Nail Polish That Detects Date Rape Drugs Gains Burt’s Bees Supporter

Nail Polish with a purpose startup — Undercover Colors— could be a step closer to store shelves. According to Triangle Business Journal, the company has raised an additional $190,000, and now has the support of Burt’s Bees vice president of research and development, Celeste Lutrario — who has also worked with Chanel, Elizabeth Arden, and Avon.

UndercoverColors

Raleigh, North Carolina-based Undercover Colors generated a lot of buzz last fall when four male North Carolina State University students created the concept of nail polish that can detect common date rape drugs such as Rohypnol, Xanax, and GHB. The idea is that the nail polish will change colors when the wearer dips her finger into a drink laced with one of the drugs. While it claims to be “the first fashion company empowering women to prevent sexual assault,” it was met with some controversy, as reported by the Inquisitr.

Katie Russell, from Rape Crisis England & Wales, told Newsweek back in August that her organization is not supportive of any such tactics.

“Whilst Undercover Color’s initiative is well meaning, on the whole. Rape Crisis does not endorse or promote such a product or anything similar. This is for three reasons: it implies that it’s the woman’s fault and assumes responsibility on her behalf, and detracts from the real issues that arise from sexual violence.

For us, we work with victims to make them realize that they did nothing wrong. Among primary cases, some do ask if they could have done anything to stop it. Products like this suggest otherwise. The emphasis must be placed 100 [percent] on the perpetrator.”

The founders stated they were inspired to create the date rape detection nail polish because they are each close to someone who experienced this horrific crime. They expressed on the company Facebook page that they want to help shift fear from women to the perpetrators.

“Through this nail polish and similar technologies, we hope to make potential perpetrators afraid to spike a woman’s drink because there’s now a risk that they can get caught. In effect, we want to shift the fear from the victims to the perpetrators.”

The nail polish is not yet on the market, but still in research mode. Undercover Colors continues its fundraising efforts. A few Facebook fans have suggested the founders take their product to Shark Tank. That may not be a bad idea, considering shark Mark Cuban’s response when asked about the company and its social mission.

“That is not about being a social entrepreneur. That is about being smart. Coming up with unique solutions. Solutions that are original, which is exactly what I love. So many people try to be the Uber of this or the Facebook of that. The fact that they used nail polish to solve a serious problem is brilliant. Have them get in touch with me with some research that proves it works and I will consider an investment.”

Undercover Colors seems to realize that color changing nail polish isn’t the one and only answer to rape prevention — they hope to “be part of a larger social movement to end sexual assault.” Currently, there is no word as to when the product can be expected to hit the stores.

[Images by Undercover Colors/Twitter]