Friday, June 20, 2014

Sally Hansen responds to change in Pacific Blue

If you're not a nail polish fanatic and/or you missed my original post about this, please click here if you'd like to get up to speed on the recent change to the much-loved Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear shade, Pacific Blue.

Since the change, there have been literally hundreds and hundreds of posts on Instagram by fans all over the country (and world), expressing sadness and disappointment over the recent change to both the formula and color of this iconic shade. Don't believe me? Search the #pacificblue hashtag on Instagram to see for yourself (you can also scroll through the #pacificblue hashtag here if you're on a desktop and/or do not have Instagram. There is also a secondary #savepacificblue hashtag here).

Today, Sally Hansen issued an official response to this change on their Instagram page. I wanted to share it here with you in case you're not on Instagram:


I'll try to keep this brief, but here are my thoughts on this issue...

Sally Hansen is not the first brand to change the color and/or formulation of an existing product, and they won't be the last. We've seen this before with nail colors from other brands, as well as in other color cosmetics such as lipstick and eyeshadow. I think what is most upsetting to fans of Pacific Blue is that Sally Hansen decided to keep the original name, Pacific Blue, even though the new shade is much darker, more sheer and it also contains shimmer. In other words, this is not the Pacific Blue that we know and love (as I stated in my original blog post) and thus, it should probably have a different name.

In their response above, Sally Hansen said that they made this change to keep the color "fresh and on trend" and I don't doubt that. Sally Hansen does a remarkable job at quickly bringing on-trend shades to the drugstore level, and they churn out impressive limited edition collections like nobody's business. But I also think it's important to keep in mind that there could be other internal reasons for this change that may have added to the complexity of the issue. Perhaps a supplier of theirs is no longer making one of the ingredients required to create the original Pacific Blue? Maybe there's a larger strategy in place for the entire Xtreme Wear line? We just don't know, and those types of strategies and business decisions are privately made within every company, not just Sally Hansen.

Obviously, my own personal wish is that the original Pacific Blue be returned to the marketplace in its original glory for all eternity. But keep in mind that this may not happen, and there may be several reasons for that. If it does NOT happen, I hope that Sally Hansen will consider officially discontinuing Pacific Blue and then change the name of the "new" Pacific Blue to something else, just to avoid confusion moving forward. There will always be references to the original Pacific Blue within the nail community and, from a selfish blogging perspective, I don't want to have to add an asterisk to Pacific Blue with a footnote explaining old formula vs. new formula every time it is referenced. Also, I've heard from @youngwildnadpolished on Instagram that the colors and formulas for the Xtreme Wear shades Mellow Yellow and Coral Reef have also changed (but the names have remained the same). So it would be nice if Sally Hansen changed those names as well, moving forward.

And just to be clear, I have absolutely no anger toward Sally Hansen for making these changes. If you saw my original post, it was more of a tongue-in-cheek "eulogy" rather than an anger-fueled rant. In the five years that I've been writing this blog, I've seen many, many beloved products come and go. That's just the nature of the beauty industry, and I'm getting better at accepting these types of changes as time goes on. But that doesn't mean I can't express my shock or sadness, of course.

PS: For those asking, "Why is there such drama and outrage over a shade that already has a million dupes that you can easily find everywhere??" please allow me to respond to that:

I've had several polish lovers personally tell me that Sally Hansen Pacific Blue was the shade that ignited their passion about nail polish. Since its debut in 2009, it has become known as "the one that started it all" in terms of vibrant blue polishes at the drugstore. It has inspired countless dupes and lookalikes since 2009, but there is NO shade that is 100% identical in both color and formulation. Pacific Blue is a "one-coater" (perfect opacity after just one coat) and it is not a "stainer" (it does not stain your nails or cuticles after removal, which blue polishes are known to do). Many of us consider it the perfect blue polish, and even though there are several shades out there that are similar, nothing can really take its place. I understand that some of you may be thinking, "All this over a $3 nail polish?" And I get that. In the grand scheme of things, it does seem a little over the top. But I know that everyone reading this post has probably developed a sentimental attachment to a beauty product at least once in their lives, whether it be a certain shade of lipstick, a brand of mascara, etc. And if that lipstick or mascara were suddenly taken away, and you had the power to communicate your displeasure over social media, would you do it? Many, many people have done so when it comes to Pacific Blue, and I for one am thrilled that Sally Hansen has responded to this. Whether Pacific Blue comes back to us or not, I think it's great that we had our voices heard and acknowledged. 

