Have you heard? The award-winning “five free” nail color line, RGB Cosmetics, has literally vanished without advance notification…to anyone. The buzz has already rocked the #nailfie-loving world. But for the rest of us, the nail-biting news is just starting to hit home. For a brand celebrated as the savvy fashionista’s healthier alternative to conventional polishes, this is huge blow that leaves many of us asking who will fill their niche in this undersaturated beauty category?
Launched by Gina Carney in 2009, RGB Cosmetics prided itself on its minimalist appeal, as well as on the removal of the five big toxic chemicals: formaldehyde, formaldehyde-resin, DBP, camphor, and toluene. It was also vegan, cruelty-free, and made in the USA. Oh! And did I mention chic? So chic. The letters RGB in the name represent the red, green, and blue colors that mix together to form all other colors—and what a selection there was!
Devoted fans will surely miss the mod polish which stayed current by offering seasonal hues inspired by runway trends, giving it a competitive edge over other brands. That may be why the line appealed to a broad fan base from celebrities and mainstream stylists to green beauty advocates.
What put the brand on the map was its 2010 collaboration with Clean Beauty Expert Jenna Hipp to create HIPPxRGB, the “Nail Foundation” and “Nail Tint” Collections, the first ever skin-tone specific collection to offer a range of nudes in four custom blended shades from light to dark. The nude collection eventually expanded to include an assortment of whisper sheer hues to more opaque tints to match nearly every skin tone. (Way to embrace diversity in beauty!)
In addition to nail color, RGB offers—offered?!—nail care providing natural alternatives to those of conventional nail color removers and treatments.
It’s no wonder the line earned coveted features in Vogue, W Magazine, Allure, and The Today Show and snapped up awards like Allure Best in Beauty, NYLON Beauty Award, Essence Best in Black Beauty Awards, and Elle Magazine Genius Awards. With such rapid-fire success, it did not look like the company would be shutting down any time soon.
So, where has RGB gone?
The screenshot above displays the only message left on the brand’s website. You can check it out for yourself here. The sudden disappearance baffled shop owners like Jennifer Freitas, founder of The Truth Beauty Company which carries the popular line. It was her post in the Green Beauty Insiders group on Sunday, September 4th that sounded the alert.
I have been waiting a very long time and have emailed many times and received no replies. I have DM’d [direct messaged] them on Instagram… and nothing. In fact, I think they deleted all their posts!”
She’s not the only stockist who is seeking answers. By the looks of the brand’s Instagram page, fans and shop owners alike have been left stranded, deprived of the colors they know and love. Here’s the only photo that’s left on the account—bewildering their 11.2 K followers.
Jennifer also noticed an odd Instagram photo that had been posted a few weeks ago tagging Khloe Kardashian with a message about a new director, but that post has since been removed.
The Twitter situation isn’t any different. Once again, as you can see from the screenshot below, it looks like the account has been removed.
At this point, any guesses as to what happened to the line are mere speculation. If you love the assortment of shades, it may be time to stock up on your favorites, since there’s no telling how long they will be available. Beautylish is no longer selling the nail polish, though it shows up on the site, however you can still find it on Net-A-Porter and Beautybar.
Of course, it begs to be stated that there are no truly natural, organic, non-toxic, or eco-friendly nail polishes. By virtue of their need to actually adhere to the nail, chemicals that are anything but natural must be incorporated into the formula. For the eco-conscious consumer, that means it’s important not to take the three-free’s, five-free’s, or even the seven-free’s as the gospel. They are a “less bad” option of a not-so-eco beauty habit. There are lots of discussions on this topic—including one here from Fig+Sage in 2011 that makes for a good read. The closest I’ve found to a decent odor-free option is the peel-off polish Little Ondine (also found on Amazon* and Love Lula*) which contains three ingredients: water, resin, and mineral colorants, and lasts a few days longer than Acquarella, another water-based polish. But Nath, the awesome blogger at Beautycalypse.com found others, so check them out on this post that is updated periodically.
As for solvent-based polishes, RGB certainly made the cut as much for the variety of colors as for its high shine and chip resistance, making its absence felt even stronger. Jennifer added:
Would love to know if they are coming back, otherwise I need a new polish line!”
From the looks of things, she better start hunting.
Are you a fan of RGB Cosmetics?
If you’ve got any clues as to the mysterious disappearance, please let us know in the comments. (Wow! I feel like I just wrapped up an episode of Unsolved Mysteries!) Plus let us know what you love using on your nails. (Yes, going bare is definitely a pick.)
Personally, my fingernails are always polish-free (there’s no point in applying and inevitably having them chip the next day), but my toes do get some color love. My preferences are AILA Cosmetics* (five free), Smith & Cult (eight free), Priti NYC (eight free), Treat Collection* (five free), and more recently Little Ondine thanks to discovering one in a Goodbeing box*. OK. Your turn!
By the way, you’ve got until tonight at midnight (Sept. 5, well, technically at the gong of Sept. 6) to enter my craziest ever giveaway here!
*Affiliate links in post