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Each month’s selection comes with a card for swatching.

You’re all familiar with my love of nail polish. No matter how many I have, there’s always a new color to try. But even when I’m buying polish that costs $9 or $10 a bottle, it takes a lot of polish to meet most websites’ minimum for free shipping (I’m all about free shipping), and it’s too difficult for me to get to a store to buy nail polish in person. The solution: a monthly subscription service. Nail polish automatically delivered to my door!

Monthly personal-care product boxes are all the rage right now. Birchbox. GlossyBox. Ipsy. The list goes on. You pay a small monthly fee, and you get a curated box of sample-, travel-, or full-sized products. Nail polish has gotten into the game as well.

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You can see a bit of pooling at the tips in this photo.

When I first set out to find a nail polish subscription service, I wanted one that would send name-brand polishes, similar to most of the beauty boxes. That proved to be surprisingly difficult. I thought I had found a good one when I came across Fab Polish. Their package included three mini-bottles of name-brand polish each month. My mother-in-law bought me a six-month subscription for Christmas, but before I got my first delivery, they informed us that they were shutting down because not enough polish brands were making minis for them to keep up with demand.

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The color selections were great – this was the May delivery.

I went back to the Internet in search of a replacement service. Most of the polish boxes are offered by small companies manufacturing their own polish. Julep Maven is one of the most well-known, SquareHue and Color Me Monthly are two others. I decided to go with Color Me Monthly because they send one full-size bottle for $7/month with free shipping. I didn’t want to be drowning in nail polish, and I figured one per month was a good rate. (Also, they’re based in Bethesda, Maryland, making them practically a local company for me. CMM was founded by two sisters, and I like supporting small businesses when I can.)

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Very simple, straightforward packaging.

All of CMM’s polishes are 5-free, cruelty-free, and vegan. They also ship their products in minimalist packaging that is 100% recyclable and 96% biodegradable. They formulate a new color each month, and you don’t find out what it is until it shows up in your mailbox. The element of surprise adds a fun twist, and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed all six of the colors I received during my subscription.

Their color choices often make sense in context of the primary holiday in the month in question. For example, I received a pink glitter in February, a chartreuse green in March, pastel purple for April.

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This color looked a bit orange-y in the bottle but was surprisingly flattering once applied.

The polish itself can be hit-or-miss. My favorite nail polish blogger, All Lacquered Up, often refers to polish being “self-leveling.” I never knew what she meant until I tried CMM. The polish doesn’t even itself out when you apply it – you sort of have to push it all into place, and some of the colors pooled at the tips of my nails, creating a bit of a ridge. Other colors slightly receded from the edges of my nails after drying. It was almost like it shrank as it dried. And I had some problems with brush marks in the non-sparkly polishes, especially the chartreuse. The brush is very skinny, forcing you to use a lot of strokes to get full coverage.

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Here you can see the polish receding a bit from the edges of my nails.

All that said, the wear time was pretty good. Generally speaking, I got about five days before my first chip, and I was usually able to go a full week before having to remove the polish. Removal was easy, even for the sparkly polishes. They don’t have large chunks of glitter, which makes them much easier to remove. None of the polishes stained my fingers – always a plus! No one wants to look like a Smurf.

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Chartreuse, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. The gold highlights were killer in this one!

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What’s in the box.

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A glittery gold/pink was perfect for Valentine’s Day.

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I ended my subscription with a lovely, sparkly sea blue.

Bottom line: I liked the polishes, but I didn’t looooove them. Pros: eco-friendly, cruelty-free, full-size bottles, good colors, good wear time, inexpensive. Cons: difficult application, receding polish, skinny brush. As you can see, the pros outnumber the cons, so overall I think CMM is quite good. I might subscribe again in the future, but I think I want to try a couple other services first for comparison. If you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments!

 

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