The saddest thing about my absence was that I missed a lot of really amazing collections. Since coming back, I have been on a ‘do or die’ mission to catch up on everything I’ve missed. Rescue Beauty Lounge, in particular, released a ton of polishes that I feel like I NEED (yes, I’m still a major RBL fangirl, like whoa). Diddy Mow might actually be my new Zulu. I missed out on Insouciant and Recherche but was lucky enough to pick them up in a blog sale recently. And finally, Ji will be re-releasing Pui Mosso and Aqua Lily in November – thank the polish gods because I really *need* those too. And, of course, the Tudors. While I spent the past 3 years tuned out of the nail polish world, I did catch wind of this collection, only to sadly miss out during the original release. It is freaking awesome that these were re-released as a part of the Bring it Back series (and that, consequently, they have made their way into my evil clutches.)
Aside from being a genuinely awesome collection – it’s conceptually interesting. As a collector, more so than a beauty-aficionado, I am drawn to collections that have interesting concepts, inspirations, etc. Particularly with this collection, the concept sold me immediately. Truly, as a lover of all things British and historical, these polishes could have been OPI and Apple Pie style fug x 4 and I still would have squealed and swooned. Fortunately though, these polishes are impressive in their own right, quite apart from their unique historical theme.
I tried to include some interesting historical facts that I remember from reading Alison Weir’s The Six Wives of Henry VIII. Of course, it’s been years since I read that book so some of these “facts” might be inaccuracies residual from my love of the Showtime series The Tudors (mmm Henry Cavill *makes Homer donut sounds*). As an aside, I highly recommend anything by Alison Weir if you have any interest in English royal history at all - I’ve read a few of her books and have thoroughly enjoyed them all.
Okay, without further blah blah blah… here are the swatches.
Rescue Beauty Lounge Jane – loooooove. This is a greige putty, with very light sparse gold shimmer. The shimmer is invisible on the nail – while you can’t really see it, I feel like it does add to the overall color of the polish. This mani was 3 coats – excellent wear and application per usu. I really loved this color, it’s chic and obviously work appropriate for any environment. One aspect of this polish that appealed to me is that it is reflective of Jane Seymour, at least in my opinion. Jane Seymour was Henry VIII’s third and favorite wife. He called her his one true wife. Probably because she gave birth to his first and only surviving legitimate male heir, Edward VI. By all accounts, she was just a class act and I think this color really embodies that.
Rescue Beauty Lounge Anne – probably my favorite from this collection (me and everyone else on Earth). It’s a very dark green, with complex gold, green, and fuchsia cast shimmer. This is 3 coats, like Jane, great application. The shimmer, which is strangely nearly invisible in bright sunlight, gives it a metallic glow. This quality makes the color not readily identifiable as green. Instead, it reminds me of tarnished metal. For that reason, I did wear this one to work – it’s green without being BAM in your face green, so I didn’t think it would be offensive in an office environment. I wouldn’t classify it as work appropriate by any stretch but I think most people could get away with this one, save for the most conservative environments.
Here’s a bottle shot to exhibit the shimmer more clearly – very tough to capture, but very beautiful. Like Jane, I thought Anne was pretty reflective of its muse, Anne Boleyn. I know Ji was inspired by the fabrics of the time as much as the historical personalities involved – but Jane and Anne were both really on point personality-wise. Anne Boleyn was kind of a badass – just like this color. Henry VIII’s second wife, widely hated in her time and known for swiping Henry from his first wife Catherine of Aragon. She was intelligent, conniving, and powerful. Her (male) contemporaries described her as “more like a man than a woman.” She had immense control over Henry VIII and his court… until she wasn’t able to produce a male heir. Accused of adultery and incest, she lost her head. Historians speculate that Anne’s only daughter the future Queen Elizabeth, who was also kind of a badass, never really got over what happened to her mother – which partially accounted for her aversion to marriage and her sobriquet, The Virgin Queen.
Rescue Beauty Lounge Catherine H – I do apologize my photo is not exactly color accurate and my attempts to color correct are sad and pitiful. I would describe it as a muted, but dark periwinkle blue (maybe a touch of violet?) My picture makes it a tad too bright, it’s much more muted and demure in person. This is also three coats, also great application. I think I would classify the mainly blue and fuchsia shimmer as glass fleck. It was also glitter-like in the sense that it ate ALL of my top coat, giving the final mani an overall satin, instead of glossy, sheen. I wore this one to work as well although I wasn’t planning to do so originally. Fate had it that I was taking photos of this collection around the time of the Democratic National Convention (yup, I’m also still a flaming, dirty liberal). I was inspired by FLOTUS to wear muted blue in a professional setting. Rather, I used that as an excuse – If questioned I planned to say – “Hey if Michelle Obama can rock it – so can I!” Of course, as I’ve previously observed, no one cares about my nails and I wore it undisturbed.
Here’s some more shimmery bottle shot goodness. Catherine H is named for Catherine Howard, Henry’s fifth wife and a cousin to Anne Boleyn. She was just a child when she married Henry, mostly at the behest of her male relatives who had previously enjoyed much favor when Anne was queen and had aspirations of reviving their former glory. By then, four wives deep, Henry was old and a pretty big dude due to a chronic ulcerated leg injury as a result of a jousting accident. Her contemporaries described her as frivolous and silly, so I think a periwinkle blue is pretty fitting. She was accused of adultery for which she was ultimately beheaded – but unlike Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard was probably guilty.
Rescue Beauty Lounge Catherine – a rich, but greyed-out dark plum. Shimmer, texture, finish-wish this one is more akin to Anne than to Catherine H. No glass flecks here, instead you have complex predominately fuchsia with very fine goldish shimmer and some sparse blue sparkle. Application was good at 2 coats, but I used 3. I really loved this one, despite my general indifference to purple nail polish. I did my first mani with this using a new product (that I will soon be reviewing), Yellow Stopper. BIG MISTAKE. My mani peeled right off, glue basecost style, in the morning. I had to re-do it and in my ridiculous neurosis found myself so disappointed that I was wasting this polish by having to reapply twice within a 12 hour period. (yes, I know, I’m totally weird – double you tea eff.)
Look. at. that. shimmer. g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s. This was the only polish out of the set of 4 that I didn’t quite catch the connection with the namesake. Catherine of Aragon was rigid, regal, stubborn, and really, really, really Catholic. I don’t picture her as a purple – and she was such a tragic character, perhaps black or dark grey. She was Henry’s older brother’s wife – but he died before their marriage was consumated. Later, Henry married her for political reasons – her nephew was the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. During the Great Matter, Henry would use Catherine’s marriage to his brother as a partial basis to support his plea for a divorce. Not to over simplify but, basically, the Pope said “hell to the no” and then the Anglican church was born. Her only surviving daughter, Mary I, of Bloody Mary fame, picked up that moniker for burning and maiming hundreds of protestants during her reign as Queen.
Gosh, I love history. Reviewing this collection makes me finally want to read Divorced, Beheaded, Survived: A Feminist Reinterpretation of the Wives of Henry the VIII which I purchased in college for my major and never got around to reading.
My one and only criticism of this collection is that I wish there had been six polishes instead of four (Six wives = Six Polishes!!). I do hope to see RBL do more historically themed collections. (French Revolution Anyone!?!?!? Heian Japan??!?!?! Come on!!!)
Is there any period of history that you would like to see translated into a nail polish collection?
*edited to correct historical inaccuracies – thanks Sue!!*
Disclosure: This collection was sent to me for review by Rescue Beauty Lounge.