We all know the saying “You are what you eat”, but what about what we put on our bodies?
Harmful chemicals can be easily absorbed through the skin, and contrary to popular belief, through the nails as well. That’s a pretty scary fact when you consider some of the nasties that are packed into a tiny bottle of nail polish. Five of the worst offenders in conventional nail polish are formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, camphor and dibutyl phthalate. See here to find out why you might want to avoid these.
Despite religiously purchasing only brands such as OPI (3-free), I find myself getting migraines every single time I paint my nails. On top of that, we all know the feeling of dry, unhealthy looking nails after polish removal. Rather than continue to suffer unhealthy nails and other side effects, I decided to look into less toxic nail solutions, and I have been stoked with the results.
Today I’ll be introducing you to an amazing product that has rocketed to the top of my beauty list- well, right next to my jar of coconut oil of course. Zoya nail polish has made a name for itself for delivering top quality nail polish, without the nasties. Zoya were the first 5-free nail polish company (that’s formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, camphor and dibutyl phthalate free), and their products are also vegan and cruelty free. I managed to get my hands on some gorgeous colours from their range, and I’m so pleased to be able to share the results of my last two week’s worth of testing with you.
Product Review: Zoya Nail Polish
I ordered a mixture of Zoya’s full-sized, as well as their too cute mini bottles, in a variety of colours to mix and match for cute manis with sparkly feature nails. Read on to find out more about this fabulous non-toxic brand, and to see how Zoya stacked up compared to mainstream favourites such as OPI.
You can skip to the bottom for a quick summary.
COLOURS & FINISH:
Zoya have the most extensive range of colours out of any 5-free nail polish brands I’ve seen, with literally hundreds (I counted around 350) of colours to choose from, in a variety of different finishes such as matte, cream, “Pixie dust”, metallic, sparkles, and holographic. No matter how specific your colour palette is, Zoya will almost* certainly have a shade to match. They really are the “Resene” of nail lacquers. I ordered:
Lael – I received so many compliments on this stunning Plum purple. I love this as a sexy winter colour, spiced up with a Pixie Dust feature nail or two.
Thea is a beautiful deep purple polish, in a finish Zoya call “Pixie dust”. This isn’t your usual sparkle texture, it has a combination of sparkles, colour, holographic, and sand-like iridescent flecks which give it a lovely texture and sparkle, while still maintaining coverage. I would liken it to OPI’s sand range, only with more sparkle. Thea also comes in a cute mini version, which is perfect for those who like sparkles as a feature nail or two, rather than as a full manicure.
You can see my combo of Lael & Thea below.
Next I tried Blu, which also comes in a mini version, that is gorgeously presented in a cute spotty box (perfect for gifts!). It is a beautiful pastel baby blue colour, and though it’s a little paler than I expected, it still looks beautiful and I got a number of compliments on it.
I paired Blu with Vega, which is a lovely Pixie Dust blue. On the website I thought this would be a paler grey-blue colour. It is much more of a pale tealy blue, and while it wasn’t a perfect match with “Blu” I tried it anyway and ended up loving it. I would probably pick a more turquoisey/aqua blue to pair it with in future, but I can’t deny that I’m in love with it.
Turquoise and aqua mint colours are my absolute favourite (have you noticed? 😉 ) so even though it wasn’t what I was expecting, I’ve been using this shade over and over. The dimensions of the Pixie Dust are just gorgeous, lending this colour a striking mermaid presence.
Heidi is a shocking coral-pink colour that really delivers some punch. It is bright and vibrant, while still being acceptable for formal and office-wear. It’s much more on the orange side of Coral, which I love for a winter pick me up.
Overall, colours are bright and vibrant, and there is an extensive range available. I loved that the Pixie Dust shades had a number of metallic colours in them which helped to blend in with the colour of my other nails. Though a few weren’t exactly what I expected, that generally goes with the territory of buying online.
My nails are typically very flaky, and given that I am very active and don’t take a lot of care with them, any polish manicures I get (eg. OPI) typically last only 24 hours before getting somewhat chipped; and 72 hours max before being unwearable, even with a top coat.
I first tried the combination of Lael & Thea with just two coats each, straight onto my natural nail. (Yes I know, I should use a base coat). I decided to test it out as is, without a top coat, to test the durability of the polish itself. Lael made it all the way until the end of day 3 before even getting a little chipped, and I decided it was time to retire it after day 5. At this point, Thea was still totally intact, with the exception of a few edges that I accidentally picked at.
For my second attempt, with Blu & Vega, I used two coats straight onto the nail, with a fairly thick gel-like top coat that I used to use with my OPI polishes. I am astounded to say that after seven days, all of my nails were still perfectly intact with no damage to the edges. The only problem was that there were some cracks appearing in the Blu nails, mainly through the mid-portion of the nail plates, which prompted me to remove the colour on those nails. I’ve only ever experienced this with salon gel nails, as when I’ve done my nails with regular nail polish the edges have never survived long enough for me to get to this point. Vega has lasted like a champ, and in fact I left it on, with only an extra coat because I felt like it, and paired it with another polish.
