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StrangeBeautiful Color Volume 3 Review & Swatches

By on September 21, 2009
in Gray, Green, Orange, Purple, Red, StrangeBeautiful, Tan, Teal
strangebeautiful, strange beautiful, nail polish, nail color, color volume, nail polish libraryTo be Strange is to be Beautiful. This is the concept behind the StrangeBeautiful line of nail polish and it’s what makes their libraries of color so intriguing. Founder Jane Schub‘s love of art, architecture and design has been translated into a set of eight seasonal hues that I can only describe as achingly unusual.I’ve long said the reason I adore nail polish and started this site is because of my lifelong obsession with color. That while I don’t wear a lot of colorful clothing, I express my creativity and mood through nail color. This is why I was immediately drawn into this 3rd Volume of color from StrangeBeautiful. I swear I must have sat, staring at the polishes, for a good fifteen minutes remarking over and over how wonderfully brilliant and unique a collection this is. Let’s explore this new-to-me brand after the jump!


strangebeautiful, strange beautiful, nail polish, nail color, color volume, nail polish libraryTaking inspiration from design pieces like the vibrant red typewriter by Ettore Sottsass and everyday objects like a lobster shell, each season StrangeBeautiful creates an eight shade limited edition collection that is both provocative and wearable. Using a creme finish for all the polishes makes them refined and chic.

The formula is 3-Free, including Formaldehyde Resin, highly pigmented and flows smoothly on the nail drying with a high gloss finish. The 220 strand brush is thin, long and pliable, easily spreading out for the perfect three stroke application. Like I said, the polish is pigmented, even the lighter shades, so you only need two coats to achieve complete opacity.

What I find interesting is that because the polishes are sold as a library, the individual shades are unnamed. They are also produced once in extremely limited edition so when a volume sells out, that’s it.

Because the inspiration for each color is so specific, and there aren’t descriptive names for each polish I thought including descriptors straight from StrangeBeautiful would be helpful in understanding the concept.

The saturated rusty iron color of an Irish bog caused by the reaction between tannin, wood and iron. The rich warm color of this polish reminds me of the peanut sauce that comes with chicken satay. It’s definitely best suited to a neutral or warm skin tone but I love its fabulous fall feel.

The veins of green mold running through Roquefort. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that this deep teal green was the one I rushed to put on first. My love of all things green is infinite and there’s something about the aged feel of this hue that I can’t get enough of.

The dreadfully wonderful dirty almond color used on kitchen appliances. Growing up in a home that reveled in the 60s avocado, almond, red shag aesthetic, this shade takes me right back to the adorable ranch-style house I grew up in that my Dad built for us.

The belly of a pigeon. I suppose I’m fortunate to say that I haven’t been up close and personal with a pigeon though I doubt the Lake Erie seagulls are any less annoying. Regardless this moody, lilac tinged gray is so me it’s not even funny.

Aged Armagnac. There’s something about this burnt sienna that makes me long for a bonfire, hot cider and the smell of pumpkin pie on a cool, fall night.

The artist Sean Scully. Deep and vampy, this dark plum looks like Grape Dimetapp in the bottle but dries pretty dark on the nail. Think OPI LPAD.

The rich black olive green color of Loden cloth. Hellooooo luvah!! There just aren’t enough mossy, olive greens in this world for me. So even though I own RBL No More War and Illamasqua Hectic, I love that this Swamp Thing hue is less yellow based therefore much more wearable on a range of skin tones.

The dull brown red of Redrope files. I truly wish the creaminess and slightly browned base of this red had translated better on camera. It’s very luscious and rich in person.
Color Volume 3 from StrangeBeautiful is available now on The library of 8 shades retails for $79, which is less than $10 each.

Who has tried StrangeBeautiful before? Thoughts? How do you feel about these colors and that they come as a set?

