Sunday, February 6, 2011

Interview With Lynnderella

I recently "interviewed" Lynn (aka Lynnderella) and asked her some questions in an attempt to get inside the mind of someone who is nothing short of a creative genius in the world of Frankening. My intent with this interview was simply to share some of her inspiration with you, and to hopefully inspire more creativity in those of us who enjoy Frankening. When I first mentioned that I would be interviewing Lynn, I received some comments and many more eMails asking me to find out where she buys her supplies, what her specific recipes are, and so on. As you'll see, she continues to hunt for the perfect glitter ingredients just like the rest of us. She doesn't keep her recipes, she doesn't sell her creations, and as perfect as her method and final products may seem, she still subscribes to the trial and error routine that the rest of us do.

Mary: Many of us first came to know of you through MakeupAlley as a master frankener. Your talent is evident in the creations you dream up, and each one seems so unique. Tell us a little about what inspires you when you begin working in your “lab”.

Lynnderella: It’s different every time. Sometimes I see something online and think of ways to tweak it or improve it. Or I get a new pigment or glitter and it speaks to me. One of my biggest inspirations is disappointment. Since NYC gets most collections after the rest of the country, I’ll see a photo on MUA and order it. It arrives and it’s not as brilliant as I expected, so I try to recreate it as it looked online. Sometimes I just start over with cleaner and brighter pigments to try to replicate a photo, or make it what I expected.

I feel like I am often trying to make cmyk versions of rgb images. For readers who may not be familiar with these two color modes, cmyk is cyan, magenta, yellow and black. Printed materials like magazines, stationery, books, etc. are created in this mode. It’s an additive system where mixing blue and yellow pigment will create green. The cmyk system is about paint, ink and pigment. Nail polish is also a cmyk-based product, but it gets really fascinating with the addition of glitters and other light-reflecting pigments.

The rgb mode is red, green and blue. It’s a subtractive system where greens are created by subtracting red and using various percentages of green and blue. In this system, black is 0% of all three colors, and white is 100% of each. Things that use the rgb mode are televisions, computer displays, cell phones, digital cameras, iPods and so forth—it’s all about mixing light. All of our electronic devices create color by projecting light through diodes or whatever. I don’t understand it. But since the two systems are so different, it’s easy to understand why it’s sometimes so difficult to photograph colors accurately.

Photo on left is saved in rgb color mode. At right, same photo is saved in cmyk. This comparison does have more to do with printed images. But the point here is to show how different nails may appear in a photograph from the way they look in real life.

Since I went to art school and spent years mixing paints, I guess I have an advantage in mixing colors. What I love about making nail polish is that the paint is the final product—I don’t have to try to make anything look like a horse or bowl of fruit.

Mary: Speaking of your “lab”, I know we’ve discussed where you create your beautiful polishes—in your kitchen. How do you set things up, and how often in a given month would you say you go into your “lab”?

Lynnderella: It really varies. I am on a bit of a break at the moment after making more than one hundred bottles of frankenpolish over the holidays. It was really fun, but I needed a rest. Not sure what’s going to be brewing next. Lately I just want to purge. I did a big reorganization of the supply area, and have been trying to keep it tidy until I can photograph it for you. This is a 600-square-foot apartment, so you can imagine how important it is to keep the clutter at bay.
But to answer your question, there have been weekends when I spent all of my waking hours in the lab. It went by so quickly. Sometimes I see glitter in my salad.

The floor of the lab after recent glitter spill. Not New Year’s Party.

Mary: You have an art school background and make your living as a graphic designer. Are you ever inspired with frankening ideas from any of the work that you do?

Lynnderella: Interesting question. Not really. It’s more like being a visual person takes me in a certain direction. I have spent years studying things like cosmetics and jewelry that attract me. It feels like I have refined my sensibilities for those two things, but there are always new technologies to make new visions possible, and that’s very exciting. My nail habit/hobby is actually a blessed relief from work. It’s the one place where nobody but me has input.

Mary: Living in New York City in a fashionable neighborhood sounds so worldly to this small town dweller! Can you share a little about your neighborhood and the shops, restaurants, and culture with us?

