Besides being obsessed with nail polish, I am also obsessed with Tudor history. I've read a ton of books and am always fascinated with how the two most famous rulers in British history are from the same house, which only ruled for 118 years, and only had 5 monarchs (if you don't count Lady Jane Grey... since she only ruled for 9 days and isn't really considered a monarch, but a usurper, history forgets her), but they made some of the biggest changes in history - any history, not just British!
When Rescue Beauty Lounge put out their Tudor line last year, I really had to talk myself out of buying all 4. I love polish, I love Tudors - must have all! is what was going through my brain. However, at $18 a pop, I really did have to pick and choose. I purchased Catherine, for Catherine of Aragon, and Catherine H, for Catherine Howard. I already have Diamond Cosmetics Never So Ever Green, which is quite similar (but not a dupe!) for Anne, and the nude color of Jane just wouldn't suit me. I wish I had looked around a little more before spending $18 on Catherine H because BB Couture's Impact Driver seems to be dupish. It's not a cheap dupe, but cheaper than RBLs! I haven't found a dupe for Catherine yet, so I won't complain about that one.
For those of you who don't know a lot about the Tudors, I will spare you a full on Tudors history lesson and just talk a bit about Catherine Howard, who this polish is named for. She was young - her date of birth isn't known, but it's estimated she was 35 years younger than Henry VIII when she married him, right after the annulment of his marriage to Anne of Cleves, who he did not find attractive or compatible. Catherine was also the cousin of Henry's second and most famous wife, Anne Boleyn. Henry's third wife Jane had died after childbirth, due to an infection, and then he married Anne of Cleves who he found utterly repulsive, so when he was introduced to Catherine Howard - young and beautiful - he was completely enamoured with her.
Catherine had a sorted past, which was unknown to the King at the time of their marriage. She had lewd affairs with two men before coming to court, and they were known to most of the people in the house she grew up in. The second man and her called each other "husband" and "wife", and therefore there might have been some kind of engagement/precontract there... the details are unknown. After Catherine became queen, many people knowing of the affairs - including the two men involved in them - came to her for favors and in an extreme case of bad judgement, she appointed them to positions in her household.
Catherine cared about Henry, but the passion wasn't there - he was old, fat, and had a festering, stinking ulcer on his leg - so she found passion elsewhere: Thomas Culpepper, her distant cousin. He was young, handsome, and one of Henry's favorite courtiers. Her maid, Lady Rochford (interestingly enough, the wife of Anne Boleyn's brother George, who was beheaded during Anne's trial based on testimony by his wife that the two were having an incestuous affair), set up secret meetings between the two for several months. It is unknown how far the relationship went, but a love letter from Catherine to Culpepper was found among his things. Rumors began about the Queen's relationship with Culpepper, and once the information about her pre-marital affairs came to light, she was placed under investigation and her current affair became known as well. After arrest and torture, Culpepper admitted to a sexual relationship with the Queen and was executed, along with the man from her second affair, in December 1541.
Catherine had the chance to save herself, but she did not fully understand the charges being brought against her. If she would have admitted to an engagement or precontract in this earlier affair, it would have made her marriage to Henry null and void, therefore she could not be charged with adultry for her relationship with Thomas Culpepper. She denied the precontract, and so was charged with treason and was beheaded along with her maid in February 1542. Her body was placed in an unmarked grave near her cousin Anne's. It is said that the night before her beheading, she spent hours practicing how to lay her head on the chopping block just right.
So, now that you know a little about Catherine Howard, would you like to see the polish named for her?
As you can see, it's a gorgeous medium dusty blue - I could probably get away with calling it cornflower blue. What you can't really see here is its unique pink shimmer!
Can you see all those pretty little flecks of pink? I'm not a HUGE fan of blue polish, but the pink shimmer here really set it apart. It's a beautiful dusty hue, and those little tiny bits of pink just make it so interesting, I couldn't stop looking at it!
I only wore this for a couple of days, so I can't comment too much on the wear, but it looked good both days I wore it. RBL has a thick, but smooth formula, but I didn't find it as amazing as so many other polish-a-holics have. I felt like this almost dried too fast - I wasn't done with a coat and it started to dry. I worked fast and it came out ok, but the true novice might have some troubles here.
So, was she worth $18? The jury is still out. I have 3 RBLs (the two I've mentioned and Under the Stars, which I bought on eBay for quite a bit under retail) and while their colors are beautiful, the formula has not wowed me on any of them. I skipped out on the RBL 50% off sale in the fall - I really only wanted Anne (which was not on sale) and Scrangie, so I didn't think it was really worth the effort. Anne is now sold out, so maybe I should have picked it up? I keep looking at it's kissing cousin, Never So Ever Green, and reminding myself that it is $16 plus shipping less than Anne!
Catherine H is a limited color available at Rescue Beauty Lounge for $18. If you like it, I suggest buying it now - when it's sold out, it's sold out, and it's been available for several months now.
Number of coats: 2
Basecoat: Instant Artificials
Topcoat: Seche Vite... I think!