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  1. Strange Beautiful volume 3: swatches | December 22, 2010
  1. Heather says:

    I love all these colors except the almond. It would be nice to see these sold separately. Seventy-nine dollars seems like a chunk of change to throw down for nail color, but I suppose you are getting a variety for that price. The oranges and green seem refreshing and different

  2. cidell says:

    The colors are pretty. But, that's a big hunk of change to plop down (says the woman who ordered both Chanel Jades after you swatched them).

  3. Julie says:

    I LOVE that olive green – I think I'm a green girl too, now that I started reading your blog!

  4. loungie says:

    I just love the names!

  5. kelliegonzo says:

    oh how i've missed your swatches!! glad to see some up! i adore the dreadfully wonderful dirty almond color used on kitchen appliances haha and such great names!

  6. All Lacquered Up says:

    Heather – Yeah, I had a feeling the fact that they aren't sold separately would be a bummer for some but they're intended to be sold as a color wardrobe for the season. The per bottle price is good though. Not much more than an OPI/Essie.

    Cidell – Ha! I hope the Chanel's weren't a disappointment.

    Julie – Yay! Another convert. I will get green on every woman in America or I'll die trying!

    Loungie – The polishes don't have names. I listed the shade inspirations from the brand but the polishes are unnamed.

  7. Irides says:

    I LOVE StrangeBeautiful and I've been eying their volumes for ages now. The colors look really great on you and that isn't helping matters, but 79 is a lot to give up at once!

  8. xsplattergirlx says:

    oh, I love teal and almond!!! is there any place I could buy them online?

  9. Tavia says:

    I love the deep plum and the deep teal green, they are so interesting colors and I think they will go great with my white skin.

  10. All Lacquered Up says:

    Kelligonzo – It hasn't been that long since I've posted swatches, has it? I was only gone in NYC for a week. The descriptions are pretty fantastic. The imagery they bring to mind is fab.

    Irides – Yes, it is a lot at once but you get a lot of color. I'm planning to get Volume 1 pretty soon.

    Xsplattergirlx – I included a link in the post to where you can purchase them.

  11. kelliegonzo says:

    you're right, you're right :) i just love your blog and anxiously await your beautiful photos ♥ sorry to sound greedy!

  12. All Lacquered Up says:

    Tavia – I'm sure they'd look lovely on pale skin.

    Kellie – I'm flattered that you're so excited for new swatches. You don't sound greedy at all.

  13. Mary says:

    I have StrangeBeautiful volumes 1 and 2 and just love them. I agree completely that the colors are wearable, but different and fun. The polish is easy to apply and dries quickly, and lasts on me around four days.

    After seeing your swatches, I am sure now I'll have to get volume 3 as well.

  14. Anonymous says:

    wow, I am in love with the teal and the "lilac tinged gray"… and while I like the colors of the others, I don't think I would actually wear them. can you think of any dupes for these, for those of us who aren't going to spend $79 for just a couple colors we love?

    or would it be awful for me to buy the whole thing and then sell the colors I don't want on ebay…?

    - Kate

  15. Anonymous says:

    Oh Michelle…
    Now you have found the way straight to my heart. THANK YOU! Your blog is the very first in a long list of np blogs and boards I visit every single day (since Damone knows when), and I've been searching everywhere for swatches of SB libraries. Very few surfaced, so I kept procrastinating, not daring to buy either library 1 or 2 or both. But when library 3 emerged some time ago, the colors (even though the pictures were crazy small) left me speechless. Every single one is so me – to hell with #1 and #2!! I immediately ordered #3 and had it sent to a friend in NY. He will be visiting in 3 weeks, finally bringing with him this precious cargo that will reduce any lemming I have, or may develop in the forseeable future, to total irrelevance. And that includes Jade (not sold in Holland), Moooooooonpooooool, Zulu, Milf or even 230. As much as I lurrve my holos and glitters, I am a creme girl at heart. Your swatches of #3 make me soooo happy I ordered…
    Re the price: OK, over here, essie and OPI retail for 13 euros (ca $18- and no local webshop options) so anything under $10 is 'cheap' for me, but lets be honest ladies, how big was your last
    h2t/td/vns/8ty8 bill? plus: we happily fork out twice the amount per bottle for Chanel, RBL, even (almost) Lippmann! And look at these colors – can you imagine them mattified? *faints*.