Lynderella: I’ll share the crowded sidewalks with you. In fact, you may have them! One thing we don’t have is a good selection of drugstore nail polish! Yes, Anna Sui, Space NK and MAC are just around the corner, but why do I have to take a train or bus to look at China Glaze in person? There are some bottles in the window at Valley, the nail art salon in Nolita, but it is not available in any other store in the city. No Ulta, Sally Beauty, Hot Topic, Five Below or Dollar Tree!. But we may have a Walmart someday soon.New York City can be a shopping paradise. It was Nirvana for me until I started spending hours on Nailgal and staring at all of the beautiful nail polish I had never seen in a store. So now I get my kicks trying to hunt new drugstore collections in other neighborhoods. You can’t imagine how exciting it was to finally visit a Walmart!

Mary: I know we’d all be interested in any tips you have to offer on Frankening.

Lynnderella: Spend money on ingredients. Another lesson from art school. Don’t be like me. It may be shocking, but I don’t keep track of my recipes. Too much like work. But I can usually remember what I used to make something. Since I am frankening for fun, I like to think as little as possible. It’s all very nice until I spill a bottle of blue glitter nail polish.

I know it’s frustrating to see certain things and not be able to purchase them. When Illamasqua was only being sold in England, Poke was shown on a blog and it made me crazy! So I tried to duplicate the varnish in the photo, and then finally ordered it. When it arrived, I was so disappointed that it was not as pretty as the photo, but I had frankened something I loved. So the tip here is to recognize that limitations can often stimulate creativity.

Mary: Have you ever had an idea for a shade/finish that you just couldn’t bring out of your imagination and into the bottle?

Lynnderella: I want to make a transparent holographic that isn’t metallic. (The Container Store has rolls of cellophane like this, so maybe someday.) Neon hot pink glitter. And I’d be very happy if we could purchase whatever it is that is used to make linear holographics like NFU-oH 61.

Supply Closet. The sliver of Helmer in lower left corner contains back-ups. The small Bisley cabinets are full of glitter and the nail polishes I like to mix. Above them are pigments and glitters in containers with narrow openings. In the sterlite boxes on to shelf are almost-empty bottles for mixing up new frankens. When they are finished, they go into new bottles.

Mary: You are likely have a rather critical eye when it comes to branded nail polish. Are there certain brands or shades that you’re particularly fond of? Share some of your favorite branded shades with us!

Lynnderella: Sally Hansen Ultra HD Collection, and Sally Hansen in general—it’s wonderful that they introduce so many collections every season and make them so readily available. Of all the glass flecked collections that came out last year, I love the HDs. They are amazing bases for glitter! When I think back on all of the Nail Prisms and Magicals that I missed in stores, it’s a very impressive list of beautiful things.

I rarely love more than one or two in a line, but cherish Illamasqua Jo’mina, Wink, Nudge, Caress, and Obsess, NFU-oH 61, Pure Ice Heartbreaker, Milani Hi-Res, Color Club Untamed Luxury, Gosh Holographic, Ozotics 513, Sinful Let’s Talk (the most beautiful violet ever produced) and Pearl Harbor, Quirius Starry Night (another stunning violet that I wish I’d had when making those sheer lavender frankens), Sally Hansen Pacific Blue and almost all of the Ultra HDs (anyone else wondering if there will be more HDs in 2011?). And a moment of silence please to honor our dearly departed Confetti Tiara—the most versatile frankening nail polish base I ever found. So sorry that it is nearly extinct. No idea what I will use for a replacement.
The Deborah Lippmann glitters also inspire me, but it’s very difficult to leave them alone. Very tempting to add more glitter to many of them, except for Ruby Red Slippers, which is perfectly lovely. Critical is a nice way of describing what I have.

Mary: Let’s talk about the names you choose for your polishes, because I think they’re just as creative as the polishes themselves! Do you put a lot of thought into the names, or do these just pop into your head?

