Tuesday, October 30, 2012

An Experiment: Nail Polish!

I have for several years now used my nails as a gauge for my own well being. I started this my sophomore year after a particularly difficult mid-term week. I had immersed myself so deeply in work. I was overwhelmed, overtired, over everything. On top of that, I am fairly certain that I had boy problems. (I make this speculation based on the fact that before I met my husband, fell deeply in love with him and accidently had his baby, I almost always had boy problems.)

Anyway, after I finished all my projects, got the access caffeine out of my system and slept for a day or two, I noticed what terrible shape my nails were in. The surrounding skin was dry and flaking, my cuticles overgrown and splitting, the nails themselves bit to the quick and cracked in some places. It took me a good week to get them back in shape again. Since then, I have kept a close eye on my hands, and if I am unsure of my own emotional presence, I look at my nails to see how they are. Caring for my nails is no longer just a cosmetic action, it is a refocusing  and evaluation of my own well-being.

And my well-being needs the best nail polish! Enter today's experiment. I took all my nail polishes and arranged them according to brand, then took one color from each and painted one nail. This experiment will effectively compare 10 different brands of polish.

From left to right: Sally Hansen Hard as Nails in "Tough Luck;" Maybelline Express Finish in "Timely Turquoise;" Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in "Blizzard Blue;" Wet n Wild fast-dry in "Teal of Fortune;" Sinful Colors in "Let's Talk"

From left to right: Color Club Professional Nail Laquer in "Ms Socialite;" Unknown (but possibly salon-grade) maroon; Milani in "Radiant Ruby;" Revlon in "Teak Rose;" NYC in a New York Minute Quick-dry in "Central Park"

I used a clear base coat and then applied one, thick coat of color. No top-coat.

Here is what I can already tell you:

The three fastest drying polishes are (in this order) New York Minute Quick-dry, Maybelline Express Finish, and Revlon. That's right. The Revlon beat out one of the quick dry polishes. I'd be interested to try something from the Revlon TopSpeed line. 

Both Sally Hansen brands have a tendency to bubble. They also have the most difficulty achieving evenness of color, as do the two professional brands. 

Sinful Colors takes the most time to dry. After having taken an hour nap, the polish was still soft on the edges, causing a spot to scrape off. A few scratches are already visible.

Milani, Revlon and NYC New York Minute have the smoothest appearance. 

I'll update over the next week regarding chipping, fading and whatever else happens. I think it's going to be a very worthwhile experience. 


  1. Essie nail polishes are similar to Milani, but have smaller brushes and go on even smoother. Roughly same price.

    My toenails are my emotional barometer, strangely enough. And in my attempt to maintain a minimum of self-defense care even in the midst of pregnancy and parenting, I've become a connoisseur of nail polish. Milani and Essie top my list.

  2. And, no thanks to auto correct on my phone, 'self-defense care' should be merely 'self-care')