Nail Polish - What's Your Budget?

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

The other day I was chatting to my friends over tea and cake about polish ... of course! I had mentioned that I am starting to think about buying the Harmony Gelish kit and some of their colours for when I launch my business next month. I mentioned that their gel colours are around £25 each and from the following gasps that emanated from the table, you would have thought I'd just admitted to some hideous crime.

However it got me thinking, especially with the soon to be released Victoria Beckham x Nails Inc Duo (priced at a whopping £45), is there a standard price point for polish (not gel) that most of us wouldn't go over. For me, buying polish is in the same bracket as a takeaway coffee and the latest Nail It magazine. I will easily spend between £3-£5 and think noting of it, however above that I have to seriously think whether I want to commit to buying something I will no doubt wear once and then use very occasionally, occasionally if it's lucky.

With the release of many high end and in my opinion, over priced nail polishes, I was wondering if I am the only one that thinks of polish this way? Last year I remember adding the gorgeous Rouge Louboutin to my Harvey Nicks shopping basket and entering my card details before I realised what I was doing. I know many across the IG nail community raved about this product but the more I thought about it, the more I realised I was caught up in a very clever ad and pr campaign. For one thing, I don't really wear much red polish, for another, I'd need a whole new storage solution for that ridiculous bottle and lastly, I could get around 10 Barry M polishes for that price.

Don't get me wrong, I spend money on beauty products that I believe warrant a higher price tag. Face and hair products being a couple. I will happily spend £36 (the price of the Louboutin polish) on a cream, plus more. However I use this day in and day out. I was never going to wear that red on my nails everyday.

Louboutin isn't the only label to produce a nail polish line that's pricey, although it is one of the most expensive. Chanel, Micheal Kors and Dior are all brands which I have products from however I would never spend the money on their polish regularly. It's also why I have few indie brand polishes. I appreciate they have to make a living, but here in the UK we have to buy through 3rd parties and I feel the standard price of £10 is a little steep. 

I love to go into a shop and feel I'm getting a bargain. The thrill of the hunt and the illusion (it is an illusion) I am somehow getting a great deal by buying 3 for 2 or 2 for £6 is what makes polish buying fun and allows me to do it on a weekly basis. Something my bank account wouldn't thank me for if I was buying the new Louboutin range rather than the new Models Own collection.

I'd also like to state that a higher price tag doesn't mean a better quality product when it comes to polish. Many of my Essie polishes I own are the worst to weather the test of time and a lot of the indies I was fortunate enought to get back in the days we UK girls were able to have nail mail, have turned nasty. I think each brand on the high street has their good and bad polishes, however I am happily their biggest fan. I will more likely recommend a Gosh/Models Own polish over Nails Inc/OPI.

Saying that many pricey polish brands have upcoming and recent releases I would be happy to own, if only someone else footed the bill.

Here are just a few;

What are your thoughts? Do you have a price limit on polish? Have you spent a lot of money on a polish and regreted it, or thought it was the best decision ever?


  1. I bought a lot more indies last year, and when I was looking over the year's purchases I realized something important: they cost a lot more than mainstream brands, but for the most part I wasn't enjoying them *that* much more.

    That's why my nail polish resolution for this year is "fewer indies and high priced polish; more clearance and mainstream polish". I just can't see spending $15/bottle for a polish that doesn't delight me 3 times as much as one I bought for $5.

    I'm in the US, so seeing your pictures of OPI and Zoya in the high end made me think their pricing is far different there. While they're not what I'd consider cheap, I can often find them on clearance at $4-$5 bottle (retail is $9 - $10). But Models Own and Barry M? I have to find them at an independent stockist - when they have them in stock!

    1. It's such a shame when you spend money on things only to realise they're not really worth it. I love the look of a lot of American indie polishes, but can never justify the price. Esp when you pay shipping on top.

      Over here Zoya is about £10 ish so $15 roughly and OPI can be the same in shops, but cheaper online. Either way they're considered luxury brands.

      Barry M & Models Own are very widely available and I would def suggest you stock up if you ever visit as they're amazing. Saying that both of those brands have websites and they offer international shipping at a higher rate, but I know for a fact Models Own are having a half price sale starting Thursday so it may be worth gabbing some as the shipping will be cancelled out by the savings.

    2. I was thinking about your comment that OPI is considered a luxury brand as I passed the display for the 50 Shades of Gray collection in the grocery store across the aisle from the sliced cheese :).

      Funny you should mention visiting, as my husband and I have booked a trip to London for this Spring. I'm going to keep following your blog so I know what to shop for when we get there! There goes the nail polish budget!

  2. I fell in to the Louboutin Polish trap too. It was my only real extravagant nail purchase last year.
    I agree completely with you about models own/Barry M polishes, I can be shopping for face wipes and just pick one up without a massive dent to my bank balance. They are my 'go to' polishes, the quality for the price is amazing. Especially as there's usually a deal on one of the brands.
    I am lucky enough to have a trade card as a qualified beauty therapist, so I can pick up OPI and China Glaze polishes relatively cheap. I love to see the new collections that come out each season but I will never complete a collection, not just because of the price but the quality.
    China Glaze is a massive failure for me, it will chip within minutes.
    I will keep up my obsession with budget brands, looking forward to Models own Thursday, this week, as I've decided to call it.

