Thursday, December 10, 2015

My Beef With Squarehue

A bit of background info: I became interested in Squarehue maybe 2 or 3 years ago when I started seeing swatches people had posted of their polishes. What was this brand with the super cool bottle shape and simplistic logo? I found the idea of a polish subscription service intriguing. So when James and I moved to South Korea and I got a job, I emailed the company to ask if they shipped to APOs. The customer service rep told me she'd look into it and let me know. I never heard back from her.
Fast forward to about a year later. We've moved to Okinawa and I had just gotten myself a snazzy job as a cocktail waitress. Celebrating my newfound income, I decided to check the Squarehue website, and lo and behold, they'd added APO to their shipping options. On top of that, they had a new subscriber special going on. I could get my first box for half off, so I signed up immediately.

I was neither overwhelmed nor disappointed upon the receipt of my first box, which was 10/15, the 90's collection. The colors, while sort of dull and unexciting, did fit in with the theme of the 90's quite well.

From left to right we have Vogue, a shimmery deep burgundy with a tiny hint of gold, Desert Storm, a sand colored creme reminiscent of my husband's Air Force uniform undershirts, and Y2K, a graphite with silver shimmer. All subdued, yet refined and classy shades. Like I said, not overwhelming, but by no means bad. I looked forward to what the company had in store for the next box, the 2000 collection. The year 2000 to me brings back memories of Britney Spears, N*Sync, body glitter, and rainbow color iMacs. The next box would be exciting for sure, right? Well, not so much.

This isn't even my photo. Credit for this goes to a Kaycee Dragon, who posted this image on Squarehue's Facebook page to complain about November's box. I don't have my own photo because I already returned these polishes to Squarehue with a refund request. Why? Well, I've already lost my job, which means funds are very limited. I was SO disappointed upon opening this box. It actually infuriated me. Why had I just spent $20 on a collection of the most generic looking silver polishes? With that money, I could purchase one of the previous month's collections I actually liked, which is what I did. I ordered the 1940's collection mostly because I think the orangey brick red is awesome.

But anyhoo. All silvers? Really? What nail enthusiast doesn't already have at least a couple silver foils and glitters already in her collection? Hurricane, the darker silver on the right, was pretty interesting, but not enough to to make me want to keep the box. And I'm not the only customer who was disappointed. I read other's opinions online and the majority of ladies were dissatisfied with this box, too.

Moving on to this month's box! The 2010 collection. I got mine in the mail yesterday and tore into it in the post office parking lot, hoping this collection would please me.

From L to R: Baby, Baby, Baby; a metallicish purple shimmer? Sorry, I'm not up on my nail polish terminology. Olympiad, a soft, silvery gold foil, and Bird Fling, a bright red creme.

Baby, Baby, Baby was the polish that stood out to me first, so that's the one I decided to try first. Please excuse my painfully short nails, they keep breaking relentlessly.

This is 3 coats of a nice grapey purple with a tiny hint of pink shimmer. At first I was really happy with it, thinking I didn't have another purple like it in my collection. But after two coats, it hit me. I did have a polish just like this. A polish I've had for so many years, I can't remember the last time I even used it.

Buffy the Violet Slayer by WnW. It's just been sitting on the bottom shelf of one of my polish racks, collecting dust. I couldn't tell you how old it is. But my collector's personality makes it hard for me to get rid of polishes, even if I never use them. Because who knows when I might need that shade of purple for a nail art design?

That got me thinking: Could I find a dupe, or near dupe, for every one of my Squarehue polishes? It shouldn't be too hard, considering I have only 6 Squarehues among my 550+ bottle collection. So I went looking, and here are the results:

I'm not big on red nail polishes, but this one, CG Hey Sailor is my go-to red creme because it's straight red, not pink based. Bird Fling may look darker in the picture, but I promise they're nearly identical.

Zoya Severine, which I got in a 3 piece mini collection for free, is a little bit warmer with a slightly coarser texture than Olympiad. Plus, Olympiad has a subtle bit of silver too it, which I think is nice. But are they different enough to need both?

Fortunately, I don't have anything exactly like Y2K. This Nina polish, Smoke 'n' Mirrors, is just the closest I found. So no big problem with this one.

This one is no surprise. Essie comes out with this same sand colored creme, you know, like EVERY year.

Finally, we have Vogue. This is the only one of the 6 polishes I found I didn't have a near dupe for. It's a deeper red with a more pronounced gold shimmer than Essie's Wrapped in Rubies, and brither and more pink toned than Revlon's Autumn Spice. Overall, it's the clear winner of my dupe hunting challenge.

In conclusion, I have to say that for how much I built up Squarehue in my mind before subscribing, it has been a let down. I don't feel like $20 a month is really justified when I'm getting polishes that aren't all that different from ones I have. And that $20 applies to those of us lucky enough to have subscribed in time. About a month ago, Squarehue raised its prices for all new subscribers. I mean, it's nice how they want to donate a portion of their profits to charity, but if by doing so, they can't even afford to keep their prices consistent for the customers without having to raise them, maybe charity shouldn't be such a high priority. Just saying. They're a business first. Shouldn't priority be given to subscribers?

Even if I did still have a job and the money to keep my subscription, I don't think I would. I just haven't been impressed enough by the polishes I've received. Plus, now that they're offering previous collections for sale on their website, why not wait until I can see the colors, then just order the ones I want?

In my mind, the ideal Squarehue subscriber is a girl who's just getting into polish and wants to build her collection while trying new, unexpected colors she may not pick for herself in the store. Someone like me who already has every color under the sun, well, I guess I need to stick to the innovative indie creators if I want to avoid buying the same colors over and over.