Friday, June 11, 2010

The Sally Hansen Nail Prisms Chronicle

The moment I laid my eyes on Sally Hansen's Nail Prisms I knew it was true love. The beauty reflected within these little bottles was enough to make my breath catch in my throat! From that point on - I was thoroughly addicted and began my quest to obtain them all!

I could not (and still can't) believe how elusive these popular nail polishes are! I have spent hours upon hours researching this long discontinued line of prisms, reading everything I could and asking questions of anyone willing to help, and have been doing so on and off for the past 8 months! I still do not have ALL the answers I seek - but I have discovered enough to warrant writing a chronicle for other addicts! My goal is to offer as much information as possible in one place - an easy go-to for anyone looking for information on these adored polishes.

Sally Hansen released the Nail Prisms line in 2002 and they were the first of their kind. This is what the company had to say about their product:

Color in Motion!

The first 3D nail color!
Exclusive microfine prismatic reflectants create waves of living color every time you move.

Only Sally Hansen Nail Prisms utilize state of the art pigment, film and coating technologies. This exclusive ultra-tech system replicates nature in a way never before seen. From natural pearlescence mimicking the nacre of a south seas pearl, to the bright, iridescent effects found in butterfly wings and peacock feathers.

The advanced, patented Sally Hansen formula treats and protects nails so they can grow strong, long and healthier-looking than ever before.

From the information I could gather, it appears that Nail Prisms were only released in America, Canada and the United Kingdom. They were released in two differently labeled bottles, one for the US (left), the other for the UK and Canada (right). Below is what the two different bottles look like.

At first I believed that Sally Hansen released 43 shades in their core line before discontinuing it - but I have never found any reference to #33 and #34 anywhere! It doesn't make sense to me that they would have simply skipped two numbers, thus leaving a hole in the consecutive number sequence - but if they do exist, surely someone would have seen them somewhere!? If any of you, my readers, have seen them or know anything of them PLEASE leave a comment about it!

And so, this is the list of shades released in the core line that I am aware of:

#01 Diamond
#02 Pink Rose Diamond
#03 Purple Diamond
#04 South Sea Pearl
#05 Emerald Amethyst
#06 Ruby Sapphire
#07 Garnet Lapis
#08 Amber Ruby
#09 Blush Diamond
#10 Golden Cinnabar
#11 Fire Opal
#12 Coral Amber
#13 Ruby Diamond
#14 Lapis Amethyst
#15 Lavender Pearl
#16 Turquoise Opal
#17 Pink Pearl
#18 Star Opal
#19 Lavender Sky
#20 Pink Gold
#21 Scarlet Ruby
#22 Bronze Coral
#23 Burgundy Orchid
#24 Platinum Plum
#25 White Diamond
#26 Cinnabar Opal aka Cinnabar
#27 Bronze Ruby
#28 Mandarin Garnet
#29 Golden Tourmaline
#30 Pink Opal
#31 Orange Opal
#32 Ruby Opal
#35 White Turquoise
#36 Lavender Sapphire
#37 Ruby Topaz
#38 Ruby Emerald
#39 Lilac Aqua
#40 Lavender Gold
#41 White Ruby
#42 Pink Amber
#43 Bronze Pink

Apart from this core line there were also exclusives released in Canada, and possibly the UK too. These are the exclusives that I am aware of:

Coral Pearl
Metallic Magenta (Canada)
Pearly Pink (Canada)
Pearl Opal
Golden Presents (Canada)
Coral Presents (Canada)
Opal Presents (Canada)
Ruby Presents (Canada)
Bronze Presents
Rainbow Presents (Canada)

If anyone knows of any others please let me know! Also let me know if you know which country these releases belong to.

