So Vernal It Hurts: Butter London Fruit Machine and Trout Pout

Before starting this post, I spent a long time five minutes trying to come up with a good simile for the operation of material desire online. The Internet engenders small cravings, then quickly magnifies those cravings until you can’t imagine a time when you didn’t want X nail polish or Y lipstick, even if you first heard about it only three days ago. Could we call it a whirlpool of desire? A long street strewn with bits of grass that gradually form themselves into tumbleweed, and the tumbleweed is your longing for a certain product, and the wind is peer pressure or something, and–never mind.

Maybe I should illustrate this process with an example, instead. A few months ago, I read this article and became fixated on the lavender-pink nail polish in image 5, which turned out to be Chanel Sweet Lilac. This made me aware that I didn’t own a light pink polish; the last one I’d bought was Essie French Affair in spring 2011, and that had long since turned gooey and gone to the Undying Lands of nail polish. Here I sternly reminded myself that I was slipping into a bad habit: identifying a color/texture/finish lacuna in my makeup collection and, instead of thinking, “Hmm, maybe I don’t own that because I don’t really like it,” deciding that the gap must be filled immediately. I don’t have a lot of pink or red nail polishes, but I rarely wear the ones I do have, gravitating instead to my purples and blues and greens. Pink or red nails make my hands feel like someone else’s. Knowing this about myself, I waited a few weeks to see if the desire for a pale cool pink would subside, but it only got stronger. My brain loves undertaking quests for the Platonic ideal of a certain color: the pale pink polish, the fuchsia lipstick. I was doomed.

For a while, I was certain that I wanted OPI Mod About You, a white-based pastel pink. Then Ulta announced that as part of its 21 Days of Beauty sale, Butter London polishes would be marked down from $15 to $9 on a certain day in March. Butter London is one of my favorite polish brands, and it’s unambiguously cruelty-free, so I decided to narrow my search to that brand. First I shifted my affections to Butter London Teddy Girl, which looked identical to Mod About You…but it had received mixed reviews. So I settled on Fruit Machine, a not-quite-pastel cool pink that was remarkably similar to Sweet Lilac, and suddenly I couldn’t imagine ever having wanted another pink polish. This was it, this was the one, even though I’d never seen it in person. My brain terrifies me sometimes. I also tossed into my cart a polish that I really had wanted for years: Trout Pout, a soft coral. So here we are:

They look so pretty together, don’t they? I like to arrange my nail polishes by color, but I can’t bear to keep these two apart. I can’t think of happier, springier colors. I also noticed that each one paired perfectly with a lipstick I’ve been enjoying this spring. Here’s Fruit Machine with Topshop Plastique:

And Trout Pout with Urban Decay Streak:

The first one I applied was Trout Pout. The formula is on the thin side and went on a bit streaky, but it dried quickly and was opaque in three coats. Unfortunately, the color changed slightly on my nails: it looked like a faded melon shade in the bottle, but it became a brighter, deeper coral pink once applied. Still a lovely color, but not quite what I was expecting.

It didn’t last long, either: I noticed chips after a day, though I should mention that almost no polish stays pristine on my nails for more than two days, which probably disqualifies me from nail blogging. If any polish lasts for three days or longer, it’s a freaking miracle of cosmetic chemistry. I swear I’m doing everything right: making sure my nails are smooth and dry, applying base coat and topcoat, waiting for each layer of polish to dry completely before adding the next. I’ve even begun using Seche Vite topcoat, despite the revolting chemical smell, but I’ve seen no improvement except a quicker drying time. Short-lived manicures just seem to be my lot in life. Which would be fine, except that a review of nail polish really should include a note on longevity, and Trout Pout will almost certainly last more than a day on you even if it doesn’t on me.

The lighting is a bit wonky here, but see how Trout Pout is juuust a bit more intense on the nails than it is in the bottle?

Next up: Fruit Machine. I love this one, guys. Why do I fall so hard for specific colors? I have no idea. I’ve been wearing Plastique almost every day for the past two weeks, too.