Lynnderella: I do love the naming process. Sometimes the names do just pop in on their own, but I also keep a list of names. I enjoy playing with words and language. The liberating thing about polish naming is that one doesn’t have to worry about paragraphs or grammar or keeping the reader’s interest. The names are almost like little poems or song titles. I must confess that O.P.I. names probably inspired me in the beginning.

When MAC’s Peppermint Patti was sold out so quickly, I started trying to duplicate it for people and came up with lots of minty names: Spearmint Suzi, Minted!, Fragmint, Varmint, Momint in Time, Alice in Wondermint, Deminted, Attitude Adjustmint, Minty McMintface—and so on—into mintfinity. That was when I really got going on the names.

Mary: Tell us when you first began creating your own polishes and what led you to do it. Do you remember your very first creation?

Lynnderella: I used to see lots of women with French manicures that looked like a beautiful lavender pink, but I could never find a polish that looked like that on me. So I started to add drops of purple to sheer white. This was maybe about ten years ago and lots of the purples were not stable, so my frankens turned grey. But they were pretty while they lasted.

Mary: You can only choose one now! Describe one of your all-time favorite polishes that you made, and why is it a favorite?

Lynnderella: This may be hard to understand, but it feels like I am not always making them for myself. Like when one spends all day cooking and then doesn’t want to eat. I’ve thought about this question and Snow Angel has popped in most often, so let’s say that’s it. It looked horrible on me the one time I tried to wear it and I did a terrible manicure with it. But I have seen lovely photos of it on other people. It has a celestial, unearthly quality, and makes me feel peaceful.

Mary: How do you like to spend your time when you’re not working or making beautiful polishes?

Lynnderella: I spend a lot of time stalking your blog. And shopping. Researching new sources for lacquers and glitter also consumes countless hours. I dream of hiring a car to drive me to the glitter factories of New Jersey.

Mary: Lastly, do you remember the first nail polish you ever purchased?

Lynnderella: I was hoping you’d ask that. It was a transparent yellow by FabergĂ©—something like Maybelline Lemon Water. I bought it to go with a black and white zebra dress that had three bows on the back and yellow lining for sixth grade graduation. If only I had been able to maintain that fashion sensibility……... Everything went downhill shortly afterwards when puberty arrived.

Thank you, Lynn, for sharing some of yourself with us!


  1. This was fun to read and insightful. I especially love the picture of the glitter on the floor of her "lab". :)

  2. One of the most interesting reads I've come across in a while!

  3. Ooh I'm in NYC too! Follows the glittery roads... Oh my! =D

  4. Minty McMintface...brilliant. I really, really hope that a polish is created by that name. Although I'm not a fan of mint colors (yes, I admit it) I would purchase it just for the name alone!

  5. Great Interview her creations are amazing she needs her own polish line!! I had a quick question when I see her creations its always on someone elses blog, Does she have her own blog? How can I see her creations thats directly from her?

  6. Awesome interview! I have been wondering about the mysterious Lynn for a while now. I joined mua after she'd left so I missed out on talking w/her but her polishes still show up in photos posted. My favorite franken of hers is Snow Angel, its actually what inspired me to try a franken. I tried to replicate it but my clear glitter melted and the polish looked like oatmeal. So now I just go admire the photos of Snow Angel instead, and hope that some day I might own a bottle of polish like it!

  7. Oh I would love some tips on efficient ways of cleaning out empty polish bottles. Right now I just add acetone and shake it until it looks cleaned up, then I dump the acetone either in the next bottle or in an empty food can and let it evaporate. It seems messy to me, cause I spill it alot. Surely there's a better method. :) Thanks in advance!

  8. how exciting!!! i'm so happy you got to do an interview with lynn.. and that i got to read it!! thanks to the both of you :D

  9. To Ann:
    I feel your pain.... Wish I knew a better way to do it. But I don't. Since I do a lot of frankening, sometimes I save the almost-empties to mix in or experiment with. I also buy new bottles at Nailite for 35¢.

    To Jen:
    Sorry to hear about the oatmeal. I hesitate to make a blanket statement, but polyester glitters have usually worked for me without melting.

