment, introduced in 2002, is a multi-layer thin-film flake comprised of magnesium fluoride and aluminum." Metal versus plastic, of course SpectraFlair is more expensive!

With the premium price in mind, I went searching for the best deal and/or alternatives.

SpectraFlair
JDSU apparently didn't appreciate our frankening with their product and tightened their regulation which has made this a far more difficult product to get a hold of. 

On average, 3-4 grams (weight) = 1 teaspoon (volume) depending on the weight of what's in the teaspoon. Or as another visual, 1 teaspoon (US) is about 4 ml.
On ebay there are several other listings for SpectraFlair top coats but no powder. Follow the link to see the options.

There is a company I stumbled upon during a Google search this afternoon, Spectraflair4u, that sells ChromaFlair pigments and SpectraFlair pre-dispersed and concentrated in suspension base. Price varies by quantity. 

Automotive Alternatives
House of Kolor, maker of automotive paints, has a flake that is .002" or 50 microns in size called (UMF04) Ultra Rainbow mini. This is more of a clear iridescent flake (based on the pictures I've seen) rather than silver holographic, made from solvent resistant polyester. There are many places that you can purchase this but below are the lowest prices. These flakes also come in .004" and .015" size.
Smart Shopper Inc, sold in a 3oz. jar, $57.00
Coast Airbrush, 1/2 oz by volume, $19.95 = $./gram or
                           3oz, $75.97 = $./gram

TCP Global offers several possibilities:
PPG's Vibrance collection includes flakes, (Prizmatique PPG DX78) that use SpectraFlair Geometric Pigment™ (manufactured by SpectraTek; SpectraFlair is made by JDSU) to achieve the holographic effect. Its particle size could be .002" or .004" as SpectraTek makes both but PPG doesn't specify. This would be the same as the smallest flakes/glitters listed here or the same as my cosmetic glitters. It's been pointed out by LeeAnn- good eyes!- that the package size is 4 ounces (I emailed to ask & they confirmed) and it sells for $97.65, $. per gram, coming out cheaper than the flakes below. TCP Global appears to be the only store that sells this particular product online. Thank you to LeeAnnStoner (below) because if she had not asked her question, I would not have caught my own mistake.

In TCP Global's Kustom Shop they offer these options: The first is their Micro Prizm Silver Rainbow Ultra Fine flake, 1/500th Inch (.002" or 50 microns), a silver holographic polyester flake. The 1/2 oz. sells for $14.95, the 1 oz package is $24.95 and the 2 oz. is $39.85. The flake also comes in .004" and .008" sizes.
1/2 oz, $14.95 = $1.07/gram
1 oz, $24.95 = $.89/gram
2 oz, $39.95 = $./gram

Coming soon to their store will be "color shifting flakes", description below. I have high hopes for these and it will be worth checking back when they arrive.

Color Shifting Flake (CSF) Kustom Shops Color Shifting Flake (CSF) produce a dramatic color shifting effect that changes in dramatic fashion at every angle viewed. The effect of Color Shifting Flake is intensified by the size of the shifting flake particles. While being a large flake requiring a 1.8 or 2.2 Gun tip, they lay down extremely smooth for their size and require much less clear coat to flow out and level. They are best used over a black or dark base color for maximum effect. But because of their transparent nature they can also be sprayed over any color base to produce color never seen before.

The final option I stumbled upon is from Pendry Powder Coatings, 1oz Prism Holographic Additive. Description below. $15.00 per ounce.

          This is the coolest stuff around. It will give your powders a rainbow effect. Fine particles reflect light in different colors as your angle changes . This additive can be mixed with all of our powders but works best with dark colors and candies. Compared to the 1/2 oz you get from others we sell 1 oz per 2lb bag of powder. 40:1
          Particle size is .004. Its an option but really, its unnecessary if you own TKB's Holographic Holla Glow Glitter.

Glitters
TKB Trading appears to have not one but two holographic glitters.