Based on my experience, I would say that the Zoya gloss polishes have durability exceeding other polishes such as OPI. In future applications I would expect two layers + a top coat to last pretty much an entire work week for me, which is phenomenal in my books. Zoya’s Pixie Dust finishes last much, much longer, and for me were able to last well over one week (10 days now!) if I managed to prevent myself from playing and picking at it.
Out of the products I have tried, Zoya comes second only to having my nails professionally done with Shellac.
I was quite surprised to find that the Zoya polishes are much more liquid and less viscous than polishes like OPI. I was concerned that this would mean poorer coverage, but was gladly proven wrong. All the gloss colours I tried were virtually 100% opaque after the first coat, with just a second coat for perfection. Each product is ranked according to opacity on their website, and I found this to be quite accurate.
I actually ended up finding the consistency of Zoya polishes to be much easier to work with, as there were less streaks, and it was easy to work the polish a bit more when I made mistakes, like getting hair caught in it! The only thing I would caution is to try to keep your hands a bit more flat for a minute or two after application to ensure it doesn’t slide. This was only a minor problem for me with the gloss when I hastily applied quite thick coats and blew on it. I also applied PixieDust quite thickly, and after moving about found that the glitter and sand had migrated slightly to the edges of my nail. However, this can be totally avoided by using thin coats.
Drying time was equivalent to OPI.
Given the durability of Zoya’s Pixie Dust polishes and then intense metallic and glitter components they contain I think it is to be expected that they are quite difficult to remove. While this is a major bonus for prolonged wear, it is a little bit of a pain if you’re someone who likes to switch up colours regularly.
Using conventional nail polish remover I really struggled to get the pixie dust off- that stuff sticks! I soaked my nails for a short time in the remover, as well as swabbing over, to no avail. I ended up picking it off, as I was short on time. So sadly can’t say if soaking longer would have worked. To it’s credit though, it didn’t rip up my nails nearly as much as other brands have doing the same thing, and I can’t comment on the results of Zoya’s own brand of remover.
On the other hand (pun intended!), the gloss finishes that I tried were very easily removed with conventional remover and a cotton pad, and to my pleasant surprise didn’t leave a stain on my nail as other brands tend to.
10/10 for gloss
3/10 for PixieDust
At $24 for a large 15ml bottle and $13.95 for a mini 7.5ml bottle of opaque gloss finish lacquer, and $27 for a large and $14.95 for a mini bottle of Pixie dust lacquer, these are roughly in the same price range as OPI and other leading brands. Given that they are so much better for you, and the quality of the product, I think Zoya is priced very reasonably.
$24-$27 per 15ml bottle
$13-$15 per 7.5ml bottle
ORDERING & SHIPPING
Ordering from Zoya’s New Zealand distributor, Extend Marketing, shipping was $10 throughout NZ, which I thought was a tiny bit dare, but not unreasonable given they’re coming all the way from Napier . Payment was secure via PayPal, which is a must for security. Dispatch and shipping was incredibly fast, and their staff are hugely helpful and quick with communication. This company was a real dream to work with.
– Very durable (3 days +; 5 days + with top coat; PixieDust is virtually indestructible (still going strong after 10 days, and my nails are prone to being destroyed after 48 hours).
– 5-free (no formaldehyde; formaldehyde resin; toluene; camphor or dibutyl phthalate).
– Great colour selection (I counted 350!)
-Great range of textures- I tested regular cream & PixieDust, but matte, pearly, sparkles and holographic also available.
– Cruelty Free (Although not third-party certified. See Cruelty Free Kitty‘s correspondence from Zoya for their official statement).
-Suitable for pregnant mums; kids & p
– Very fast shipping & great service from their NZ distributor.
-Secure payment via PayPal.
Could do better:
-Still smells like nail polish (Sorry boys!), though I didn’t get any headaches or migraines.
-A few colours were a little bit different to what I expected. It would be ideal if they also included photos on actual nails in natural light, rather than just the product in the bottle.
-Shipping a few dollars darer than I’d usually be happy with, but not bad for a flat NZ wide rate
-Distributor’s website is geared for B2B sales rather than direct to consumer, so just FYI that GST is added at the checkout (incase you’re doing a shopping spree and get a surprise!)
-*The one colour they don’t have in a cram finish is my favourite Seafoam/Tiffany Blue colour 🙁
Overall I would absolutely recommend Zoya to anyone and everyone with a love of nail polish, regardless of whether or not they’re concerned about chemicals. Zoya polishes outperform other leading brands that aren’t 5-free and are totally gorgeous. I was blown away by the colour selection and so relieved to find myself migraine-free (even after applying two coats as well as the pixie dust to both my fingers and toes)!
Let me know if you’ve tried Zoya and what you think. I’m itching to try some more shades, as well as some funky nail art so let me know what colours you think I should try next!
Disclosure: I purchased the products reviewed at a discounted rate from Extend Marketing. However, I sought out Zoya and made contact with the brand, and I never endorse products which I do not believe in. All opinions expressed in this review reflect my personal experience with the products used, and have not been influenced by other parties.