Nail Polish

Friday, 14 March 2008

Whether youíre topping off a manicure or adding a sexy accent for a special occasion, nail polish is a popular beauty product. We went in search of a polish that stands up to chips and fading.


The Basics

  • Nail polish prices can range from $1 – $30 but there’s usually very little difference in quality and ingredients.

  • There is concern over harmful ingredients found in nail polish, including:

    • Phthalates, formaldehyde and toluene have all been linked to health-related conditions in humans and are still found in many brands of nail polish. If they’re not listed on the main label, peel it off to see if you uncover another label.

    • If you use polish that contains these ingredients, apply in a well-ventilated area.

    • Checking health organizations online (e.g. http://www.ewg.org/) to learn more about these ingredients and risks.

  • There are endless choices when it comes to colour, but sometimes the colour in the bottle isn’t always what you get on your nail. If there’s a tester, give it a try first.

  • Some shades suit different complexions better than other:

    • Pale pink and red brighten up paler complexions

    • A hint of gold or peach complement olive complexions

    • Bold vibrant shades can flatter darker skin.

Be Aware

  • Marketing, popularity and packaging can get you every time. But nail polishes, like other make-up, are only made by a handful of manufacturers, so the ingredients vary only slightly. Before you go for an expensive salon brand, remember that you’ll likely find an equivalent polish for an economy price.


We recruited some handy women to help us test these polishes by wearing one of five on each finger of each hand for five days and compared how well they stood up.

Polish Test

This is one case where spending more definitely didn’t get you a superior product.

  • The Estee Lauder polish was almost impossible to apply; it went on streaky and didn’t even look like the colour in the bottle.

  • The water-based Suncoat took too long to dry, and you had to wait until it was completely dry before applying the top coat.

  • Essie came in second place for durability, as well as a terrific choice of colours.

  • Revlon’s ColorStay went on easy, stayed on and continued to look shiny during and beyond our tests.


Revlon’s ColorStay hit the nail on the head. It went on easy, stayed on well, and continued to look shiny throughout the whole week. And it was the cheapest polish we tested.




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