Fruit Machine has a similar formula to Trout Pout: opaque in three coats (though it applies more smoothly) and quick-drying. I’m actually waiting for Essie Fashion Playground to dry as I type this, and I’m struck by how much longer it takes in comparison to the Butter Londons. Fruit Machine is slightly longer-lasting than Trout Pout, but I do find that it starts to chip within two days. Again, this is normal for me, which makes me think that it will probably wear normally on anyone else.

And if you care about dupes, Fruit Machine looks very close to Sweet Lilac–perhaps a bit less muted. Yeah, I have a lot of photos of my Fruit Machined hands on my phone. Here’s how it looks outside, in indirect sunlight:

By the way, a “fruit machine” is a slot machine–so called because some of them have pictures of fruit. None of that fruit is pink, so far as I know. Go figure.

20 thoughts on “So Vernal It Hurts: Butter London Fruit Machine and Trout Pout

  1. Those are great! And I know that feeling very well. Beware, or you will end up like me with pearly lime greens and neon yellows and every variation of everything simply because you are missing that particular color and what if you need it some day? I haven't had much time to paint my nails this past year, and so I've been slowly getting rid of the bottles that I had just to have, but that I didn't love. I probably could have paid almost a month's rent with the money I spent on my hoard. Ugh. Weirdly, though, I recently realized that I don't have a light pink!I also can't keep polish from chipping for more than a couple of days, and like you I've tried everything. I find that the quicker drying topcoats chip sooner on me, maybe because they are more brittle. I still prefer them. The lack of smudging and denting outweighs and extra day or two of wear. I would highly recommend a bottle of polish thinner. Nail polish never really goes bad, so you can keep those old favorite until you use them up (some time after you retire?). I've seen people restore nearly solidified polishes with good thinner, and it really makes me regret throwing out some amazing 90s polishes that I'd held on to until 6 or 7 years ago. If only I had known.


  2. Ahhh THIS, SO MUCH. It's the reason why I stopped buying nail colors, no matter how appealing they may seem. I wear them like 10% of the time. Thankfully, I nipped that in the bud by the 15th or so bottle. BLUSH, on the other hand, though… I'm still working on that monster. I figured I should probably learn how to properly apply blush, too, so I can get mileage out of the ones I DO have.


  3. I totally know what you mean about fixating on a color! Also, I second Lyn that polish thinner can pretty much fix any old/gloopy polish!Also also, I wanted to mention that I used to only be able to have polished nails for ~24-48 hours before the polish chipped really badly or peeled off. I did a lot of experimenting, and now most polishes last 3-5 days before they start chipping. For me, there are two things I need to do – 1) use cuticle remover – if I don't, the polish doesn't adhere well enough to the nail and sort of peels off from the cuticle end. 2) use the right base & top coats. Seche Vite doesn't work for my body chemistry – it's actually one of the worst I've tried. there are lots of base & top coats that work okay-ish, but I've finally found a few that work really well for me. experiment!


  4. These two are the exact kind of shades that I go to extreme lengths to avoid! They look like death on me but so lovely on you, especially Trout Pout. I find that applying thinner coats of colour keeps the mani longer than when I try to hurry and apply thicker coats to cover nails faster. I've also used one bottle of Seche Vite and never went back to it due to the smell and eventual gloppiness. Drying drops and sprays are pretty decent, as well as Cirque's fast-drying top coat which is in the reasonable price range. (Cirque doesn't help with chips but it dries super fast.)


  5. Yes, yes! I know this fixation. Life didn't exist fully without this \”whatever.\” Life will never be lived fully with this \”thing.\” Of course, once I get it, it is: \”I AM LIVING TEH LIFE!\” and five minutes later: What thing?But on those colors, I do think that the salmon-y (or trouty??) tones didn't come through, although still a nice color. But the color I really think is beautiful is definitely the Fruit Machine! Now you filled the void of pink in your stash.


