How do I know if a nailpolish is high quality?

edited January 2016 in Ask the Beauty Brains
Hi everyone,

I have a few questions regarding nail polish:

1. I'm wondering if there is a way I can find out the quality of a nail polish? Is there any ingredients I should search for/avoid? I brought two polishes from a popular and recommended brand, but have found the polish barely lasts a few days and can't really understand the hype. Does the price reflect the quality of the polish?

2. Is the quality of the top and base coat more important than the colour polish? Would buying a higher quality polish for the base and top, negate a poorer quality colour coat?

3. I read on the Beauty Brains website somewhere that formaldehyde containing polishes can make nails brittle and yellow. Does that mean if I wear a formaldehyde-free base coat, I can get away with wearing any other kind of polish for the top coats?



    edited January 2016
    Also on a related topic, I saw a recent post here with a video from DermTV, it reminded me of this video stating that pushing cuticles back is a risky practice:

    I never cut the small flap of skin at the base of the nail but I do push it back a bit and remove the skin growing on the nail plate as I've heard this makes nail polish adhere better to the nail. Is it safe or am I risking an infection?
  • I'll let the members of the Forum who wear nail polish chime in on what they think is a quality polish. But I can tell you that formaldehyde acts as a cross linking agent which makes your nails brittle. I don't know if wearing a formaldehyde free base coat could prevent penetration of formaldehyde from the top coat. Besides, formaldehyde is typically used in nail strengtheners not regular polishes. 
  • Thanks for replying Randy. My understanding was that a majority of polishes, not just hardeners contain formaldehyde. Some brands will label their nailpolish free of the 'toxic trio'. Is this more of a marketing trick then truth? 
  • It depends in the level of formaldehyde, strengtheners have a lot more. It also depends on the form, sometimes formaldehyde is in the form or a resin which is less of an issue. 
  • The price of a nail polish doesn't necessarily mean quality. Back when I wore nail polish a lot, I found some cheap polishes that lasted a long time and some more expensive polishes that didn't. I've also found that not all color polishes will work well with all base and top coats, even within the same brand. The wear of a polish also seems to vary between different people, different application methods, and different lifestyles. You might need to experiment with different color polish/top coat/base coat combinations and different brands of polish. You should also experiment with different application techniques. Sometimes doing a bunch of thinner coats seems to work better than a few thick coats, especially if you wait until they dry all the way before adding the next coat. A lot of nail bloggers I read also say that you should "wrap your tips", which is when you add an extra stroke of polish over the tip of your nail to reinforce the polish at the tip, where chipping always seems to start.
  • Thanks for the great tips and replies :D
  • I hear your pain with nail polish not lasting long enough... ever. I am incredibly lazy and hate painting my nails, not just because it's tedious, but also because I am rendered useless for about 30 minutes while the polish dries completely. I recently bought the Sensationail gel manicure starter kit and I must say... it has solved all of my problems. Even though there are multiple steps involved in doing your own gel manicure, it is still quicker than painting your nails normally because the gel polish and top coat sets instantly under the LED lamp. Also, the manicure lasts about 2 weeks, so there's that. Just make sure to clean-up any polish that gets on your skin when painting, as any cured polish on the skin creates a loose edge that then causes peeling a few days down the line. Hope this helps!
  • Ok thanks for your recommendation Sam, I'll have to look into that
  • I'll have to try out your recommendation as well Sam.
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