This week’s Wonderful Treasure Find surely has a lot of historical and cultural relevance, and our treatment of it will surely offend some historically attached people, but – come on!!! It stained my nail orange! It’s orange! SUPER ORANGE!!!! And it won’t wash off! And I take pride in my nails! They’re very strong and quite nice looking for man-hands. ARRGGHH! *Martina clubs Simon over the head and takes over*

Back when I was teaching, I would periodically see my female students with their nails and fingers stained orange from this stuff. Both our schools had strict policies on makeup: no permed hair, no eyeliner or eyeshadow, and no nailpolish. To circumvent these laws, girls would use this stuff to stain their nails and for some reason (due to its historical nature?) they were allowed to dye their nails ONLY with this. I was really reallllly excited to try it out because it seems so hippie like in its “gather-the-flowers-crush-the-dye-out-of-flower” nature.

If you live on Jeju Island (lucky for you, it’s gorrrrgeous) you can actually gather these Bongseonhwa (봉선화) flowers at the end of the summer and make the powder from scratch, but in good ol’ modern times, you can buy these little packages pre-ground and already mixed with alum (if you really want to do it from scratch Jejuites, ask for alum aka “myeongban” 명반 at your pharmacy).

My students suggested coating my fingernails using q-tips and then wrapping my fingers over night in little mini tinfoil/plastic wrap turbans, but I didn’t listen to them because I didn’t want my whole fingertips to be dyed. I mixed my little powder package with water to make a kind of thick paste and used an old paint brush to apply. After watching an 30 minute TV show with my hands awkwardly hovering like the White Queen (from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland) I rinsed off the gloop. Lo and behold! My nails were totally a (gorgeous?) bright orange! Coating them in clear nail polish will help it last longer, but frankly, I don’t think you need it, since mine lasted until my nails grew back out. I really looked like I was hammered on the fingers with a large object as they grew out since it faded to a sickly orange-brown.

Am I not selling this nail dye to you? Oh sorry. Anyways, the historical love story behind it is actually quite nice: you’d dye your nails in the summer and if they were still orange by the first snowfall, you’d find and marry your first love. If you want to see this historical love story in action, it comes up in the comedy/romance/changestomiserablecryyoureyesout movie that I loved, “A Millionaire’s First Love” with Hyun Bin (<–yes, from Secret Garden) and Lee Yeon Hee. Check it out!

But I digress. I feel all warm hippie and historical and stuff reminiscing on that movie and my dyed nails…but I’m still glad I suckered Simon into doing it this time. Unless it’s the fall/Halloween time, I don’t think I’d do it again. Perhaps it’s because orange is the only colour I actually dislike, no offence bongseonhwa, you’re a beautiful plant. *Simon regains consciousness* Why do I have a magic marker moustache? *TEE HEE HEE…Martina runs away giggling…. AND WHY IS MY NAIL ORANGE!!!???

Also, congrats to Laura Carpenter for winning the WTF Care Package of the month for her answer. She suggested that the best addition to the Pedobear mug would be “Bear mug phrase about delicious staff you can drink with it; its in my stomach is really nice taste + enjoyment” That made us laugh. Rebecca Black almost won with “We so excited!” but she’s already got to much money from that ridiculous song. Hell! So congrats Laura! Send us an email and we’ll send you your package!

  1. Hi Simon and Martina~!!
    This finger nail dying was in my favorite movie^^ so i really would like to try this^^ i have studying in seoul on a 5 week program,, and was wondering where i can buy this?? Thank you :D

  2. Actually in singapore its nickname is touch me not but the real name is actually mimosa

  3. Does anyone know where this can be purchased online?  (And shipped to the US?)

  4. I saw them do this on Family Outing lol…instead of using powder, they just used the flower and wrapped it overnight while they slept..suuuper red/orange lol

  5. In my country we have “henna” which is a smashed plant that is mixed with water, and you can use it to draw things like frlowers,hearts…  on hands,feet it can also be applied as a nail polish. the worst thing about it is that it gives an orange color on fingers and when nails grow it looks disguasting!!! here is a loink if you wanna know what it looks like  http://www.google.co.ma/search?rlz=1C1AVSA_enMA427MA427&gcx=c&q=HENNE&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=fr&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&biw=1138&bih=555#um=1&hl=fr&rlz=1C1AVSA_enMA427MA427&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=henn%C3%A9+marocain&oq=henna+mar&aq=0s&aqi=g-s1g9&aql=1&gs_sm=e&gs_upl=6484l7369l4l10678l3l3l0l0l0l1l1143l1766l2-1.1.7-1l3l0&bav=on.2,or.,cf.osb&fp=ba684402f94c30b8&biw=1138&bih=555 

  6. There’s a traditional “legend” thingy that says if you dye it in the summer and it stays until first snow your first love will come true :3

  7. Where can I buy that online?

  8. you said it “Peach” but they are different, Peach sounds like “bok(복)suog(숭)ah(아), and the plant is called garden balsam, and it sounds like bong(봉)suog(숭)ah(아)  

  9. Interesting. I want some now.

  10. I remember dying my finger nails from childhood…My grandmother usally did it for me in traditional way. If I remember correctly, BongSoongHwa usally blooms at the end of summer or beginning of fall and if your still have just a little bit of dye on your finger tips untill the first snowfall, you will have your first true love….It was saying passed on from grandmother to mother to daughter…  That’s why all the girls dyed their finger tips in dreams of sweet first love and tried to hold onto them until the first snowfall.