NOTE: I have not spoken to anyone at Sally Hansen or Sally Hansen's parent company, Coty, about this issue. All of the opinions expressed in this is post are solely my own opinions. 
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51 comments

  1. I found a bottle of the original at aWalgreen's today. I don't even wear blue nail polish but I figured I might as well pick it up!

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  2. They just don't seem to understand that people liked the original color.

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  3. Bad grammar strikes again! The customers have been *affected* by the change, not *effected*, as your IG followers pointed out.

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    1. This is honestly the most disturbing part of the whole debacle for me.

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    2. OMG, my eye started to twitch while reading that. LOL! I just read Pink Pamalamma's comment.

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    3. @Cait and all- It's especially infuriating that they didn't bother to edit this statement given that Sally Hansen spokespeople know that thousands of people on social media are up in arms about this issue and that this statement was going to be widely read!

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  4. The only blue polish I will wear is Pacific Blue, I'm bummed about Coral Reef too :( Seems like with these changes they'll lose more revenue based on "keeping up with current trends". Such a bummer!

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  5. Remember a Hidden Treasures? it went from being a gloriously zany flakie topcoat wonder to being a french mani shade. I'm not even into blue polish, but I wish they'd just officially DC'd the original and given this on-trend version a new name.

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    1. I agree with you 100%, Jill. Just discontinue the color and rename the new one, thus avoiding consumer confusion and outrage. I have the original Hidden Treasure and when I had seen the so-called "new" version of it, my jaw about dropped because it looked nothing like the original!

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  6. Pacific blue wasn't broke. They shouldn't have fixed it!!

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  7. I went to Walgreens today and found an original Mellow Yellow and Coral Reef but they only had the *new Pacific Blue. I was so excited to be able to get the last remaining of those colors but was sad to not find the blue. I have 3 other Walgreens I can check and we'll see. Other stores like Walmart and Target never have them so I didn't have any luck there.

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    1. Kelly try CVS, it's where I found mine and make sure to check BEHIND the new formula bottles.

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  8. Sally Hansen RT'ed my post but had no comments on the change. I guess that IG response would be it :(

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  9. I will look for the original PB tomorrow. Now I'm sorry I returned it as a dupe for a Fergie polish. Oh well, that's life. Wish me luck.

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  10. Hold on a second...they changed Coral Reef too?!?! That's another one of my Xtreme Wear faves! *shakes fist* :(

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  11. That keeping on trend is bs - cobalt will always be a popular color and it's still super trendy this year. It doesn't even make sense. Every nail polish lover knows and loves pacific blue and it is one of my top tens, hands down. I'm disappointed that the color was changed but I found two backup bottles, so either way I can move forward :)!

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  12. Oh.... the bad grammar. Painful.

    That said, once I saw your post on the change, I went out and grabbed a back-up of the original Pacific Blue from a CVS I know is slow to rotate their stock.

    I can understand changing a formulation to make application better, or more durable, or improve the quality of pigmentation, but if you're going to make fundamental changes to the LOOK of the polish, it's better to just discontinue the name and call the new color something else.

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  13. I can understand the passion, I loved the color of XTreme Wear's "Blue Me Away" and was heartbroken when the formula stopped working right on me. Took me forever to find a dupe for it, an exact match. Now I have to pray Zoya never discontinues Robyn, lol.

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  14. G, this post is beautifully written and a rare oasis of rational argumentation on the internets. Thanks for being you.

