Sunday, August 22, 2010

Guest Post: An Introduction to UK Nail Polish Brands

So the title says "Guest Post". That's right, Cydonian is away and I'm standing in for her! Awww, aren't I nice? :P She requested a blogpost on UK-based nail polish brands, and I obliged. Originally, I was supposed to do some swatches from my decent-sized UK nail polish brands stash, but due to unforeseen circumstances (bathroom overflowing - you can read about it in my own blog HERE, I swear it's beauty related!) and foreseen circumstances (like my thesis, which is due at the end of this week), I haven't been able to do swatches at all.

So, I've opted to go for the easy way out - do a compilation of some of my previous NOTDs by brand, with a quick low-down on each brand! So yes, the pictures all have my blog's watermark on them, but it's OK, because they're used with permission! :D

So here's to UK Nail Polish Brands 101! This might be followed by UK Nail Polish Brands 102, if there is time.

Brand #1: Barry M
Price: Low
Availability: High
Quality: Mostly Average
Colours To Try: Mushroom, Vivid Purple, Racing Green, Grey, Navy

Barry M's are one of the most talked-about UK brands outside of the UK, so they're a good brand to start with. They're cheap in the UK (around 3GBP if my memory doesn't fail me), and readily available at any Superdrug. They also have a wide range of colours, although a lot of the more exciting ones aren't carried online. They're also known for releasing on-trend colours every season, like their version of Chanel's Jade, Mint Green, and their version of Particuliere, Mushroom, which was surprisingly close to the actual thing. Other popular colours are Vivid Purple, Racing Green, Grey (this is a good grey that doesn't have much blue tones) and Navy.

Quality-wise, these I have found to be a little hit-and-miss. Some of the colours, like Mushroom and Vivid Purple, are good in quality - pigmented and smooth, but some of the others, like Mint Green, were total PITAs to apply. So do your research before buying, and you'll never end up with a dud.

Here's an NOTD of Barry M's Mushroom from my own blog:

If you're interested in trying out other Barry M products, they have awesome lipsticks (called Lip Paints) and loose eyeshadows (Dazzle Dusts). They're cheap, cheery and easily available and worth checking out.

Brand #2: Nails Inc
Price: High
Availability: Low
Quality: High
Colours to try: Jermyn Street, Victoria, Just about anything really!

For those of you who read my blog (not many, I'll bet), you'll KNOW I just HAD to include Nails Inc in there SOMEWHERE, because I love them so much. Although these are pricey, at 10GBP a pop (for a measly 10ml of polish), and are only available in select department stores like Debenhams (they also have their own bricks and mortar stores around Central London), the quality totally makes up for it. I've more than 30 colours (and counting) and I don't think I've had a dud yet. Well, maybe one. That's how awesome they are. They're better than my RBLs, and yes I did say that! They're better than RBLs! Okay, now I'm going to stop before I get stoned by the RBL fans.

So what colours should you try? Jermyn Street, the ever popular taupey-brown-grey mushroom colour, is always on bestseller lists in the UK. Victoria, a vampy purple jelly along the lines of OPI's Lincoln Park After Dark, is also another must-try. But personally, I love the brand so much, it's hard for me to recommend just one.

Here are some of my previous Nails Inc NOTDS:

Here's Basil Street:

Nails Inc Basil Street NOTD Swatch

Here's Jermyn Street, that ever-popular bestseller (man, I'm drooling just looking at my own pictures of this one):

This is Dover Street Market (with some bling):

Nails Inc Dover Street Market

Here is Belgravia:

Nails Inc Belgravia NOTD Swatch

Ok, I'm going to stop here before this post becomes picture-spam. These are some of my favourites. If you want to see more, you'll have to go over to my blog :P Also, here's a tip if you want to buy Nails Inc for less than the retail price - they often do sets on QVC UK that make them much cheaper per bottle, and every now and then they do come out with seasonal sets that are 20GBP and comprise of 4 limited edition bottles. That's half the price! :D Also, I really like their Kensington 45 Seconds Top Coat. I seriously doubt that it dries in 45 seconds, but it certainly dries fast, and doesn't cause shrinkage the way Seche Vite does.

Brand #3: Ciate
Price: Average
Availability: Low
Quality: Average
Colours to Try: ASOS Paints Pixie, Sharp Tailoring

Ciate is one of those brands that don't get much love, because they're pretty low profile. But they're mostly good, although you do have a couple of duds. The ones I've tried have been pretty good though, and worth buying. The sad thing is, I've never seen them sold in real life, and I got all of mine through ordering online, which is a major bummer. Ciate also makes the ASOS Paints by Ciate's sort of like OPI for Sephora in the USA.

Here is Ciate Sharp Tailoring, konaded over with Velvet Tuxedo

Ciate Sharp Tailoring Velvet Tuxedo

And here is ASOS by Ciate Pixie:

Asos Paints by Ciate Pixie

Okay folks, that's it for today! I'll probably be back with more brands, but that's it for now! Hope you've enjoyed my cop-out of a guest post! In the meantime, if you'd like to check out more of my NOTDs (which I promise have improved in recent months), check out my own blog.


  1. I love the packaging of the ciate polishes, so cute.

  2. Good post. I absolutely agree with you about the Barry M and your pick of the shades. Off to seek out Basil St. NOT at RRP obviously!

  3. i love nails inc, almost as much as you! i think very highly of that topcoat

  4. I agree with the Barry M crit, some shades I have are awesome wheras others are just pants (yes I have Mint Green, don't go there lol)

  5. For some reason Nails Inc doesn't work for me :(, maybe I am doing something wrong! I adore Barry M though, can't comment on Ciate as I've never tried them. Super cute packaging though! :)


  6. Hey I happen to know someone from Ciate's PR company who told me that they have changed who make their polishes. They now use the same people who make Chanel's polishes. Guess that means no more duds eh?

  7. @Mandy: Are you serious!? I think I totally need to try out more Ciate then!