  11. I would probably just make me some cool henna tattoos like the ones they made at the Feria in Juarez  =)

  12. it exactly like henna if you put henna on you nails(which i wouldnt suggest coz its an old lady thing) ts turns that colur and sometimes even more orangier..er

  13. so coo l^^ where can i buy that in California? :(

    • Since its just like henna ink, you can purchase at an Indian store. Im sure u can find one in Cali. Google for a nearest video, market Indian store. Most times they will have it but if u dont see it, ask em. They may have it store away from that area.

  14. in Malaysia, the paste is made from a tree named POKOK INAI… usually, newly-weds wear it ( both bride and groom ) based on tradition reason. its so famous in Malaysia years ago…

  15. Just wanna let you guys know, that that might just be henna. Because, in Pakistan, they use henna to dye everything. They use it as dye for hair (gives them a weird reddish orange color), on their nails (gives them the same color that simon has on his nail), or just as henna. Just wanted to point it out ~

    stay spazzy <3

  16. Lol. See, I’m muslims and we do this too. But not with bongseonhwa but with henna! I imagine it’s the same concept – shoot, it probably is the same plant with a diffrent name. The stain is pretty much the same…even though yo can get henna to stain red if so inclined. But this is awesome! I feel a culture hug moment coming on!

  17. Simon – Soak your finger in Bleach! It works on alot of things!

  18. wow that totally kool! :) but not a fan of brown or orange :(

  19. don’t know if already written here (coz the comments are too much) but here in Indonesia we called the plant ‘pacar cina’ which you can translate it in english as ‘mandarin/chinese boy/girlfrend’ guess it have same history roots like the korean

  20. that really looks interesting … i hate when i have chips in my nail polish!! i would love to try this! does it only come in the orange color ?

  21. Would the teachers at the school be able to tell the difference between the ‘nail dye’ stuff and real nail polish ? I wonder do they come in different colours…

    • They can tell the difference because with the dye you can still see the nail tip. This is really hard to describe… lol So if you don’t have any nail polish on you see the white and the pink part of nail. It’s the same thing with this plant but instead it’ll be dyed orange but you could still tell what part of your nail is what part. It only comes in that orange color and unlike nail polish it isn’t shiny. It’s your real nail. Does that help a little? lol

  22. I thought the historical reference was to the old people. When they had there finger nails dyed with this flower, it will light your way to the land of the dead.

    I feel the love story reference is quite recent….

  23. Seriously I was quite shocked when I see this. Didn’t expect Korea to have this tradition. In fact in my multicultural country, Indians and Malays always use this. But one thing is that they not only colour it on the nails but also on the hands and feet. They are not that liquid and they can use it to draw on hands. Its actually quite pretty with artistic design. We called it ‘inai’ here.

    During wedding occasion, the bride will draw it all over their hand. Sometimes when I see my school single teacher’s hands are stained with that, we knew she is just married. For my case the stained lasted about a week. It feels like tattoo because you can’t get that thing off so easily.

  24. I thought it sounded familiar!

    “A Millionaire’s First Love” is one of the best Korean films ever<3

  25. “A Millionaire’s First Love” is definitely amiserablecryyoureyesoutmovie. Yes. Yes it is. Oh Korean directors, why do you traumatise us so?

  26.  “yay I won!  Huzzah!”

  27. For some reason I could see Simon having black nails……

  28. does it only change your finger nail orange? or does it turn to other colors too?

  29. aww i remember doing this as a kid!! we used to pick the flowers off, and put one petal on a fingernail, get seran wrap and wrap the finger, then put an elastic band around each finger and sleep overnight. mind you, we had bright orange fingertips for a while but it was totally worth it, because the teachers couldn’t yell at us for it!

  30. dude come on you need to start making a movie about men’s stuff. get a ball!

  31. My grandmother did this for me as well when I was a little girl–she would pick them from a neighbor’s yard behind her apartment building. I always left the mixture on overnight…this brings up so many good memories!! I wish I could find some of those pre-made packets here stateside since I don’t have a green thumb to grow my own balsam.

  32. Hey, Martina, your eyeshadows have been super bright and gorgeous in the past few videos; what brand(s) do you use?

  33. I can’t believe you guys still haven’t gotten Bonamana right XD
    Bonerama works too… it’s funnier that way.

    This reminds me of that one episode of 2NE1TV Worldwide when Park Bom was talking about this traditional flower in her friend’s house and she said when she was young, she would pick the petals and tape it on her fingers to dye it. I think it’s the same flower.

