I rarely polish my nails. When I do polish, my approach is utilitarian. Do it swiftly; make it classy. I love to luxuriate in beauty rituals, but not the mani-pedi variety. Your nail art is adorable—I see you on Instagram—but you won’t find me taking the time.
That said, thanks to new favorites Priti NYC Soy Polish Remover and RGB Nail Color, I’m in a painting mood.
The real game changer here is Priti NYC Soy Polish Remover. You can put away the gas mask for this one. It doesn’t reek of chemicals or give me a headache like every nail polish remover I’ve ever used. Even better, it doesn’t dry my nails out. In fact, it feels… nourishing. What? I know!
Experiencing Priti was one of those head slapping moments for me. I’ve known that there are better options out there, but I didn’t imagine something could perform so differently. I expected more of the same—parched nails—with a cleaner formula, so I just wasn’t motivated to go looking for a new polish remover. Higher priorities, you know? Like mascara. This Priti ditty was part of the last NMDL Quarterly Co. package. Siobhan and Alexandra often know what I need before I do.
Priti polish remover acts like a light oil on your nails. You have to rub a bit to loosen and remove the polish, but it’s worth the extra nudge. Better yet, it comes in single wipes packaged for easy travel and removal on the go. Oh and it’s non-toxic, non-carcinogenic, and doesn’t contain any petroleum ingredients. Clean enough for me? Yep. So are the RGB nail polishes, whose formulas are five free, meaning they don’t contain formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resin, or camphor.
First, let me say how much I adore the name RGB for a nail color line. Red green blue. Roy G. Biv. Free associate as you like. The product lives up to the name. RGB nail color in Coral—also included in the last NMDL Quarterly package—was instant, mad mad love for me. RGB Coral is an opaque, high shine, orange/red that reminds me of Andy Warhol paintings and glowing maraschino cherries. I’m used to corals with a peachy tinge, sometimes erring toward pink. This coral has the perfect orange to red balance with none of that peachy business. It’s like your favorite red all dressed up for a 90s rave. You know—a little neon, a lot of flowers. I will never be without this color. And does it perform? Hell yes. The color retains its shine and does not chip for nearly a week. On the toes, it lasts up to two weeks.
Have you tried RGB nail color or Priti polish remover? What color should I try next?
*Also included in the last NMDL Quarterly Co. package, a BADASS Crystal Nail File from Czech Glass—swoon! Expect a separate review later.
*The Quarterly Co. web site is down, so I didn’t provide the link, but do check it out!
Unless someone is getting married, you probably won’t see me with nail polish on. It’s not really because nail polish contains toxic chemicals, though it does, or that it’s near impossible to find natural brands that either 1) work the way we’ve become accustomed to, or 2) aren’t still filled with suspect chemicals despite clean claims.
It’s mostly because I rather get a massage than a mani, when it comes to pampering, and I’m just a bit of a wildling (Game of Thrones, anyone?) with regards to maintenance. Whether I’m using the so-called naturals, or mainstream three-frees (like OPI and others) my nails usually chip within a day of getting painted, and I wait way too long to take it off. That’s partially because remover makes me want to die, but also because I always seem to have something more pressing to do.
The other reason I rarely polish is that, in my experience, it destroys and weakens my nails and—because I’ve always been self-conscious that my hands are a little bit manish—I love keeping my nails just on the longer side of good taste. Paint pour moi equals breakage, so I go long rather than colorful, and this works for me because it saves time, money, and the (literal) headache that comes when I sit in a nail salon. The clean one I sometimes frequented sadly went out of business, because like many things green or pretending to be, prices were unreasonably marked up.
The last time we talked polish, many of you asked us to further comment on the big debate: Are any of them clean, or just greenwashed and overpriced? There’s a diligently researched piece on Fig+Sage about this that’s totally worth a read, but the way I see it, debate is a misnomer. There’s not a whole lot to argue because it comes down to choice, and most of us clean gals fall into one of three categories.
1. You know that no polish is totally clean, but continue to get your nails done because it makes you happy and you’ve found a three-free, or better, brand you love. It’s a risk you’re willing to take here and there for the feeling of joy/relaxation/self love/ritual/insert your own, that it gives you. We’ve stated in the past, and continue to believe that as long as a choice is informed, it’s yours (and ours) to make! Whether it’s a hamburger, a cocktail, highlights, or regular mani-pedis.
2. You used to love it, but you can’t abide putting mystery chemicals on your body so you’ve learned how to use the water-based naturals like Scotch (again, not totally “natural” but as Fig+Sage points out reluctantly, better). G-bless! You’re also one of those people who whips up DIY recipes, and we love you. We know some women like you, and we admire them (Rebecca Bailey, I’m looking at you.)
3. You don’t love nail polish enough for either the risk, effort, or cost, so you sport bare nails and do your best to keep them looking clean, maybe buffed, possibly long. This, clearly, is my camp.
Will we review cleaner polishes on occasion? Probably. Does that mean we think that they’re perfect? No. Do we think that some are overpriced and greenwashed? For sure. But we’ll always present the facts available to us.
Ultimately, if you’re from camp polish, we want you to choose from cleaner versions and continue to push the market that way. The fact that some of the biggest brands have gone three-free isn’t nothing. And this happens to be a category—like hair dye—that just does not have a perfect option right now, and maybe never will.
So, which are you: polish never, on special occasions, weekly? Is your choice informed by cost, chems, something else?
UPDATE: Blah! Sorry guys, I forgot to mention that an unfortunate study revealed that some supposed three-free brands are, in fact, not. Siobhan covered it back in April, and lists the guilty parties in this post. Just to further confused matters.
I’ve been on a big manicure kick lately and now I have a question…
Can someone please explain to me why, for the love of God, a basic manicure requires about four scrubs with a super-harsh nail polish remover? Question not rhetorical.
Seriously, this stuff is terrible for your nails and is super toxic in a not-really-up-for-debate kind of way. Other aspects of the salon experience are far from natural as well—including that three-free polish—but I suck it up for the most part because manicures are fun, they make me feel put together and I can’t be bothered at this moment in time to perfect my shakey left-hand-on-right application technique.
So I bring my own polish or I cave and use OPI, I don’t let anyone cut my cuticles, and I make sure to take off my polish before I got to the salon.
With what, you ask? Scotch Naturals’ nail polish remover. It’s touted as a remover for water-based polish but I’ve used this stuff for just about every brand under the sun—even Essie one time, shh!—and it works perfectly well. Some people apparently like to apply it and then let it sit for a few minutes then wipe it off. I used to do that with Suncoat’s remover, but I don’t find I need to do this with Scotch’s, nor do I think that technique works that well. Instead I spray a paper tower or cotton round with the stuff, then rub the polish off.
No, it doesn’t come off in one sweep like the industrial strength stuff at the nail spot, but it requires minimal effort for the result.
One bottle has lasted me the better part of a year, and it costs $11.99. I like it so much that I have a bottle at home and at the office.
What’s your favorite nail polish remover? And do you do anything to minimize your exposure to garbage at the nail salon?