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This blog and some info within is out of date, with the occasional exception of the Chameleon Pigment Suppliers list, but it stands as is for reference.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

Monday, October 3, 2011

I Have a Project for You (Update 10/6/11)

Links checked 12/12/13

Updated 10/4/11 & 10/6/11
If you're new to this entry, don't forget to check out the reader comments because there's a lot of helpful information there! Thank you, ladies.

While it is sometimes disconcerting to realize I’m speaking to 70 something followers, this time I'm going to use that to my advantage. I have a project for you ladies but don’t worry, it’s a pretty easy one.

I like to shop, I like bargains and I like doing research but this time I’ve hit a road bump and perhaps you can help.

Nubar 2010 (the anniversary edition) is just one example of a fine “flakie” nail polish but the Nfu Oh brand is a much better example because it seems the selection is broader. I’ve been asked before and was unable to answer what these flakes are or where they could be bought and the ingredient list on the back of a bottle of Nubar 2010 doesn’t answer that either unless “mica” is what they are supposed to be.

I own one store bought polish that would qualify for a flakie polish though not as nice as Nfu Oh and that’s a polish from Studio M called Covered in Diamonds, picked up at Meijers several months ago.

On the back, the only possible ingredient that could be the flake is polyethylene terephthalate which means its polyester, PET plastic or, if you prefer, the same thing most of our glitter is made of.

So here’s your end of the project while I continue digging for information.

For those of you that own a flakie polish, check your ingredients and tell me if there is one that differs from a regular polish.

For those of you that have bought flakes for frankening that did or did not work, let me know.

Update 10/4/11
Ladies, I appreciate the info you have given me to work with, please continue to do so. I kept digging on the internet yesterday until I wanted to scream but was no closer to finding the answer or the supplier. I have emailed Nubar regarding the flakes in the 2010 anniversary edition as well as Nfu Oh about their flake polishes but I don't think I expect a response. It's probably a company trade secret knowing my luck. If they do answer, I'll let everyone know.

In addition to Nubar and Nfu Oh, I emailed Rainbow Turtle, one of the companies on my Glitter Supplier list. Somewhere on the website it was suggested that the flakes/glitters would work in nail polishes. My question and their answer posted below.

Q: In my experience a lot of glitters bleed when submersed in nail polish for long periods of time yet you suggest that your company's can be used this way. How do you know it won't bleed under those circumstances?
A: Hello, I actually do not know if they will bleed when submersed. I just know that we have many people that use it when doing their clients nails but I am not sure how they are applying it. We have others that use it in lotions however I still do not know if some of the colors or all of them would bleed. I would suggest always testing before making any final decisions. Thank you for asking, Rainbow 

Update 10/6/11
There has been no answer (yet) from Nubar and Nfu Oh regarding their flakes but I emailed Art Glitter the other day about the flakes they sell and received the following response.

Q: Would you know if the glitter flakes you sell are solvent resistant enough to be submerged long term in nail polish without bleeding? Thanks for your time.
A: Hi, I’m guessing you are referring to our Dazzler line of Flakes? They are polyester and should not bleed in nail polish. I’m afraid each color is different and we have found that a few of the darker opaque glitter colors will fade a little. However since the flakes are all transparent, they have a pretty good chance of not bleeding. I’m sorry I don’t have a definite answer for you, we have not been able to test our over 600 colors in this situation. Please take a look at a tutorial a nail artist did for us, it may be helpful: Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance. Thank you for your interest in our fine art glitter products.

While researching I also realized that Fabulous Street, online seller of Nfu Oh polishes ($12.00 each) also sells Nfu Oh brand glitters, flakes and other nail art related products. Kerstin, below, mentioned this first but it escaped my attention.  While I don't know if these are the same flakes used in the actual polishes it might be worth buying some to try out so I purchased two flakes from the "Rainbow Series", Opal Glitter White and Opal Glitter Dark Green for $3.50 each. I have no idea what the weight or size of the jar is but if the flakes work, the price will be irrelevant.

What I learn I pass on to the next person because it all ends up on this blog. -MK

Hit the Duochrome Flakes tag for related entries.


  1. I have quite a few flakies. I'll go check and get back to you.

  2. Wow, this is tricky. My Barielle flakies have polyester resin in them, but I don't have a "plain" Barielle to compare to. My Revlon Royal Cloak has very subtle flakies and it has under the "may contain" aluminum powder, but that's on all my Revlons. Then again, all my Revlons have some sort of glitter so that may cover both situations. And looks like you've covered the Nubar. Sorry I wasn't more help.

