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Fanatic Feedback – Formula

By on April 15, 2008
in Fanatic Feedback with 27 Comments

When it comes to choosing what polish to wear, formula factors into my decision as much as color. After all, if a lacquer doesn’t apply well or last long, what’s the point? Of course there are days when I know that I’ll only be wearing a shade for an event or a couple days and then it’s all about the color but when it comes to building my collection I focus on quality.

So what makes a nail polish formula great for you? What level of viscosity are you looking for? Thick, thin, somewhere in between? Is it the pigmentation that brings you back to a certain brand?

Tell us what what you love and which brand is hitting it out of the ballpark every time.

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There Are 27 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Davina says:

    For me it’s China Glaze! I love the formula and I’ve never had to add thinner to it, no matter how old it is.

  2. Shryh says:

    This is so bad for my bank account, but my RBL polishes (all creme) are my favourites. My application skills reveal me to be the nail polish amateur, but RBL’s formula means I’ve never had to re-do my dominant hand because the colour goes on evenly and doesn’t streak.

  3. Katherine says:

    RBL, agreed. the color goes on so well – i’m wearing purple haze on my toes, and it really took only a single coat to get the proper pigment. two coats? glorious, and it doesn’t chip. i’m wearing concrete jungle on my fingers, and it hasn’t chipped, either.

    it has the perfect consistency, too. not too thin, not too thick, which sometimes happens with OPI.

    call it love.

  4. Jeda21 says:

    I like Opi with the larger brushes because I have larger nails. I also like the salon quality editions of Sally Hansen (cheap and pretty good).

    I cannot stand Chanel because of the tiny brush and streakey application–no matter how much I try to like it it just won’t do. Another brand that is too streakey is Essie in the white-tone family colors. Too much streaking. Actually the Essie jelly-like colors don’t really offer enough pigmentation either for me to like them.

    Lippman was good, I got one of their blue shades, which if I recall correctly, is named after a Pat Benatar song.

    I had a mani done with Zoya and it seemed to go on and last pretty well, though they’re not available for sale in my area (outside of the expensive salon I got the mani at).

  5. ocelot1 says:

    no brand in particular is my fav, but i do prefer a medium consistency. if its too goopy (some new china glazes), it makes a mess, if its too thin (some old essies and opis)i need a million coats to get the color right.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Ah, well, there’s the rub. I’m finding that NO brand has a consistently good formula. You just never know what you’ll get. Essie is the worst in my opinion, as it seems too watery, three coats per mani. With OPI some are great and some are horrible!

  7. Sminkan says:

    Well, I am a rapid changer of polishes, usually I only keep the colour for a couple of days, sometimes only one day. It depends on how much time I have to re-do the nails but since it only takes half an hour to get the nails hardened enough for normal activities I can indulge myself in using the collection I have.
    I really dislike when I have to use more than two coats of color. I can stretch to three somtimes but it makes a polish less appealing to me. Other than that, I don’t know. My collection is divided in three parts, OPI, China Glaze and others. Others are everything from Zoya, RBL (my most expensive polish ever…)and Max Factor, Misa, Orly and so on. I have many diferent favourites but not depending on brand. It is colour, durability and pigmentation, and that varies a lot even among the same brand.

  8. silverin says:

    I like OPI polishes for the wide brushes, but some of the older colors seem a little thin on pigment, meaning more than two coats to get the right look. I adore several of the ChG 2BKewl colors, but I find that the viscosity is all wrong for me – it’s like spreading jam, and I get it too thick and gloppy, or too thin. I haven’t had that problem with other ChG colors. But I’ll try any color I really like over and over again, till I get it right!

  9. Stephanie says:

    I like them to be thick, but not too thick. I really like the application of Color Club, on the more expensive end, RBL – hate to spend the money but the application and quality of the polish is ridiculous.

  10. Jana says:

    It’s true, no brand seems to have a consistent consistency. My newer OPIs with the wide brush are probably my favorite to apply.

    My Butter shades take too many coats to achieve bottle color and the little brush in the awkward cap make me crazy. The Butter colors are upsetting me right now as I bought them recently and they are separated–and rigorous shaking doesn’t really help to combine them.

    I love Creative’s colors, but the tiny brush and goopy texture means that I have to have plenty of drying time. I have been using Sinful a lot recently for the fun colors because they wear well and apply so easily.

    My Carol NY colors never seem to dry and I tried to use a quick drying Poshe topcoat with them and the color shriveled on my nails. Some brands just do not play nice together I guess, but that was my first experience with it.

  11. Andie says:

    For me, OPI so far…I love the wide brush. But all this talk of RBL, I think I will succumb to a hefty purchase to try it myself…
    On the topic of polishes, can anybody recommend a good polish thinner?
    Thanks!

  12. Laura says:

    I choose brands based on pigmentation, I love strong colours and will put on +2 coats to get the right shade. I don’t worry much for chipping as I change every 1-3 days.

    Favourite brands are Opi and Nailinc. but I do like the consistency of Essie for Pedi.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Andie, I like Seche Restore. It’s a great thinner at a reasonable price! Available at Head2Toe.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I have small nails so the wide brushes from any brand don’t work for me and keep me from buying. When go to the the salon, I expect perfect color, so thinner formulas like Essie or Zoya yield the best, long lasting results.

  15. Kira says:

    Longevity, followed by color, is my biggest factor. Zoya’s formula has never disappointed me longevity-wise. I’ve had more 7+ day mani’s with Zoya than any other brand.

