Indie Rock Meets Indie Polish: Pahlish The River Bride


You know when you see something and then have to read it about 12 times before you actually believe it? That is how I felt when I first saw the announcement of Pahlish’s River Bride collection. It is inspired by The Decemberists, an indie rock band formed in my own state of Oregon, which was my first WOAH WHAT?! moment. And not only that, it is specifically inspired by a song from their latest album called “Rusalka, Rusalka/Wild Rushes” which can best be described as an 8 minute psychedelic folk-rock inspired song with lyrics based on Russian mythology. That is seriously digging deep. The Decemberists have been in my life for a long time and not only do I find them musically appealing, but I love the story-telling quality most of their songs have. Their music feels old and new at the same time. The same can be said about this Pahlish collection. The base colors are muted classics with a twist: copious amounts of gold flakies! I sure love me some gold flakies and these polishes really deliver. Swatching this almost full collection (I did not buy the pink one) was my first experience with Pahlish and I hope not my last.


All swatches today were done over my bare nails and were topped by Seche Vite where noted. I found that top coat really brought these polishes to life. I am going to show the polishes in the order that their names appear in the song. Also: dry cuticle alert! This winter has really killed me. If my it’s not my hands being ravaged, it’s my cuticles. Sorry people.


Pahlish Rusalka, Rusalka, 2 coats plus top coat

Rusalka, rusalka, your arms out of water…” Rusalka, Rusalka is a dusty navy with a tinge of teal and a healthy dosage of gold flakes that really stand out against this darker base color.


Pahlish Rusalka, Rusalka, 1 coat

The base color of Rusalka, Rusalka is patchy and sheer with one coat. I assume this is so that the dark base does not overpower the flakies! The flaky payoff is amazing and it takes zero effort to get them spaced out well. The formula itself is easy to work with; I find polishes packed with glitters, flakes, etc. seem to apply easier because all that extra stuff thickens it up and stops it from running.


Pahlish Rusalka, Rusalka, 2 coats

I got Rusalka, Rusalka opaque in two coats somehow. I really feel like this one is a three-coater and I got it opaque out of pure dumb luck in an application masterstroke that I will never be able to recreate (I was not actually aiming for this, fully expected to do another coat). There are so many flakes that they perhaps hide what would otherwise be sheer spots.


Pahlish Alien Bloom, 3 coats plus top coat

Your arms out of water, your hair like an alien bloom…” Alien Bloom is an off-white creamy base filled with our best friends – the gold flakies. For some reason, I think this would be a great polish to wear on your wedding day.


Pahlish Alien Bloom, 1 coat

Alien Bloom applied sheer and uneven on the first coat. The best way I can describe it is milky – somewhere between opaque and transparent. There are lots of flakies even with just one coat so you know it can only get better from here.


Pahlish Alien Bloom, 2 coats

Alien Bloom is almost opaque in two coats! It builds up very well and the base color really evened out. I can still see my nail line, so I am going to do a third coat (I just read that in jessface90‘s voice while editing this post, haha).


Pahlish Alien Bloom, 3 coats

Alien Bloom is completely opaque and totally flaky-tastic in three coats. I should point out that I tend to use thinner coats so some of you out there might not need as many as me. With flakies, though, its best to do thin coats so you do not drown them out. Things to consider.


Pahlish Liminal Moon, 3 coats plus top coat

“Your brow tressed in flowers, pale in a liminal moon…”  Liminal Moon is a pastel purple that leans neither too pink or too blue; a goldilocks purple! An especially apt description, considering it is filled with gold flakies.


Pahlish Liminal Moon, 1 coat

Liminal Moon is super sheer on the first coat. The base color is uneven, but the flaky payoff is great!


Pahlish Liminal Moon, 2 coats

Liminal Moon builds up really well with a second thin coat! The color is still slightly uneven here. Do not be tempted to glob on a second coat, it really is easier to work with thin coats here and I think in the end you will get a better final look.


Pahlish Liminal Moon, 3 coats

Three coats brings Liminal Moon to complete opacity. The flakies stand out really well against the paler base. I felt like the base dried down on my nails a tad darker than what you see in the bottle and I really loved it.


Pahlish Wild Rushes, 2 coats plus top coat

“Beware the wild rushes, my mother told me…” I’m sure this will be a complete surprise to all of you (NOT) but we have arrived at my favorite polish of the group! Wild Rushes is a delicious darker olive green base teeming with gold flakies. While the gold flakies do stand out well against any color, they look especially tempting here. Yum!


Pahlish Wild Rushes, 1 coat

Wild Rushes by far has the easiest formula of the group, if you like polishes that get opaque quickly. The base coat is uneven on that first coat, but close to opacity. The formula is just so easy to work with, a smooth medium consistency that you would gladly paint ten layers with if you had to.


Pahlish Wild Rushes, 2 coats

Just try to not fall in love with this polish after the second coat. Wild Rushes is perfection here! The base color is even, the polish is completely opaque, and the flakie payoff is just down right amazing. This is the kind of polish that you will keep sneaking glances at all day when you wear it, it’s just that good.

This was my first experience with Pahlish and I give them eight thousand thumbs up! Their formula and brush work so well together and the fact that they have a thing for gold flakies really gives me the heart eyes. For indie polishes, they are middle of the road priced at $11 each but they really give you more than your money’s worth. I have discovered yet another brand that is going to take all my hard earned cash. Yay!

Have you ever tried Pahlish? Which indie brands have been tickling your fancy lately? How much do you love gold flakies?

xx, Ashley

You can visit Pahlish on their website here, which is where I purchased my bottles.


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