To me, one of the best things about summer is bright mani-pedi's that feel...well....summery! In the summer time you also wear more open-toed shoes, so a cute toe color is essential (in my opinion) to making those cute shoes look even cuter.
Trying to have great nails at home is easy once someone explains what goes into it--see my post on Salon Perfect Nails at Home).
In reducing my spending on professional mani/pedi's I have given myself a somewhat generous allowance (though much less than mani/pedi's every 2-3 weeks). To experiment with drug store and higher end nail polishes. I typically go for longer wearing polishes, because who honestly wants to do their nails more often than necessary? Not I said the Ms. Sparkles.
In this post, I'm hoping to give you a report that points you in the right direction for nail polishes to make your nails shine and sparkle this summer. I estimated prices. (Side Note: After composing this report I realized I have more nail polish than is remotely acceptable...)
|Sorry the image is a bit small. I guess you will have to read the report ;) Like my last image, I'll gladly give someone credit for their image or take it down if whoever owns it throws a hissy fit.|
#1--Wet n' Wild Mega Last Nail Polishes* ($1.99USD)
This is by far my #1 Nail Polish. Featured in the picture above (with your faithful Squiggles model), these polishes are by far the easiest to use and best formula I have ever used. The thicker brushes work perfectly with the consistency of the polish to give a flawless application. If applied right, I have gotten the nails to remain completely perfect 4-5 days. I'm obsessive compulsive so I normally repaint after any noticeable wear, but any normal person should last at least 1-1.5 weeks without being bothered. 2 weeks if you are really chill.
The colors are very pigmented and you can get away with one coat of polish (2-3 coats if you want everyone to think you spent extra on a gel manicure). Not only that, but they dry relatively quickly and don't seem to dry out fast at all. At $1.99, a pop before any sales and coupons, you can go nuts and hoard them relatively guilt free. The only down side to this collection, is the selection of colors is fairly limited (only 18 colors). The focus on matte colors and not all stores seem to carry the full collection. It does make hunting for new colors pretty fun though! Featured above are:
- 213C-"On A Trip"
- 208B-"Through the Grape Vine"
- 210C-"Tropicalia" --on my nails in the picture
- 205B-"Sugar Coat"
- 218A- "I Need a Refresh-Mint"
#2--OPI Polishes ($8 USD) + Essie ($8 USD)
OPI is the first nail polish I ever used from a nail salon, closely followed by Essie. Thus, I assumed it was these were the only polishes that would really last. There is also no doubt that if you are wearing OPI or Essie you are in the "cool kid" crowd (this matters to some people more than others). But as I mention in my Salon Perfect Nails at Home post, I learned it has a bit more to do with technique to get it to look great and last more than a day or two being 100% perfect. However, once the proper technique is used, the difference if formulas grant you a day or so more wear. OPI and Essie are good, but seem to fall short of my beloved Wet n' Wild Mega Last. The application brushes are classic and thin. Some people prefer this, but I find that I am not able to control these classic brushes half as well as the Mega Last Ones. That being said, both Essie and OPI have an absolutely insane range of colors and fancy effects to choose from. They are also good solid polishes overall, I just feel much more guilty about spending $8. Side Note: OPI has a younger and supposedly cheaper--not always, brand called "Nicole". While the colors are cute and often celebrity inspired, they have NO lasting power. I would save my money for something else.
#3--Sinful Colors ($1.99 USD)
I do LOVE nail polishes that have prices starting with the number "1". Sinful colors is actually quite good. Affordable and acceptably effective, Sinful colors has a classic brush and a very wide range of colors and level of sparkle. I would say Sinful Colors is a good runner up of my favorite polishes. The polish also doesn't dry out quickly which is a major plus.
#4--Revlon Color Stay ($6-7 USD)
I actually really like how easily this polish applies. It has gotten excellent reviews in the beauty community. I think they have some unique colors and good staying power. However, I think it takes longer to dry than waiting for the return of the dodo bird and a zombie apocalypse combined. This is what limited my purchase of this brand. Also, it's not particularly affordable.
#5--Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear ($3-8 USD)
Ah, back to affordable polishes. Sally Hansen is probably has the best selection of colors and effects at the drug store. This is because they were into nails before most of the other drug store brands jumped on board. That being said, I'm not really a girl who uses magnetized, fuzzy, beaded, sugared, or cracking polishes. I feel like I'm going crazzzzzzzy when I wear something that is neon...or anything not in the pink/purple family. Because of my aversion to nails that look like a kid went crazy with the craft box, I opted to try the Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in a daring "Mint" color. It took a while to dry (like most long wear polishes). However, the downfall is that after 4-5 uses, it turning into a gummy mess that gave a "globule" effect to my nails. Not cool.
#5--Pixi ($8 USD), Michael Marcus ($15), Butter London ($14 USD), Julep ($14 USD)
Michael Marcus and Pixi both boast that they are free of the "Big Bad 3" (chemicals) in nail polish. Julep has even fewer bad chemicals.
So if all of this sounds like a pain the the butt, try some nail strips which I mention in option 1 of the this linked post.
Shine & Sparkle!
* I am not paid or contacted by any of the companies mentioned in this post. These are my honest feelings and opinions.