Sally Hansen Belle of the Ball

 Just a few weeks ago, I saw a stunning swatch pic in the facebook dupes/comparisons group that led me (and I think several others) down a rabbit hole of trying to figure out what we were looking at.  Turns out that the original pic was both photoshopped all to hell and from a brand that's no longer active... but several people suggested alternates, including this:

indoor, CF lighting

Well, hellooooo there, vampy dream.

outdoor, bright sunlight

The end result of all the image searching is that Sally Hansen released a whole red collection in 2018, several of which weren't truly red, and that one of which was reported as a dead-on dupe for OPI Every Month is Oktoberfest, with a more opaque and smooth formula.  Oktoberfest is one of the ones that got away - it looked identical to Germanicure in the bottle, and by the time I realized I'd like both, it was going for crazy prices on ebay.  For a mere $5, I was more than willing to take this possible dupe for a spin.

outdoor, direct sunlight

And I'm really not sad I did.  Belle of the Ball is an utterly gorgeous, deeply vampy, hella sexy beast.  The base is definitively blue-violet - look at the edges of the bottle in my pics (top and bottom of the post), and that's thoroughly accurate - but loaded with so much fiery red shimmer that the end result is deep dark purple.

indoor, bright CF lighting

As with Oktoberfest, the bottle is a lie, and the above shot is color accurate.  The density of the finely milled shimmer means that stuff clings to the inside wall of the bottle, obscuring the base color within, and making it look like this polish is a softly metallic red wine.  NOPE.  
outdoor, bright direct sunlight

Because Oktoberfest is both beloved and hard to find, there's plenty of comparison posts out there, and any of them that show a coat-by-coat comparison confirm the base color to be this same inky blue-violet.  I'm quite convinced this is indeed a dupe, and Belle of the Ball has more than earned that name.

indoor, CF lighting

Rating:  4 out of 5 stars.  This color is stunning on its own, dark and delicious without ever looking like simply black.  The shimmer is gorgeous in the sun, but not hidden in the shade, and always a part of the whole color.  I loathe the wide, flat paddle brushes SH uses, and it's especially a pain with a color this seriously saturated - turns out Belle of the Ball is superior to Oktoberfest in that it's more opaque and evenly applying, and really only needs a coat & a half.  Dark blues are notorious cuticle stainers, and this is absolutely not an exception.  Paint careful, because cleanup is tricky at best.  I'll be trimming the brush before using it again (and sweet baby octopus why can't I remember to just do that from the get-go??).

Where to buy:  drugstores, amazon, ebay... wherever you usually score Sally Hansen polishes, this one is not hard to find, and won't cost you a pretty penny!



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