This Nail Polish Is Going To Blow Your Mind

Photographed by Mike Garten.
It's a well-known fact that we have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with nail polish. From our days of DIY nail art to our current fascination with texture, there's nothing we love more than a pretty lacquer. So, when Rescue Beauty Lounge founder, and all-around nail spirit animal, Ji Baek approached us about teaming up to create a line of Refinery29 nail polishes, there may have been cartwheeling, screams of joy, and one or two instances of fainting. Our answer, obviously, was, “Hell, yes.

Baek has long been one of our nail idols — not just for the amazing things she does with color, but also for her skill of interpreting art, fashion, and feelings into some seriously kick-ass polishes. She asked each department — beauty, fashion, wellness, news and entertainment, shopping, creative, and tech — to tell her what its dream color would be; one that defined who they were as a team. We delivered, and Baek created what is essentially Refinery29 in a bottle.

After seeing the beauty of this line, we knew we couldn't keep it to ourselves. That's right: Each of these gorgeous bottles is now on sale at Rescue Beauty Lounge, meaning you can get your hot little hands on the one (or ones, no judgment) that sings to your heart (obviously, that's the beauty team's, right?). And, because we're real generous-like, we're also giving a few lucky readers the chance to win a full collection of their very own. Yup, just “Like” us on Facebook, and then leave us a note in the comments telling us which polish you like best and why, and we'll pick 25 winners to gift the entire collection to.
So, click through to see each polish and hear how the line came together. We won't blame you if you accidentally drool on your keyboard when you see these — we did.
Click here for official terms and conditions.
1 of 15
Photographed by Mike Garten.
Creative Team
As you can probably imagine, members of this team had a lot of strong feelings about their color. Their inspiration board was full of the kind of cool, imaginative visuals they're so skilled at making for us, with an overarching holographic theme.

“At any given moment, the way you're seeing metallic or opalescent is changing,” says the team. “Depending on the angle you're looking at it from, the way the light is hitting it, what the reflective surface is it's picking up — you never experience the colors the same way twice.” It’s a lot to convey in one color, but we knew Baek would be up to the challenge.
2 of 15
Photographed by Mike Garten.
While she couldn't create a true holographic hue (the pigments necessary for this are not safe to put on the skin), Baek came up with the next best thing: duo-chrome. She combined sage and blue with mica, and threw in some deep-brown hues for good measure. 

The result is akin to the Northern Lights in a bottle. We were mesmerized when it landed on our desks, and spent a good 20 minutes rotating the bottle and watching all the facets reveal themselves.
3 of 15
Photographed by Mike Garten.
Shopping Team
"Mixing up entertainment, inspiration, and exceptional product, we believe in telling stories through style; exploring and discovering awesome brands; and finding, again and again, that ever-elusive — yet essential — balance between high and low, work and weekends, cool kids and couture," says the team.

The shopping team's translation of that manifesto into lacquer? The boyfriend jean. "An effortless ode to everyone’s favorite clothing item, the jean, this boyfriend blue is a color that feels fresh, relaxed, and energetic all at once," according to the team. "No one’s closet is complete without a pair — or two, or 10 — and they’re the go-to accomplice for a solid day of shopping. The blue we chose was prominent on the runways, as well as in our office and on the streets."
4 of 15
Photographed by Mike Garten.
This easy-to-please crew found its perfect polish in the first set of colors Baek mailed over. The light-blue hue ideally replicates that faded, powder-y shade of your favorite pair of worn-in jeans. "It's the perfect...faded blue that turns a tad gray at the end," says Baek.
5 of 15
Photographed by Mike Garten.
News & Entertainment Team
This team seems to move at the speed of light: You've got to be quick when you're chasing down all those breaking stories.

"The news team is multifaceted in every sense of the word," says the team. "One minute, we're covering the latest celebrity divorce, and the next minute, we're dropping everything to report on the government shutdown. We wanted a nail polish that would embody our have-no-fear, on-the-go lifestyles, and the many layers and personalities that make up our channel."

"And, most importantly, we needed to feel that special spark that lies under the surface of every single news story," they say. "Our team truly values its spunk and pizzazz, and for that we loved the idea of a color with glitz and glamour. Our nails need to feel right at home at a Lady Gaga concert and in line for the latest iPhone."

