The moment I laid my eyes on Sally Hansen's Nail Prisms I knew it was true love. The beauty reflected within these little bottles was enough to make my breath catch in my throat! From that point on - I was thoroughly addicted and began my quest to obtain them all!
I could not (and still can't) believe how elusive these popular nail polishes are! I have spent hours upon hours researching this long discontinued line of prisms, reading everything I could and asking questions of anyone willing to help, and have been doing so on and off for the past 8 months! I still do not have ALL the answers I seek - but I have discovered enough to warrant writing a chronicle for other addicts! My goal is to offer as much information as possible in one place - an easy go-to for anyone looking for information on these adored polishes.
Sally Hansen released the Nail Prisms line in 2002 and they were the first of their kind. This is what the company had to say about their product:
Color in Motion!
The first 3D nail color!
Exclusive microfine prismatic reflectants create waves of living color every time you move.
Only Sally Hansen Nail Prisms utilize state of the art pigment, film and coating technologies. This exclusive ultra-tech system replicates nature in a way never before seen. From natural pearlescence mimicking the nacre of a south seas pearl, to the bright, iridescent effects found in butterfly wings and peacock feathers.
The advanced, patented Sally Hansen formula treats and protects nails so they can grow strong, long and healthier-looking than ever before.
From the information I could gather, it appears that Nail Prisms were only released in America, Canada and the United Kingdom. They were released in two differently labeled bottles, one for the US (left), the other for the UK and Canada (right). Below is what the two different bottles look like.
At first I believed that Sally Hansen released 43 shades in their core line before discontinuing it - but I have never found any reference to #33 and #34 anywhere! It doesn't make sense to me that they would have simply skipped two numbers, thus leaving a hole in the consecutive number sequence - but if they do exist, surely someone would have seen them somewhere!? If any of you, my readers, have seen them or know anything of them PLEASE leave a comment about it!
And so, this is the list of shades released in the core line that I am aware of:
#02 Pink Rose Diamond
#03 Purple Diamond
#04 South Sea Pearl
#05 Emerald Amethyst
#06 Ruby Sapphire
#07 Garnet Lapis
#08 Amber Ruby
#09 Blush Diamond
#10 Golden Cinnabar
#11 Fire Opal
#12 Coral Amber
#13 Ruby Diamond
#14 Lapis Amethyst
#15 Lavender Pearl
#16 Turquoise Opal
#17 Pink Pearl
#18 Star Opal
#19 Lavender Sky
#20 Pink Gold
#21 Scarlet Ruby
#22 Bronze Coral
#23 Burgundy Orchid
#24 Platinum Plum
#25 White Diamond
#26 Cinnabar Opal aka Cinnabar
#27 Bronze Ruby
#28 Mandarin Garnet
#29 Golden Tourmaline
#30 Pink Opal
#31 Orange Opal
#32 Ruby Opal
#35 White Turquoise
#36 Lavender Sapphire
#37 Ruby Topaz
#38 Ruby Emerald
#39 Lilac Aqua
#40 Lavender Gold
#41 White Ruby
#42 Pink Amber
#43 Bronze Pink
Apart from this core line there were also exclusives released in Canada, and possibly the UK too. These are the exclusives that I am aware of:
Metallic Magenta (Canada)
Pearly Pink (Canada)
Golden Presents (Canada)
Coral Presents (Canada)
Opal Presents (Canada)
Ruby Presents (Canada)
Rainbow Presents (Canada)
If anyone knows of any others please let me know! Also let me know if you know which country these releases belong to.
The last special release that I am aware of is the limited edition line. This line was released in a completely different bottle which is pictured below. I will hazard a guess that these were released in the US - as they have the same format of labeling as the regular US bottles. I cannot say how many of these were released, but these are the ones I know of:
#04 South Sea Pearl
#09 Blush Diamond
#10 Golden Cinnabar
#12 Coral Amber
#13 Ruby Diamond
There are a couple of anomalies that I will also mention in this post about Nail Prisms. Firstly, it is not uncommon to have a hard time identifying the shades, as the shade names and numbers are not always printed on the labels or lids. One way to identify shades from what I have learned is to have a look for a 6 digit number on the back label. The first 4 digits denote the range of nail polish - which in this case is 4674 representing Nail Prisms. The two digits following the dash indicate the shade. For example the numbers on the back of a bottle of South Sea Pearl will read as follows: 4674-04. Hopefully that will help some of you identify mystery shades!
