Monday, February 21, 2011

Return of the Nail: Kiltlifter

Disclaimer:  All content is my own opinion only and should in no way be construed as a paid endorsement or representation of any companies named.  I receive no compensation whatsoever from any makeup or other companies named/linked to in my posts for my looks or reviews.  I just like to have fun with all the pretty pretty colors...

January 30, 2011

Okay, so many of you are probably more well-versed in all things beauty than my humble self, and therefore have been active in the ongoing debate about the health costs of a well-done mani/pedi.  Aside from the nail salon horror stories (cuticle infections!  fungus or other nasties colonizing our poor feet from badly--or not at all--sterilized equipment!  allergic reactions to all those FUMEs, oh my!), information is becoming more and more readily available about the risks of the home manicure, as well, stemming mostly from the industry-standard chemicals used in many big-name company nail formulas.  Health hazards associated with nail polish/remover ingredients such as toluene, formaldehyde, DBP/phthalates, camphor, and acetone have reared their ugly heads, triggering a landslide of consumer demand for healthier alternatives.

This has resulted in several companies (for example e.l.f. and Zoya, though these are not by any means the only such) offering alternative formulations of nail colors/products that are labeled "three-free" (typically toluene, formaldehyde, & phthalate free) or even "four-free" (no camphors either) to proclaim their status as part of this healthy revolution in nail artistry.  Some companies, however, have gone even further, testing (not on animals, of course!) and now marketing innovative, water-based nail colors!  Yes, you read correctly: nail color with water as the base ingredient!


Now, I have not been a big fan of the manicure for quite some time, beginning in my days working at a little independent bookstore and going right up to the present.  Do not misunderstand me, good and patient followers, this aversion was not born from my health consciousness (although that is quite active and was certainly a factor in my recent migration to MMU-land) but rather from more practical concerns: in the beginning I had not the funds to keep up with the damage slinging books around does to a $20+ manicure, and more recently I had not the patience or the time for multiple-weekly trips to the nail salon (or home nail color application) to either repair damage done by everyday life/work or replace color that had to be removed for hula performances (bare nails being de rigueur in my halau in accordance with protocol set by our Kumu Hula).

So by the time I decided once again to dip my fingertips back in the nail color pool, I found myself presented with options that had not existed in past years: "leaded," three-free, four-free, or water-based?  Wow.

Enter Scotch Naturals nail polish, one of the classier entries in the "water-based" category.  On the recommendation of an acquaintance, who is a fan of their "Hot Toddy" shade, I decided to check out their site.  First thing I noticed: it's pretty swanky

It's also clearly aimed at the over-21 crowd (or whatever the legal drinking age is in your corner of the globe lol!), most likely because it's a clever match for the brand name--all the better to market it to you, dearies!

Another reason it's aimed at the over-20's: well, you'll get that when you click "Shop Now" to discover that your "single Scotch" will set you back about $15 USD plus shipping.  Stated another way: the price point is also a clever match for the elegant presentation.  For those with the ready funds, however, they offer a nice "introductory offer" (seen in the screenshot next to the little black pouch in the lower left corner):  $15 off the purchase of any trio of Scotch shades (called "Cocktail Trios" on the site)--so it's like a buy two get one free--plus nail buffers and their own formula of polish remover.  Considering the remover itself goes for around $10 USD for a 2 oz bottle (compare to less than $5 for 2 oz of Zoya Remove Plus), this is a pretty good deal from this upscale company.

I decided to go for this offer and chose Kiltlifter (seen above in the screenshot) as one of my trio shades, partly because I like a good red and partly because the name made me smile.  Once my package arrived, I dove straight for this shade and to my husband's shock sat next to him during his Sunday Night Football and painted my nails--something he's NEVER seen me do in the 7 years we've been married.

Here's how they turned out:

Kiltlifter by Scotch Naturals

This turned out to be a lovely, rich creamy red, a little on the warm side which is fine by me.  As I did this the week of Chinese New Year (and my 1 year anniversary at the new job), I felt like it was a pretty take on "good luck red."  One thing I really loved was the lack of fumes--an especially good thing as I was sitting next to my man watching his very macho football while applying the stuff ;)  If he didn't look in my direction he could pretend there was no frou-frou girly stuff going on in the room at all lmao!!

I also liked that two coats of the polish dried rather quickly even without drying drops, a no-no in the world of water-based nail color.  Also taboo is the use of a base coat, which according to the manufacturer interferes with the ability of the polish to bond with the nail bed; they recommend instead buffing a drop of jojoba oil into the nails (to condition & prepare the nail bed for polishing), then thoroughly washing to remove traces of oil & buffing dust left behind by this prepping method.

Scotch also recommends foregoing a top coat; however without any kind of sealant/protectant I found the polish chipping off my much-abused tips after just two days--a bit frustrating, given the cost of the polish itself.  Overall, though, I did like the color, feel, and non-toxicity of this product, especially as my hubby and I are preparing to start a family and a product like this could be worn during pregnancy without worry.  In the future, I think I will try using their clear polish to seal the tips only and see if this helps extend the wear time.

How about you, good and patient followers?  Has anyone else out there experimented with Scotch Naturals nail color?  What was your experience and how do you get the most out of such an investment in your nails?