Beautiful Monstrosity: Crimson Peak Claw Polish Review

I loved Crimson Peak. It spoke to the part of me that took Gothic literature classes and watched monster movies and wrapped it up in a beautiful house that bleeds secrets. It wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s just fine, but some of us are thrilled that the DVD comes out this week.

Crimson Peak nail polish Sarah Richardson 2016However, I wanted to indulge in commercialism to tide me over until I could watch it again, so I pestered loved ones with a long list of desired products from Black Phoenix Trading Post (BPTP) for Christmas. BPTP isn’t quite the same as Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (BPAL), as the latter makes hand-blended perfumes based on mythology, books, and graphic novels like Hellboy, The Last Unicorn, and Pretty Deadly, while the BPTP carries related products like claw polish, jewelry, and room sprays. You can read about how BPAL founder Elizabeth Barrial came to make the Crimson Peak themed perfume here. (Editor’s Note: Ginnis, who is a total BPAL addict, adores the Lullaby scent, she wears it to bed at night.) Everything for the line is limited edition, with only 300 bottles of each claw polish produced. I was really excited to scored some, and here’s what I found.

Crimson Peak nail polish Sarah Richardson 2016I started with the Buried Secrets from the Lucille Sharpe line. It was quite beautiful even in the bottle, with silver undertones to the dark blue color, and it reminded me of Lucille’s lovely dark blue dresses and the moths fluttering in Allerdale Hall. The polish went on really smoothly, and I did three thin coats. I loved my dark blue nails that glittered in the faintest light, but the ends started to wear pretty much immediately. It’s not a problem with my regular nail polish, so I chalked it up to too many coats and maybe some leftover cuticle oil that I didn’t clean off well enough. The polish continued to flake over the next couple of days, however, and I took it off sooner than usual due to the large chunks of uncovered nails.

My nails after 10 days.

Next time I scrubbed up really well and broke out the lovely A House That Bleeds. This polish is a rusty blood red, so dark it looks almost brown in some light due to the bronze sheen. It’s darker and duller than the red clay that oozes from the ground and house itself, as well as Lucille’s blood red gown, so while it doesn’t really match the colors from the movie, I do think it meets the idea presented on the BPTP page: “[t]he color of past glories awash in rage and terror.” The finish is closer to a foil than a glitter, and I painted my nails with a careful hand—and immediately smudged two nails. I tried both my fingers and a top coat to smooth out the crinkled coat, but it wouldn’t smooth.

House seemed to have a lighter consistency than Buried, but I still had the edges pulling back from my nails immediately. The polish shrank noticeably as it dried, so my problem with Buried may not have been wear. I’ve never had this problem with my regular polish (I use Zoya most of the time), but I don’t wrap the tips of my nails when I paint them. Wrapping the tips, or painting the edge and a tiny bit underneath your nail, is supposed to help your manicure last longer as well as prevent this shrinkage. My base coat might also be getting a little old and goopy, so I’ve ordered a new bottle to try again. I am glad to note the polish didn’t have an overwhelming smell.

Crimson Peak nail polish Sarah Richardson 2016Basically, the colors are so gorgeous I’m willing to put up with a shorter manicure lifespan and learn a few new painting techniques in order to wear it. It’s fussier and more delicate than I’m used to, but the depth of color is something I don’t get with even the darkest glitters that Zoya carries. It’s not apparent on BPTP’s site whether their polishes are five free or not. Five free refers to nail polish made without the following chemicals: Toluene, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde Formaldehyde Resin, and Camphor, which are used in more traditional polishes and have caused some concern that these toxic chemicals can seep into your body through your nails. But even with the issues, I want more. I do not have a problem. I can stop anytime.

Maybe I’ll stop after I paint my nails in darkness and blood and curl up in front of the TV to watch Crimson Peak one more time.

Sarah Richardson

Sarah Richardson

Sarah Richardson is a graphic artist living in Chicago. In addition to illustrating and laying out tabletop RPGs and zines, she burns through comics and books as fast as her eyes can move. Sarah swears a lot on twitter as @scorcha79.