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Scotch Naturals

As someone who does at-home manicures far more often than going to a salon, I’m always looking for a new nail polish color. And as someone who is trying to eliminate as many chemicals as possible from her beauty products, I’m interested in “natural” nail polishes. I recently tried one that I really, really wanted to like. Alas…

The brand in question is Scotch Naturals. I picked it up as an impulse buy when I was having a facial at Behind the Seen (yes, that’s really how it’s spelled) in Beverly Hills. As with most “natural” beauty products, it wasn’t cheap – $15 for a 10.5 ml bottle. But the color was exactly what I wanted for fall – something similar to Chanel’s Vamp. Scotch calls theirs Widow Woods’ Nightcap (not quite as whimsical as OPI and Essie shades, but still somewhat poetic).

The first thing I noticed was the smell – there wasn’t any, which is great because the stench of nail polish is one of the biggest downsides to the at-home manicure. So far, so good. The consistency seemed a bit thin at first (Scotch is water-based), but it went on opaque, even as a first coat. There was no bare nail showing through. The most surprising thing about Scotch is that it dries matte. This is brilliant because you know when it’s safe to apply a second coat of color or your top coat. There’s no need to dab at your nail, potentially leaving a smudgy fingerprint.

The color looked a little grape-y at first, more purple than I wanted. But after a second coat of color it was a beautiful, dark burgundy. I used my usual top coat – Sally Hansen Complete Care 4-in-1, and a spritz of my favorite quick-dry spray – Orly Spritz Dry, and I was good to go.

I can usually get a solid five days out of my at-home manicures, sometimes a full week. It depends on how much typing or other hand-intensive work I’m doing. I’m sad to say that I got less than 48 hours of wear out of Scotch before I lost a big chunk of it while hanging up some clothes (not exactly the most dangerous-to-a-manicure activity). And the color didn’t just chip off, it peeled off, like a sticker. By the end of the day, I had several nails that only had half their polish on them. And the real kicker is that when I got out my polish remover to take off the rest of the polish, I had to really work at it! It took me at least 10 minutes to scrub off the polish that would peel off if I looked at it the wrong way. Not cool, Scotch.

Because I wanted to like this polish so much, I tried again a few weeks later. This time I didn’t use any top coat, thinking that maybe the combination of natural polish with chemical top coat degraded the quality of the polish. I got less than 24 hours’ wear before a large swath of color peeled off. I had to re-do my entire manicure the next day.

Scotch makes a top coat, but I was loath to spend any more money on a brand that doesn’t live up to my expectations. I did a little web research and found some other ladies who had similar experiences to mine, and one of them did use the Scotch top coat. So I guess that’s that. The search for a quality natural nail polish continues…

Overall rating: **

One * for effort because it can’t be easy to formulate a nail polish that is free of phthalates, parabens, solvents, nitrocellulose, acetone, and heavy metals. And one * for color selection. Just looking at their website makes me want to try again. But that would be silly.