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

Updates & Notices

MOST prices & info on products are out of date, with the exception of the Chameleon Pigment Suppliers list (updated most frequently). The date of any updates are noted at the top of each page/entry. Updated Franken Polish Supply Stores 1/01/18.

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Alsa Corporation: Store Review

Links checked 12/12/13

I intended to post franken polish pics & video clips today but until the computer finishes its check disk on my failing hard drive and I re-install my camera software, it's a no-go. Instead I'll post this store review.

If you don’t already know about the Alsa Corporation from previous entries, allow me to summarize.

The Alsa Corporation manufactures automotive paint, flakes and pigments among other things and many of these appear to be on the “cutting edge” of painting. While there are similar products on the market, a few are unique to Alsa. I don’t know how long the company has been established but they are located in California, USA and sell American made products- another point in their favor. Prices are reasonable when compared to the competition but what really sets them apart is the fact that they sell sample decks of their flakes as opposed to the traditional sample chip books.  To see what a sample deck is, go here.

I have one of these sample decks but I purchased mine from Pivco LLC for a few dollars less than Alsa’s price and I was so pleased with my purchase that I featured it on this blog. By the time I did though, Pivco was out of stock (until December 2011) and so I had to refer anyone that was interested to Alsa’s website. I had had no personal contact with the company at that point so I made no comments good or bad about them.

Update 4/25/12: Lynnae, one of my readers, has informed me that the sample deck can also be purchased from Terry's Auto Supply Inc. for $28.00, $7.25 for shipping. The sample deck is located here on the site.

Recently I had the opportunity to act as a “middle man” to order a couple sample decks for Kitties26 (More Nail Polish) and a friend of hers, the plan being of course to then mail them off to Australia myself. She had some problems with the checkout process and I think we all assumed it was because of the international shipping. I prefer email as a means of communication but to be sure that they sold to regular consumers, not just businesses, I actually called. The woman that answered was pleasant and sounded American, surprising in this age of Indian Customer Support. No offense to anyone but that’s a fact of life.

I placed the order online and paid them with PayPal but there was a problem processing it (I did not get order confirmation) so I had to contact them and chose email. A woman named Linda responded, immediately straightened out the problem and said she would send me confirmation “shortly”. I never got that email or anything further from Alsa, not even when I enquired a week later about the status of my order.  They didn’t answer the second email I sent three days after that but the next day the package arrived so it didn’t matter.

The sample decks were identical to mine but contained more flakes in each individual bag (perhaps that accounts for the slightly higher price) and they included a very classy high quality print catalogue. They shipped them via Fed Ex whereas mine from Pivco came UPS Ground but shipping costs and shipping time are comparable.

In the end, we all got what we wanted but I find the customer service email lacking and would suggest that if you decide to buy from them, call rather than email. Despite the quality of their products I get the impression that the Alsa Corporation is not a large company employee-wise. Their sample deck is the most cost effective way of trying out their flakes and I would still encourage people to do so but heed my warning about emailing. I am a bit antisocial so that was the best method of contact for me but not for the Alsa Corporation.

This won't deter me from ordering another sample deck for myself in the future because while my experience with Pivco LLC was a positive one, the Alsa Corporation sold me a fuller product, at least it appeared that way and I am a "more bang for your buck" kind of gal. And you just can't beat the huge variety of colors in the sample deck for the money. -MK

12/4/11: I have had great success with all of Alsa's flakes from the sample deck. By this point I'm sure that I have used the majority of them in various frankens and none of them have bled. I encourage you to purchase your own, it's well worth the cost.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Franken #348 Heavy Metal

This franken polish looks suspiciously like OPI’s Crown Me Already but I imagine OPI’s is a heck of a lot smoother. At any rate, the resemblance is entirely coincidental. Also made this summer, its crammed full of all the silver glitters I had and two silver-glitter store bought polish, L.A.Colors Sparkling Diamonds from the Color Craze line and Wet ‘n’ Wild (Precious Metals) Steel, not shown. Nothing in this polish was measured out. It has enough Sparkling Diamonds and Steel in it that suspension isn’t really an issue.

