Saturday, March 20, 2010

OPI Brand New Skates - Uncovering a Childhood Lemming

I was 11 years old when I had my very first polish lemming. My family was on one of the numerous trans-Atlantic flights we took every year and I was bored and flipping through the duty-free magazine. And there it was - a set of three Revlon Streetwears in a little metal box that snapped shut. I don't totally remember which polishes were in the little box - Gunmetal, Drab, and something else...It doesn't really matter because the one I was after was Gunmetal - a liquidy silver. (Flinty probably has at least three of them at this point!)

I remember telling my mother around that time that my favourite colour was grey. She told me to stop being such a morbid little kid and put down yellow or something less depressing as my favourite. Too bad Mom, it's still my fav! Despite her reservations, my mom bought me that little box of polish (probably just to shut me up and spare the other passengers) and I proceeded to apply it right on the plane! (I'm sure the other passengers loved that too...) Gunmetal was more sheer that you would expect it to me, but the result looked like molten metal on your fingertips (and since I was 11, I'm sure there was molten metal on my cuticles too...)!

Flash forward far too many years - my Gunmetal, like the rest of my preteen to teen polish collection, is gone. I still love polish, and I still love grey. Grey polish you say? I'm all in. When I caught sight of OPI Brand New Skates one day I knew I needed to have it and another lemming was born. When I finally got it (after a long, drawn-out series of being swaplifted, swaps that didn't work out, etc.) I laughed out loud - it reminded me so much of my first love Gunmetal! Like Gunmetal, it is quite sheer and requires many coats. It's not quite silver, but not quite grey - it just makes your nails look like a buffed piece of stone or metal. Unlike Gunmetal, Brand New Skates has a fabulous gold/green microglitter in it that just makes this polish so very special.

OPI Brand New Skates in the shade:

Side view in the sun:

Trying to show you the shimmer:

This polish is notoriously hard to capture on camera - it really is 10x more stunning in reality. It is odd to me, but the shimmer in Brand New Skates seems to be the exact same shimmer that is in another favourite polish of mine - Essie Tennis Corset. It is the same size and has the same green/gold flash. Maybe I'm just crazy.

The formula on this is easy to apply, but very sheer. This is about 3-4 coats. I often put it over another polish (like OPI Suzi Skis in the Pyrenees) but I wanted to show this to you in all its raw glory!

I really love this polish - it reminds me that no matter what happens, where I go, or how much older I get, I've always been myself - and that is a good thing.

What was your first polish? First lemming?? I love hearing people's life stories!


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ANSTAH said...

AW. Cutest story ever!! I love greyish polishes!!! I think my first lemming was this sparkly top coat from wetnwild. LOL. But, back in the day.. when my nails were not so stained, I just put a coat of that polish on, and was out the door. Too bad I can't do that now. =]

Anonymous said...

OMG Gunmetal was my all time favorite of the SW's too. I spent forever searching for it, spent a fortune on ebay, and swapped for a backup. Brand New Skates is a decent dupe, and dare I say it, possibly better for being a little less frosty... gotta love those mid 90's frosts...

Alli said...

Haha, cute story and pretty polish :)

I wasn't all that into nail polish when I was a kid. Oh how times have changed!

mKat said...

I gotta tell you kitty.. I love the way you write.

I can't recall my first polish lemming... but I do recall one polish that I just loved at first sight. I remember being on vacation in the Caribbean visiting my grandparents and spotting the most perfect blue - EVER. I think I was around 17 (maybe even younger). My grandmother bought it for me; laughing because it was a little out there but my grand parents are pretty fashion forward so she indulged me.

I still own that polish; it's a little sheer (I usually need about 3-4 coats to get it to bottle colour) but it is still the most gorgeous blue I've seen. FYI, it's Jordana Sapphire. :)

BTW I think you should check out China Glaze's Awaken (if you haven't already) given your colour preferences!

Jenny$1983 said...

Love the story :)

Brand New Skates is in my top three nail polishes - I love it so much! Gunmetals are my favourite too, I also like China Glaze's Awaken (Romantique collection).

The first polish that stands out as something special - rather than just a pretty colour to put on my nails and probably the seeds of my current addiction, lol - was Rimmel Zeitgeist from about eight years ago: a purple/green/gold duo(multi?)chrome. I still love it now!

Jenny$1983 said...

Heh, that's weird, mKat's comment appeared when the page refreshed to add my comment and we both mentioned ChG Awaken! :)

kittytokaren said...

@anstah - Thank you! And yay for greyish polishes! Why can't you wear your sparkly top coats now? Staining?? I used to have staining - when I switched to Barielle Hydrating Ridge Filler as my base coat it completely stopped!

@Alli - thank you!!

