Nail polish is my newest indulgence. I’ve come to realize it’s a fun, small cosmetic activity that can be done at home (while sheet masking), adds a colorful  pop of joy throughout the week, and strengthens my naturally weak nails with a couple protective layers.

This is every nail product I can recall using within my lifetime. It’s a relatively short list, for 30 years worth, since I have not been interested in nail care and art previously, but it will be growing exponentionally in the coming months given my interest in this fun category.

Butter London Nail Foundation Priming Base Coat – After getting SNS manicures sanded off my nails, I put this on most fingers and Nails Inc (see below) on another at the same time to test both. This priming base coat was the loser. It went on unevenly, did not create a nice foundation, and did not help protect the nail. I tossed it.  

Nails Inc. Kale Base Coat is one base coat that I sampled at Sephora and went back to purchase a full bottle. The one nail bed I placed this on during my comparison with Butter London’s base coat ended up being the strongest after 2 weeks with no breakage,  and the nail polish lasted the longest without chipping with this base. With my next manicure, I’ll use this base in coats as recommended. I’m excited to see if this will help my nails’ overall health after a couple months of use. 

Mineral Fushion Nail Strengthening Vegan Base Coat – It is an average product that does its job. It does not contain toxins that I am avoiding. Its one unique ingredient is horsetail extract. When used in a manicure on all fingers, about three chipped on the third day, the rest continued on fine after that. 

Jinsoon Nail Polish in Crush – Nice orange red color what is slightly sheet but builds up well. Good brush. Does not have a harsh scent. Jinsoon has the most well-curated color range in the industry. Each shade is beautiful and has character. Unfortunately contains TPHP, which is a toxin that raises red flags and for that I will not buy other colors in the line until they update the formula.

Sep Beauty’s Liquid Sticker Nail in Red – I thought this would be my least favorite nail color polish, as it was a simple sample bottle provided at KCON from an unknown brand. Surprisingly, it is now my #1 favorite nail polish. Way to come out on top as an underdog, Sep Beauty. The color red is a match for Jinsoon’s Crush. It apples smoothly with a nice fluffy brush. The formula is not too thin and not too thick. It really does come off peeled like a sticker – so easy and clean! Their website states it last 1-2 days, but I found that it stayed on much longer than that. It must be noted that it does not adhere to base coats or top coats at all. Any top coat will peel off the next day, and a base coat will remain on the nailbed after the sticker color is removed. 

Zoya Nail Polish in Addison – My first Zoya polish, purchased because the brand itself has a great selection of colors, is known for having relatively few toxic ingredients, and I needed a muted pink to cover up my weakened and short nails. This color was a nice deep pink for that purpose – blended in a little too well with my skintone, opaque in one coat (but I applied two anyway), and is thick and creamy with a very slight metallic touch. The only cons are that I find the brush skinny and hard to maneuver, and the nail polish scent is unpleasantly strong. I still want to try other Zoya shades.

OPI Polish in Malaga Wine – This was the first nail polish I bought years ago in high school, and I would not again until years later. I remember the dark red color to be gorgeous. It contains a potentially dangerous toxin called TPHP, for which I would not rebuy it. 

OPI Polish in Miami Beat – This is a really nice bright, deep berry wine color that I got on a pedicure. It fits within the Bright Winter color palette perfect. Lasted over a month, however, I won’t use it again due to OPI’s toxicity issues.

Butter London Hardwear Shine UV Top Coat – I like this topcoat. It goes on smoothly and has the best brush I’ve every used (all of butter london’s polishes use this brush). The only problem is that it uses cellulose acetate, which I hear Zoya polishes have difficulty adhering with. 

Butter London PD Quick Dry Conditioning Drops – I love this. The small dropper is easy to use and apply on my nails. The formula contains rose hip seed oil, which I love in my face and have no problem expanding that to my hands. At $18 for 0.4 oz, it’s a little pricier than other options, but not extravagantly so.

Burts Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream
– This comes as in a tin jar. It looks like a solid but quickly warms up to an emollient cream upon touch. Smells fresh and lovely. The packaging makes application less convenient than other products; I do prefer a brush, tube or dropper; but at least you will able to use every ounce of product in the wide tin without waste.