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Long-time readers are familiar with my ongoing quest for a natural nail polish. My friend Liz suggested that I check out Zoya, and I’m glad I did. I think it’s my new favorite nail polish brand!

I just learned that Zoya (parent company: Art of Beauty) is based in Cleveland, where I used to live. So to me, it feels like supporting a “local” business. Zoya claims to have been the first company to remove the five nastiest nail polish chemicals: toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, and DBP. (I can’t confirm this, but let’s take their word for it.)

These days, being “5-free” is a badge of honor among nail polish manufacturers. Zoya is also vegan and cruelty-free. (If you’re looking for a nicely comprehensive list of which beauty brands are cruelty-free, I recommend this one or this one.)

My first experience with Zoya actually didn’t go all that well, but I gave them another shot and determined that the problem I had was a fluke. Zoya retails for $9 a bottle, so it’s not as crazy-expensive as some (ahem, butter LONDON, I’m looking at you), but it’s not Sally Hansen drug-store pricing either.

IMG_6025I picked up my first bottle of Zoya at Ulta. It’s a bright berry shade (brighter in person than it appears in the photo) called Vanessa. Refreshingly, Zoya gives its colors simple, one-word names. No puns here.

The Zoya brush is on the thin side–it takes a lot of strokes to get coverage of the entire nail–but it fans a bit, and its thinness makes it easier to get close to the cuticle without getting polish on your skin. The consistency of Vanessa was very thin, and I was having a hard time getting my nail covered before it started to dry right on the nail. I did not have this problem with my other Zoya purchase, so I think maybe the bottle was old. This is the second bottle from Ulta that has been problematic for me (the other was a butter LONDON polish).

The second coat of Vanessa went on much easier than the first, and the finished product had a nice shine to it, even before I put on my top coat. And it lasted! I painted my nails on Saturday and didn’t get my first chip until late in the day on Thursday. When I removed the polish the following Saturday, only two nails were chipped. Removal was swift–under two minutes.

IMG_6949My second Zoya experience was with Hunter, a forest green that is perfect for fall/winter. As I mentioned above, I did not have the same application problem with Hunter that I had with Vanessa. The first coat was a little streaky, but that happens with a lot of polishes. The second coat went on nicely and gave me full opacity.

I got ever so slightly less wear out of Hunter–I painted my nails on Sunday and had my first chip on Thursday. But again, when I removed the polish on Saturday, the rest of my nails were still in good shape. I used an Orly Bonder base coat and Seche Vite top coat, both of which also seem to be helping my manicures hold up well.

I recently purchased several more Zoya shades: Sansa, Prim, Tinsley, and Alegra. I haven’t worn any of them yet, but I’m looking forward to it!