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    1. Thank you so much. I really appreciate that. :)

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  15. Their response is, in my opinion, unacceptable. The truth is always best and I feel they should have just come out and said either the ingredients became too expensive to continue to produce the polish at that price point or the pigments were no longer available - I can see no other reasons for making the change - then either change the name, go back to the original formula, or make it part of a more expensive line. Let's get real Sally, we are not stupid. This is a Multi million dollar business for you and we are the spenders of those millions. Give some more thought to what you do!

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  16. This isn't the first time they've changed Mellow Yellow. The original bottle I have is a sheer greenish yellow that I thought was really pretty.

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  17. I just picked up two bottles at Walgreens of the original formula. There were four left, but I felt like it would be greedy to take all of them... Let some other enthusiast have a chance too :)

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  18. This is very well said G! While I am sad it's being discontinued, I only jumped on the bandwagon a year ago so it's not a huge deal to me. But either way, you wrote a wonderful post!

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  19. Today one of my CVS stores had the new and old versions of PB, so naturally I bought both. They were on a buy one get one 50% off sale. And I bought 2 other polishes as well... why not... the more polish the merrier I am!

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  20. The 2 colors arefor so dissimilar that the new one should have it's own name. How lazy! This puts SH in a new light. It seems they don't really understand how passionate nail polish collectors really are about the colors and formulas.

    If SH continues messing with their polishes we should consider the B word. I'm sure another company would love to have our loyal business. I'm sure the people at SH read your blog, G. You have more power than you might think.

    OK, that said... I'm going swimming... happy first day of summer!

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  21. If you're in Canada try Shoppers Drug Mart, it has been the only place I've found the original formula. No luck at London Drugs, Superstore, or Walmart.

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  22. So thankful for bloggers like you to raise awareness ! ;) Seriously though isn't it nice in this day and age where we can have a voice and be heard by these manufacturers. I'm happy to hear that they are listening and may do something about this whole Pacific Blue debaucle. I found a few old versions in a local CVS. Picked up extra in case anyone needs, but I'm not a beauty blogger so not sure how to share...

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  23. I have always found that Rite Aid carry any type of discontinued nail polish. That has always been my go to place so hard to find oldies.

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  24. This is a non-answer answer from Sally Hansen. It doesn't promise any action, but just acknowledges the change and the consumer discontent with it. It's almost as bad as no response at all, IMO.

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  25. Very well said! I can understand the sadness of such a great product being changed or discontinued but you tastefully said everything I was feeling.

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  26. I always heard so many people rave about Pacific Blue but they eh, I don't wear blue often enough to have it. Well, I went got the last of the original that I could find. I had Mellow Yellow and it is the only yellow I have and like but I figure yellow can't be that hard to dupe right? I feel like I've made a grave error, lol. Today I found some Coral Reefs on clearance, so I picked one up.

    Do these large corporations not pay attention to their customers at all? How can you not realize the cult following a product has? Do they think people wouldn't notice? Have the courtesy to your customers and not try to 'pull a fast one' and think we are too stupid to notice that a colour has changed while the name did not.

    Sigh, it almost feels like a marketing ploy to get us to buy products and then they'll say 'hey we are releasing the old formulas again lololol.' Just like when companies put in limited edition products at the drugstore that are awesome/better than the regular line and freaking put only two slots for the product, two.

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  27. I didn't even realize the formula had changed until today, when I went to buy a back up for my original bottle. It's my favorite blue ever, so I figured I'd get an extra in case they changed it. Imagine my surprise when I found that they already had! I am so mad! I am now on a mission to find another bottle! I rarely use a whole bottle of one color since I have so many, but this color is so special that I know I will. I sure hope I can find one. It's so stupid to change the color but not the name!

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  28. I didn't even realize the formula had changed until today, when I went to buy a back up for my original bottle. It's my favorite blue ever, so I figured I'd get an extra in case they changed it. Imagine my surprise when I found that they already had! I am so mad! I am now on a mission to find another bottle! I rarely use a whole bottle of one color since I have so many, but this color is so special that I know I will. I sure hope I can find one. It's so stupid to change the color but not the name!

