David Letterman was inadvertently responsible for a big beauty trend. He asked Alicia Silverstone (doing the media rounds for her movie Clueless) about her pale blue fingernails in 1995 â€“ she answered, â€œSky, by Hard Candy,â€ and sent beauty geeks everywhere into a swoon.
Canadians living in the beauty-product hinterland begged Los Angeles-bound friends (thank you, Natasha) to score us a bottle. Those were pre-Sephora, pre-Internet shopping days. If you wanted a hard-to-find cosmetic, you had to hunt and gather it yourself. Fifteen years later, I still have my Sky, with the coordinating blue â€˜diamondâ€™ ring intact.
In the neutral-loving â€™90s, nail polish meant pale pink for fingers, red for toes. But Sky, a chalked-out pale blue – the colour of an empty swimming pool – was a gateway. And the Cosmetic Industrial Complex happily fed that addiction, creating ever more unusual hues. The dried blood shades began courtesy of Chanelâ€™s Rouge Noir (called Vamp in the US). Iridescent sparklers like Roach and Oil Slick made Urban Decay, and who can forget our obsession with OPIâ€™s Lincoln Park After Dark?
Now of course mauve-ish grey is the colour spotted on all the cool girls (think Essieâ€™s Merino Cool or Sally Hansenâ€™s Commander in Chic) and Ladies Who Lunch snapped up Chanelâ€™s Paradoxal this season. (I think the fact that it comes in a Chanel bottle adds to the allure.)
Until recently, Hard Candy was just a fond â€™90s memory. Even a brief stab at resurgence ended in 2008 when the brand was shuttered.
But now it’s exclusively at Wal-Mart with nothing costing more than $10 so you can grab every shiny thing you covet, guilt-free. Fortune Gloss shiny lip gloss ($5.98) has a Magic Eight Ball embedded in the cap to answer your love questions, and glitter-flecked Eye Candy Cream Shadow ($4.98) comes with its own matching teeny eye pencil.
But the Just Nails nail colours ($4.98), still with the plastic ring, are the real stars. Sweet P pale green is loaded with sparkle, and Frenzy is an electric blue that will not interest the ladies who lunch at all.
And that iconic, chalky-blue Sky? Wal-Mart brass has promised itâ€™ll be back for Spring 2011. Just in time for pool season.
Anyone else have Hard Candy archivist tendencies?
Images in second photo courtesy Hard Candy.