The last special release that I am aware of is the limited edition line. This line was released in a completely different bottle which is pictured below. I will hazard a guess that these were released in the US - as they have the same format of labeling as the regular US bottles. I cannot say how many of these were released, but these are the ones I know of:

#01 Diamond
#04 South Sea Pearl
#09 Blush Diamond
#10 Golden Cinnabar
#12 Coral Amber
#13 Ruby Diamond

There are a couple of anomalies that I will also mention in this post about Nail Prisms. Firstly, it is not uncommon to have a hard time identifying the shades, as the shade names and numbers are not always printed on the labels or lids. One way to identify shades from what I have learned is to have a look for a 6 digit number on the back label. The first 4 digits denote the range of nail polish - which in this case is 4674 representing Nail Prisms. The two digits following the dash indicate the shade. For example the numbers on the back of a bottle of South Sea Pearl will read as follows: 4674-04. Hopefully that will help some of you identify mystery shades!

Secondly, there has been many reports of shades being released in two (or possibly more) formulas. I have got Pink Rose Diamond in two different versions, so I know this to be true! I have also heard from others that Ruby Sapphire, Golden Tourmaline, Lapis Amethyst, Blush Diamond, Cinnabar Opal, South Sea Pearl and Ruby Diamond also have more than one version. I will post these subsequent versions if I am able to obtain them! Below is a preview of the difference between my Pink Rose Diamond bottles.

The following section is updated information on multiple formula releases:
Since writing this post two months ago I have discovered and obtained quite a number of Prisms with formula variation, so I thought more detailed descriptions are called for and not just a general mention! So here is what I have found so far:

#01 Diamond - apart from the usual version that I have reviewed, I did find one bottle that stood out a little from the rest. It somehow seemed a touch more holographic, but the minor difference does not make me inclined to do a second review or say that there is two distinct shades to be found.

#02 Pink Rose Diamond - I have already shown you guys above that there is at least two distinct shades of Pink Rose Diamond, and I have reviewed both the Dark Version and the Light Version for you. However, I have since discovered a third version! This third shade is what I am now calling the Pastel Version!

#03 Purple Diamond - I have reviewed the standard dark version of Purple Diamond for you, however I have discovered that there are at least three different variations of what I would call the standard dark version. I believe that these variations are purely a matter of how much pigment was used in each batch, as the hue itself is the same. Like Diamond above, these variations are so minor that it does not warrant separating them into different categories. Having said that, there is however another two shades that are very different to the aforementioned version! One I call the Light Amethyst Version, and the other I call the Light Orchid Version!

#04 South Sea Pearl - I have reviewed the standard version of South Sea Pearl, which I have now dubbed the Cream Version, but I can also confirm another version which I could only describe as the Coral Pink Version!

#09 Blush Diamond - I have reviewed the most common version of Blush Diamond, which I have now dubbed the Dark Version but I can also confirm another formula which will be the Light Version!

#13 Ruby Diamond - I can confirm that there is a Dark Version and Light Version of Ruby Diamond now too!

#14 Lapis Amethyst - I can officially confirm that there are two very different versions of Lapis Amethyst! I have called them the Amethyst Version, and the Iris Version.

Another anomaly that I had not mentioned in my original post would have to be releases in different bottles. This does not necessarily mean that the polish inside is different, as that has not yet been the case with the shades that I have found in different bottles. For those who are interested in this information, I will be adding photos and descriptions of different bottle releases.

Above is #05 Emerald Amethyst - on the left is a clear bottle and on the right is a painted bottle that depicts the shades within the polish. The bottle is sprayed with "Amethyst" and then "Emerald" is sprayed over it around the center of the bottle. Both types of bottle contained the same formula.

Above is #07 Garnet Lapis - on the left is a clear bottle and on the right is a painted bottle. They have sprayed the bottle blue, darkest at the top gradating down the bottle and ending almost clear at the bottom. Both types of bottle contained the same formula.

Above is #11 Fire Opal - on the left is a clear bottle and on the right is a painted bottle. They have sprayed the bottle pink, darkest at the top gradating down the bottle and ending almost clear at the bottom. Both types of bottle contained the same formula.