  6. Add me to the list of people here that understand these fixations. I do think your nail polish choices look lovely! Perhaps Fruit Machine + Plastique indicates that the current whirlpool is a strong one? 🙂


  7. Neon yellow is definitely a color I've considered getting–because, yes, what if? At least by now I can recognize the colors I'm most likely to wear and be very stern with myself about the others. I've been thinking about selling the polishes I don't wear, but I can't decide whether to do that in a blog sale or on ebay, and I have no experience with selling things online and wouldn't want to screw up.I actually have a bottle of OPI polish thinner, but it doesn't work at all, to the point that I've started to suspect I bought a fake from Amazon. Which brand do you use?


  8. I actually do wear nail polish a majority of the time, which makes it harder to resist colors I don't yet own. But I have about 75 bottles now, and there's absolutely no way I can get through them all, so I've had to be strict. Fruit Machine and Trout Pout were the first polishes I'd bought since October!Why is blush so tricky? I always underapply it because I'm so afraid of putting on too much and looking crazy, and I've never gone beyond my two standard placements: either on the apples of the cheeks or, more often, high on the cheekbones.


  9. Hmm, I've never used cuticle remover! That might be the key. I've tried several different base- and topcoats over the years–Sally Hansen Hard as Nails, Revlon dual base/topcoat, Revlon quick-dry topcoat, and now Seche Vite–but I have yet to find a combination that extends the wear of my polish. Which brands have worked for you? I've heard good things about the Sally Hansen topcoat in the red bottle, so I might try that next.


  10. Thanks! I actually find it hard to anticipate which polish shades will look good or bad on my hands, so I was pleasantly surprised by both of these.I do apply very thin coats as a rule, which probably explains why most of my polishes need three coats instead of two! And isn't the Seche Vite smell revolting? It's the kind of smell that screams \”THIS STUFF IS CARCINOGENIC.\” Though I do appreciate the dramatically reduced drying time–I'm clumsy and fidgety, so I was having a lot of trouble keeping my nails unmarred before I found SV.


  11. I think the one I have is Orly. I also have a bottle of Seche Restore, which works very well for old polishes, but it's (almost?) pure toulene so maybe not the best for 3-4-5-free polishes. I don't think I've tried it on one of those. And needs to be used in a well ventilated area!


  12. \”I AM LIVING TEH LIFE!\” So true. If I'm lucky, the LIVING TEH LIFE period will last for a week or two, but it's usually shorter than that…and then on to the next. Sigh.Yeah, Trout Pout was somewhat disappointing. I don't know why it became a cooler pink! It's similar to a few other corals I have, too. I'm still living teh life with Fruit Machine, though!


  13. I definitely would try cuticle remover then! I like the Sally Hansen Instant one – it's a blue gel. Google eponychium as well – you're not trying to remove that, just trying to remove the \”true cuticle\” that grows over the nail plate, which is what causes adhesion problems with polish.My favorite base coat is sadly discontinued – Revlon Colorstay – but I also like Essie First Base, and I've heard good things about the \”sticky\” type basecoats like Orly Bonder & CND Stickey. For topcoat, my all-time favorite is Butter London, but it's so expensive that I only buy it on sale – my first bottle was from Hautelook, and I just restocked during the Ulta sale. I also like the \”cure in natural light\” type – I have the CND Vinylux and Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy ones, which seem identical, and Sally Hansen has one too. The SH Insta-Dri (in the red bottle) is good – just not a personal favorite. I think that basecoat, topcoat, and mascara are some of the least universal / most variable cosmetics products, actually – experiences with the same product just seem to vary so widely!


  14. I think it is! I don't know what sparked my current desire for all the lavender-pink everything, but here we are. I even considered buying a blush in that color, but NARS Mata Hari looks very similar when blended out, so I think I'll restrict myself to Fruit Machine and Plastique for now.


  15. I love that BL topcoat too. I always say the red Sally Hansen is my favorite, but if I'm being totally honest, I preferred the BL. I just can't bring myself to buy it at 4X the price, so I usually block it from my memory. I got it once in a set with a BL polish for like $10 total! That will never happen again . . .


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