From left to right: Coastal Scents Tinsel glitter, silver glitter vial from my Hobby Lobby set, Coastal Scents Sterling Silver .008” glitter #348 Heavy Metal, L.A.Colors Sparkling Diamonds and my large size hex glitter sample from TKB Trading.

Macro shot of bottle.

Paper swatch

Outdoors, full sunlight.

Indoors under lamplight.

Indoors in sunlight.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Franken #400 SF/BF Gray Holo

Links checked 12/12/13

I was overdue posting this but this is one of my SpectraFlair franken polishes, #400 SF/BF Holo Gray. I gave you a sneak peak a week ago but this post includes a brief video clip and far more pictures.

Supplies Used
TKB Trading’s Glamour Base, #400 Gray Holo, Coarse Grade SpectraFlair, BlingFlake Gray Holo, BlingFlake Black Prism and laying horizontally is my small vial from the Hobby Lobby set, this one a black metallic glitter. Not shown are Alsa's Gunmetal and Jet Black flakes.

The bottle I used is a round 15ml bottle from Nailite Inc., important only because a small part of this franken was a 3ml mini bottle I combined with it. The mini bottle, not shown, was a mixture of TKB’s Black base, clear polish and a very minimal amount of holographic glitter. The rest of the formula/recipe is as follows: mini added to round 15ml bottle & is less than 1/4 full. Added slightly over 1/4 Glamour Base, 1 drop (spoon) Alsa Jet Black, 2 drops Alsa Gunmetal, generous amount Hobby Lobby vial of black metallic glitter, 2 drops Bling Flake Holographic Gray, 2 drops Bling Flake Black Prism, 1 generous drop coarse grade SpectraFlair (1500-35).

None of these used a top coat.

This picture is from the sneak preview so you’ve already seen it but it was taken indoors in sunlight.

This is a set of three, taken outdoors in sunlight. I thought they displayed the holographic effect as the angle changed fairly well.

This one, (more of) a macro was taken outdoors in daylight but no sun. Here there is no visible rainbow and the black glitters/flakes are less obvious. Rather than appearing dark gray the entire thing appears silver-ish.

At this angle and taken in full direct sunlight, the rainbow appears but it still looks silvery. Ignore my pinkie nail for a multitude of reasons.

With the sun not quite direct, the rainbow is fuller and the grayer side comes out.

My final display for this franken polish is the brief video clip I mentioned before. This video is posted on YouTube and located here.

I realize the black speckled effect is not what everyone would've been going for but I wanted something that was in between an OPI My Private Jet effect which I've seen on others blogs to be a black holographic and a bright silver holographic which I've already made several of;  I think I achieved that. Since all the photos I take are macros, some details are exceedingly obvious whereas if it was seen in person, they would not be.

As always, thank you for visiting. -MK

Friday, October 21, 2011

The “Hands Free” Funnel

I prefer putting pigments in a polish bottle by hand but after having spilled my expensive SpectraFlair pigment a few times, I decided it was time to utilize one of the various funnels I made, made instead of bought because you won’t find a metal funnel small enough. The problem with funnels is that they sometimes fall off the bottle if you’re not holding onto them; bump it and there goes pigment everywhere (which I’ve also done) so I improvised and made the “hands free funnel” with a few simple items I keep at my work area- Scotch tape, paper, index cards and toothpicks. 

- The first step would be making the funnel itself but I figure that’s pretty self explanatory so we’ll assume you already have one.

1. Cut a small strip from the index card just slightly wider than the neck of the bottle is tall.

2. Wrap it around the neck and tape it so it stays in the circular form- this will serve as the bottle collar later.

3. Cut several pieces from the toothpick the same length as the collar you just made and secure them at intervals around it with the tape- this will ensure that the funnel collar with fit loosely enough to slide on and off.

