Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Black Label OPIs

I'm back with more. Told you I would be!

I got a hold of a few black label OPI nail polishes from a friend. What does "black label" mean? I will tell you:

Nowadays most new nail polishes are free of the 3 big "bad" chemicals: toulene, formaldehyde, and dibutyl phthalate (DBP). You will often polish-heads refer to them as "the big three" and polishes without them as "big three free" or "B3F".

You can quickly spot bottles that have had their chemical formulations changed among some of our favorite brands, such as OPI, Essie and China Glaze by their labels. Newer China Glaze bottles have black labels with white writing, indicating they are B3F, where as older bottles have white labels with black writing, meaning they were made before the formulation change.

The same is true of OPI, but a little different. Newer polishes released by OPI have white labels with green text, and older bottles before the formulation change have white labels with black text, deeming them "black label OPIs".

Black label on left, green label (B3F) on right

I recently explained this to a friend and she was intrigued. While visiting family she snagged a few OPIs from her sister for me to play with since they were black label, meaning they may be pretty old. I suspect some may be extremely old. I have never even heard of any of these shades. Want to see? Sure!

Royal Flush Blush - This is a blush pink metallic. Has some brush strokes but I could live with it. I don't know that I would actually ever wear it though.

Pink-Ing of You - Now this one I have heard of. Unfortunately this one broke on my friend. I really don't trust OPI bottles. She managed to save most of it and put it in a Cover Girl bottle. The application was rather horrible. I needed to do 4 coats and it still isn't even but it may be because of the Cover Girl brush. I don't know.

God Save The Queen's Nails - I love this one for the name. And that is about it. The application was rather uneven and needed three coats. And the color rather bores me. Burgundy shimmer...whatever. Next.

Gala Gold - This I can get on board with. This is a gold shimmer. I did three coats for this swatch. What I love about it is that it is not like any other gold I have seen. It isn't a warm yellow gold, but it isn't a neutral or rose gold either. It is like a peach gold? Does that make sense? Whatever it is I like it a lot.

Japanese Rose Garden - Oooh. Another winner. I know it is pink, but it is a pink I really like! It is a creamy, cool pink with a bit of silver shimmer. This swatch is two coats.

Prince George's Passion - Another great name! This is a dusty brick red creme. I am sure OPI has a million of them but this one is nice. This swatch is two coats for the camera, but I wore it as a mani a couple weekends ago and I was able to do just one coat! And it looked great! I wore it for a few days.

Hawaiian Orchid - Another winner! This is a sheer which I wouldn't normally get excited about, but I want to use it for a french mani real bad. It is super smooth and streak free and it has a bit of a blueish flashy shimmer.

Mother Road Rose - I found this rather similar to God Save The Queen's Nails so another snooze fest really, but the application was better than GSTQN. This was two coats.

So overall I like these a lot. Mostly I was excited to try some older shades I may have had a hard time finding if I really wanted to get a hold of them. I would have loved to get like, Rainforest, or some other highly sought after black label but these are nice too!

What do you think? Are you going to go inspect your bottle labels now?!


  1. Wow! I never knew that about the labels. Thanks for letting us in on it :)

  2. I have a few of the black label polishes. They apply woderfully. But, I have to say I'm one of those people who can't tell the difference at least by smell. Hawaiian Orchid and Pinking of You look tremendous!

  3. Very cool post! And I love Japanese Rose Garden!

  4. I've known for a while what a "black label" is, but I've never actually seen one! Can't say I've ever heard of these colours (except for Gala Gold, which I really like the look of!).


  5. I have a few OPI black labels, I think I may finally inventory my polishes, so I can have a complete list of what I have. I have over 150 polishes, so I may do this on my days off :)
    Thanks for the post, I didn't know China Glaze had the same "new label issue". Nice to know!

  6. I figured that out on my own quite a while back. I don't care about polishes being B3F, I like to huff the toulene anyway. :D

  7. Came across your blog. Love the colors!! I'm wondering why OPI has 2 labels sticking at the bottom? I don't see the purpose of it. I just bought my first OPI nail polish and I'm a bit worried if mine is not the original since it has two labels.

  8. I have a green label version of Japanese Rose Garden. It is one of my favorite pinks! I have about 8-10 older bottles of OPI that are black label, the rest are green. :)

  9. Have to say that I think all this fuss over "the Big 3" is a little overblown but I suppose you can never be too careful. I just wish that the quality of the polish didn't have to suffer. With all of the OPI's that I've used in both black and green labels, the black have always performed so much better.

  10. Wow, I have the black labels of both Japanese Rose Garden and Hawiian Orchid!

    Strangely, I was going to wear JRG to a wedding last weekend but I opted for a red instead. Just as a point of reference I have had them for at LEAST 10 years (and they are just about full).

    Now I am really itching to do a mani with JRG!


  11. Omg, Prince George's filthy mind is making all kinds of jokes with that one.

    And I love the smell of toulene, so bring on the black labels. ^_^

  12. Japenese Rose Garden is gorgggg!

  13. i was looking through my polish collection and came across 1 black label i didn't know i had! Black Magic Mountain.

    1. I wish they would bring this color back...It is a very rich burgundy. Love it!

  14. Funny how dates Mother Road Rose looks now...guess that's why finally this past year OPI took it out of the classic collection where it had been for years. There was a time when it was released and a good 5 years or more after that this was the IT shade - voted over and over in mag. ed. lists of the best polish shade. It was only replaced in that position when I am Not Really A Waitress came out and took over that editorial and fan favorite position again for years on end.

  15. Gala Gold is disgusting. It looks like your nails have gone mouldy and yellow. :/