Holographic glitter is sold here but currently showing as out of stock. .004”, square cut, sold as 1 ounce for $2.95 or a 1 teaspoon sample for $1.50.

Second is Luminosity is .002” hex cut glitter, sold as 1 ounce for $2.95 or a 1 teaspoon sample for $1.50. Also showing as out of stock.

The Conservatorie sells two silver holographic glitters.
Party Mix, particle size unknown and currently out of stock.
Silver Rainbow Glitter 128 (0.2 mm)(1/128"). Only samples available for $0.95.
One final alternative is a newer product from TKB Trading, a Frankenpolish called Magic Holographic. I have no personal experience with this product.
From TKB's Site:
Magic Holographic is a pre-colored nail polish made from cosmetic grade ingredients. This is an important fact because it means that formulating with Magic Holographic allows you to confidently sell your holographic nail polish. Other options, such as Spectraflair, are industrial pigments not approved for use in cosmetics by the US government. Selling a nail polish made from Spectraflair would be deemed illegal by the FDA.

The prices are for both U.S. and Canadian customers.
1/2 fl oz Magic Holographic $3.25 (fills one full size bottle full strength)
4 fl oz Magic Holographic $24.00
-MK

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31 comments:

  1. Thanks for doing all that research! I'm a little hesitant to use auto paint pigments--afraid I'll get holo lung disease or something. :)

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  2. I've done my own research on this topic and it is daunting to say the least. Thank you for putting all the hard work and effort into this post. So much fantastic information all in one place ... invaluable. <3

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  3. It's not that I only searched within the automotive industry, there simply isn't anything SpectraFlair-like outside of cosmetic glitter and existing nail polishes.

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  4. Thanks for the link back, this was a great informative post. If you want some spectraflair I'm going to be selling some soon for $15 a gram, Check my blog for details. Also given your blog subjuct, did you see my post about the automotive colour changing pigments? http://morenailpolish.blogspot.com/2011/08/colour-morphing-frankens.html

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    1. Do you still have spectraflair for sale? I'd like to buy some. Please let me know, my email is browneyedgirl525@gmail.com. Thank you!

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  5. As I said on your blog, count me in. I saw your color morphing frankens as well, inspired my entry-in-progess. Proving you have no objections, your link will be included again.

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  6. At prices like that, would we be better off buying Nfuoh 61? I haven't started frankening yet (just got my stuff in today) so I don't know how much you'd need to make a good hollo.

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  7. Mel, I haven't had the opportunity to use SpectraFlair but according to Kitties26 from More Nail Polish, 1 gram should yield about 8 bottles. Acquiring holographic polish would be the other approach but those polishes, Nfu Oh too, are expensive. Nubar made holos as well and they run $7.49 per bottle. If you had the pigment itself, you could eliminate some of the expense by using your own base, bottle etc and be able to make whatever color you wanted.

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  8. Thank you again for another great post! i'm so anxious to try out holo frankens!!

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  9. I check your blog every now and then, and I always find amazing info posts like this one, thank you so much!

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  10. You're welcome and thanks for coming by. Love having visitors around here.

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  11. So, have you or anyone you know tried the Prizmatique DX78 in nail polish yet? The bottle is expensive, but it's 4oz.! That's a ton considering there are 28g in an ounce so that makes SpectraFlair over the top expensive.

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  12. Thank you LeeAnn- please see amended description for the product.

    You must be seeing something in the image that I don’t because I can’t make out “4 ounces” listed on the package although if you are correct, the price is very good. I don’t know of anyone that has tried it but taking into account my own mistake in what it was, it would be no different than using any other .002” glitter.

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  13. Thanks for the reply. Oh, in the pic of the DX78 you can see 4 ounces at the bottom of the bottle. However, if it's not going to give that linear holo look, I guess I don't want it. Guess I need to bite the bullet and get the SpectraFlair.

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  14. Your eyes are better than mine. As you phrased it, I bit the bullet and bought some. It seems that many people are now selling SpectraFlair which makes me wonder where its all coming from when weeks ago there was none to be found.

