With the unwelcome return of the snow and the fact that once again, things around here are beginning to look a lot like Christmas, I thought it would be fun to close out the work week by taking a closer look at a polish I received over the holidays and had yet to try out, a non-toxic, peel-off, kid-friendly lacquer branded to the queen cat of cute, Hello Kitty.
Licensed by Kitty’s parent company, Sanrio, manufactured in China by who-knows, distributed in the United States by a company called Par Townley Inc. and sold in Ardene accessories shops across North America, the etymology of this polish could not possibly be less clear. It actually doesn’t even have a name, just a sad identification number – HK02325C. It sounds silly, but I always feel sort of bad for unnamed polishes. Like, why does this one over here get a quality pun while this other one sounds like a Stormtrooper’s rank and file? All that to say I went into this little swatching experiment with some caution. When you don’t quite know what you’re dealing with, it’s wise to step lightly.
First, that gigantic, unwieldy-looking Hello Kitty on the top of the bottle IS the brush. I initially thought I wasn’t going to be able to use it, but as it turned out, the figure fit both comfortably and snugly in my palm, and I had no problems whatsoever. If anything, it applied better than any polish I’ve ever owned, remaining precisely where I applied it, the oddly-shaped, but fantastic, brush laying down consistently neat, sharp edges. Clean-up was a breeze, too, because there were virtually no boo-boos to erase.
Which is super news, because formula-wise, this one was a bit of an odd duck, and it did not take well to clean-up. Formulated with lots of things beginning with the prefix “methyl” and ending with a jumble of vowels I can’t understand, this polish is labelled as both non-toxic and peelable, eliminating the necessity to use harsh (and poisonous) polish removers on tiny, tender hands (or large, tender hands, for that matter.) It’s a nice touch, and indeed, this polish peeled off very well, although without a base coat, it did temporarily stain my nails bubblegum pink.
In terms of application, I was initially THRILLED. HK-whatever-the-heck went on so beautifully, and in one coat, no less! And with none of that unpleasant, “traditional” nail polish smell either (this one smells very much like tempera paint, which it essentially is.) But after allowing that first coat to dry down, I noticed lumps, bumps, humps and knicks ALL over my nails. Like the polymer-based product it is, it had almost FUSED to my nails, very much like a nail strip, and worst of all, it was highlighting every imperfection from my thumb clear across to my pinkie. It had also dried down to a completely shine-free finish, which I was not going to stand for, because I like shiny things!
And so I topped it with a layer of Seche Vite, and that, kids, is when I ruined my manicure! Because that’s just what happens when you top something non-toxic with something that contains possibly all the toxics. In fact, in a couple of places (most notably on my middle finger) you can see where the topcoat almost ate away the polish beneath. Adding the Seche Vite also completely changed the colour of the polish, morphing it from a beautiful, cool-toned raspberry pink to a warm, orangey coral. In this side-by-side comparison, you can really see the difference pre- and post-topcoat. It was just the oddest thing.
Though no more odd than the fact that nail polish remover does not seem to work on this stuff, balling the polish into an unpleasant, gummy mass that you have to wipe off your nails. Which meant that when it came time for clean-up, I was quite glad I had done such a good job at applying this polish in the first place, because spot touch-ups were simply not going to happen. Total peel-off removal, though, as I mentioned, was no more difficult than peeling off a nail strip.
All told, I don’t think this is a polish I’d use again. The colour (well, the first version of the colour) is fantastic, the bottle is adorable and that weird little Kitty brush does its job so very, very well. But formula-wise, I can’t recommend this one, because it’s kind of a mess. And that’s regrettable, as I think there’s a large, untapped market out there looking for safe(r), non-toxic alternatives to more traditional beauty products. But as with all things, the quality must be there, and this sad, unnamed Kitty regrettably falls just a little bit short.