@Scandalous - Hi there! LOVE your blog!! I considered hunting down Gunmetal myself!! But then I read a review (probably on this site...) and I started remembering all the flaws (the sheerness, the frostiness...) and I decided it was better in my head. BNS is my 'new Gunmetal'. And yeah...I hope those frosts don't come back into style - I just can't tolerate the brushstrokes!

@mKat - Thanks lady! I love telling stories. I've been working on a novel for a long time - its a set of true stories about my family. Too nervous to try to publish it. But thats another story. I love your story! It's that sparkly feeling of knowing you found the 'perfect' polish - its unforgettable! :) Ahh and Awaken looks gorg, but I have a giant bias against China Glaze. Long story. Call me a polish snob if you like but it has hurt me too many times!

@Jenny - hehe you thought of Awaken too!! That's funny :) See above for my prejudice against China Glaze. I may have to explain it at some point! And btw you were way ahead of your time with your love of duochrome! I am labelling you a trendsetter. Also because you love BNS too and that's a mark of greatness in my book ;)

<3 kittytokaren

mKat said...

@kitty: I want to know your bias... !

mKat said...

@Jenny: Great minds. ;)

kittytokaren said...

@mKat - OK, I'm going to preface this by saying that I'm not smearing China Glaze in any way - I know there are tons of people who love it and say it wears better than OPI. And they definitely have a great colour selection. Anyways. Rant follows:

I have tried a gazillion China Glaze polishes. They were all heinous. I've never had one stay on my nails for more than 24 hours without chipping like a little bish. No topcoat/basecoat combo would save it. I spent a lot of money/time/frustration/public appearances with chippy polish before I finally threw in the towel, and vowed to stick with brands I trusted/know work for me.

I gave away all my China Glaze (this was before I was into swapping - arghh!!), and now I am a polish snob. I only use Essie, OPI, RBL and have a couple oddball HE polishes. I decided that no matter what colours came out, I was done and I'd be just as happy with colours from 'my' brands. So far it has worked and I have not lusted for ChG - because my brands last on me so well! Once I switched to being a polish snob, I've loved wearing polish and it's been something that makes me happy. Instead of feeling like kicking things.

Whew. I meet a lot of people who are like "Ohhh just try it again! Such and such colour is so pretty..." and I refuse. Curse you China Glaze!! *fshake*

I think I've pretty much guaranteed that China Glaze will not let us test their polishes ever again - don't worry ChG - it's not you, it's me. (My body chemistry.)

<3 kittytokaren

mKat said...


well fair is fair, right?

You know I love my China Glaze... (and I will continue to wear them!) I'd actually love to test for them. For the most part, all I own is China Glaze (every single one of them thus far bought by me!)...and I love them to bits.

But I don't think there's anything wrong with being a polish snob if you have legitimate reasons for it. If the body chemistry isn't right, it isn't right... What can you do, right?

I'm a brand snob for various reasons. There are brands I've heard great things about but if they have shady animal testing policies (I realize that *many* companies use questionable phrasing) I won't give them a go. It doesn't matter if their product is on everybody's HG list...I'm trying to be as cruelty free as possible. I also haven't had any rationale for trying super expensive polishes. I think I top out at Nfu-Oh (and a single MAC). I'm a MAC snob makeup wise but I think their polishes are overpriced and are generally not unique or interesting enough to shell out the cash for. I can't imagine paying for RBLs or Chanels etc. At least, not on a student budget.

TropicalChrome said...

When I was in HS I used to keep my nails fairly long and wearing bright polishes on them. My favorite was L'Oreal Sea Violette...a violet with blue flash? shimmer? Let's just say it had blue highlights :). And although I'd love to find it again, it's not my lemming...

After going into computer science as a major in college I had to cut all my nails very short because they got in the way while typing. For years I thought this meant I really couldn't wear nail polish because my nails were too short.

Fast forward to a party where a friend brought a cosmetic case full of some of her favorite polishes. (I had no idea polish hoarder disorder even existed! :). She looked at me, said "I have just the color for you", and proceeded to polish my toenails with Elizabeth Arden Knightsbridge.

I could not stop staring at my toes. I didn't even know deep purple nail polishes like that existed.

That was *cough* some years ago. I'd love to find a bottle of Knightsbridge, just to see if it lives up to my memories.

kittytokaren said...

@mKat - I know you love your China Glaze! I wish I had known you when I cleared out my stash! I tried so hard to love them because everyone did, but it wasn't meant to be. I'm also on the student budget, but somehow have accumulated quite a few RBLs - mostly from the half off sale, some from swapping, some from my super low-ball eBay bids that once in a while go through! I'm getting another Chanel in a swap too. I find I don't purchase much NP these days!

