As a nail polish connoisseur, I definitely perk up a bit the moment I hear about a new launch. Whether it's a revolutionary new formula, a trendy finish, or a gorgeous seasonal range of colors, I'm always curious to see if that product is worth the hype. This time around I've got my eyes on the new Butter London Patent Shine 10x Nail Laquers, an ultra luxe formula that promises 10 different manicure-envy inducing benefits. I picked up three lovely neutral shades to try, and have made my way through several manicures of each. Was the formula is amazing as it sounded? Were they worth dropping a ton of cash on? Let's chat and I'll give you the full scoop.
Before we get into things, I should preface with the fact that I've never actually tried a Butter London polish before. I know, I know. It doesn't really seem possible considering how much of a nail polish fiend I am. They've been on my to-try list for ages, and thanks to a handy Groupon, I finally was able to pull the trigger. Unfortunately this means that I cannot speak to whether or not this formula is noticeably different from the original one. However, I definitely have tried my fair share of nail polishes, and can at least offer my thoughts on how it compares to other high end brands.
So, let's start out with taking a look at what supposedly makes this formula so spectacular. Butter London promises to deliver on ten different claims with the Patent Shine 10x:
1. 10 day wear
2. Shock absorption & chip resistance
3. Salon color coverage
4. A gel like finish and incredible shine
5. Fade-resistant color
6. Smoother looking nails
7. Stronger nails
8. Prevention of breakage and peeling
9. Visibly brighter nails
10. Free of formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, DBP, toluene, camphor, ethyl tosylamide, and oxylene
That may seem like a pretty tall order, but when you're asking for $18 a bottle I think you've got to prove to your consumers that you're giving them something top of the line. Unfortunately, the downside to making all of these claims is that you also set people up to be more easily disappointed. If I'm told I'm going to get 10 day wear, and my polish starts chipping on day 5, I'm probably going to feel a little jipped, when in reality having your nails go totally chip free for 5 days is actually pretty great.
Butter London has also upped their packaging game with these polishes to make them stand out from their original line. The bottles are the same size and share the same rectangular design, but sport beautifully reflective silver caps instead of the usual black plastic. Sitting on a shelf they definitely give off that luxury feel.
The line currently includes 14 shades, mostly comprised of your classic pinks and reds, neutral shades, and a few fun pops of color. I purchased three to try: Shop Girl, an opaque, soft beige cream, Loverly, an opaque, bubble gum pink créme, and Pink Knickers, an opaque ballet pink créme. While I love a good red or a bright funky color, I decided that if I was going to drop a lot of cash on nail polish, I might as well invest in some easily wearable, work appropriate shades.
Shop Girl // You can never go wrong with a nude polish. They're essentially the manicure version of no-makeup makeup. However, not all nudes are created equal, with some having either very gray or very yellow undertones that might not be flattering against all complexions. I think Shop Girl strikes a nice middle of the road so as not to make your skin look sallow or ashy.
Loverly // This polish is definitely the cheeriest of the bunch, and would look great against tanned summer skin. While I've got plenty of pinks in my nail polish collection, I definitely didn't have anything similar to this, which is a true bubblegum with a bit of a cool, bluish cast.
Pink Knickers // There is nothing more feminine and classic to me than a ballet pink nail. Which is also why I never understood why it's so difficult to actually find one that has a truly opaque finish. There are a zillion sheer pink polishes out there, but I really like the way ones with a whiteish base pop against your skin.
Color wise I'm really happy with the shades that I chose, as I think they're all really flattering and easily wearable. There were a few others that were calling my name, including Jolly Good and Fancy, however I knew that I had other extremely similar colors in my collection, and couldn't really justify spending so much money on what was essentially just a dupe.
When it comes to the formula of this polish it pains me to admit that I was a little let down.
All of the swatches above required three coats to get the look that you see. In general I sort of expect most polishes to require two coats, and I'm always impressed by those that look fabulous with one, but having to go for a third can make me a little grumbly. Moreso, I also had a huge issue with streakiness. Perhaps part of the problem is my own impatience, because I'm sure each coat would probably go on more smoothly if the previous one was 100% dry. However, this is not a quick dry formula, requiring you to wait a good five minutes after you finish painting both of your hands before you go back for round two. So whether its my technique or the polish itself, I just found it incredibly difficult to get an opaque, even finish.
Another weird thing I noticed about this polish was that it had the tendency to actually accentuate the bumps and ridges in my nails instead of making them appear smoother. A couple of my nails naturally grow in a bit bumpy (why I do not know), and I found that as my polish dried it sort of pooled on either side of the bump, leaving the top part of it practically bare. I've never had this happen to me with a nail polish before, so I thought it was kind of strange.
I will say that sans top coat this polish does look nice and glossy, although I wouldn't call it plumped or gel like. However, I always complete my manicure with a glossy topcoat anyway, so I sort of feel like the polish finish on its own is kind of irrelevant.
Longevity wise, I would agree that this formula is chip-resistant, and probably lasted just under a week before it started to look raggedy. However, I think the whole 10 day claim is bogus. To be honest, I don't really think any non-gel nail polish, no matter how awesome it is, is going to last you ten days unless you're literally laying around and not using your hands at all.
Long story short, if I'm going to shell out $18 on a bottle of nail polish, I've got a few expectations. I want it to glide on like a dream. I want the brush to be comfortable to hold and easy to work with, and the polish to be smooth and streak free. I want the color to be rich and beautiful, and I want it to stay looking that way for at least 4 or 5 days. I want a formula that isn't full of harsh, nasty, and potentially carcinogenic ingredients, and I expect the bottle to have some serious curb appeal. I think the Butter London Patent Shine 10x Nail Lacquers do deliver on some of these factors, but fall short on others, and when there are so many other awesome and less pricey options in the market, it's hard to justify the splurge.
I'm sure I'll definitely continue to experiment with these and see if changing my technique will help at all in the streakiness department, but I'm not planning on adding more of these polishes to my collection. I also recognize that maybe some of the deeper shades perform better than the ones I bought, as light nail polish is notoriously tricky to work with. However, I suppose that one of my expectations of a luxury nail polish brand is also consistency between shades. If you have a range of 14 colors, and only 6 of them are great, I don't see that as a huge success.
If you've also tried the Butter London Patent Shine 10x Nail Lacquers I'd love to hear your thoughts, especially if you've tried other colors! I always feel a bit bad providing less than glowing feedback on a product, but I think honesty in reviews is really important. I'm also bummed that my first experience with Butter London wasn't more positive, but I'm going to keep an open mind about the brand as a whole. I'd love to hear what your experience with the brand has been, and what you think they do well!
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