4. With the collar on the neck, cut a second strip from the index card but not as wide as the first, wrap it around and tape it to make sure it maintains the shape. This collar will be taped to the funnel itself.

5. Put the funnel on the second collar, check to make sure the angle is pointed straight down and tape the sides of the collar & the funnel together. You don’t want the tip of your funnel going all the way through the collar; you want it raised a bit higher.

- It ends up looking a little odd but functional.

With the pieces assembled, slip the bottle collar on the bottle and fit the funnel over it.

Your final product should look something like this.

The outer/inner collar design provides stabilization for the funnel, preventing it from falling over or off and frees up your hands for other things.

 I love improvising. -MK 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

School Break & Other BS

It was a four day weekend here, my boys not having school for Professional Development Day and some other reason, both of which are supposed to be their “fall break”. Fall break? I’m only 33, there was no fall break when I was in school or Professional Development Day, what the heck do kids need all these days off for? I guess they’d just hate it if school was year ‘round and I would’ve too, as a kid, but as an adult I can see the value of it. I see the value of wearing uniforms too…

At any rate, I spent my four day “break” at my father’s house as I do most holidays, snow days and breaks even though I have no idea why. I spent the majority of the time either arguing over stupid crap and my husband or cleaning my father’s house in self defense because that’s the one and only occasion he won’t interrupt me. We argue and fight all the time but when I’m there, I have no escape. My father is the most negative, poisonous person I know and his moods infect all. Oh yes, we have a highly dysfunctional relationship.

I got nothing done related to the blog, research, franken polish or even a “proper manicure” and I am in the mood to do nothing. I will likely do none of it tomorrow either. We are supposed to honor thy father and thy mother but when do the children deserve it?

I probably should keep my personal life to myself but when the mood hits, I speak my mind.

As far as the "multi-chromatic flakes" in Nubar/Nfu Oh etc, I have nothing new. Neither company ever answered my enquiry, I don't expect one. I emailed Mr. Fourman from Bling Metalflake since he is a custom painter to see if he might have ideas/suggestions but have not heard back yet. The little bit of reading I've done since suggests only the same possibilities as before.

If you are not a man of your word, if you do not do as you say you are going to, if your word is not your promise... you are no man at all and need to reevaluate the way you live your life. -MK

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Glitters & Bubbles 100+ Follower Giveaway

Links checked 12/12/13
Glitters and Bubbles, one of the blogs/bloggers I follow and vice versa is having a 100th Follower Giveaway. Not only have I entered myself but I encourage you to do so as well. The prize is one brand new set of Fyrinnae's Halloween 2011 minis- which she has swatched on her blog. The colors are pretty and I can think of lots of things to do with them. Go enter! -MK

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sneak Peek of SpectraFlair Franken Polish

I was super bored yesterday so I started messing around with a few BlingFlake, Alsa flakes and my coarse grade SpectraFlair. I called it a sneak peek because I only have my index finger painted (I was color testing) and won’t have the chance to do a proper job until Tuesday. -MK

They are all indoors sunlight macros.


Questions? Comments?

I wrote this for when Blogger was having an issue with the ability to leave comments on individual pages, the "stand alone" pages from the dashboard side. This issue has been resolved and comments restored but I thought I'd leave the entry anyway. Maybe you had a question, wanted to leave a comment or say something that doesn't fit anywhere else; this is the place.

I don't moderate the comments, they will appear immediately so alternately, you may email me at . I ignore emails that have no subject line so be sure to include one. No spam please, I get more than enough of that.

I do my best to respond in a timely fashion because I hate waiting and I hate leaving people waiting on me. -MK

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Highlights of the Day

Links checked 12/12/13

Yes, highlights of the day, that’s what I said despite the fact that it’s only 7:34a- but I’ve been up since 6a.

My first Ah ha! moment came this morning while removing my franken Holo Green over San Fran; I used the “foil method” I’ve read about on the blogs and heard about on You Tube because removing it the old fashioned way is a pain and takes forever. The idea requires wrapping your fingertips in foil with cotton balls soaked in remover and looks ridiculous but don’t underestimate it because that was the most effortless removal I’ve ever done.