@TropicalChrome - I went through that!! I'm a science person and keep my nails short and felt for a while like it looked dumb with 'real' polish (aka a colour). I am so curious to see EA Knightsbridge! I love how your friend had you pegged too ;)


mKat said...

@kitty - you can't help what you love (or don't love). At least you gave them a fair go!

I'd be more inclined to purchase stuff at half off sales if shipping wasn't often a) ridiculous or b) unavailable.

Just for fun I went to look for my beloved Sapphire after I mentioned it to you. It's $1.29 on the Jordana site... and to ship it to Canada will cost me $15!

I find that now that my makeup purchases have tapered off I'm willing to buy polish a lot more. I am not a shopper though so if it's not polish and not makeup, it's typically not much of anything. :P You know who encouraged this habit of mine? The bf. Of the two of us, I have issues with that I never want to. I think he wanted me to get comfortable indulging so that when he spends money I wouldn't get mad. (Although I'm sure I could find another suitably expensive hobby). LOL

@TropicalChrome (and kitty): I asked this on one of my posts a while back... I think shorter nails look awesome in colour. It's often the longer nails that I think can start to look out of hand (forgive the pun!) when dripping in some rich hue.

kittytokaren said...

@mKat = Oh I totally agree on the short w/ colour thing. I have a "friend" with literal talons and she tells everybody that dark colours only look good on super long nails and short nails should only wear sheers - I happen to think she looks like a witch (and acts like one) and has it completely backwards. Shorties can definitely rock colours better. I think my problem was that I wasn't used to such shorties and didn't know what to do with em!

kelsealaurel said...

Kitty! How've you been? Well I hope =)

Brand New Skates is so pretty. I'm lemming it right now! Haha. I will need to add that to my next cart on 8ty8beauty!

What a cute story about when you were a kid! I honestly can't remember the first time that happened to me. I can always remember loving all the kid-y nail polishes and lip glosses etc. I used to pull out my mom's plastic box of nail polishes (she had about 30 or more) and just looking through them all over and over again before making my decision! =)

Heidi said...

When I lived at home, for the first 16 years of my life I could only wear a pink-tinted clear polish by Sally Hansen (or risk a severe beat-down from my Mom, which frankly wouldn't have been worth it for any polish).

When I became "of age" as deemed by said mother to actually chose my own polish, I got two from Avon; one was a sheer light green and the other was a sheer light blue. I don't know their names, but I'm sure they were the first blue and green polishes Avon ever carried. They were absolutely hideous colors by today's standards, but I was definitely rockin' them back then.

kittytokaren said...

@kelsea - hey! I've been better but I'm fighting through it! :) BNS is totally worth it - def add it in your next order! Aww I can see you rifling through your mom's stash! I do that all the time with my own - I just like to look at them and the hardest part of doing a mani is picking out the polish!

@Heidi - Aww I bet those green and blue polishes made you really happy and feel really free and independent! Its like my Gunmetal - I probably wouldn't love love love it today, but I was so thrilled back then! :)

I love hearing everyones stories!

Jenny$1983 said...

@mkat and kittytokaren - you don't know how happy your comments have made me: thank you! ^_^

I'm sorry you can't wear China Glaze due to your body chemistry, kittytokaren, I think they do some beautiful colours, especially their holographic range and the chrome finishes, but if you're not into (kind of) way out colours/finishes anyway it doesn't matter.

I can't stop looking at your photos of BNS - so beautiful :D

I'm the same when it comes to dodgy ethical policies, mkat: I try my best to avoid anything suspect, even when it's hard; I'm vegetarian and against animal testing so I try to make that reflect throughout my choices in life.

I love this blog :)

kittytokaren said...

@Jenny - You are so sweet! I love this blog too - the ladies are just great, an I feel like we represent a pretty broad range of people - different skin tones, various nail lengths/shapes, different brand/colour preferences...

Also maybe you or mKat can answer this, but what brands test on animals?? I am an animal lover and would prefer to not support that practice.


Jenny$1983 said...


Thank you! I enjoy reading about all of the bloggers' studies too, as a former postgrad student myself; I always feel like saying, "And I'm not dumb!" whenever I talk about nail polish, like I have to defend myself! But this blog demonstrates that intelligence and love of nail polish aren't mutually exclusive :D

My original guide for cruelty-free companies was via PETA, and this website is affiliated with them, I believe:

The nevertoomuchglitter blog has a good post on this issue too:

I hope that helps :)

PS I think OPI Hollywood Blonde looks gorgeous :)

Arrianne said...

Geez your mom thought that made you a morbid kid? She would've hated me. :) This polish really is beautiful.

I love your guy's blog. Like you said it represents everyone; the different skintones, nail lengths, etc.

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