Sunday, August 27, 2006

Oh, Shiny...

It's best to lure the opponent in with some sort of shiny object.
--from a hilarious semi-famous anti-Spice Girl page.

[This post is NOT about lubing up the inside of your latex outfits to get into them. It's about shining the outside. Personally, I just use talc when needed. Go to the IAR forums for more info. If you don't already know, everything about everything latex/rubber/PVC/plastic is right there at your fingertips. It's free. However, if you find the site useful or have been a member for quite some time, please consider leaving a donation. Or one day it will not be there when you try to log on...]

Question: What should I use to make my latex shiny?

There are a few different ways to go about this, but before we go on, I'm afraid I'm going to have to upset you: You're never ever going to get your latex to stay perfectly, spotlessly, consistently shiny all the time. Pretty pictures are just that, pretty pictures. Shine is often sticky, moves around, rubs off on everything else. If you are a shine perfectionist, you have to keep doing touch-ups throughout the night. You shine my back, I shine your back, geddit?

I highly suggest not using products to condition/shine your beloved latex that are not manufactured and marketed towards our special purpose. Gee, you spent $400 on that catsuit, so you're gonna try to pinch a few pennies buy getting that Armor All crap? Whatever. Gonna drive your catsuit to work, too? Hmmm. That would be pretty awesome...

Before you begin to shine up your gear, make sure the outside is clear of all talc and dust. Clean surfaces are truely beautiful things. A quick once over with clean wet sponge does the trick. It's easier if you are already dressed and done with all the talc business.

There are several types of shine products on the market: aerosol spray, sex lube, "blue milk"/liquid, spray bottle (non-aerosol). They contain silicon or dimethicone (a type of silicon).

Aerosol Sprays:
Mainly used for photoshoots and the like. It really makes the latex look like polished glass. It's also very sticky and needs constant application. [Read: pain in the ass.] Clean up is more of a bitch, too. Some latex designers like Blackstyle and Demask have their own brand. (I spent $15 on the Blackstyle stuff. I also spent $20 in Customs fee, but that's another story.) Google "food grade silicon spray" and you can get the same crap for seven bucks, if not less. I only use this for photoshoots and fashion shows--basically scenarios where a fast and even application of extreme shininess is required. Do I have to remind you that aerosol sprays are a health and safety hazard? I didn't think so. Don't be a dumbass and store it next to that raging campfire.

Sex Lubes:
Lubrication such as Pjur Cult, Pjur Eros, ID Millenium are popular conditions (and dressing for *ahem* pleasure aids), Pjur Eros especially. The Pjur Cult has a, well, cult following and is supposedly hard to find in the US. I use the Eros stuff on occasion, but it's really really sticky and rubs off on EVERYTHING. Warning: this stuff is tres expensive! and very slippery! Be careful if you spill some on the floor or much busting of ass will occur.

"Blue Milk"/ Liquids:
The [in]famous blue milk. Guess what color it is? Yup. Demask calls it "Perv-o-shine" and Cocoon calls it Cocoon latex, PVC, and leather polish. I believe the manufacturer is Micro Chemical Products [sorry guys, no URL] from the UK. If it's your thing, you could probably buy tubs of the shit from them. The stuff smells really good, but you need quite a bit of coats to get a decent [read: totally bitchin' glassy] sheen. Warning: It may or may not yellow pearlsheen/metallic latex over extended use. I haven't done any long term official scientific tests with that or Armor All, but I really should...

Spray Bottle (pump, not aerosol):
Not an aerosol. It has the consistency of the "blue milk" stuff but usually white and often comes in a pump bottle. Demask's Rubber Rejuvenator, Deviant's Slick, and Black Beauty are just a few that come to mind. I never tried Black Beauty, so I have no kind of informed opinion on the matter. Personally, I use Rubber Rejuvenator and Deviant Slick the most. (I'm leaning towards the Deviant these days: you get twice as much as the R.R. for less than half the price. Plus, the feel is less "sticky" but just as shiny.) I'll spray it on the garment, then use a clean wet sponge for even application. For small items, I just spray it on the wet sponge instead and go. The Rubber Rejuvenator is especially great for old latex. It masks some light oxidization and gives an awesome shine. A little goes a long way with this stuff. Both brands last pretty fucking long compared to the other types of polishes. The night before a photoshoot or fashion show, I thoroughly powder the insides of the garments then use this type of shine to polish the outsides. It saves everyone a lot of time. For the inevitable "how'd those hand prints get on my ass?" touch-ups, I use the same stuff or the aerosol spray depending on time constraits.

303 Aerospace Protectant:
According to their website, 303 "is the most effective UV screening and anti-ozonant protection for latex rubber". I don't know if I would use it on an everyday basis but it works freekin' miracles on dying oxidizing latex. This place sells a 16 oz. spray bottle for $15. Make sure you read the MSDS [link is to an adobe acrobat file] before using it.

What to avoid like the plague:
Stuff with oils, baby oil, any type of petroleum products, petroleum jelly (brand name vaseline), fire, metals, sharp objects. Latex is "luxury item" expensive, so exercise care and common sense. Please.

Clean Up: The Aftermath
Please keep in mind that it's very difficult to completely remove the layer of shine with just one washing even with the recommended mild dish soap. As long as your gear is clean and well talced for storage, there shouldn't be a problem. If you just leave all that shine stuff on for a long time, there's a good chance the latex may horribly stick to itself. You may risk tearing it when the time comes to "unstick" it, especially if the items in question are rather old. Deviant claims its Slick product is safe for storage, but I dust the outside with talc anyway.

Happy Shining!

I am in no way affiliated with the companies, products, brand names, etc. listed herein. This blog post is, by no means the last word on latex conditioning. It's up to you to care for your own clothing. I am also not responsible if something goes horribly wrong.


Oneeyedjack said...

We like using the Pjur Eros best of all - for the inside and outside of the latex. I hear that the aerosol sprays are illegal in the US now - since they supposedly cause cancer (what doesn't?). Is that true?

We keep the Armor All (the wipes, NOT the spray) around for shining emergencies and haven't had any issues with it. I've heard it's safe for latex. I mean shit it's made for car tires. It better not degrade rubber, right?

Betty LaBamba said...

I don't *think* aerosol sprays are illegal. Maybe in California. If I start selling the aerosol stuff, I'll check into the laws. It may be just restricted. That might explain the outrageous customs fees I was hit with.

I haven't much used Armor All, so I'm not gonna say definitively do or don't use it. There're a bunch of different types of rubber out there. Tires can withstand a lot of abuse (as they should!) but our latex sheeting...not so much. Hence my apprehension about Armor All.

Fuzzy said...

Great info. I am glad to see you've taken a stand on the old Armour All controversy. Maybe I'm just a skittish person or something, but I just don't like the idea of using an auto product on something that's on my body. (Plus the shine has never impressed me all that much.)

Betty LaBamba said...

I'm not really for or against the A.A. Simon O swears by it, but then again, I'm not Simon O.

Word on being skittish. It's not something I want touching my body, especially on panties. On another note, I would be wary about putting that 303 stuff on such intimate items. That's why I included a link to the MSDS.

Cute icon pic by the way! Bangs rock!