For those of you who know me well, this post will come as no surprise to you. For those of you who don’t know me well, let me introduce myself. My name is Hannah and I have a thing for nail polish. I have over 150 nail polishes, which I understand is tame compared to some people, but I can guarantee you I would have many more if my student budget didn’t restrict me to only buying one every month or so.
I never used to have this obsession. When I was a child I wasn’t so bothered by things like nail polish and makeup. It wasn’t until I went to South Korea for the first time in 2013 and spent a significant amount of time with Brittany that I really became captured by the little bottles of paint for your nails. Brittany, herself a nail polish aficionada, influenced and fuelled my current passion, and I have continued to share my favourite polishes with her ever since.
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Constant essay writing for the last week and a half left me with naked nails, so I went a bit mad yesterday. Finally feel human again! 🙈💅🏻 Barry M 302 Fuschia, 304 Mint Green, and Barry M Gelly Hi Shine 36 Fondant. #manicure #nails #nailpolish #nailvarnish #colours #colourful #nailporn
Unlike some people, I don’t become fixated on one particular brand, nor do I have a lot of money to spend on crazy expensive cosmetic brands, so my collection is full of a huge range of polishes a little more accessible to us students/semi-poor people, with the odd special one thrown (gently) in. Brands like Rimmel, Barry M and Etude House are among my preferred polishes, but I’m not fussy!
I’m going to share a few of my favourites with you in this post, from some of my favourite brands, to my favourite nude shades, to my favourite glitters, and my all-time favourite red! So without further ado…
My favourite brands:
Etude House is a Korean brand of cosmetics and skincare that I fell in love with the first time I visited South Korea, primarily for its super cute packaging and shop fronts, and then for their great quality products for a cheap price. A few of these polishes were gifts from a friend but for the most part I bought them myself. I love the formula of the paint, and the brushes are some of my favourite I’ve ever used. They dry pretty quickly and are slow to chip, a perfect combination.
Clockwise from the top; Pearl apricot syrup, Birthday cake, Fairy pixel, Shooting star wish, Bubble bubble wave foam, Mirrorball dance, Reverse charm mint choc chip, Exciting tea pairing, Imaginary mint sorbet, Cream dilemma, You and I berry bingsu. *All names loosely translated using my own knowledge of the Korean language and/or Google Translate.
Sephora is a really well-known popular brand. Because we don’t have many of them in the UK, I really only discovered their own brand nail polishes when I lived in Paris, and when I did discover them I went pretty crazy for them. While I was there (and maybe still now) they had an offer on where if you bought three polishes you got a free stand for them. Now I don’t know many people who can get something like that and not fill it up, so that’s exactly what I did over the next few months, and now I have a lovely full stand and nice little collection of colours. I like Sephora polishes because they are relatively quick-drying and have a nice, non-sticky formula. They give a pretty good coverage, meaning I normally only have to do a couple of coats, and are also slow to chip. The only downside I could mention is that they start to get a little gloopy after a shorter amount of time than other polishes, but this could just be due to the fact that I use them a lot.
Left to right, top row: Smile at me, Enjoy the sunset, Romantic date, Lilac fantasy. Middle row: Bikini party, Childhood memories, Icy cocktail, Lavender field. Bottom row: Black lace, Be a gentleman, Art show, Under the covers.
Another Korean brand, Modi at Arituam has become a solid favourite in the past few years. I have never had a nail polish from that I haven’t loved, and their ’24K’ polish was the first ever bottle of polish that I have ever completely finished. Their formula is so smooth and shiny, their brushes are the perfect shape, and the handles to their bottles/brushes are so long they are the most comfortable I have ever used. In fact, I love Modi so much that I don’t know why I didn’t mention them first. It almost breaks my heart that I can’t buy them here in the UK!
Left to right: Energising, (Limited Edition Modi X Zero Per Zero) Dress up, Pudding Pink, 24K, Silver bell, Flying. *All names translated using my own knowledge of the Korean language and/or Google Translate.
My favourite individual polishes:
As all nail polish fanatics will know, what good is a pretty polish without a decent base coat? My favourite comes from Rimmel London, and is the Nail Base & Top Coat Nail Nurse 5 in 1. It’s the best base and top coat I’ve ever used, and I can really tell the difference when I’m using a different base or top coat. My polish lasts much longer with this on, goes on a lot smoother, and is much less likely to chip! It’s also so much shinier, and it really looks after my natural nails as well. I love it, and I use it religiously.
Barry M is a cosmetics brand that most people, especially those in the UK, will have heard of, and while I like their polishes, I don’t consider the brand itself as one of my favourites. These two polishes in particular, however, have managed to worm their way into my top spots, and I can’t help but wear them all the time! They’re both from the Aquarium collection, and are the same style polish just in different colours. The blue one shines a gold-ish green colour and the pink shines a peach-orange-gold colour. They’re both mesmerising and are perfect summer holiday colours! As with all Barry M polishes, I’m not a massive fan of the formula or brushes, but I can never fault the pigments, and these two are so beautiful I can look past their flaws!
Left to right: AQNP4 Mediterranean, AQNP6 Pacific.
Like the little black dress is a staple wardrobe piece, I feel like the good red nail polish is a staple nail varnish collection piece. While I haven’t yet found my perfect LBD, I can happily say that I have found my perfect red nail polish, and it comes from Kiko, a brand that I discovered while living in Spain, but is only just becoming popular in the UK. This is a quick-dry polish, and it is the most vivid red colour with a little shimmer to it. It’s super shiny and is very difficult to chip, and has a great formula and amazing brush! It’s an all-round winner, and I’m just sad that I can’t find it in the new Kiko Birmingham store that’s opened over here!
Kiko Quick Dry nail lacquer #846.
As well as having a good base coat and a good red in your collection, I think that nude-toned polishes are a must-have. These are two of my favourites from my collection (along with the Pudding Pink from Modi featured above) – they’re super easy to wear with anything, and are good for when I have to have my nails looking a little more muted and ‘professional’. Both of these were pretty cheap, and both have a decent formula! I tend to go for nudes that are a little more peachy or pinkish to go with my skin tone, but Jasmin, my Indian friend, had used the first of these two and it also looks beautiful on her.
Left to right: Barbara Daly in Whimsy, Monop’ Make-up in #401 Orange sanguine (Blood orange).
Finally, my favourite glitters. At first glance, I might not look like a glitter person, but if you look a little harder (i.e. at my fingernails) you’ll see that I actually have a massive thing for glitter. It’s my go-to for nail polish, despite the fact that it’s so difficult to remove. These are four of my favourite glitters! They’re all so beautiful and I can just sit and stare at them all day. The more coats the better, and they always sparkle better in the sunshine! (The first of these is actually really old, probably too old to use, but it was he first nail polish that I fell in love with, so I always insist on keeping it. Who know Accessorize would make such good nail polishes?!)
I can now confirm that all this post has made me want to do is repaint my nails and go out and buy more nail polishes. Do I have a problem? Maybe. Will I ever admit it? No. Will I ever kick it? Hell no! I love nail polish!