    OPI and China Glaze are hit or miss, with some being good (OPI’s Lunch at the Delhi) and some being bad (OPI’s I’d Like to Thank).

    I can adapt to different formulas, but I get irritated when I spend an hour doing my nails … just to have all that chip away in the first day or two of wear.

  16. Aida says:

    Lippmann’s daytripper (jelly finish) has the best consistency I have ever painted with. In my experience, zoya cremes are so thick they are tricky to get right. OPI has been very good lately- I was very pleased with India Mood For Love and Lunch at The Delhis specifically. I have also had good experience with ChG. I have never had a problem with streaking with essie- actually find their baby pinks perfect for demure manicures.

  17. Katherine says:

    What really gets me is bottle shape and size, handle size, and especially brush size. I hate handles that are too long and skinny (old Sally Hansens) or too fat (OPI) -Orly has the best handles-, awkward bottle shapes (Sally Hansen is often guilty of this one too) or too-big brushes (WHY OPI WHY?!) which has largely put me off buying many more OPIs as the pro-wide brush is impossible to do clean manis with and even more impossible to do pedis with for me. I find that I prefer the formula of the polish itself to be one the thin side, but become annoyed if it’s not bottle color in two coats. Orly and OPI are sometimes too thick while Essie and Milani can be too thin. China Glaze usually has a good, balanced formula and I like the shape of their bottles. I also like Orly and Milanis bottles and most of their formulas. OPI has really been annoying me lately.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Great point about the bottle size -does anyone else have any input on this? I have small hands and nails and I always prefer subtle curves off of a rectangle so I can hold the bottle easily and avoid spilling when I set it down. What about balance? Have you ever had a funky topheavy bottle that took a dive or a round one that took a roll? ick. I wonder if many manufactures even care about this sort of thing. Also, the consumer brands in department stores/drug stores are a totally different thing than salon brands. Why?

  19. Anonymous says:

    ooh, speaking of bottle design, i once had a new-ish bottle BREAK when i screwed the brush back on! i think the bottle was too thin at the neck. It was as if the bottle exploded in my hands, milky pink polish ALL OVER my hands… Utter nightmare… so i’d never buy that brand again. but safe to say, it’s none of the top brands mentioned so far.

    Note to self: Gotta warp my digits on some of this RBL fairy-magic!

  20. britney says:

    China Glaze is my favorite. They have the best all-around selection for me. I change my polish frequently and usually only wear bright colors of either creme or shimmer. Zoya is my second choice. Those high priced polishes sold at cosmetic counters are a total waste of money. Sure the quality is good but it is no better than five dollar bottle of china glaze. OPI is ok but nowhere near the top of my list.

  21. Marin says:

    I bought Chanel blue satin after reading about it on this site, and it’s definitely my favorite, formula-wise. I keep wanting to layer it, but it dries so smooth and glossy that I can’t bear to paint over it.

    I have a couple of Orly sheers, which I’m happy with, and they seem to last forever (i.e., I usually get tired of them before they they chip).

    As for drugstore brands, I’ve had great luck with Maybelline Colorama. I like the range, the small bottles, and the fact that it dries quickly. It doesn’t last very long, but I like changing colors every couple of days, so that’s fine by me.

  22. CincyFan says:

    Davina – That’s impressive. How old are some of your China Glazes? Got any cool rare shades lying around?

    Shryh – My bank account cries just thinking about my RBL wish list. I agree, the formula is top notch. Damn their hefty price tag!

    Katherine – I’m so jealous! Concrete Jungle is at the top of my wish list.

    Jeda – I think you’re talking about Hit Me With Your Best Shot, a gunmetal gray from Lippmann. OMG do I love that color. So gorg!

    Ocelot – I totally agree with you. Somewhere in the middle is my preference.

  23. CincyFan says:

    Anon #1 – You hit it dead on. It’s so hard to judge a brand overall anymore. Each shade seems to apply differently in some way. I’ve found that most collections seem to be similar though. Just offhand but I’m thinking of OPI India. For me, every creme in that line applied beautifully but that hasn’t been the case for some of their other cremes over the past year (Psychedelics).

  24. CincyFan says:

    Sminkan – I think it’s smart to focus on just a few brands that you love and then collect the really unique shades from other lines. I test them all because of the blog but otherwise, I think my collection would look a lot different.

    Silverin – I’m not a chemist so I’m only speculating but I think that those specialty shades, like holos and neons have different formulas because of the type of pigments/shimmers that have to be added. Like if you look at the neons from Nocti and China Glaze they all dry matte because of the pigment. That probably affects the viscosity as well.

    Stephanie – I feel your pain. Can we start a petition to make RBL give a friends and family discount or something?

  25. ines says:

    i like thin polishes as i tend to apply a bit thickly. MAC and CND are consistently good for brights and colors, and i like OPI, nicole by OPI, essie and orly for sheers. these polishes keep extremely well and don’t turn goopy after opening (HELLO, CHANEL ALLEGORIA, i really wanted to love the shade but it turned thick and elmer’s glue like after two weeks. nicole by OPI blush of adrenaline totally replaced it!). CND toughen up base coat has the best, watery-thin, easy to apply texture that i just love!

    sally hansen and rimmel is good for experimenting with crazy colors but they tend to turn goopy after using…

    a good bargain buy, though, is NYC nail glossies.

  26. Sandi says:

    I know I’m years behind but here’s my 2

  27. Jenn says:

    OPI. Its all i wear. (:

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