  3. No worries, I'm sure between all of us, we'll figure it out eventually. Thanks for looking and letting me know.

  4. I'm in the same boat with Leeann on the Barrielle. I own Nfu Oh 50/51 but there is no ingredient list on the bottle. I've wondered what flakes are too. The more I look at them I agree that it might be mica. OR floor sweepings from poly glitter. OR that filmy stuff Easter grass is made from whirled up in a blender because of the irregularity. Looks like, if it's not mica, it has retained the AB coating. But I'll keep looking too.

  5. You might take a look at kitties26 weekend post on the Inglot flakes she recently acquired. Pick her brain too.

  6. I've bought some "flakes" from ebay but they look more like plastic pieces than real flakies :(

    the only flake polishes i have are from Golden rose and there are no ingredients written on them :(

    On the "essence - 25 Glisten up" also nothing :(

    On the Kleancolor chunky holo polishes there are the same names on every color so no name for the "flake" like glitters :(

  7. I own the Kleancolor chunky holos too and aside and from the awesome duochrome coloring, its just glitter. Nfu Oh polishes appear to lay much smoother than any glitter most of us has worked with. $12.00 for one bottle doesn't agree with me so the mission continues. And believe me, if I thought running something through a blemder would accomplish what I wanted, I'd do it.

    I'm picking everyone's brain!

  8. ok, I found this.
    guanine-from fish scales
    bismuth oxychloride
    but the most promising.....mica flakes coated with titanium dioxide and/or iron oxide.
    This last one seems to be something used in paint. Maybe the automotive guys can help.
    I found a really up close, huge pic of Nfu Oh 40, then looked at images of mica flakes and they sure look alike. I also saw some additives listed as mica
    PARTICLES and FLAKES. Seems there is a diff in the reflective/refractive properties. I googled titanium dioxide coated mica flakes, see if any of that helps. This is exciting!!!

  9. Looking at the bottle above under the May Contain part is, I bet, everything that pertains to the flakes. I've tie dyed different items, and clothing with varying cotton content. I used procion, not rit dye. Depending on the content of the "natural" ingredients in the item the dye took differently. More cotton/silk, better color saturation, less bleed out. There are a couple of dye/# on the bottle. Mica is certainly natural and I bet it takes dye.

  10. I'm not sure, but the flakes in NFU Oh look a bit like the NFU Oh's Fine art glitter Rainbow hologram - glitters, but in an irregular shape. Have you noticed that too? I don't have a clue of the ingredients of those glitters, but maybe it helps to get to it.

  11. Wow I am so glad you are posting this and asking for help. I too have been trying to figure out what the flakies are and where I could get them for frankening purposes.

    I recently found some new Hard Candy lip glosses that have flake particles in them. They look a lot like the particles in Nfu Oh and other flakie polishes. They have a duochrome quality too.
    I am guessing they are mica flakies because they can't be something else more dangerous since it is going on the lips?

  12. I bought the Dollarnailart flakies and tried to franken with them. DON'T BUY THEM! They bleed! That's all I know about frankening flakies for now. I think these flakies are more meant for manicurists to embed in acrylic nails. I've yet to find flakies to franken with.

  13. Talk to lynnderella. She's researching the same thing!

  14. I've already gotten so much feedback that rather than answering everyone individually, I updated this entry. Thank you, everyone.

  15. Someone would have to put me in touch with Lynderella if she was interested because we don't know eachother.

  16. Cheryl- did you buy the "ice chips"? If so, the liars claim they won't bleed so call them on it and complain.

  17. I Googled "Iridescent Flakes" and "Opal Flakes".

    They usually seem to be too big so you have to cut them down or use a coffee grinder. When using a coffee grinder you have to be careful because a static charge builds up and when you open the grinder, the flakes might go everywhere!

    I have found that some of the opal flakes meant for nail art have that triangular jagged cut which does not make for a nice flat surface when used in polish (ex- Color Club "Covered in Diamonds"")

    It seems that they use opal flakes in clay jewelry, glass making, and paper making.

  18. I believe they are PET flakes, not mica. However all the flakes sold in nail supply stores change and lose their color when put in a solvent.
    This ingredient isn't listed on my Sally Hansen Hidden Treasures or Barielle Elle's Spell or Buddhaful polish, but an old L'Oreal flakie says "Oxidized Polyethylene".
    On two brands of Brazilian flakies I have though, it does list PET as an ingredient.
    I too have done extensive research online because I loooove flakies, but to no avail.

  19. Just looked up oxidized polyethylene - I guess it's just wax, lol!

  20. I just checked my bottle of LA Girls Rockstar in Crowd Surfing which has the red/orange flakies in it and under May Contain is listed polybutylene terephthalate. The wikipedia page says this is similar to PET.