In my online travels I have read many reviews of these nail polishes, and heard many complaints of thin formulas, streaky applications and slow drying times. I personally have not experienced any of this - granted I have not tried them all as yet. I use a quick-dry top coat which solves the drying problem, and recommend others do the same! I will post each individual shade over the next few weeks and review them all on their own merit.
My only general complaint about this line of polish is the shape of the bottle. It seems a little top-heavy and in danger of tipping if not careful! I much prefer the LE bottles, as they simply seem more stable.

So that is pretty much it for the introduction to my chronicle! If anyone has any information to add - please feel free to let me know! It would be welcomed! I would also like to thank the ladies on the MakeupAlley Nail Board for helping me place some of my puzzle pieces! I hope they didn't get too tired of my incessant questions! lol I would also like to specially thank lextard and MissCarley for their extra help! You two ladies are wonderful!

For anyone looking to obtain these widely admired polishes (particularly my fellow Aussies!), I will have my duplicates up for swap or sale. Check out Vibrant V's Petite Boutique, MakeupAlley or OZtion to find them. Alternatively eBay often has these shades for sale anywhere from a couple of dollars up to $30 each shade.


  1. woah- this is surely one of the best posts about the nail prisms I've ever read and you made me wanting these shades more and more... I love holos- too bad sally hansen discontinued them, i think they still would be everytime-sold-out shades :D

  2. Thank you so much! I'm glad you like it!

    1. These were my FAVORITE!! I've been looking all over for them. That rainbow, or the cool color changing ones, I miss them !! Found some, hopefully, on Amazon. Ordered the other day. I need to find that Purple one!! Thank you so so much for your obsession with this, as it is also one of mine, since 2002...

    2. I've added this page to my home screen so when I have money, I can get my beauties!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!

  3. This was great!

    I have to say one of these was my first true polish love- purple diamond. When I got that bottle I was about 11 and my love for it will forever be with me! If you have a spare of that color I would love to swap or purchase it from you :)

  4. wow - what a great post..... You have done a fabulous job and hopefully when people are looking for info about these they will be directed to your post.

    I have two versions of pink rose diamond. And I remember seeing these pre 2002 in CANADA ,maybe even in the late 90's = but I could be wrong.

    I do hope that Sally Hansen HQ takes note of your post, My letter writing didn't seem to go anywhere - but thats okay. You have done an excellent job of summing this up for the world of polish lovers.

    I do hope that Sally Hansen releases a few more of these in the future.

  5. This is an amazing post! Thank you so much!

  6. Great post, love the info and thank you so much for all the research you did!

  7. l0verlada: Thank you! Purple Diamond is one of my favorites too! And it gets so many compliments! Yes, I do have a spare of that one - email me and we can chat! :)

    Dee: Thank you! Your words mean quite a lot to me! ;) I'll amend the release date part of my post to reflect your memory!
    I hope they release these again too - they are adored by so many I'm sure they couldn't go wrong! Thanks again Dee! xxx

    Jade: Hell yeah! My favorites by far!

    Jessica: Thank you for your compliment!

    Bunny: Thank you so much for the recognition! I did it out of love and excitement - but it is still nice to be thanked for it! ;)

  8. Wahhhh why must SH be so hard to track down :( not fair

  9. I KNOW! It drove me absolutely CRAZY looking for these!

  10. FOLLOW UP - Dee: Since your comment I have done some more research about the release of these nail polishes and every article I find says 2002 - no mention of the country though...

  11. peripatetic33
    which ones are you still looking for

  12. I'm still looking for most of the Canadian exclusives - and any UK exclusives that may exist. :)

  13. Thanks for the info! i have just recently picked up a bunch of these at a local close out store in my area for dirt cheap ( I am from Toronto, Canada). Once I found 1 i knew i had to collect as many as possible. most of them, however, did not contain a name, but after reading your post I will now go look up the coded number to I can finally figure that out.

    Thanks a lot! Great post!

  14. Danielle: Thank you! I'm glad you found it useful! Some of the Canadian polishes are difficult to identify and even the coding doesn't apply to them... The only real way to identify those tricky ones is by comparing them to the named or coded bottles.