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  15. @MK, SF is popping up in the US because you can purchase it in large bulk amounts (which is hundreds of grams and costs $$$) since it is made for the automotive industry. Some brave people have done so and are now selling it gram by gram to polish frankeners!

    Lori, the friend in the trace face philes post is selling it for $10/gram to the US. She has the 14 microns and a limited amount of the 35. I would highly recommend purchasing from her!

    Hope that clarified it a bit =)

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  16. please email me for supply info i am re-seller from singapore. would love to bring in this lovely baby to my e-store and share with the gals of the fun of making own nail polishes. it may turn up to be expensive to just mix one bottle of own nail polish but ART and Creativity can't be valued by dollars and cents.

    my email is inquiry_meimei@yahoo.com
    my e-store is http://meimeisignatures.com

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  17. I placed an order from Custom Creation Paints one 2*7*12. I still have not received my order. I contacted the seller who informed me that my package was on its way back to him. Chris, seemed to have an attitude with me when I asked him to resend it to me. He has not yet done a refund. He gave me no empathy and did not seem to appreciate my business. I only ordered 2 grams but rather I ordered 2...5...or 250 grams, you'd think he'd understand. I didn't get any notice of an undeliverable package. Not receiving my order is not the problem. His lack of customer service is.
    He told me, "Yes it all is to much trouble for 2 grams of spectraflair it not worth the hassle i get when i send overseas, i have done my bit you supply the address i send it! it gets returned i resend it who should pay the bill to resend? please do tell me?" This was a response to me asking if I pay for the 2grams to be shipped back to me would I receive a tracking number. He has not responded yet to my request for a refund. If you know that I don't have my product, and you've confirmed that it is on its way back to you then a refund should be done proactively. I dont now where else to get this product and I'm livid with his lack of customer service.

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    Replies
    1. As far as where to get it currently, contact Kitties26 of the blog More Nail Polish. She's a lovely Aussie chick who has the coarse grade available for a reasonable price and having bought 4 grams from her, I can assure you the process from beginning to end went flawlessly.

      Being he sent it, he would be the one informed if it were undeliverable- in fact, when I mailed a package to Australia, it would have been returned to me had there been a problem.Also, with the package going through Customs, tracking numbers aren't always provided. My Australia package was only able to be tracked up to the moment it left the US. Did you pay the UK dude via Paypal or with a credit card? Let me think about this for a while...

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  18. I'm in love with your entire blog. You have so much helpful info that I have not been able to find elsewhere. Thanks so much for posting all of it.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you very much for the high compliment. And for visiting.

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  19. You are seriously the best! If you hadn't organized all this info (and done a crap load of emailing, calling, and general research) I might have lost my mind looking it all up! Thank you so much for posting.

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  20. Would you know the second best after spectraflair that you can actually see the rainbow on fingernails? Some hologram powders and polishes that I have bought doesn't show rainbow.

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    1. There are the other alternatives above but none are a proper substitution for SpectraFlair. Prior to my own SpectraFlair purchase, I used TKB Trading's Holla Glow Glitter which at .004" is a very fine glitter, almost powdery feeling but still larger in particle size than the largest SpectraFlair. You can't miss the rainbow in it but it doesn't create the same appearance. TKB Trading also has a .002" silver holo but I read somewhere that it wasn't very brilliant.

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  21. This blog was so thorough and helpful that I found the best price to buy spectraflair and also got some find glitter using the information yu provided. Thanks a ton!

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  22. Check out tkb's new magic holographic! I'm super exited about it :)

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  23. Seriously, posts like this are why I love your blog. Thank you for all you have done for the frankeners of the world. Not everyone would be so generous with their hard-earned research.

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    1. I was trying to find words to say to her myself. You summed this right nicely...This is one more AWESOME Site! And I just found this blog in the last couple of days....I'm so glad I did.

      Thank you MK Thank you!

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