  21. OK NOW I've got it!

    synthetic fluorphlogopite - it's basically synthetic mica flakes

    Look at a picture!

    This wikipedia entry mentions the use of synthetic mica in automotive paints and pearlescent coatings

  22. By golly I think Allison's nailed it! I googled that and got gobs of mfgrs.
    BTW..... Nail pattern boldness is clever. And heinous shrew?! Love that.

  23. I have an old Gerulian (sp?) called Meterorites and it has flakies but I know the the flakes are bits of mother of pearl. When i've worn a flakie polish Nubar 2010 and Nfu Oh's for example and then when I removed the polish the the flakes seem to be a type of plastic. I'm a jeweler I do know that titanian dioxide is sometimes used to bombard crystals to give them interesting and irredesent color effects.

  24. I found something you may find interesting. Here is a link to a website that sells flakes they call ice chips...

    They are made out of mylar and claim to not bleed. And they are totally inexpensive!

  25. LeeAnn, I believe those are what Cheryl said she bought and they melted/bled.

  26. BTW, some Mylar is solvent resistant- DuPont makes one but all mylar is not created equal. The difference appears to be what the solvent resistance coating is.

  27. No truth in advertising... ever.

  28. I was just browsing the web for synthetic mica and ran into this - produced in China. Take a look and let me know whether you think this is the real deal or not. I'm thinking it is, just bc the color selection listed is the range of flakie colors normally seen in polish.

  29. Now if only there was a US supplier... I don't trust random sites like that one...

  30. I found that exact same site but no, there doesn't seem to be a US supplier. In fact there appears to be NO US suppliers for ANY similar flakes.

  31. All the flakies I've ever seen in nail polish are flexible. Mica is brittle. Mica in cosmetics is usually ground up into a fine powder and used as a pigment. It can't be mica because a mica flake thin enough to be transparent would easily break. Especially if shaken in a bottle with those little round steel balls.
    While I am educated in minerals, my totally uneducated in flakies guess would be some type of plastic.

    1. It's still up for debate but after comparing the ingredients list of several different flakie polishes, none list any form of polyester or mylar. I'll post that list so ya'll can see for yourselves. I do know I haven't found any mica based flakes like that.

  32. Hey everyone, I've been researching the flakies too, and I've found that they are called borosilicate pearl pigments. Unfortunately the smallest amount I can find to buy is one pound or more and that's around $100.. and no one needs an entire pound of course lol. But yeah, I can't find any here in the US. One of the China sellers says they can send free samples, maybe its worth checking out the samples just to see if it would really work or not.

    1. What made you decide that that's what they are? I considered that a possibility but hadn't confirmed it yet. If we're talking about the "Magic Flakes", they aren't the Nfu Oh type (and are now available here).

    2. Glamatronic looks to be right: (pics)

      And one of the manufacturers:

      "The products are made of Calcium Sodium Borosilicate coated with TiO2 and other metal oxides...Combination of super transparent substrate and transparent metal oxide layers with high refraction index creates dazzling three dimensional diamond luster and high transparent color purity. The product creates new perspective for color designer in coatings, plastics, inks and cosmetics applications"

      The mission is really now to convince a supplier like TKB trading to buy kilograms of this stuff and resell it ;)

    3. That Studio M polish listed as an example in the article also lists 'mica' as an ingredient, so I'm not sure why you ruled it out in favor of PET. In that polish in particular, it's probably both, mica coated plastic *or* synthetic mica (I'm not sure how 'mica' is used on label, and whether synthetic mica qualifies). Some details about synthetic mica pearl pigments: My guess would be that a lot of the 'flakies' in polishes seen today are the synthetic interference pearl pigments from companies from the above.

    4. Lise, the flakes in the first link you provided are now being sold by TKB Trading (and a couple others) and they are not vibrant enough to be the same sort of flakes as Nfu Oh.

      I dismissed the Studio M because a) it listed PET as an ingredient and b) the flake profile is far thicker and chunkier than the flakes in Nfu Oh based on other's pics of Nfu Oh flakies. I currently own Essie's Shine of the Times and you can feel the flakes in Studio M on your nails, this is not so with Essie's.

  33. Gotcha! Ok, that makes sense. That's pretty interesting! Yeah the ones in CG's "Luxe and Lush" polish are also ones that you can feel on your fingers, so it sounds like there are definitely multiple types of flakies going around.

    Thanks! That's good to know; that the ones at TKB are the generic ones sold on the Chinese import sites. That's also too bad, because they don't flash colors, and are quite a bit flatter.

    Thanks for the quick reply, and again, really appreciate all the info that this blog has! The hunt goes on....


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