    To Shadow:
    No blog. Too busy frankening.


  10. Does Lynnderella have a website to buy the creations or see the,?

  11. "And a moment of silence please to honor our dearly departed Confetti Tiara—the most versatile frankening nail polish base I ever found. So sorry that it is nearly extinct. No idea what I will use for a replacement."

    That's the one that looks like diamond dust in clear jelly, right? I suggest Sally Hansen Diamond Strength in Diamonds (easiest to find), Maybelline Wet Shine Diamonds in Clear Cut Diamond (probably only found in stores like Big Lots or on ebay), or Nubar Pixie Dust. If you don't mind off white, Sally Hansen Diamond Strength in A Girl's Best Friend, Love & Beauty in Ivory (sold at Forever 21), Sinful Colors Smoking Hot. Also maybe Sinful Colors Glass Pink (barely there pink).

  12. Oh yeah, one more... Milani Glitzy Stars.

  13. Thank you, Donna. Yes, I agree about the Sally Hansen and the Sinful Smoking Hot especially. Have used both of those. Also, still fiding Tiaras at CVS stores this past weekend, so maybe Tiara will be around for a while longer.....


  14. omg thank you for the suggestion! I will check to see what kind it was, and then seek out some better glitter. :D I totally did not expect to see an answer from you here. That is wonderful!

  15. You are welcome, Jen.

    I gave the franken tip question some more thought. Maybe this is clearer....

    1. Spend money on ingredients. Another lesson from art school. Don’t be like me. It may be shocking, but I don’t keep track of my recipes. Too much like work. But I can usually remember what I used to make something. Since I am frankening for fun, I like to think as little as possible. It’s all very nice until I spill a bottle of blue glitter nail polish.

    2. Recognize that limitations can often stimulate creativity. I know it’s frustrating to see certain things and not be able to purchase them. The Poke-to-MoonDream story is an example with a happy ending. I won’t mention the dozen bottles of tiny balls that were supposed to make something to resemble a certain Streetwear that was on MUA.

    3. Research is a key frankening ingredient. Hope you find lots of wonderful ingredients.

    Lynnderella again

  16. Really enjoyed this interview. I don't go on MUA so I don't know what goes on there! I've been really bored with polish and blogs lately. I've barely even polishes my nails. Wearing polish for two weeks. I don't work so I don't have to worry about the chips! Wish Lynnderella could list all the places she buys her supplies. I've no idea what to use.

  17. Lynn, would you know how to make duochromes/multichromes? I'd love to be able to franken those. I was going to ask about holos, but see that you haven't found that "ingredient" yet.

  18. Oh, Donna, I wish I knew. I have experimented with some of the pigments from TKB. Nothing really does the colour shift very well. I must confess that duochromes are not really my favourite sort of finish, so maybe I have not put much effort into tackling them.

    For holos, it seems like the pigments that make the really nice ones are becoming rare. I heard that people were getting even dud versions of NFU 61. The only line I know of that still makes beautiful linear holos is Ozotics. Also heard that they are discontinuing their duochromes.

    Maybe the nail stickers will get so refined that colour will be delivered that way in the future? I don't know, but I am buying back-ups of any and every holographic I love.

    Sorry I am not more helpful.


  19. Lynn,

    It was very nice indeed to read about your frankening process and sources of inspiration.

    I was wondering if you had a tip or two about frankening with glitter. Do you find there are any plain clear bases that keep glitter suspended, or seem to cause less glitter bleeding?

    Hope you will interview again with Mary!

  20. Hi Jan. There are lots of tips contained in the interview. But, Confetti Tiara, as mentioned above is my favourite. It's not so much that the bases make glitter bleed (they are not doing it on purpose), but that certain glitter just is not made to be mixed into nail polish.

    TKB Trading makes special bases for glitter and other pigments. I noticed that the Glamour Base, specifically made for glitter, has nitrocellulose (a possible cause of staining) in it. But it works very well, and even seems to make the glitter smoother.

    As always, be sure to test and see if your materials are compatible.