Secondly, there has been many reports of shades being released in two (or possibly more) formulas. I have got Pink Rose Diamond in two different versions, so I know this to be true! I have also heard from others that Ruby Sapphire, Golden Tourmaline, Lapis Amethyst, Blush Diamond, Cinnabar Opal, South Sea Pearl and Ruby Diamond also have more than one version. I will post these subsequent versions if I am able to obtain them! Below is a preview of the difference between my Pink Rose Diamond bottles.
The following section is updated information on multiple formula releases:
Since writing this post two months ago I have discovered and obtained quite a number of Prisms with formula variation, so I thought more detailed descriptions are called for and not just a general mention! So here is what I have found so far:
#01 Diamond - apart from the usual version that I have reviewed, I did find one bottle that stood out a little from the rest. It somehow seemed a touch more holographic, but the minor difference does not make me inclined to do a second review or say that there is two distinct shades to be found.
#02 Pink Rose Diamond - I have already shown you guys above that there is at least two distinct shades of Pink Rose Diamond, and I have reviewed both the Dark Version and the Light Version for you. However, I have since discovered a third version! This third shade is what I am now calling the Pastel Version!
#03 Purple Diamond - I have reviewed the standard dark version of Purple Diamond for you, however I have discovered that there are at least three different variations of what I would call the standard dark version. I believe that these variations are purely a matter of how much pigment was used in each batch, as the hue itself is the same. Like Diamond above, these variations are so minor that it does not warrant separating them into different categories. Having said that, there is however another two shades that are very different to the aforementioned version! One I call the Light Amethyst Version, and the other I call the Light Orchid Version!
#04 South Sea Pearl - I have reviewed the standard version of South Sea Pearl, which I have now dubbed the Cream Version, but I can also confirm another version which I could only describe as the Coral Pink Version!
#09 Blush Diamond - I have reviewed the most common version of Blush Diamond, which I have now dubbed the Dark Version but I can also confirm another formula which will be the Light Version!
#13 Ruby Diamond - I can confirm that there is a Dark Version and Light Version of Ruby Diamond now too!
#14 Lapis Amethyst - I can officially confirm that there are two very different versions of Lapis Amethyst! I have called them the Amethyst Version, and the Iris Version.
Another anomaly that I had not mentioned in my original post would have to be releases in different bottles. This does not necessarily mean that the polish inside is different, as that has not yet been the case with the shades that I have found in different bottles. For those who are interested in this information, I will be adding photos and descriptions of different bottle releases.
Above is #05 Emerald Amethyst - on the left is a clear bottle and on the right is a painted bottle that depicts the shades within the polish. The bottle is sprayed with "Amethyst" and then "Emerald" is sprayed over it around the center of the bottle. Both types of bottle contained the same formula.
Above is #07 Garnet Lapis - on the left is a clear bottle and on the right is a painted bottle. They have sprayed the bottle blue, darkest at the top gradating down the bottle and ending almost clear at the bottom. Both types of bottle contained the same formula.
Above is #11 Fire Opal - on the left is a clear bottle and on the right is a painted bottle. They have sprayed the bottle pink, darkest at the top gradating down the bottle and ending almost clear at the bottom. Both types of bottle contained the same formula.
In my online travels I have read many reviews of these nail polishes, and heard many complaints of thin formulas, streaky applications and slow drying times. I personally have not experienced any of this - granted I have not tried them all as yet. I use a quick-dry top coat which solves the drying problem, and recommend others do the same! I will post each individual shade over the next few weeks and review them all on their own merit.
My only general complaint about this line of polish is the shape of the bottle. It seems a little top-heavy and in danger of tipping if not careful! I much prefer the LE bottles, as they simply seem more stable.
So that is pretty much it for the introduction to my chronicle! If anyone has any information to add - please feel free to let me know! It would be welcomed! I would also like to thank the ladies on the MakeupAlley Nail Board for helping me place some of my puzzle pieces! I hope they didn't get too tired of my incessant questions! lol I would also like to specially thank lextard and MissCarley for their extra help! You two ladies are wonderful!
For anyone looking to obtain these widely admired polishes (particularly my fellow Aussies!), I will have my duplicates up for swap or sale. Check out Vibrant V's Petite Boutique, MakeupAlley or OZtion to find them. Alternatively eBay often has these shades for sale anywhere from a couple of dollars up to $30 each shade.