Nail polish can tell stories: That pale blue you wore on vacation, the perfect nude you found for a job interview, the hot pink that looked so good at the beach that time — colors hold memories.
At least, that's the theme of newly launched cosmetics company Smith & Cult, created by Dineh Mohajer, who is also the founder of the '90s cult-classic brand Hard Candy. Given our current obsession with everything from that decade, it stands to reason that now is the perfect time for Mohajer — a '90s beauty star in her own right — to make another splash in the industry.
"Hard Candy was so specific to that period of time," Mohajer says. "It was new and different, and young people gravitated towards it. But, it was ageless in a lot of ways."
Though Hard Candy had a playful, trendy vibe, it also had high-end distribution and a celebrity following. Likewise, Smith & Cult is both whimsical and chic, with sophisticated, circular bottles and artistically hammered metal caps. Even the name alludes to that duality: "Smith is the elegant side, and Cult is the subversive side — the side of all of us that's up to no good," Mohajer says. The line aims to provide shades that appeal to both facets of a consumer's personality.
Smith & Cult is available at Net-a-Porter, CO Bigelow, and the brand's own online store. Each color in the collection — which ranges from edgy pastels to grungy hues and even sparkles — comes with a story from Mohajer's own life. For example, she says, "During a certain period of my life, I was listening to a lot of Tribe Called Quest, and the color purple was really speaking to me."
As for the quality of the polishes, they're five-free, really shiny, and incredibly long-lasting. We've been into the paler, more muted hues, which have the kind of opacity that's hard to find in lighter shades. At $18, this brand of polish is not exactly a bargain buy, but each one is so unique that we don't have trouble justifying the cost. In fact, the artsy bottles make it hard to resist stocking up on multiple lacquers at once — they just look so pretty all in a row on our dresser.
In short, this is one of the most promising brand debuts in recent memory. And, the line isn't going to stop at nail polish. Mohajer says that she's currently working on Smith & Cult lip gloss, which will be called The Shining. But, why move on to lips, when the tips are just getting off the ground?
"It's quick and dirty — and I love that."
Smith & Cult Nail Lacquer in Cut The Mullet, $18, available at Smith & Cult.
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