  21. Thank you so much for the words of advice Lynn. They are greatly appreciated. I always love seeing your frankens, new and old, here and on MUA.

    I hope you will continue to franken so long as you continue to find fun and enjoyment with it. Hopefully, that will be for a very long time to come!

    Thanks again,


  22. To: Lynnderella
    Hi! We met briefly at the NYC NP gathering! If you'd ever like chauffer service (lol!) in a compact Toyota drived by driver with about 20 years of driving experience in NJ, let me know! I'm GailW64 on MUA, and I've done a NP tour of NJ for another NY gal on the board, it was such fun! (I just take NJ shopping for granted, and envy your Anna Sui, Space NK and Inglot.....sighs....)

  23. Oh, and excuse the typos....bad typing, poorly behaved cats, and so forth. I'm really not a blithering idiot with awful grammar. (Gail)

  24. Lovely read! I am in the midst of frankening for a company to try out their kit. It's definitely trial and error!

  25. Thank you, Gail. I will let you know if the glitter mine tour comes to be. Happy Shopping.


  26. Lynn my tiara is unused lol. Be glad to mail it to you.

  27. What about asking her where she purchases her glitters to save some of us frankeners some money? Now that would of been a really good question!

  28. Great interview! I often see Lynn's creations posted by L8B & it's wonderful to finally hear from Lynn herself. Thank you to both of you for this interview!

  29. What a nice interview. I enjoy seeing all your frankenings on MUA!

    Can you share what ingredients you used to make snow globe? I want to make this for myself :)

  30. Edit: I mean what ingredients did you use for snow angel? :)

  31. Lynnderella, I know there was talk that Confetti would be discontinued because of a lawsuit, but my CVS does keep restocking, so I'm not so sure of that. Hopefully you'll keep finding Tiara!

    One other brand that does some nice holos is Golden Rose (European brand), so hopefully there will always be some out there even if we have to trade with international friends to get them.

    For duochromes I was thinking that those awful Fire Opals and Star Opals from Sally Hansen might work. I'm going to try those out for my first frankens anyway. They certainly aren't very useful on their own except as top coats over black!

    diatom.shells, I know that Dr Frankenpolish uses those LA Colors stripers you can get at the Dollar Tree for only a dollar. There are several glitter ones and obviously you don't have to worry about the glitter sinking since it's already suspended. You don't have to worry about them melting either. But I agree I'd like it if Lynnderella gave us some brands/stores to look for supplies like glitters too.

  32. Thank you for this interview!!!
    Thank you, Lynn for your amazing Frankenstein and inspiration!!
    It is so true that colors can be so disappointing when you get them, especially when it's hard to phograph them in the first place.

    This is such an exciting blog entry, maybe Lynn could guest blog once in a while with a how to?
    I love to franken, and I've made a few, but I'd love to learn about glitters, pigments, etc.

    Super kudos to both!! Thank you!!

  33. How do you even get in touch with her or buy her gorgeous colors? I saw some on MUA and I want!

  34. Sarah~she doesn't sell her frankens. She just makes them because she enjoys it :)

  35. Mary,

    Thanks for the answer! That's cool but a shame for me, they are absolutely gorgeous and unique!

  36. I just found this interview and am so excited to see inside the mind of Lynn! I was just able to buy my first four of her polishes and am so excited to get them in mid-January! They are by far my favorite nail polish out there!

  37. How do you get an invite for Lynn's Blog i was unable to and i just found out about her polishes and i would love to purchase a few?

  38. TBosE1, Lynn no longer sells through her blog or anyplace other than EBay. She is in partnership there with her brother Paul; she makes the polishes and he ships and handles customer service. He is lovely to deal with and very responsive to inquiries. They list both buy-it-now groupings for $20/bottle (multiplied by how many bottles are grouped in that listing), and also do auctions for limited edition polishes. Auction bidding often goes up to hundreds of dollars for a single bottle, but the buy-it-nows are fine as long as you are okay with $20 per polish. Their username is lynnderella-lynnderella; just put that into EBay and you'll find them.