If you’ve been following the blog over the last 6 months or so, you already know that I’ve been loving nail polish lately. But not all nail polish is equal. One of my biggest polish obsession – besides Chanel, natch – is the chameleon-like duochrome. For the uninitiated, a duochrome is a polish that changes colour depending on the angle at which it is viewed on the nail, and sometimes even flashes two different colours at once. No surprise – Chanel has some really cool duochromes in its polish catalogue, though they are, sadly, long discontinued and pretty much impossible to find these days (unless you count eBay and its insane prices).
Luckily, duochromes are not quite extinct today; in fact, some of the best are made by Nubar, and still very much available. I have been slowly accumulating them for a while now, and recently completed my set of what I consider the “core” (best) duochromes offered by Nubar – all except that fabled Peacock Feathers which, yes, is discontinued for now. So, sit back and enjoy a gander through my collection of colour-changing beauties. [Warning, this is a long, photo-heavy post; you may want to grab a coffee and a snack.]
First up, the one that started it all for me: Iris Dust. This is supposed to be a near-dupe of a discontinued Chanel that’s been on my wishlist forever, Palpitant. I have heard it’s a pretty close match, though it leans more purple than the Chanel. All duochromes tend to be a little on the sheer-ish side, and I prefer to layer them over dark colours to bring out their gorgeousness. Below, one coat of Iris Dust is layered over Chanel Vendetta, a vampy dark purple. The first photo shows the base colour in Iris Dust, as it appears in sunlight.
Unlike most nail polishes, the beauty of duochromes really comes out in low light, which brings out their colour shift. In Iris Dust, the colour shifts from a mauve-ish purple, to copper, and green. You can see the start of the colour change below.
Viewed from a different angle, the coppery glow is evident.
And the green peeks out at the edges.
Here is the full colour shift in one photo.
On its own, Iris Dust is a lot less intense than the photos above make it appear. I wanted to see how much softer it would be layered over a lighter colour. Below, Iris Dust is layered over Chanel Rose Confidentiel, the closest match to its base (bottle) colour that I could find in my collection. See how different it looks!
The colour shift is more mellow, with a less intense green showing up.
Less fiery, but still so pretty! The beauty of duochromes is that you can easily modify their look by changing the “underwear” (the colour over which you layer them).
The next colour, Moon Eclipse (formerly known as Moon Shadow) is a cousin of Iris Dust, colour-wise. It is supposedly a dupe for another discontinued Chanel, Troublant. Below, it is layered over Gosh Nero, a black creme. Though similar, this one is like Iris Dust’ sultrier older sister!
The intense magenta base shifts to a blazing bronze …
… and then to a coppery green.
Indigo Illusion is next. The base colour is a sort of dusty indigo-purple that is impossible to accurately describe, but kind of reminds of jeans for some reason. In real life, it leans slightly more to blue than the picture below (one coat over Gosh Nero).
Again, the shift is towards a bright green.
Purple Beach is similar to Indigo Illusion, but the base colour is more of a faded plum-purple, and it shifts to more of a khaki green.
The colour shift is similar to Moon Eclipse, though without the bronze/copper glow. [I recently found a pretty good dupe of Purple Beach in Essence Where’s the Party, now carried at Shoppers Drugmart. The latter has a brighter, more intense purple base, but is otherwise quite similar – and a steal at $1.49 for a mini bottle!] Here is one last shot of Purple Beach.
Wildlife has a olive-bronze base, with some pinkish glints, and a shift towards green. Again, I put it over Gosh Nero, my go-to black creme for layering. [Please excuse my grown-out nails in these photos!]
You can see more of the pink peeking through in the picture below.
And here is the shift – pretty strong!
And, finally, Stardust is another stunner, a bronze-y pink that shifts to copper and olive gold. I found this one to be even more sheer than the others, so I added two coats over Nero to bring out its full glory.
Here is a side angle view, which shows the greenish gold shift.
Isn’t that beautiful?
One last photo of Star Dust, I promise.
As a bonus, I have one more duochrome to show you – Smoke Dazzle from American Apparel. This one is neither purple, green nor pink! Instead, its base colour is a faded, teal blue, which shifts to a soft, smoky lavender. It is very lovely, though somewhat hard to capture. Below, it’s layered over Zoya Kristen (a greyed-out pastel blue that’s quite beautiful in its own right).
Smoke Dazzle also has a silvery sheen to it from certain angles.
My favourites are Iris Dust, Moon Eclipse and Star Dust, but for these are all must-haves, in my opinion, for any duochrome lover, and for anyone looking for something a little bit different on their fingertips. Nubar duochromes are available on Nail Polish Canada ($10.25/bottle, with free shipping over $29), and look for Smoke Dazzle in American Apparel stores ($9/bottle).
Disclaimer: all of the above polishes were purchased by me.