Yellow is an underrepresented color in most people’s makeup collections, including mine. Deservedly or not, it has a dismal reputation:
The Googlers have spoken: yellow is the most “visible” and “noticeable” color, but like many highly visible and noticeable things, including the Kardashian-Jenner clan, Lime Crime, and Donald Trump, it is also perceived as “annoying” and “depressing.” (Actually, the most visible color to the human eye is yellow-green, due to its location in the middle of the color spectrum, but let’s not be too picky.) Yellow is notorious for being unflattering to most complexions, and it’s the rare eyeshadow palette that includes even an understated mustard, let alone a chartreuse or daffodil. So imagine my surprise when I started noticing yellow nail polish in what seemed like every other k-pop girl-group video released this spring. Here’s some proof, arranged chronologically by release date:
Mamamoo, “You’re the Best”:
CLC, “High Heels” (seriously, don’t follow that link, the song is awful):
Red Velvet, “One of These Nights” (yellow eyeshadow, too!):
AOA ft. Takanori Nishikawa (T. M. Revolution), “Ai wo Chodai” (“Give Me the Love”)
J.Y. Park ft. Conan O’Brien, Steven Yeun, and Jimin Park, “Fire”:
The trend—actually, let’s call it a microtrend, since all of these videos came out in the last two months—started with pale butter-yellow polish, but quickly moved into bold safety-vest yellow. I was intrigued. My only yellow nail polish was a sparkly orange-yellow from CoverGirl’s Hunger Games collection two years ago (I know), and I wondered why I’d never embraced the delicate vintagey prettiness of light yellow. As luck would have it, Smith & Cult’s spring collection included The Bee Side, a nail polish in exactly that color. I knew that pastels were hard for any brand to get right, but Smith & Cult kept Instagramming photos of pale-yellow manicures that looked perfectly smooth and opaque, and their polishes were $18 a pop—they had to be decent, right? After dithering for a few weeks, I bought The Bee Side at my local Bluemercury and tried it out excitedly.
And, guys? It kind of sucked.
The formula was watery and streaky, it took forever to dry, and I couldn’t get opaque coverage even after three coats. I might have done better with four, but in my view, any “opaque” nail polish that requires more than three coats is a dud. The Smith & Cult bottle was beautiful, but it was twice as wide as any of my other polish bottles, which made it difficult to store. It was basically the manspreader of nail polishes. I returned it so quickly I didn’t even have a chance to take pictures.
With that $18 back in my bank account, I resumed my search. The next butter-yellow polish to catch my eye was Lively, a new spring release from Sephora’s Formula X collection. (That microtrend isn’t confined to k-pop, apparently.) I’d been impressed by Enigma, my first Formula X purchase, so I picked up Lively on my trip to NYC earlier this month. It was a more palatable, though still somewhat pricey, $11.
Lively is the lemon-curd-mixed-with-whipped-cream yellow of my dreams. It’s almost identical to The Bee Side, though perhaps a hair darker.
It applies more smoothly than The Bee Side and dries very quickly. After three coats, a few nails have a tiny bit of streakiness, but only if you really squint. I think this is the closest I’m going to get to a flawless light-yellow polish, though I do have one strong word of caution: DO NOT remove this polish less than a day after application, or it will stain your nails yellow even with basecoat. I learned this the hard way. If you wait at least two days before removal, you should be fine. (Honestly, I tend to peel off my nail polish, which is terrible for my nails but does help prevent staining. I can’t believe I just confessed that on my blog.)
With a basecoat and topcoat, Lively lasts 2-3 days without chipping, which is about average for me. I assume that if your nails don’t reject nail polish like it’s a faulty organ, Lively will last a bit longer on you. It also matches Watchmen:
And my favorite sunglasses:
To truly follow the k-pop microtrend, though, I think I need a bright dandelion yellow as well. Any suggestions?
P.S. In case you weren’t aware, all of Urban Decay’s Revolution lipsticks, including the matte and sheer versions, are now 50% off wherever they’re sold. This seems to confirm the rumor that Urban Decay is planning to discontinue the entire Revolution line later this year. It’s been less than three years since the lipsticks were released (the mattes and sheers are even newer), and they’ve received almost universally positive reviews, so I have no idea why Urban Decay has made this decision. In any case, now seems to be the time to stock up on your staple colors. I’ve been good and haven’t yet taken advantage of the sale, but I might end up trying Bittersweet or Jilted. Hmm.
Update, 4/28: I’ve heard another rumor that Urban Decay is planning to keep the existing Revolution colors and formulas but revamp the shape of the bullets so that they have a slanted top, which would be amazing (and would make more sense than discontinuing everything out of the blue). I’d own a lot more Revolution lipsticks if they didn’t have that annoying flat top, so here’s hoping the rumor is true!