Stephanie Louise- All Things Beautiful: 7 Nail Polish Shopping Tips

Sunday, August 14, 2011

7 Nail Polish Shopping Tips

These are just 7 basic tips for nail polish shopping success! Please let me know your tips in the comments section below!

 1. Know What You Want
Now, this only applies when you are actually SHOPPING and not just BROWSING. You'd be surprised how many times I've had people ask, "What is the best orange?" Is it a valid question? Yes. But here's the issue: There are a billion different orange-ish shades. Its all about what YOU consider orange. Do you want something sheer, metallic, golden, deep, fluorescent...

Here I'm showing you 4 completely different versions of a form of coral:
Left to right: 1.Revlon Nail Enamel in Craving Coral,  2. ELF ail Polish in Mango Madness, 3. Sinful Colors Profession Nail Lacquer in Hazard,  4. Revlon Scented Nail Polish in Mad About Mango.

Now, if you don't care about the specifics, then pick up any of these corals. But the differences are easy to pick up when you hold them next to each other in the store. Coral 1 is clearly much darker and contains more red. Coral 2 is mixed with some bright pink giving it less of an orange tone. Coral 3 has a slight shimmer to it and IMHO is my version of a creamy coral. Coral 4 is what I think of when someone asks me about a true coral color. Color specifics are up to the viewer.

If you want a SPECIFIC type of color, use this little help list:
  • Sheen/Shimmer/Glitter/Chunky Glitter/Flakie/Glitter Shapes
  • Creme
  • Matte/Suede/Satin
  • Bright/Florescent/Neon
  • Dark/Light Undertones
  • Metallic/Foil/Pearl/Frost
  • Jelly/Sheer
  • Holographic/Duochrome
Mix & match until you find EXACTLY what you want...its out there! If you don't know what some of these are (yes, every single one is different) then educate yourself by checking out this amazing blog post from Lacquerized HERE.

 Shades of Silver Left to Right: LA Colors Color Craze in Silver, Sinful Colors Professional Nail Lacquer in Out of this World, Revlon Nail Enamel in Silver Screen. Polishes are placed from thickest metallic to the thinnest from left to right.

2. Separations/Color Discrepancy
So this may seem obvious, but I still think its super important. I'll keep this short and sweet: Stores that care for their nail polish will show in the coloring/structure of the polish. 

See separation? Remember, separation happens when a nail polish has been sitting for two long causing the ingredients to sift.

See stripes? This is a sign that the nail polish hasn't been standing upright and instead laying on its side.

Is the color the same as the rest? If you pick up your shade and compare it to the others, is it the same? If not, it is very possible it has been opened and/or not resealed properly. Pick another one.

Left to right: Sally Hansen Maximun Growth in Inspired Orchid, Mini Divas Nail Polish in Star, Sally Hansen Maximum Growth Plus in Beautiful Berry.  
3. Bottles Lie
You'd be surprised how many nail polishes go on completely different than it looks in the bottle. Take this example from Sinful Colors:

Sinful Colors Profession Nail Lacquer in Savage.

This is Sinful Colors in Savage, a color I truly love. I did my research on it, so I knew it would be a matte shade. However, looking at the bottle/packaging, you would never know that! If you had wanted this shade with shine (like the rest of the Sinful Colors line) you would be sadly disappointed. This also goes for sheer shades and bottles without a viewable color source like Sally Hansen Chromes. These have a type of covering on the bottle for that metallic finish which isn't always exactly right on with whats inside the bottle. 

Sally Hansen Chrome in Purple Sapphire.
The internet lies as well, more on that in #7.

4. Do You Have it Already?
This might sound silly but seriously, do you already have that color? Are you picking up duplicates or near-identical twins? Check out my example below from Color Club and Icing. I love them both and use them both, but I might as well have bought two of the same kind. 

Left to right: Color Club Professional Nail Lacquer (no name) and Icing Nail Polish in Butta.

My main advice to make sure you don't end up with triplets when you only want one shade? Walk around the store and find polishes you already have and hold them up next to each other. Look up swatches online if you aren't sure, that will help you become more educated on how it wears too. 

Other Twins/2nd Cousins:

Left to right: Essence Color & Go in Walk of Fame and ULTA Salon Formula in Fine Pruned.

 Left to right: Rimmel Lasting Finish Pro in Violet Metal and Wet n Wild Wild Shine in Eggplant Frost.

 Left to right:Love & Beauty Nail Polish (no name) and ELF Nail Polish in Twinkle.

Now, on the flip side, you might just THINK you have it already. Remember, finishes/opacity/application can all make two very similar polishes completely different. Ok, maybe not completely, but if you don't hoard them like I do you won't necessarily want to judge a bottle by what you think it will look like.  
Check for Stickers/Labels/Packaging
For some people this won't be a major issue, but it definitely is for me! I've walked out of a store numerous times thinking I had the color I wanted. Later on I discover it is missing its label/labeled wrong/scratched somewhere. If you don't think you need to remember the shade you're buying and aren't worried about buying doubles, then forge ahead. Lesson learned: Don't trust store labels. Check for yourself that the polish you're purchasing has the correct label/sticker/name/shade/number and always check to see that the bottle is in good shape.
6. Can You Return it? 

Did you know you can return nail polishes to many stores? If you order from  Walgreens, Sephora, CVS, Walmart, Rite Aid,  Avon, ULTA,  MAC, then you can return your item within 30 days with a recipt. This goes for other cosmetics purchases as well. For all other stores, simply call and politely ask if they do returns/exchanges. Usually if you treat them how you would like to be treated, they let you work it out. 

Brands want you to be happy with your purchase and so do the stores. Hassle-free returns are especially handy if you picked up something defective accidentally. When Sally Hansen Crackles first came out I bought them and my red was defective from possibly being opened beforehand. I loved being able to return it for a refund instead of throwing that money in the trash!
7. Check for Deals & Reviews

Get in the habit of checking out blogs/brand sites to get the best deals. Sign up for e-mails, updates, and helpful websites for the best deals. Follow bloggers like Nouveau Cheap which updates readers about bargains and new lines as well as providing reviews/swatches. Dive into awesome programs that reward you like the CVS Beauty Card and Sephora Beauty Club to get even better deals/perks. This usually signs you up for e-mails as well!

Reviews are crucial when it comes to nail polish. Swatched polishes look so different from the nail polish in the bottle 75% of the time. When buying online, be ready to take a major risk if you don't see swatches beforehand. I very rarely am able to get a polish that matches the picture. Forever 21's Love & Beauty polishes are a good example of inconsistency. Don't forget that reading a review is also a good way to see how well it applies and lasts. When shopping and not sure about a brand/color, simply jot it down and research it when you get home to avoid some hassle!

I hope these tips were helpful! Please subscribe & follow! Feel free to share any of your tips in the comments section!

1 comment:

  1. I loved your post, great idea on finding the polish you already own in the store to compare.

    My tip is to shop in independent beauty supply stores which are connected to salons, or out of the way nail shops, almost the sadder the better really. This is a great way to find discontinued colors. I found a brand new OPI MPJ in a dusty for 8 bucks in Huntsville, Alabama.


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