    1. You got it? Wow, that's amazing, I almost wish I had, but then I wouldn't have worn it again I don't think so it would be even more of a waste of money. I also love Barry M & Models Own. I can't wait to see what else is released this year from both brands.

      I loved the first few CG polishes I got, but I'm not that blown away by them now. Ooh and I'm also qualified so I need to get myself a card for the wholesalers. Who do you shop with?

      I love Models Own Thursday, I shall also call it that too. What are you planning on getting in the sale? xx

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. My justification was that it was my birthday and it will probably be the only thing from Louboutin I will ever own!!! I have never worn it as feel it's too special, makes no sense I know.

      Where I live we have a shop called Hairways and a Sally salon services, I just took in my certificates and was signed up for free immediately. They usually hold a VAT free day every couple of months so I bide my time carefully and pay a visit to take advantage. OPI usually are about £6 which I can cope with. Also a great time to get the more expensive gels.

      For me, models own Thursday will definitely involve the new chrome collection, they look so good for stamping, a few randoms to complete collections and maybe the Polish for tans collection (again), I wore it to death last year. It's the day after payday so could be fatal.... EEEEEKKKK!!!! xx

    4. Apologies for the deleted post, I published before finishing. xx

  3. I have bought more indies recently but only because they do holos and glitters generally so much better. Otherwise I tend to stick to Barry M and essence - if I am near a Wilko. I order polishes in America, so OPI and the like can be reasonable. I aldo like TKMaxx for OPI etc. The colour range of China Glaze is great, but they chip as soon as I look at them. The most expensive polishes I have come from Dance Legend: one caviar, a three-way thermal and one holo topcoat polish. I love them, because the are pretty unusual. If Maybelline were under £2 like in Germany I'd buy more.

    1. Ooh I love Dance Legend too. I have wanted to get all their Chameleon polishes but the decided that the few multichromes I had was enough. How do you like the thermal?

      I agree about CG and it's such a shame as their colours and collections are gorgeous. I like Essence too and have a few of the Maybelline capsule collections. It'll be nice to see of Wilkos can keep up to date with Essence's collections this year as they didn't last year and I really wanted to get the superheroes collection.

  4. I love a good bargin polish but I will happily spend a good amount on some indies. I think with indies as long as you do your research you can find some great brands that are well worth what you pay, but obviously they're still a little expensive to buy very often

    1. Thats true, I do have some indies but not many. I would spend my money on the more individual indie polishes like the multichrome flakies and the crazy glitters as apposed to the solid colours.

  5. I agree with Aimee above. I love a bargain and as such Barry M is my favourite main street brand. Cheap, fantastic formula and a great range of colours (which is what you need for nail art!). Just can't fault them and particularly when they're on offer so much as well.

    I also however love A England - yes they're more expensive (admittedly I get them cheaper being a stockist) but you really do get what you pay for - often one coat, long lasting and beautiful polishes, the only issue I have with them is they're too pretty, if I want to do picture art I'll rarely use those because I don't necessarily want sparkles and holographic effects everywhere. OPI on the other hand, whcih aren't much more expensive, I'm not overly impressed with. They're nice polishes but no better than Barry M (I find they chip more easily actually) so I only pick them up if I find them cheap or am being particularly weak willed!

    Unlike other comments on here I'm not a fan of Models Own although I've only tried one of their polishes - it chipped within a day so I wasn't very impressed. However I've given in to the half price sale they currently have on to invest in some neons for watermarbling purposes. I don't mind "wasting" half price polish that I won't use for regular wear on something as polish intensive as that. Plus I'm tempted to give their new chromes a try and finally get on the stamping wagon with them.

    I do tend to be a bit of a loyalist though which doesn't help. I'll pick up the odd one from elsewhere (have a couple of Picture Polish and KB Shimmer for example) but unless something really impresses me I tend to stick with what I know and love, and if the price goes up I'll go along with it.

    1. The models own neons are great and I am sure they'll be perfect for stamping. I agree with you completely though and think OPI is over priced for what it is. Good luck with the stamping, I am so bad at it.

  6. I will spend money IF it is worth it. I have to really love the polish. I'm not going to buy a Chanel or Dior black cream unless someone proved to me that there's was leaps and bounds better than all other black creams. At this point so many cheaper brands come out with colours like that that are just as good. But if I see a unique polish and it is high end or an indie, yes I would think before buying it, but if it was unique enough I would buy it remourse free.

    It also helps that I'm not loyal to any brand. I have brands I prefer more than others, but if they have a polish that another brand does better, I would get the better polish over it.

  7. I think I'm roughly in agreement with you on all of this. For me there's a definite line drawn at £5, anything over that is a considered purchase, and anything over £11 (or whatever OPI costs now) is relegated to birthday/xmas wish lists as I just can't justify that kind of price. I'm disappointed Nails Inc have crossed that line now as they often came out with some interesting effect polishes.
    However I'm not particularly loyal to certain brands. I do love the OPI bottles and brushes but I won't buy them unless I love the colour, and I've certainly never had a whole collection from them. And even with cheaper brands I'll usually make myself go away and come back a couple of times before I buy.
    Basically if the price is right and the reviews look good, I don't care what the brand is. It's all about quality and whether it's needed in my stash. However since price and quality aren't necessarily related, I find every purchase needs a little consideration.

    I could ramble on about this for hours! Very interesting post!


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