  15. Great blog! I am obsessed with these too right now.

    I know there's only a .00001% chance you don't know this but I just realized my two bottles of Diamond are different. One's just plain glass and the other is painted silver on the outside (and now chipped).

    Can't wait to see more on your site. Thanks so much.

  16. Thank you! Come and visit again soon! :)

  17. Hey, just some more info for you.

    The "Presents" Canadian exclusives are numbered 5399-xx

    Rainbow Presents is 5399-03
    Bronze Presents is 5399-04
    Opal Presents is 5399-06
    Coral Presents is 5399-07

    There are also some Prisms that are numbered with 5698-xx. The two I have are 04 and 05. 04 is a peachy shimmer with a touch of pink and green iridescence and 05 is a coral-red holo. No names, so I'm not sure if these are new numbers on old colours or new colours.

  18. Addendum to my last comment - the numbers following the ones labelled 5698-xx don't seem to have anything to do with the colour :(

    I have two bottles that I'm 99% sure are Blush Diamond - they're exactly the same as far as I can see, and they're labelled 5698-02 and 5698-05.

  19. I have a Canadian bottle and here's what is written on the back:


    So it has the "4674" combination, but I have no idea what shade it is... I would appreciate if anyone could help...


  20. I just found my first nail prisms, one is cinnabar opal in a LE bottle. I see that it is not on your list of the le bottles. It is a very sheer pink with a greenish pearl duochrome to it.

  21. Anlina, are you sure your 05 isn't really 09 with some of the number worn off? Because to me pink rose diamond and blush diamond look the same.

    Vibrant V, now might be the time to see if you can't find some trading partners to get more of these. It seems like Sally Hansen has dumped a ton of these at the Dollar Trees here in the USA, in both the tall bottles and the short squat LE bottles. I've got a couple of the LE bottles you don't have listed too. I have 03 Purple Diamond in two different formulas and 25 White Diamond. The Purple Diamonds are different because one has that KAPOW! rainbow in the bottle holographic quality, and the other is only weakly holographic.

    I think I may have a different 04 South Sea Pearl, in the regular bottles, not LE. You didn't say if your cream version has a aqua/teal flash, one of mine does. The other is more pinky orange flash and that could be your coral version.

    I haven't tried all of mine yet, but the thin streaky one I have is 19 Lavender Sky. I wanted to try to achieve bottle color on that one so I layered it over white. After 4 coats it was still a streaky mess. I think I will only use it as a top coat over dark shades from now on.

  22. I have Purple Diamond in a limited edition sized bottle :). Which isn't on your Post!!
    But your post is amazing and I've gathered a lot of information from it!!

    I also have a garnet lapis in a painted bottle I think I got in Junior high. :)

  23. this post is so helpful! thank you so much for writing it!

  24. Wow, This post is great! A lot of stuff I didn't know!

    I have a question, in any of your travels, have you encountered any Nail Prisms in solid, gold colored bottles? I remember buying a bottle of blue color back around when the newer War of the Worlds came out. I think it was Sapphire something. Walmart was clearing them out, and I picked one up for $5.99. All of the different shades were in the solid gold tone bottles.

    Anywho, I had to throw it out a year later cause the bottle dried shut and I didn't think about it till a day or two ago.


  25. Hi thank you for posting so many color names. And I have found the 2 colors number 33 is chicas flair and number 34 is shade diamond. My email is please email me I would like to know what other sally hansen colors you know about.

  26. wowwww... so many beautiful swatches of sally hansen prisms.. love them all :))) Thankyou!!

  27. Hi there, I purchased 12 prisms in my local £ shop today, I found two I had never heard of, one called 'ruby presents' and one called 'pink presents'. I also have an unamed pink with a number 2 on the lid and number on the back 5698-02. A Duochrome which shifts purple, blue and gold, there's no long number or name just simply 03, if you can help me at all please message me on my email at

    Many thanks Suzanne x

  28. Looks like they have some amazing colours! The iridescence really comes through.

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