The inspiration board they sent to Baek was a full THREE pages long, and included everything from holographic iPhone cases and blacklight paint to Natalie Portman in that cotton-candy wig from the movie Closer.
6 of 15
Photographed by Mike Garten.
Bubblegum Punk, the resulting shade, looks demure at first glance — until an explosion of pink, blue, gold, green, and silver glitters catches the light. The more coats you paint on, the more prismatic it gets.
7 of 15
Photographed by Mike Garten.
Fashion Team
The fashion team wanted to make a bold color statement, and they looked to the runway and street style to inspire their pick.

"Out of all the departments, R29 Fashion might be the most trend-based," says the team. "Pantone's Dazzling Blue is a goodie. Super flattering on women of all skin tones, it's also a vibrant, in-your-face hue that really makes a statement. Not girly, but not tomboyish either, it's got that magical 'it' quality that'll look good on a purse, on a coat, and on your fingertips."
8 of 15
Photographed by Mike Garten.
When they saw this Yves Klein blue, the members of our fashion team knew they had found their lacquer. Baek describes it as a "cream-jelly pigment on steroids." One carefully applied coat of this bad boy, and your nails will be the center of everyone's attention. It's that bold — but it's also surprisingly flattering to a wide array of skin tones and clothing color palettes. It's a "new neutral," if you will.
9 of 15
Photographed by Mike Garten.
Tech Team
Who knew the tech team would prove to be the most exacting? The members of this predominantly male department had a LOT of strong feelings about what their polish should look like, and they were very eloquent in how they presented their shade suggestions to Baek.

"The Refinery29 technology team is very interested in the idea of thin-film interference, a physical phenomenon that yields a polychromatic effect," says the team. "Thin-film interference has come to exemplify this duality of mindset that we exhibit. We see beauty in machines, mathematics, and engineering."

"Additionally, copper surfaced as a significant base color for our team, due to its theoretical consistency with our technical backgrounds and mindsets, and its historical significance as an electrical conductor," they continue. "Within our inspiration board, the many colors of the thin-film interference highlight the multifaceted nature of the work we do and the backgrounds we need to have as technologists and engineers. We can at once be a solid color — copper — but also exhibit multitudes of additional hues."
10 of 15
Photographed by Mike Garten.
We went through seven different iterations of this polish — the most Baek has ever encountered while conceptualizing a hue — before the team felt satisfied. After we explained the issue around holographics, they settled on a metallic copper. Baek, whose birthday it was on the day we told her we'd reached a decision, called it the best birthday present ever.

What really warmed our hearts through this process was watching our coworkers learn about and partake in the fine art of swatching. The photos the girls on the tech team sent to us of them painting all the guys' nails were especially aww-inducing. Mission accomplished, guys.
11 of 15
Photographed by Mike Garten.
Wellness Team
We take well-being pretty seriously around here, choosing to promote healthy living and body positivity over warped ideals of weight loss and dieting.

"R29 Wellness helps women to live their best, most energetic, and healthful lives," says the team. "We chose a vibrant, seafoam green because we felt it evokes health, excitement, and serenity."
12 of 15
Photographed by Mike Garten.
Baek's take on the team's preference was a blue-green balance that she equated to the color you see when you hold up sea glass to the sunlight. It's equal parts energizing and tranquil.
13 of 15
Photographed by Mike Garten.
Beauty Team
There was quite a bit of pressure on us to represent, seeing as how this is kind of our thing. When we were creating our polish, Radiant Orchid had just been announced as the Pantone color of 2014, and we were eyeballs-deep in all things purple. So, it's no surprise that our inspiration board featured that ubiquitous shade prominently — with our own spin on it.

We told Baek we were gravitating toward moodier shades of purple, and that we wanted it "dirtied up" with metallic-bronze undertones to keep things more understated and edgy than "tweenage dream" — a territory too many purples veer into these days.
14 of 15
Photographed by Mike Garten.
Believe it or not, we found our match in the first batch of shades Baek sent our way. One swipe of this beautiful, interesting purple, and we were hooked. This combo of mauve and dark gold was our inspiration board come to life. After seeing it, we knew there could only be one name for it: Pretty Gritty.

This is purple for grown-ups — grown-ups who may have pulled an all-nighter and then rolled into their office with smudgy liner, an undone braid, and wine-stained lips. So, basically, us.
15 of 15
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!

More from Nails


R29 Original Series