Thursday, May 31, 2012

Spectraflair All The Things!!!


I don't need to tell you that with the exception of Color Club's holos, holographic polishes are expensive. I am by nature cheap (well, it's probably more precise to say I don't like to spend more money than I have to in order to get something), so I got very excited when I heard about a miraculous, near-mythical substance called Spectraflair. This is the powder that polish makers use to get the holographic effect, apparently. You can buy it for between $10-$20 a gram (not an ounce the way I had it before! Sorry!!) depending on where you get it, and each ounce makes about 7-8 bottles of polish. So after watching a few videos (Gina soguesswhat11's here and IndigoNova1's here), I decided to try my hand at using Spectraflair to make both my own holographic topcoat and my own frankenholo. Both of the videos warned me not to use too much, so I started out on the very conservative side...

Attempt 1:

Here is the holo topcoat in direct sunlight, with two coats over some skittles I had just swatched. I used a Revlon long-wear topcoat that has been sitting in my makeup drawer for years and mixed in the SF, using an amount about the size of a pea. Even with two coats, this didn't get enough of a holo effect for me--still a little too scattered.

My franken. I used Wet n Wild's Under Your Spell, which is a near-black red polish (actually is red micro-glitter in black jelly) and mixed in a little more than the amount of a pea. I'm calling it FrankenSpell. :)  I could definitely see some holo, but again it wasn't strong enough for my liking.

Okay, so, time to regroup. I decided to double-up on the SF in both of these, and see how that worked out.

Attempt 2:

Okay, this is a bit more like it. This is two coats of the topcoat again (over a manicure you haven't seen yet but soon will!), so it still takes two coats to get a linear holo effect. I don't mind that so much, because then I can get a more subtle look with one coat if I want it (one coat now looks approximately like two coats of the first attempt). But I was left wondering...should I try a bit more?

FrankenSpell with the SF doubled up. Definitely better than before, but again I think maybe it could use a little more?

I know what you're thinking. Why not just put in more? Well, here's the thing. The more of the SF that you put in, the more 'cloudy' it gets, meaning, the more gray you see in the polish. What this does is lighten and dull your color to a degree. So, if you put less, your true color comes through better, but you get less holographic effect. If you put more, you get a stronger holo, but your color becomes lighter. I don't want a lighter color, so there is a careful balancing act here for me. I now understand why it is so hard to make holographic polishes that have deep, rich color and a strong holographic effect, and I now understand why polishes like Hits No Olimpo cost a bit more--they must have to use more/special/different pigment to get the sort of effects they get with holos like Apolo. Or at least, that's how it seems to me after my first two tries, I'm sure it's more complicated than that, lol.

Now here's where it gets strange. After a few days, when it was time to change out my current mani, I decided to see what the topcoat would look like over my current color (I was wearing Misa's Spinning Out Of Control, a very dark, deep royal purple). I shook the bottle up thoroughly because the pigment settles like crazy, and here's what I got:

Now THAT'S what I'm talking about. The moment I saw this in the light, I did a little happy Spectraflair dance and instantly felt like I was the cutie in the Girly Bits Spectraflair cartoon:

(Used with can find the original of this cartoon here and you can contact the person who designed it, Tena, at her blog here.)

I have no idea why this came out so much holo-y-er...maybe I just mixed it better? But I did mix it pretty carefully before...does spectraflair intensify when you let it sit for a little while? Was it's because the purple was so much darker than the other colors I put the topcoat over? I don't know. Maybe I'll never know. For now I just know that I love this topcoat more than See's candies, and believe me, that's A LOT. It's official...I am now a whole-hearted Spectraflairette.

How about FrankenSpell, you ask? I wondered if something similar had happened, so today I tried it on again, and here's what I got:

Here again, the holo seems a bit more pronounced and more fully linear! I didn't control any variables well enough to say for sure, but it sure seems odd to me that both of these polishes appear to have more holo in them after sitting for a few days. I guess my suggestion is that if you try your own experiments with SF and it's not quite as fully linear as you think you want it, let it sit for a few days and then decide. And if anyone out there does know why this happened, please let me know!

No matter what, playing with SF is relatively cheap, FUN, and you almost can't help but get a good result if you start off slowly. Don't be hesitant to try it, like I was at first--I was worried it would be too tricky or messy or something. It's not; just take a look at the videos I linked above and you'll know exactly what to do. I am paranoid about these types of things, so I wore a little papery face mask over my mouth and nose when I was playing with it, in case my cat sneezed it into my face or something. :)

I also want to try a coarser grade of SF--the grade I'm using here is 14, which is fairly fine. I've heard conflicting things about the different grades...some people say the coarser grades are more like a glitter holo topcoat (I'm thinking maybe like a finer version of China Glaze's Fairy Dust??) and other people say you get a stronger rainbow effect. Maybe with my polish budget next month I'll get some and compare. If I do, I'll post again with what I find.

Oh, one other thing. Gina says in her video to use several BBs (mixing balls) in your polish to mix it. Being a complete cheapskate as mentioned above, I figured one or two would do when I did my first attempt--my other polishes only have one ball each in them, right?? Completely wrong. Those bottles are mixed well and have suspension agents, and only separate when left over LONG periods of time. Spectraflair added to an existing polish is different. One or two balls might do...if you have the rest of your life to shake your polish every time you want to use it. Or, you can use 3-5 of them, only have to shake it for a few seconds and be ready to go. (Side note: I did put more BBs  in before I did the second attempt above, so that wasn't what made the difference in the holo effect). Seriously, I now will trust anything Gina says without a second thought. I have learned my lesson and am repentant. :)

Thanks for looking. I'm off to SpectraFlair All The Things!!!!!



  1. Congraaaaaaaaaats to your FRANKENSPELL =)

  2. Ohhh such pretty polishes you've created there! I NEED to get my hands on some spectraflair so I can spectraflair all the things! :)

    1. You do! I was really surprised at how easy it is to use. You're gonna have so much fun with it. :)

  3. I've been making my own holos for over a year now and not all polishes take SF--trust me it's true lol! Also more can sometimes ruin it. If you are having trouble get the intense holo you want you can try adding clear. I try to have at least 1/4 of the bottle be clear and then the color and then SF. I think all of yours look great!

    1. BTW, any polishes that don't like SF that I should avoid? I have a Duri I was thinking of doing next...

    2. Okay, I'll try that. I never would have thought to do that, I would have thought that would just dilute the color and the holo! So much to learn...sigh...Thanks for the great tip (and for saying the look great!). :)

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  5. I think it gets better after a few days cuz ... it has to aline itself up? It a Mattel substance? I notice it to when I apply my holo at first more scattered but after they dry they come together and for the wonderful rainbow effect!! I think explains the linear effect look up magic base?

    1. Ooo, I need to run over there an read it...Thanks!


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