    This is interesting. Nail polish wasn’t allowed in my old private school as well and it would’ve been nice if I discovered this when I was still there x’D

  34. the 봉숭아 plants are common flowering plants that people grow in their gardens everywhere throughout Korea, not only jejudo, and I think it’s really more common for most people to get their own flower than buy the pre-packaged ones. I used to to them when I lived in Seoul, and I grow my own flowers here in Toronto as well with no trouble :)

  35. of course we love hongki ^-^ <3

  36. that nail dying was in Sungkyunkwan Scandle

  37. Oh! Its just like henna! Does it come in other colors besides orange or is it one color only? Also! Martina, your eye make-up looks super pretty in this video!

  38. I looked it up, these flowers are called touch-me-nots or touch-me-not balsam. They are also called Snapweed. It looked like it came in different colors, I wonder if those would stain your nails too?

  39. Yaaaay Hunki!! He has totally AWESOME nails!!

  40. Wow thats really pretty! I’m a nail polish enthusiast and that looks really cute and unique. I’ve never heard of this before. I like it! I wonder if they sell it online anywhere…

     BTW you guys have really nice nails. Nice and strong, and good shape :)

  41. Pallavi Sambasivan

    Actually, people also dye their nails with henna except its a darker orange but it works the same way! Never knew Koreans did it too :)

  42. This is really similar to henna. Henna stains orange-y and is permanent on keratin (hair and nails). In middle eastern and African cultures, women will use henna to stain their nails for special occasions.

  43. You can see this dying kind of thing in the K-movie a Millionaires First love n_n but the use clothes hanger clips or something like that… (pardon my english)

  44. Gross – that was also first word that came to my mind when seeing that brown mixed stuff.
    I agree with Simon that black nails are so lame.
    This nail colour seems the same as the colour when we were once dyeing eggs for Easter :)
    I suggest Simon dyeing his hair with this. It seems like a good substitution for his colour and on top of that it´s a natural stuff :)  and who knows maby it´s also cheaper so it could be a good bargain :)

  45. Aww- my grandma used to do this for me with the actual flowers :D
    She’d get them from her garden, smush them up with alum and leave the concoction on my nails for about 5 hours…  How nostalgic >_<    
    btw, she lived in Seoul at that time, so I don't think you have to be living in Jaeju island…

  46. hey, park bom from 2ne1 mentioned this on the 3d season of 2ne1tv or 2ne1 global wathever, she went to her friends house and saw a plant and said she used to pick flowers wrap them around her fingers for the night and in the morning, her nails where all colored, I think she mentioned the name there, but I dont rember it lol, it looks cute :3

  47. Does it only come in the color orange?

  48. Hm … I did it two or three years ago at my aunt’s house with my older female cousin. But my aunt lives in the countryside near Seoul so we had the real plant (:D !!!) for it. So we wrapped my fingers with the red blossoms and plastic turbans and slept … After the night my whole fingers were orange! Gosh … At first it was totally cool but then it really got me on my nerves … It nearly took a half year until it grow back out … Argh. Never again because I love nail polish too much! Thanks God I don”t live in Korea.

    Greetings from Germany! <3


  49. That is totally henna! I just knew it.

  50. How do you win this or buy this exactly? I want to make my birthday special with this but I can’t seem to find it anywhere online. My birthday is in less than 2 months and I kinda want to find love, you know?

  51. Nail polish banned from school :O I would diee D: I paint my nails like, every week xD

  52. haha actually it’s more like henna. I know it because my mother puts henna on my fingernail and tadaa~ it comes out just like that. But I really like this one, bright orange! :D

  53. Havent watch the vid yet, but from your description, pretty sure that it’s HENNA. (:

    • i think the ingredients are different X)…

    • Balsam (Impatiens family) is NOT henna. It has the same effects because the two plants share a common dyeing agent called naphthoquinone lawsone but the major difference is that balsam has medicinal benefits whilst henna in its different forms–pre-mixed henna (contains many unhealthy elements) and black henna (has been known to cause leukimia)–are not FDA approved.

  54. I used to partake in the finger-color-staining-thing when I was a kid. My mom would cover my, her, and my sister’s (and maybe a friend’s if she had company over) fingertips with that stuff (that she made herself) and wrap them with leaves. I never really understood why except I knew it was something cosmetic, just as she would always clean and trim my nails all purtyful. I have to say, though, it kept me from biting my nails because that stuff is bitter even when it’s washed off. So now I have lovely (often times scary) long nails thanks to her cosmetic treatment of mine when I was a child. :3

  55. oh!so they only hav orange? aw

  56. Oh, I have this! My Korean friend sent me this as a gift, but I’ve tried it only once.

  57. So like, it can’t come off no matter what kind of chemicals you pour on your nails? 

  58. woohoo first comment!!! did it feel like a light layer on your nails or did it feel like very thick, cosmetic-y, paint?

    • it doesnt feel like any cosmetic nail polish XD it’s been dyed on your finger nails! that’s why you can’t take them off/remove it until your finger nails grew up LOL  i loooove doing this!! so sad that i can’t find the plant here in toronto T_T… if you get the real plant and  use a stone to ground it and put on your nails that will produce better//prettier colors! ><

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