The Best Damn Blog About Nail Polish You Never Read

by Ben Carter

A lot of people have been excited for Waterlily – many compared it to Chanel’s famous Jade, since it has a slight shimmer. I don’t have Jade, but comparisons seem to show that although the two are fairly close, Waterlily is a more yellow, leafy light green than Jade’s cooler mint tones. Waterlily is a pretty and wearable green – the yellow tones make it soft and it’s not too stark. The formula is nice and only took me two coats for opacity.

I have a friend who is really into fingernail polish. Whenever we meet her and her husband for dinner, she[1] is wearing a new coat. It’s not something she talks about unless we comment on how great it looks; it always looks great.

During a lull in the conversation at a recent dinner, our friend announced, “So, I have a blog.” Turns out, by “have a blog” she meant she has a well-trafficked blog devoted exclusively to nail polish. She has been reviewing high-end and offbeat polishes for years at her blog, Lacquer Wear.

Maybe you need to know her to appreciate the shock of the news, but know that she is not the stereotypical blogger. And, I guess, that is one of the points of this: in 2011, there is no stereotypical blogger. When I began blogging in 2003, the world of blogging was dominated by guys like me: nerdy dudes in their early 20s.

Now, anyone can have a blog. This is amazing.

The other thing that’s not stereotypical about my friend as a blogger is that bloggers, almost by definition, are self-promoters. (How many people do you know that have started a blog, announced it to the world and then wrote one–maybe two–more posts past the initial promotional post?) It is inconceivable to me that someone would blog for years without telling her friend–me–about it. I am trying not to take it personally.

But, I want to get back to the “anyone can have a blog” thing.

I have another friend who is on the Paleo diet. His blog, Eatin’ Thangs, is nothing but pictures of stuff he’s eaten.

A third friend cares deeply about the role of the church in a broken (and getting broker) world. He writes about this and current events at his blog, at his church’s blog, and at a community blog he administers called [D]mergent.

A fourth friend writes about music under the name Kenny Bloggins. I read his site, The Decibel Tolls, to find new music, yes, but primarily to be blown away by his writing. Kenny Bloggins can pwn a sentence.[2]

Strictly speaking, I don’t really care about fingernail polish, but Lacquer Wear is in my RSS reader, NetNewsWire, and when a new post shows up, I read it. It is written with an enthusiasts’ enthusiasm and a maven’s perception. My friend carefully photographs each of the swatches in different lights that reflect that polish’s versatility (or consistency). She describes the polish’s application and feel. If a polish disappoints, she says so.

As far as I know, she is not paid for her work, nor does she ever expect to be paid. It is amateur hour on the internet and we couldn’t be luckier. Enough has already been said about the fact that we all own a printing press now, about the fact that people are doing work for free that journalists used to be paid for, about the fact that bloggers are carving out micro-niches of expertise.[3] We do not need to replow that terrain.

Instead, I just want to marvel for a moment about how awesome all of this is. I have a friend. Who blogs. About nail polish.


In 2011, a blog can be anything you want it to be: a journal, a collection of nail polish reviews, a photo diary of the warm things that filled your belly as the earth spun through dark and empty space. You can write essays that change the way people think about church, about their responsibilities to each other. You can rant about your favorite (or least favorite) sports team. You can have a travelogue.

Seriously: anything.

I say this for two reasons:

1) You have no excuses not to produce. 2) The world needs your story.

When I read my friend’s nail polish blog, I’m not just reading a review of Dior’s most recent line of fall polishes. I’m reminded that there is someone else out there who cares enough to write it down, who has the courage to write it down, memorialize it. It, whatever “it” is, matters. In this case, the “it” is nail polish and it matters enough to my friend to take pleasure in the creating and then send her words off in the world without much concern as to how they will fare. Ultimately, the piece’s fate doesn’t matter. She’s already done the important work, the hard work: sitting down and writing with the conviction that what she had to say matters.

So, I’ll continue to read a blog about nail polish. Because it’s well-written with obvious affection for the subject.

And because it’s not really about nail polish.

  1. “She” prefers to remain anonymous.  ↩

  2. Since writing this post over Christmas break and publishing it at the end of January, Kenny Bloggins has announced he is going to stop blogging at The Decibel Tolls. BUT, he is starting a more general-purpose blog called Distonal. It is going to be dope. I’m really excited to see what he does with the new space.  ↩

  3. Indeed, having a blog about nail polish seems recklessly unfocused in 2011. She should really have a blog about green nail polish or nail polishes imported from the Czech Republic.  ↩