The first non-drugstore beauty brand I ever spent my hard earned money on was Clinique and I’m sure I’m not alone in this. During my teen years, my Caboodle was chock full of jade marble shadow & blush cases (New Clover was my jam!) and my bathroom drawer had dozens of mini Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotions from GWP sets. And when Black Honey Almost Lipstick launched, you wouldn’t catch me dead without a tube. But when it came to nails, Clinique had nothing for me.
Yes, they’ve had polish in the past but it always felt like an afterthought, until now. Introducing Clinique A Different Nail Enamel for Sensitive Skins. Quite a mouthful, no? Six years in the making, this line is formulated to minimize skin sensitivity. And as we’ve come to expect from Clinique, it is Dermatologist tested and Ophthalmologist tested. In addition to a core lineup of twelve basic shades, they have launched nine LE polishes for Summer 2013. Let’s take a look!
Formula & Application: Clinique A Different Nail Enamel is 5-Free (Formaldehyde, Toluene, DBP, Formaldehyde Resin and Camphor). An ingredient list wasn’t included with my sample bottles but Lipglossiping has images of the UK packaging. Based on that information, I’m not 100% on what makes this formula different from other 5-Free nail polishes. Formaldehyde Resin is a known allergen and Camphor can be an irritant but I don’t know what ingredients other brands include that can cause sensitivity outside of these two.
The bottles are round and similar in height to Essie bottles. The chrome metal caps are smooth and not the most comfortable to hold but they don’t impede application. The brush is flat, short and narrow with flexible bristles that spread easily on the nail with no dragging.
Of the nine LE polishes, there are six jellies, two cremes and one foil chrome. The jellies all have that familiar squishy texture yet they are quite pigmented. In most cases two coats are sufficient though I used three coats with a couple (Splish Splash & Grape Ice). The cremes & the foil applied a bit streaky so I needed three coats with each though considering that one is a notoriously difficult shade, yellow, I don’t consider it all that bad.
The line also includes an all-in-one Base & Top Coat that is formulated for sensitive skins. I do not have ingredient information on the Base & Top Coat but obviously, if allergies or skin sensitivity is an issue for you with other polishes, you will want to use this in conjunction with the polish. It dries relatively fast for a non-quick dry, though it isn’t overly glossy. It starts to dull after a day or so, so be prepared to reapply every couple days.
Clinique 70° and Sunny is a bright yellow creme. It falls somewhere between lemon and French’s mustard. Typical of most yellows it is a bit streaky but with three coats I eliminated any patchiness.
Clinique Grape Ice is a magenta jelly. I guess you could call it grape if you think of Barney as purple but I’m firmly designating it part of the pink family. Like most jellies, it has a super glossy finish but it does take a bit longer to dry so be wary of dents.
Clinique Hula Skirt is a grass green creme. It’s different than most of the greens I’ve seen this season in that it has a yellow, not minty or blue, tone.
Clinique Juiced Up is a sun-kissed nectarine jelly. I’d say if coral was a coin, Juiced Up sits firmly on the orange side.
Clinique Pinkini is a bright Barbie pink jelly. It’s the nail equivalent of MAC Pink Nouveaux Lipglass.
Clinique Splish Splash is a bold blue jelly. Not quite as in-your-face as, say, Nails Inc Baker Street, this charged up Caribbean blue will make you long for a pool day.
Clinique Strappy Sandals is a silver metallic foil along the lines of Orly Shine or Zoya Trixie. I found it to be a bit patchy in application which is why I needed three coats.
Clinique Summer in the City is a hot, rosy pink with some coral-ish undertones. It’s beauty doesn’t quite translate on film so I highly recommend checking this one out in person. It’s actually a color I would love to find in a lip product so I’ll be on the hunt for that this summer.
Bottom Line: According to Clinique, we touch our eyes on average 200 times a day. So if you have been experiencing any irritation, look at your nail polish as a possible culprit. I personally don’t have that issue but for those with sensitivities, the line is worth checking out. Also, it’s nice to see that they are offering a fun range of colors, outside the basics, so people with allergies/sensitivities have options. Given that the quality & colors aren’t mind blowing and the price point is high for the bottle size, if you don’t have allergies/sensitivities I can’t say I recommend running out to buy this if your current nail products are working.
Clinique A Different Nail Enamel for Sensitive Skins is available now at Clinique counters nationwide and on Clinique.com, Nordstrom.com and Sephora.com. The Summer 2013 shades (Hot Date not pictured) are available for a limited time. Clinique nail polish retails for $16/ea for a .3oz bottle.
Have you experienced eye irritation due to your nail polish? Will you give this polish a try? Any colors you are craving? Are you happy Clinique has delved into the world on nail polish again? If you have allergies/sensitivities to nail polish ingredients outside of Form. Resin and Camphor, let us know which ones to look out for.
Disclosure: Product samples were provided by Clinique. For more info view my Disclosure Policy.