Monday, February 20, 2012

Cult Nails Iconic and a Special Birthday Shoutout to the Best Mom of All Time

First off, let us start this post with a huge: Happy Birthday to my Mom!!! Yes, the woman who's taken care of me all these years (even now when I'm already married!) is celebrating her birthday today. She's halfway around the world as I write this and by the time this post goes live, it will almost be the end of her special day. Nonetheless, she is never far from my thoughts and is always in my heart. (Cheesy but true.) You see, my mother is my hero. Whether she likes it or not (she doesn't), I look up to her a lot and would like to be the exact same mother she was. Ours was never a perfect relationship; we had our fights and squabbles as well. But after all is said and done, we both know that we'll always be there for each other, no matter what. When I was much younger, I saw my mom as a superhero of sorts: she could do everything. She'd bake our birthday cakes, make our costumes from scratch for school activities or Halloween (one time she turned a cloth diaper into a turban!), helped us with my eyes there was nothing she couldn't do. Oh, she was a typical Asian mom in that she always pushed you to do your best, where good just isn't good enough. But she also made you feel better when you weren't. She was very affectionate with me and my siblings. She would randomly hug us throughout the day for no reason other than she wanted to hug you. Then I became I teen and as most teens usually are, became somewhat resentful of her parenting which I perceived as meddling. We never drifted apart, though. As I grew older, our bond just grew stronger and I'm happy to say that my mother has now become one of my best-est friends. She still worries about me and nags me about most everything as most mothers are prone to do, but we've reached a point where I've gotten to know the person behind the mom so it's not as bad as before. And you know something? That's when I realized she's a super superhero and I'm beyond grateful to be her daughter.

In honor of her special day, I wanted to showcase a polish that reminded me of her. I picked something that she would want to wear herself. See, my mom loves red nail polish in all shades and tones. The redder, the better. If nail polish addiction collecting is genetic, that would certainly explain how it started for me. But while she never really collected nail polish, it's still fond memories I have of chatting it up with my mom as we both did our nails together.

Just like my mom: Bold, classy and one of a kind.

The Quick Take

Brand/Name: Cult Nails Iconic
Color: Berry red
Formula: Berry red creme base with red flakies and gold shimmer
Finish: Shimmer/Flakies/Creme
Price: $10 USD for 18mL
Seen at: Cult Nails website
Note(s): Cult Nails is the brainchild of beauty and style blogger Maria of R3 Daily. She exclusively distributes the line on her website You can get Iconic alone for $10.00 or as part of the inaugural set that's currently on sale for $35.00. Also, get free shipping on all orders over $75.

The Fun Facts

Token bottle shot.
Back of the bottle.

Inset of ingredients at the back. Look, no Baddies!

Label at the base.

Standard Cult Nails brush.
Check out those flakies + gold shimmer!

Maria describes Iconic's color on the website as "a deep berry creme with gorgeous red flakes and hidden gold shimmer throughout". I couldn't have put it any better. That's exactly what it is. The flakies are seen in most lights but the shimmer is more prominent in bright light. The berry base color is a very pretty contrast to the unexpected glints of red from the red flakies and the subtle sheen of the gold shimmer. They all complement each other and work so well to create a color that has so much depth to it that usually only layering can accomplish. Best of all, it accomplishes all that in two coats and with a supremely glossy finish that will make top coat look moot.
***All nail swatches were done with Orly Bonder Base Coat and two coats of Cult Nails Iconic unless stated.

Natural light/No top coat/No flash
Check out the shine on those tips!

Natural light/No top coat/Flash
Flash brings out the pretty gold shimmer.

Sunlight/No top coat/No flash
Complete and utter berry gorgeousness.

If you've been reading Polished Indulgence for a while now, you'll know I'm generally not a fan of clunky brush handles. This is no exception in that, except the brush itself is so phenomenal that I can temporarily forget my utter dislike for big, bulky handles. When application allows for zero need for clean up afterwards, I really have to call the brush phenomenal. I easily got into all the nooks and crannies without touching any skin or cuticle. That means precision and accuracy to me. Plus, the coats are all nice and even which speaks well for the self-leveling formula that pretty much applies itself. I'd also like to point out that you get a lovely even distribution of the flakies throughout the nail; no bald or sparse areas with this one. Dry time is relatively fast owing mostly to the less need for extra coats and the formula itself.

Natural light/Top coat/No flash
Even better.

Natural light/Top coat/Flash
Hammie says: Iconic is indeed iconic.

Sunlight/Top coat/No Flash
Hammie says: Glossy is as glossy does is what they say, right?

Already shiny on its own, Iconic still does benefit from top coat as it evens out the finish that the texture of the flakies might otherwise mar.

