Smith and Cult Stockholm Syndrome (review and swatches)

For the past four months or so I've been on a beauty product low-buy, and it's been pretty successful. The only things I've bought have been replacements or things I needed, so when I had a £5 reward voucher on my Space.NK account I treated myself to something I'd been eyeing up for a while now: Stockholm Syndrome from Smith & Cult.

Smith & Cult Stockholm Syndrome nail polish

Smith & Cult Stockholm Syndrome nail polish

90s kids will probably remember Hard Candy, the nail polish brand. I never owned any but thought they were so cool, what with the colours, the teenybopper rings that came fitted on the caps, and slightly provocative ads I'd see in the Seventeen magazines I'd get out of the library. From what I can tell the range went downhill after being bought by LVMH, but its co-creator Dineh Mohajer has now come out with Smith & Cult.

I picked this up at the Kensington Space.NK after attending a School of Life session "Discover 100 things you didn't know about yourself" at Harrods in an attempt at self-improvement. (It ended up just making me cringe, so I looked around the Harrods art gallery and stationery department instead.) The store was probably the biggest Space.NK I've seen in London, and pretty much stocked all of their available brands. From memory there were maybe twelve or so S&C polishes in the store, with the rest being online exclusives. See the 35-strong range here -- I'm drooling at the blues!

Smith & Cult Stockholm Syndrome nail polish on my nails.

Smith & Cult Stockholm Syndrome nail polish on my nails.

I've been wearing two coats of Stockholm Syndrome by itself with no base or topcoat. It lasts about five days on me with a bit of tip wear, which is pretty damn impressive considering how rough I am with my hands. It only really started looking like shit when I burned two pots this past weekend and had to scrub the shit out of them. 

The Smith & Cult website describes Stockholm Syndrome as an "opaque elephant gray". To my eye it almost comes across as taupe in bright natural light, but it mostly comes out a slightly cool dark gray. It's not exactly a high-shine finish and would definitely benefit from a good topcoat. I'm seriously considering getting the one in the range seeing as how well the polish has lasted. 

Smith & Cult Stockholm Syndrome nail polish. Background: Hands, Hands, Hands by Horst (1941)

Smith & Cult Stockholm Syndrome nail polish. Background: Hands, Hands, Hands by Horst (1941)

The bottle is basically a miniature paperweight -- solid glass with a dented metal lid, which is a faux cap in the vein of Chanel or Butter London bottles. The brush itself is housed in the real cap, about the same size in width and length as the YSL brush, slightly shorter than OPI, and is a good size for my small nails. My one complaint is about the cap, because it's on the small side (I didn't take a photo of it, but you can see a shot in Tynan from xojane's post on the range). I find it a little fiddly to hold, and definitely prefer the long, tapered design of OPI's lid.

The names of the polishes in the range are all named after moments or episodes in Mohajer's life. See this evocative quote for Stockholm Syndrome: When one ex started bawling, triggering two more, I made a quick b-line for the door -- was she the one experiencing Stockholm Syndrome, or her exes? What kind of pain and kindness did they inflict on each other? It had me thinking about how the beauty-obsessed often associate life events with products -- a perfume I can no longer wear because I associate it with bad feelings, a nail polish I used on myself and the other bridesmaids at a best friend's wedding, or the lipstick I wore when I really didn't feel like going on a night out and need a pick-me-up. It's not like I'll be creating a beauty brand anytime soon, but I think it's similar to why I write this blog: seeing my life events through the lens of beauty. 

Tell me: what's a memory you associate with a beauty product? Or, if you started your own makeup brand, what would be the first thing you make?