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  29. It's very simple. Different polish = different name. Discontinue a polish if there's no continuity with the formula and its ingredients. I've done a double-take in stores looking at how different Mellow Yellow is, for one. A couple Essie polish colors look way different too. It's annoying ordering a polish based on reviews and swatches, only to find that I received a reformulation,

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  30. I bought two Coral Reefs last night thinking they were the old formulas but I didn't realize at the time that the X in Xtreme was different for the old and new. It turned out I had one of the old and one of the new. I could not tell a color difference looking at both bottles under all the different lighting options I tried so I swatched them on two fingers to try comparing them that way. My opinion is the two colors are identical. I've been researching all night trying to find conclusive evidence that there's a color change. It's just too hard to tell looking at online photos and my own nails to be sure. But I do notice a formula change. I swatched more than once on different nails trying to make sure I was using the same amount on each brush with one coat. My conclusion is that the old formula is very smooth and level and the new is streaky and not as shiny. Hopefully this will be of some help to anyone like me who was looking for a little more information on Coral Reef. Or maybe someone had a different experience and can shed some more light. I guess it's still possible that a color change might be in the works like Pacific Blue and Mellow Yellow had. Sorry so long! :)

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    1. I found something out today at a Walgreen's today. I've been reading on blogs that to distinguish the old formulas from the new was to compare the Xs in Xtreme. I had believed this to be the case as well when I went out to buy the old formulas. As I was looking through the bottles of Mellow Yellow there was the old formula in a bottle with the old label and right behind it was the new formula with the same old label! That means there really isn't a way to tell if you are buying the old formula unless you can distinctly tell color differences! I was pretty bummed about this and wonder if any of the other bottles I bought are the new or old ones except for Pacific Blue and Mellow Yellow which are obviously changed. Sorry this is a bit of bad news!

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  31. Am I the only one who has noticed that the new formulation is a dead ringer for Blueberry
    Blast?? It seems to me that SH changed the name of Blueberry Blast to Pacific Blue.

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  32. Sally Hansen needs to bring back the original Pacific Blue. "On trend" my ass! The new formula sucks and we all know it. Give us back the blue that we want and love!
    The customer is always right...

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  33. I found several bottles at my Walgreens today, so I picked up a couple spares!!!

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  34. I hope they are not still testing on animals!

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  35. I bought a bottle of Pacific Blue #420. I was very upset because it just would cover. It was like trying to paint my nails with colored water. I have 4 coats on right now and the nails are still not covered. There are all kinds of bare spots. I wasted my money on this product and I am really upset. This is the first time in my life ( I am 72) that I have been able to wear polish because it is the first time I ever found a nail strengthener that actually worked and the first time I have ever had nails to paint. I don't have that much money that I can just buy something and throw it directly into the garbage. I had to buy this on line as I am handicapped and can't get out of the house to do anything so I have learned to amuse myself in other ways and one is to do my nails, I don't know if there is something wrong with this bottle or if it is supposed to be that way, but it sure doesn't cover like the diamond strength or the insta-dry. To bad I couldn't find a blue in that line.

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  36. SO well written!!! My thoughts exactly :) It's bloggers like you that keep me so enamored with the blogging world!

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  37. Mellow Yellow "was" my favorite color that I have ever had!!! It's was perfect from the texture to the color I loved it!!!!! I own so many different colors and brands but that one was the best in very disappointed at the new formula

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  38. Such a beautiful post! I am glad I found it even though I am a year late. I feel thankful that I discovered PB in the summer of 2014 when the change was taking place. I was so new to the nail blogging world I thought Rite Aid just stocked it incorrectly! I had no idea that so many people would share in my disappointment. Happy to read this. Doubly happy I scoured all shelves (and still do) for dusty bottles of the original formula! I never developed an attachment to Coral Reef old or new, but I am starting to appreciate the original Mellow Yellow

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  39. ...so I am sure a Coral Reef obsession is not far behind! The original Mellow Yellow is still fairly easy to come by so I encourage your readers to hunt!

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