  16. Nora says:


    I can't justify spending that much and individually I would only purchase three, so I just can't do it. *Maybe this goes on my birthday list. ;)
    As an aside, how much comes in each bottle, .5 fl or .4 fl? I looked on the linked website and I didn't see it listed.

  17. All Lacquered Up says:

    Mary – It's great to hear from someone who has used the polishes before. Thanks for your feedback.

    Anon – I could see selling the others on eBay. I'm sure you wouldn't be the first person to do it. I'll look for dupes and keep you posted.

    Nora – I meant to include that in my post. The bottles are .5oz like OPI and Essie. The size is very similar to Pop Beauty.

  18. Euridice says:

    Wow, this is an amazing collection! I love the collection concept. I think by the time you buy a few polishes here and there, you've spent as much or more than this set…but it's not worth it if you just don't want most of the colors. But I want them! That teal!! I'd like to send these to my favorite handbag designer and get bags in all of them. In a dream world, anyway. thanks for the post, I might order!!!

  19. Askmewhats says:

    the shades are super pretty and out of this world!

  20. Lucy says:

    I love the new polish wardrobe. The olive green is my favorite. I ordered the 1st volume without hearing a thing about them. I saw them on the Neiman Marcus website and thought they looked fantastic. I loved them the minute I looked at them. I turned around and ordered the second volume. I'm very happy with all of the colors. I never heard about them anywhere till last month when I read about them on She's the only person who mentioned them.

  21. Jenny says:

    I'm a huge fan of Strange Beautiful. I'm in love with their colors AND the formula. They practically paint themselves on! Can't wait to get this new set.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I'd pay a little more for individual bottles if that was an option. Unfortunately, I'm boring and would only wear 3-4, so wouldn't purchase the set. Interesting marketing concept–did you get any scoop on why they only sell that way?

    Thanks for the unusual, interesting colors.

  23. Beauty Shed says:

    Unbelievable colours, they look fantastic, rally unusual to me they have a real vintage feel.
    When reading this blog couldnt help but notice that you love green, have you seen the Going Green Colection by Nubar recently, its a fab collection of 8 various shades of green they are amazing, and on a plus side the brand is 3 free, vegan and animal friendyl.
    Check them out at

  24. All Lacquered Up says:

    Rose (Anon #2) – Wow girl, I love your passion for polish and you're so right on the price. I mean, if you don't love them all then I can see not buying them but if you're into the majority, jump on it! That's so cool that your friend is willing to bring them to you. What a champ!

    Euridice – Oh my, bags in all those colors. I would D.I.E. for that. The teal would be phenom in a buttery leather. That's on my list of things to find now.

    Askmewhats – Out of this world, indeed. I'm in total love.

    Lucy – I really hope the colors get more mentions online. Maybe because they're only carried at high end retailers they aren't as well known. I've never seen them in stores though I think Bergdorf's has them.

    Jenny – They DO paint themselves on. Well put!

    Anon #3 – I didn't ask directly why they're sold as a set so I can only assume it's because the colors are intended to be a seasonal wardrobe. And it doesn't make you boring if you don't love them all. Well have different tastes and what winds your watch is what makes you unique. Never boring.

    BeautyShed – I reviewed the Going Green collection a while back and I flipped for it. Nubar is a great brand and those colors are a green lovers dream.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I really think that they should call that lilac-tinged grey "Pigeon Belly" – I love it!!!!
    Pigeons need love too!

  26. JacieO says:

    I love pigeon belly too but I want to call it something else. Moon Blossom perhaps. :-)

  27. Anonymous says:

    I LOVE Pigeon Belly, but that's the only one that's really calling my name. Any dupes you can recommend?

  28. Lo says:

    I would LOVE Aged Armagnac…it reminds of a red fox. I bought the red color cube and I can’t wait for it to arrive! If only there was a swap club.. T__T