The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: Vintage Cutex

When I try and think back to the very first nail polish I owned, I’m 99% sure that it was a Cutex shade. It would have been from the 80’s back when Cutex still had the bottle shape that you can see here. I can distinctly remember the grooves in the white odd shaped handle. It was a sheer pink with a strong blue flash. I wonder what happened to that bottle.

Cutex Camouflage, Shine & Mauve Lightening

These three came from an eBay seller in a set of four (along with Brown Berry, which I don’t mind and may swatch for an SSP at some point), and quite frankly I would have paid that price for just the green alone.

I don’t know how long these had been sitting in a store room somewhere (chemist/drugstore deadstock?) but they arrived in this box, which I thought was wonderful. The little things amuse me.

Unfortunately, as I expected they’re a bit shit. Well, two of the three I’m showing you anyway. As my post title suggests I have the Good (Camouflage), the bad (Shine – not Slime as the eBay auction suggests) and the Ugly (Mauve Lightening). But I think I’ll work backwards because it’s always good to save the best for last.

First up is the UGLY. Mauve Lightening.

Cutex Mauve Lightening

I always thought that mauve was a more purple shade, but perhaps this polish was once purple and has discoloured to the horrible frosty salmon pink that you see here today. It’s hideous. Honestly. The yellow pigment pooling in the bottom of the bottle seems to add to the overall effect of grossness. I have absolutely no idea why this shade is called Mauve Lightening. The Lightening part especially confuses me. Here is my swatch – savor it – because this wretched shade is never hitting my tips again.

Next up is the BAD. Shine.

Cutex Shine

Man, I really wanted this to be nice. I SO BADLY wanted this to be nice, but this streaky mess is FOUR COATS. It just wasn’t going to improve no matter how many coats I slapped on. I’m not sure how old this line is (something is telling me 90’s but don’t quote me) so I would consider it an unusual shade for the time, but the formula is just balls. Big, sweaty balls. Yes, that was necessary imagery. That’s how much this polish disappointed me. Feel my pain, readers. FEEL IT.

Finally, *DRUMROLL* The GOOD! Camouflage.

Cutex Camouflage

Or should I say FUCKING SPECTACULAR HOLY SHIT. But the FUCKING SPECTACULAR HOLY SHIT, the Bad and the Ugly didn’t make for a snappy blog post title. Plus, it was way too long. But honestly, this beautiful glowing golden green with BLUE edges blasted the rest of that shit clean out of the water. Game over man, Camouflage wins it all. I don’t have it to compare, but given the age, formula and comparing it to swatches I’ve seen I’m 78% certain that this wee bebeh is a dupe for the coveted Streetwear Hippy Dippy. If it’s not a dupe, it’s damn close.

Confusingly though, this polish would not help you camouflage with ANYTHING. Name fail.

I’d also like to mention that the ONE COAT FORMULA that they mention on the bottle is a BIG FAT LIE.

I’m not really sure what Cutex are doing these days except for making nail polish remover and the odd red and pink polish that I see in Coles but it seems they have their funk on in the Philippines. Check out these gorgeous Halloween Shades at Polish Police. Honestly, who wants to go to the Philippines and buy these for me? Spooktacular especially. Man I wish we could get these here!

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  • Hmm…We have an office in the Philippines. My manager is also their manager. I wonder if I could have him assign shopping to one of them…

    • Kaz

      Oh god, I already love you like times a million – I didn’t think it was possible to love you anymore! ;D

  • ReecesPeeces

    Ze green.. are we sure that yellow cannot be saved over a nice white? I want to like it so much : Perhaps back in the day, lightning = frost… I don’t know why that was ever popular. Oh you know what would make this awful pink better? Brush strokes, ALL of the brush strokes.

    • Kaz

      I’m pretty sure that yellow is a bust. LOL the formula was so bad!

  • Rhonda (nailsbeautiqued)

    I’m sure Cutex was the first polish I bought too! I so remember those ugly frosty pink polishes, ugh but I bet back then we thought they were great. The yellow is pretty but four coats and still vnl oh no. Lol! Ahh, but Camouflage oh yeah it’s too die for. Great post 😀

    • Kaz

      We didn’t have much choice back then so of course we thought they were fabulous! I wish I could find that first Cutex shade I owned, just for curiosity!

  • April Croft

    Love your blog so much, your posts make me giggle 🙂 I have to agree that Camoflage is wonderful and I really like Shine too. Your comments about the “Mauve” are fab. I savoured the picture 😛

    • Kaz

      LOL thank you!

  • omg Camouflage…. omfg

    • Kaz

      Yup. 😀

  • Camouflage. Get in my Helmer. I’m in LOVE.

    • Kaz

      Consider it done, my dear 😛

  • Kaz

    Pretty sure you have on occasion! 😉

  • Anita Gibb

    The colour you remember is Cutex “Sea pink”

    • Kaz

      Thank you! I will look for it!

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