My second moment came while I was sitting at the table, card swatching my SpectraFlair holos. The polishes are very thin in consistency but they still needed to be mixed up so I started to shake one of the bottles when I felt something hit my cheek. I look down, I see polish coming out of the bottle but I can’t figure out why because the cap is screwed on tight, right? I check it to make sure and it snaps off in my hand. It’s not a loose cap, it’s the glass neck actually snapping off, the broken piece of neck still stuck in the cap. I’m not sure what annoys me more, the wasted bottle or the wasted polish. I was able to salvage most of the polish along with the cap and brush but the bottle is history.

Then the second bottle broke while I was shaking it, even more gently than the last, not roughly, not tapping it on my palm, just gently shaking it… and I felt polish on my hand, again. Rather than breaking at the neck, this one has a tiny hole at the top where the seam is.

Both are from the same 50-bottle batch I purchased recently from Nailite Inc. but these are different from the first set I ordered last year. Last year's were square in design, the brushes fitting securely inside their black caps. This set has issues. Rather than the nice squared bottle, they are round, the seams are sometimes quite visible (which is really an aesthetic thing), the brushes don’t always stay in their cap and fall out when you open the bottle. I updated the pics on my entry Best Buy Supplies when Nailite changed bottles but I didn’t think the quality would go down while the price stayed the same.

Left is the newer round bottle from Nailite, right is one of the square bottles I bought last year from them. Both are supposed to be “high quality Italian glass”, same price, same volume but one is inferior.

I don’t mind the self assembly but I mind the cheaper manufacturing. I emailed them a little while ago, not to ask for a refund but to make them aware of the bad batch or the bad few as the case may be. You should be aware too if you order these. My dealings with Nailite Inc in the past have been fine so I don't think it's the company, it’s the product. -MK

Monday, October 10, 2011

Nfu Oh Flakes, Updated

Links checked 12/12/13

I got a lot of feedback from you all regarding what those duochrome flakes were in Nubar and Nfu Oh polishes (and a few other brands) but Nubar and Nfu Oh themselves so far have declined to answer. The other glitter companies I emailed about their own products weren't able to tell me if they were colorfast, let alone duochrome, so I won't be wasting money on a big order.

Without a definitive answer, the possibilities include mica, both synthetic and natural, mica flakes coated with titanium dioxide, mylar and polyester/PET (cosmetic & craft glitter).

I decided to try some of the Nfu Oh flakes (Opal Glitter) made for nail art on the off chance they may be the same type of flake that Nfu Oh actually puts in their polish.  I have no idea if they are "multichromatic" nor if they are colorfast once submerged in polish. I bought them from Fabulous Street but they don't list the ingredients and they aren't listed anywhere else. I purchased two flakes from the "Rainbow Series", Opal Glitter White and Opal Glitter Dark Green for $3.50 each.

Although tracking says delivery will be tomorrow, I'd say there's a good chance they will come today. I mentioned this purchase only briefly in my entry I Have a Project for You so if you don't know what I'm talking about, don't feel like you missed something. As soon as they get here, I intend to test them out so hopefully when I update this entry, I will have positive news, swatches to share and not another entry on my Bleeding Glitter List.

Eh, I didn't realize it was Columbus Day yesterday so the Nfu Oh flakes arrived today, not yesterday as predicted. The results of the bleed test I will save for the end but here are some preliminary pictures.

Indoors Sunlight.

Lamp light.

Opal Glitter Dark Green shown next to a quarter for size.

Lamp light but slightly blurry I know, sorry.

Also under lamp light.

