Tonight I have a review for you that's VERY different. It features a new British Indie called Nelly Polish, made by a lady named Hilary. So far, so normal. However, what Hilary discovered (when she was researching why we can no longer ship polish out of the UK), is that what makes posting polishes impossible is the solvent they are suspended in - the polish - but that the pigment, glitter and everything else, is immune to the grabbing hands of the Royal Mail.
So, she hatched a plan, and what she has started selling is ready made polishes, and also just the dehydrated components of the polish. If you buy the latter, all you need to do is add them to any bottle of clear polish et voila, instant indie polish! The dehydrated mix contains agents which help with suspending the polish, so you should be safe from sinking glitters.
Needless to say, a lot of people are FASCINATED by this concept, and by the finished product - how does it work, and is it any good? Hilary kindly agreed to answer some questions, so sit back and enjoy as you also feast your eyes on the 2 polishes I was sent for review - Polperro, a slightly faded, yet vibrant orange, and Bodmin, a wonderfully dirty blue.
Hi Hilary, how is Nelly Polish different to other indies?
The main difference is that it comes in different forms. You can buy it dried in sachets, dried and bottled, or ready-made if you live in the UK. It is the only UK indie which can be sent worldwide (legally!).
Where did the idea come from?
I was determined to think of a way to get round the very restrictive UK laws which prohibit the sending of any nail polish outside the UK. I'm a scientist by training (I even have a PhD - though nothing to do with nail polish!) and when I found out that it is the solvent base which was the problem I decided to try and create a polish with the solvent bit removed. That way the customer can add the solvent (in this case, easily available clear nail polish) themselves.
There is something magical about taking a bottle of powder and turning it into a beautiful polish in just a couple of minutes - it's actually pretty good fun too!
I thought you needed suspension base when you made polishes?
Yes, absolutely! If you try to add pigments and glitters to regular clear varnish you will end up with a soggy mess at the bottom of the bottle (though it might seem ok at first). Nelly Polish contains the ingredients needed to turn regular clear polish into suspension base along with the pigments and glitters. It creates a polish which is very similar to adding the same pigments and glitters to a bottle of suspension base.
Is it dangerous? You see a lot of photos of indie makers wearing masks when they are mixing polish?
No! The pigments in Nelly Polish are all natural mineral-based ones, the glitters all cosmetic grade and the suspension ingredients have been passed as non-toxic by all the main world-wide health agencies, including the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer), NTP (National Toxicology Program), OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), ACGIH (American Conference for Governmental Industrial Hygienists) and the EU (European Union) equivalents!
Indie makers often wear masks to protect them from the fumes from the solvents - the bit missing from dried Nelly Polish! You shouldn't really breath in the fumes from any bottle of nail polish but in the quantities present just from opening a bottle and painting your nails (or adding the polish to your dried Nelly Polish), they do no harm. If they did nail polish would be banned from sale. Indie makers working for long durations with large amounts of solvents, need to protect themselves from breathing in too large a volume of solvent fumes, hence the need for masks.
There have been a lot of horror stories in the last year about polishes that bleed, sink or separate. That must make testing this product very hard as you don't really know what clear polish your customer will use?
The main problem with indie polishes (and pretty often commercial polishes) usually lies in the glitters bleeding and melting. All the glitters in Nelly Polish have passed the MEK test. MEK, or Methyl ethyl ketone, is a very strong liquid solvent, related to acetone (used in nail polish remover). MEK is used, amongst other things to dissolve paint and as an industrial-strength cleaner. To pass the MEK test glitter needs to survive for 5 minutes in MEK without altering at all. If the glitter can survive that it should survive the solvents in any commercial brand of clear nail polish. I would worry about any nail varnish brand which contains solvents stronger than MEK!
Regarding pigment separation - nearly all nail polish has a degree of pigment separation over time. Some pigments are more susceptible to separation than others. All Nelly Polish pigments are mineral based and so very un-reactive with most chemicals including solvents and so should not change colour in any way. There will be a degree of separation but it is always completely reversible with a quick shake and won't, in any way, affect the polish formula over time.
Are there limitations to what works with this method?
I have yet to find any! Seriously, I think if I used very large glitters or a huge amount of glitter and/or pigment in a single design, the suspension base would need to be made thicker but that is easy to incorporate in the dried mixture by adjusting the ingredients to fit each design.
Are consumers likely to find the end product less stable or even of a lower quality than a pre-mixed product?
I sincerely hope not. I actually find that I, personally, cannot tell the difference between polishes I have made up from the dried mixture and those made with the same pigments and glitters in a commercial suspension base. I use commercial suspension base for the ready-made polishes as it is quicker to do on a large scale.
My testers have found the longevity of Nelly Polish to be comparable to commercial and other indie brands, as have I. In fact I have had rather a lot of comments on how good the quality is and how easy it is to work with (often accompanied by a bashful confession that they weren't expecting them to be any good!).
Most nail polish brands contain very similar ingredients and any improvement in quality is probably more likely due to the quality of the nails to which it's applied! If your nails are peeling or flaking even the most expensive brands will not last long or seem of high quality.
As I have started making nail polish from scratch I have had to put a lot of thought and research into every ingredient. I truly believe that every one is of the highest possible quality and hopefully you will agree that the end product is too!
So, what were MY thoughts?
Impressed, actually. The polishes I received were ready made, so I didn't get to do the shaky shaky, but the quality and application were no different to any other indie - I would not have know the original composition was different.
The polishes dry to a semi-matte finish, and in this section of the post you can see the lovely Polperro with top coat (the earlier photos were without). Although both my polishes seemed to have the same glitter mix in them, Nelly Polish does stock other variations, which reassured me (I don't like it when polishmakers replicate the same glittermix in *every* polish).
You can buy the polishes HERE. They retail at the following prices -
Nelly Mixture Sachet: £4.00
Bottled Nelly Mixture: £5.00
Nelly Polish (10ml): £6.50 UK Only
So, what are your thoughts? Enjoy xx