My Most Favourite Nail Lacquer. Ever.

Author: Charlotte O'Shea

Does anyone remember Hard Candy? The tippex-esque polish that came in a rainbow of pastel hues and you got a free jelly ring with each bottle?. I have very fond memories, their “Sky” shade (a pale baby blue) was my first venture into purchasing what might be considered a very expensive cosmetics item. Well, it certainly was for a 16 year old on holiday in Florida with limited spending money.

Hard Candy evolved into a really covetable make-up range, I recall having a rather spectacular eyeshadow palette and a black eye pencil shot with silver glitter. I have no idea what happened to the brand except all of a sudden Hard Candy seem to disappear completely. Such a shame. Find out quality nail products at

Ahem I digress, turns out the original founder of Hard Candy, Dineh Mohajer, now has a shiny new brand Smith & Cult. And it is THE BEST nail lacquer I have ever used. Yes I know that is a bold statement to make but it’s 100% true. I wasn’t initially drawn to the brand because of my sentimentality (at the point of initial purchase I didn’t know there was any association with my beloved Hard Candy) but because the product is formulated without Dibutyl Phthalate, Toluene, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin or Camphor. Chemical nasties that I do my best to avoid. Ever had a peculiar case of eczema or irritated skin around your eyes and/or mouth that you can’t explain? Check out the ingredients in your nail polish – because you touch your face multiple times a day. Formaldehyde and Camphor in particular are major irritants to my rather sensitive epidermis. You can read up on toenail fungus product on the best option to nails care.

In the past polishes I have tried that are more “natural” have been pretty useless in terms of application and lasting power. So I wasn’t exactly holding my breath with Smith & Cult. It was more of a case of falling in love with the Stockholm Syndrome hue (a perfect medium elephant grey with slightly lilac undertones) and crossing my fingers.

In terms of formulation it’s very pigmented, you wouldn’t need any more than two coats. It’s doesn’t dry super quick but quick enough, I do the two layers and a topcoat whilst I’m watching television and they are completely smudge proof in under 20 minutes. For me personally the brush combined with the non runny texture means I can achieve a very even finish, none of this all-over-your-cuticles or bumpy patch malarky. I use Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Topcoat over the top of the lacquer as it’s super shiny and prevents fade and unwanted chips.

I currently have my eyes on Dark Like Me, an opaque aubergine, and Plastic Beach, an opaque guava pink, for when the sun puts his hat back on next Spring. I have a sneaking suspicion that Cut The Mullet is very similar to my much missed “Sky”…..I might just have to put it on my Christmas wish list.

Oh and did I mention the bottle design? luxe and chunky and lush. From a purely superficial perspective this stuff makes your dressing table instantly fancy. And that’s always a plus.

Smith & Cult is available from Space NK, Selfridges or Net-a-Porter and retails at £19 – a quid more than Chanel.

Were you a dedicated Hard Candy fan?

Do you have 50 shades of grey nail polish like me? I possibly need help I know….


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Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.
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6 thoughts on “My Most Favourite Nail Lacquer. Ever.

  1. Fellow eczema sufferer here – you had me at ‘no chemical nasties’! It’s so difficult to find a nail varnish without formaldehyde, I love it when I find a beauty product that’s not going to set me off on another flare up! That bottle is super cute too 🙂

    1. Katy this stuff is magical for someone like me (and you by the sounds of things!) I used to find nail products didn’t irritate my hands as such – it was my eyes/face/areas I touched during the day. This doesn’t at all. And has such a professional finish x

      1. Yes, that’s exactly it – never anything on my hands, mainly eyes and other parts of the face. Guess hands are hardy things. Tbh, I’d buy it just for the no nasties – the fact that it sounds great is a massive bonus! Thanks so much for sharing this.

  2. I am a sucker for pretty nail varnish and make-up in general. However, what really interested me was your comment about eczema. I have suffered with eczema on my face and arms since I was 18. Having been to a dermatologist and tried numerous different creams and remedies I had just accepted that it would be something I had to live with. But I had never once thought that it could be my nail varnish that caused flair ups. Plus this is a great excuse, that even my husband might buy, to get myself some pretty new nail varnish 🙂

    1. Hi Rose, I had a similar experience with a type of gel nail some years ago – terrible reactions on my face. As soon as I had them off the allergy disappeared. They put Camphor in a lot of skin products too as it has a clean/fresh scent and feels “cooling” on the skin – major irritant though. I’m pretty sure it’s in Liz Earle’s famous cleanser even. x

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