The Lowdown

Hands down, I can tell you that there are no dupes for this pretty. Maria definitely knows her polish and it would be quite unseemly if she came up with colors that are all too similar to those of other known brands. Iconic is easily in a whole different league. Really, the only possible way I can think of to mimic this polish would be to layer a berry red with gold shimmer (finding an exact color match should still be tricky) and a red flakie top coat (the likes of which I haven't seen as of yet). But then I'd have to ask you why you'd go through all that trouble when you can do it all with just two coats and a bottle of Iconic? The only problem I can see you encountering is availability as there are some places that Cult Nails doesn't ship to. Hopefully, as the line expands, so to will their shipping destinations (fingers crossed if your country is one of them!).

Luckily, the price tag on Cult Nails polishes isn't as hefty as you'd expect. $10 is a small price to pay for 18mL of high quality vegan product that contains none of the harmful chemicals including camphor and phthalates. Even luckier for me that it hits exactly at the ceiling of my self-imposed nail polish price limit. Even then, I can honestly say that you get what you pay for, and then some. For a fellow nail polish fanatic, it's hard not to be impressed by the love that has gone into creating Iconic (and the rest of the line, for that matter). It really does live up to its name. Way before the explosion of flakies, Iconic was already showing the nail polish world how well flakies work with a creme base and shimmer. Previously, most flakies were either suspended in a clear base that you'd use as a layering polish or alone but with a sheer finish from the colored jelly base. Iconic is the first (to my knowledge) that used flakies and shimmer in a creme finish. If that doesn't spell icon, I don't know what does. Now, I'm fairly new to the brand and while Iconic isn't my first foray with Cult Nails (Time Traveler, the absolute, most perfect blue, and Clairvoyant won my heart long before Iconic did), it's easy to see why it has amassed such a huge following in a short year. Iconic paved the way for even more flakie goodness from the line, including limited edition Clairvoyant/Unicorn Puke that has reached legendary status and the current offering (also limited edition), Toxic Seaweed. This is the point where I say: if you haven't looked into Cult Nails yet, I most strongly advise you to do so. You are SO missing out.

Hammie loves unique colors and finishes. Iconic is easily both. The innate glossy finish, the oh-so pretty flakies and unexpected shimmer all combine to create a polish that dreams are made of. Even more astounding is the knowledge that the line was created by a beauty/style blogger to provide great products for a reasonable price and all with a professional flair you'd expect from much bigger companies. Before he waxes poetic, Hammie scores Iconic:

10 Hammie Points!

What's your relationship with your mother like? What's the most you'd pay for a unique/one of a kind nail polish? Will you be trying your luck with Toxic Seaweed (get it while you can!)?


  1. My mom and grandmother were red polish gals! You couldn't convince the to wear anything else! heh

  2. Loved the story about your Mum, me and my mum are closer now than when I was younger too, unlike your mum, mine has never had a thing for nail polish, so we don't share that but we have a love for rock music and a passion for live concerts which we share :0) I love this shade of polish and I have yet to try cult nails

  3. I think it came with the times. My mom's the same! The "weirdest" color she's worn so far is purple and she only wore it for a couple days. :) Thanks for sharing, Naomi!

  4. Thanks, Jo! I think it really has a lot to do with walking down the same road they've gone through and realizing how much alike you've become over the years. :) Rock music and live concerts? Wow, you and your mom must've had really fun times! Who were your favorite bands/artists?

    Maybe I'll send you a couple on our next swap! ;)

  5. This was a very sweet post, Carmela, because it was heartfelt. Your mom should be beaming when she reads this because you've made her sound like the kind of mother that everyone wishes they had. :)

    Lovely polish, too! ;)

  6. Thank you so much, Mary. :) I figured what better way to pay tribute to her than on my blog?

    Hahaha, thanks! Have you worn yours yet?

  7. Yes, I wore Iconic, but not solo. I layered it under Cult Nails Hypnotize Me and loved the combo! :)

  8. Ooooh, did it make it purple? That sounds like an awesome combo!

  9. Love love love this shade. You post made me remember just how much I love it!

    Happy Birthday to your Mom!

    This may Surprise you but I don't have any contact with my mom. I tell my kids that their mom has a broken heart and is not ready to love us and be around us. It is a daily sore spot for me, but my mom broke off all contact with me ...
    At this point in time, her bad choices only make me want to be a better mom myself :)
    But let's not let my comment be a downer of this GORGEOUS shade

  10. It *is* perfection in berry form! :D Glad I could be of service and thanks, Marta!

    Oh no... I'm so sorry to hear that, Marta.. I hope one day you'll be able to patch things up. It's hard to carry around this sort of emotional baggage all the time. I find it hard to believe that she can stay away from her adorable grandkids. But I think it's truly commendable that you're taking the positive outlook in this situation. It takes an extraordinary person to rise above these sort of circumstances. Kudos, Marta! :) *hugs*


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