Each container is densely packed full so there's plenty of flake to play around with although it does not have a weight listed. Individual flake size is mixed but small enough to fit easily in any bottle. The flake material itself feels stiff, stiffer than what I expected and I doubt they would lay flat against the nail if the flakes were bigger. Both are iridescent and the Dark Green looks like it might even be a duochrome. As many of you said, they look promising.

showing loose flakes

The bad news is that Opal Glitter Dark Green failed the bleed test within 45 minutes and because it bleeds, I am not going to bother testing Opal Glitter White

Here are the flakes right after I put them in the bottle at 11:14a.
Somewhat transparent but brightly colored, as it should be.

(10/11/11) By 11:54a, what I had was this:

10/12/11, 9:43a

My conclusion? Like all the other bleeders, these flakes are fine if you're the patient type willing to place them on your nails by hand but they aren't going to withstand submersion in nail polish. This was very disappointing but pretty much what I expected to happen. Nfu Oh makes flakes for polish and polish with flakes in it- the two aren't the same, clearly, no pun intended. Another entry for the bleeder list. -MK

Hit the Duochrome Flakes tag for related entries

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Franken #364 BF Holo Green

Links checked 12/12/13

Since most of my posted franken polishes are green, there is little doubt that that is my favorite color so you can imagine my pleasure when I saw that Bling MetalFlake sold a holographic green flake (glitter). I bought it and have used it but soon realized as pretty as it was, it is far better suited to be a top coat than a franken polish additive.

Before I removed #376 SF San Francisco, (if you haven't seen it, go check it out) I decided to show you what the Holo Green looks like layered so I added one coat. No more than one was necessary as I made this in a small bottle with a heavy concentration of glitter. I could apologize once again for the bad paint job or the condition of my nails but I’m assuming you’re here for the color, not my lack of skill in painting.

Here’s my little bottle by itself. As I said in the entry(ies) about BlingMetalflake, the Holo Green is a bit of a bleeder but not terribly so. The polish (originally just a clear polish) is colored but the flakes retained both their holographic finish and the vivid green coloring. If you pull up the enlarged image it becomes apparent that these are square cut, not hex cut.

The bottle and the manicure.

Indoors sunlight shots

This image I left slightly blurry because it shows the holo better.

Indoors, no sun.

Finally, because I felt I could not capture the holographic effect of this polish, I have included a couple short videos, not that you must view them of course. It was shot indoors but in sunlight so you could see how much this truly sparkles in the light. Due to the poor quality playback of videos on my blog, if you wish to watch them, I put them on YouTube.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Franken #376 SF San Francisco

Links checked 12/12/13

Today's franken polish is a special one made with my coarse grade SpectraFlair and one of my favorite green polishes San Francisco from Sinful Colors. San Francisco is the main Sinful Colors but there’s also See You Soon and Ciao Bella as well as Wet ‘n’ Wild’s Ocean Grotto and Teal of Fortune, added for extra sparkle. Given my tendency to overload things, I’ve tried to stay away from using any pigments other than the SpectraFlair itself and that was apparently a good idea because SF San Fran turned out better than expected.

SC San Francisco, WW Ocean Grotto, SC See You Seen, WW Teal of Fortune, SC Ciao Bella
SF San Fran, coarse grade SpectraFlair
Photo taken under lamp light

I don’t have any small bottles handy so this was made as half a regular 15ml bottle. The recipe is as follows: (filled to) 1/3 bottle San Francisco, 10 drops Ocean Grotto, 11 drops Teal of Fortune, 16 drops each of See You Soon and Ciao Bella. I added the SpectraFlair in the amount of 1 and 1/2 drops using TKB Trading’s Drop spoon from the five spoon set. I could have added more SpectraFlair and possibly made the holo effect less scattered but I didn’t want to push my luck on the formula.

The pictures show 3 coats of #376 SF San Francisco which applied smoothly and dried glossy even without a basecoat or topcoat. And wouldn’t you know not long after the final coat, I hit my index fingernail on my camera tripod. Pardon the paint job.

All indoors sunlight pics

Up close

Normal lighting, no flash 

Under lamp light

I wouldn’t mind sporting this one for a while but I’m on to the next one. -MK