For the average woman, a discontinued nail polish color is annoying at most. But for the lemmings — an online community of nail polish-obsessed people — it's upsetting, to the point that it's become their mission to find the forgotten bottles in nail salons and beauty stores around the world. These highly-sought after nail polishes are so in demand among the lemming community that they are going for up to $250 on eBay — for just one bottle.
According to the NY Times, lemmings (a name they gave themselves) spend much of their time searching outlets like eBay for bottles of discontinued nail polish that, since it's no longer being manufactured, is really, really, really hard to find. Lemmings write about their searches on their blogs and use Instagram to share photos of their successful finds, which of course become the envy of other lemmings.
The most popular discontinued nail polish at the moment is Essie's Starry Starry Night, a sparkly, glitter-filled dark blue shade. It's the polish that recently sold for $250 a bottle on eBay, and it's become so popular that people even make — and attempt to sell — jewelry containing a dollop.
Another nail polish coveted by the lemmings community is Clarins’s 230 polish, which they've given the nickname "Unicorn Pee." It's an iridescent shade that shifts from burgundy to green to gold to orange. Although it was discontinued in 2008, nail polish addicts still scour the Internet in hopes of scoring a bottle somewhere, somehow. If they feel so inclined, they can also fork over $99 for a "lightly used" bottle.
Can't understand how an entire community could form around chasing discontinued nail lacquer? Perhaps Rosalie Knox can shed some light on the situation. A member of a glam-punk band and obsessive nail polish lover, she explained her passion to the New York Times, “It’s an easy thing to collect. It’s small. It’s a collection you can maintain. It doesn’t impose on the rest of your life. It’s affordable.”
At the end of the day, lemming life sounds less about actually doing your nails and more about acquiring polish as part of a collection. At least it sounds more interesting than hoarding shot glasses or Beanie Babies.