Swatching Like There’s No Tomorrow

I have this thing where I sometimes like to match my nail polish to an item that I’m wearing.  And I have a pretty big collection of nail polish colors, so it’s usually pretty easy, right?  But then this one time, I tried to find the perfect raspberry red shade to match my Reed Krakoff bag, but after a good half-hour of comparing bottles I came to the absolutely shocking conclusion that nothing came even close.

After the initial shock died away, I knew that this was a problem I wasn’t willing to live with.  So, I decided to solve it: Shopparama Style.

The technique

The key to any good problem solving technique is that you first need to understand the true crux of the issue (this is also how I successfully navigated my three-month shopping ban and came out of the other end victorious with 5 new pairs of shoes, but that’s a story for another day).

In this case, as any nail polish enthusiast knows, the color that you see in the bottle is rarely going to be the same color on your nails.  What I really needed was a good swatching and cataloguing system, because it is just not efficient to go through 15 bottles only to discover that all the potential pink-leaning reds are actually orange-based (true story).

Fast forward a few weeks, a little eBaying here and there (as recommended in Jaztee‘s post), and some incidental fume inhalation later (which was strangely therapeutic), I can now immediately pick out the perfect greige or turquoise or magenta to my heart’s content.

Unfortunately, I can also pick out that there is no perfect raspberry red in my collection — and so the search continues…


Nail polish!

One of my favourite ‘wind down’ activities is to watch TV, but you know, sometimes TV shows are so ridiculous! I can’t believe that Chuck and Blair just blah blah blah’d again! And Alicia Florrick, how can you be so smart but raise such annoying kids?  So, to help with the whole suspension of disbelief or irritation, I paint my nails.  It’s become a slightly expensive way to watch TV, so I’m often on the hunt for cheaper places to buy my go-to nail polish brands, Essie and OPI, which retail for around $20 a bottle.

Box no. 2: Essie nail polish from

You may remember that on the same day that I received my new Marc by Marc Jacobs watch, I also received two other boxes.  One of those boxes contained:

From left to right, the bottles are:  Coat Azure, Fair Game, Sew Psyched, Merino Cool, A List, Angora Cardi, In Stitches, Flawless, Demure Vixen.

So far I’ve only tried tried Angora Cardi (this photo was taken when the polish was about 5 days old, so please excuse the chips!) and Merino Cool (which is actually more purple-grey in real life).


The order from costed US$4 a bottle (but for some reason you have to create an account and log in to see these prices), plus US$20 flat rate shipping for the 9 bottles.  They also sell OPI for $6.80.  The other took forever to arrive, but it was well packed and arrived undamaged.

Essie, OPI and Seche Vite from ProNail Supply

The other place I get my nail polish is ProNail Supply in Bankstown, where I always spend at least 1 hour and $60, without fail… but since it’s in person at least there aren’t any postage fees!

Last time I was there, OPI was $12 a bottle, Seche Vitre top coat was $8 and Essie was $6 a bottle, but the lady said I could have the Essie for $5 each because I had great nails!!  (Yes, while there could be many ulterior motives to that compliment, I’m just going to take it at face value.)

ProNail Supply
9 Greenfield Pde
Bankstown NSW 2200
Tel: (02)-9709-2300