Smith & Cult: Hard Candy Grows Up

Published on November 27, 2015 by   ·   No Comments

SC 02I’ve talked about it many times before, but there was a time long before Hard Candy was a watered down Wal-Mart brand with bargain glitter in every color imaginable when all they did was nail polish, and they did it with style and a little bit of an edge.  Each bottle contained thick (but not clumpy) gorgeous polish in a rainbow of shades with cheeky names like “Tantrum,” “Sugar Daddy,” and for all you holiday nail divas out there “Jingle Balls.”  They were launched in 1995 and were making crazy colors long before this was a staple of most beauty brands.  Blue?  Shocking!  Green with silver glitter?  Unthinkable!  Now having polish in shades outside of the traditional trio (red, pink, peach) is so commonplace we don’t even notice it, but it used to be a pretty big deal!  If you want more info about this brand from the “old days,” or want to relive your polish memories, check out this image-heavy article HERE.

Well, one of the creators of Hard Candy, Dineh Mohajer, is back and once again making all of your polish dreams come true with her new brand: Smith & Cult.  Gone are the plastic rings with faceted hearts and jewels and in its place are a collection of gorgeous shades that range as wide as those from the Hard Candy heyday with an added sophistication that comes from 20 successful years in the beauty business.  But while the colors may show a more refined palette, Mohajer is still having fun with the color names: Vegas Post-Apocalyptic, Cut The Mullet, Kundalini Hustle, Filth Noir, and my absolute favorite: Gay Ponies Dancing in the Snow.

SC 01I found the brand by accident when I recently signed up for Birchbox (what better way to feed my beauty addiction than to have sample goodies dropped off on my doorstep once a month?!) and saw their polish featured in one of BB’s beauty bundles.  The color in the bundle wasn’t one I was interested in (a black base with silver glitter called “Dirty Baby”) but I thought the name was fun, so I dug a little deeper.  The Smith & Cult website is gorgeous and a lot of fun to navigate, changing as your scroll down through the various color families.  The descriptions are just as irreverent and fun as the color names; for example, after describing the color as “Ultra fine silver glitter suspended in obsidian base,” the site adds in the following little gem: “Wife no. 4 and Co.’s collective eating disorder means we get all the cake.”

Of course the PC police will get their undies twisted about this reference to eating disorders to sell a product, but this sort of spunky, slightly inappropriate description is exactly what I would expect from the woman who shook up the polish world with Hard Candy (a brand that notoriously even launched a small men’s line, called Man Candy) and is showing no signs of stopping.

I wanted to check it out and so through Birchbox I ordered a special holiday collection with 3 polishes:


Lover’s Creep: Opaque Bordeaux
“It’s like a new lover luring me into bed.”

Kings & Thieves: Opaque Dark Ink Blue
“Why do I love scavenging through other people’s leftovers.”

Bitter Buddhist: Opaque Celadon Green
“The crowd was a mixture of teenagers attempting to solve their problems (before they actually have any) and middle age people, mostly women, with a desperate look of “save me” on their faces – it was depressing.”


First of all – the packaging!  The bottles are thick, heavy glass with the Smith & Cult logo embossed in either gold or black.  They are round bottles with gold metal tops which have been dented in a couple of places.  This design details is part of the brand’s quirky, feisty identity, and it’s actually very effective – packing that could look rather boring is unexpectedly fresh.  The polishes are thick and creamy and Bitter Buddhist, the one I tried out, went on like a dream!  I haven’t played with the other two, as I was planning to regift them (if you end up getting them, sorry for ruining the surprise!) but I did go ahead and order one of the glitter polishes to see if it holds up as well as the opaques:

Vegas Post-Apocalyptic: Ultra Fine Holographic Lavender Glitter Suspended In Clear Base
“I said nothing, thinking we were going straight back to LA to check her into Cedar’s mental ward.”


The tagline for the brand is “Diary of a beauty junkie,” and I’m assuming that these fun descriptors are meant to serve as entries in this diary.  Whether or not this is true, I think it is safe to say that Smith & Cult is destined to get their own entry in the records of beauty history with this funky, fashionable, and fearless collection.  If you want to pick up a polish or two, or maybe check out their lip glosses as well, you can do so on the Smith & Cult website.  If you’d like to read more about how this new brand came to be, you can check out THIS BLOG from the Huffington Post.

Now Go Forth And Get Painted!

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