Polish Project

Product Pick #6: OPI Natural Nail Strengthener

by Jamie Sanford on August 2, 2013

Check out all of my Product Picks here. If you want to see all of the products I’ve reviewed (not just the ones I like), click here for Reviews.

As anyone who has been following along for a while knows, I own a LOT of nail polish. I stopped biting my nails in 2010 after getting a single manicure, and I haven’t ever gone back. I started taking care of my nails to help me keep the habit away, and it doesn’t even occur to me to bite them now. I truly believe I have reduced my number of colds due to breaking this habit.

Anyway, in 2012, I completed the Polish Project after realizing that I had way too many nail polishes to work with, so I tried them ALL and parted with a bunch. I’m still working on parting with more actually, since I’m fully obsessed with the A Englands and just want to use those all the time.

I have fallen off of the polish wagon in a big way – I did purchase the aforementioned A England recently when I was presented with a sale, but otherwise, haven’t purchased any in a while. I’m working with the 100+ bottles I have, which is really fine. When something comes out that blows my mind, I won’t hesitate, but I’m not purchasing blindly anymore.  Anyway.

The biggest nail care issue I have is that my nails are pretty flexible and break a lot. It’s pretty devastating when all of your nails are looking cute and all the same length and then something happens and you break one and then it looks like a big eyesore. I can’t speak for everyone, but I can’t handle that, so I file them all down to match the little sad one, so they can all go back to the starting line.

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(Click here if you can’t see the video.)

Anyway, I stumbled on this video from FarahDhukai on YouTube, and she recommended the OPI Natural Nail Strengthener. During a recent trip to Ulta, I decided to grab a bottle and see how it goes. I’m skeptical from the beginning, because it’s clear and it looks like top or base coat and clearly they have NOT been helping with these issue.

Turns out that this OPI Natural Nail Strengthener really does what it promises! My nails have been in amazing shape since I started using it. I have been wearing natural nails a lot more, so that might be helping a bit as well, but this product is making a big difference. I am thrilled with the results and will keep buying it, which is the best compliment that any of us can give to a beauty product.

I would love to hear about any other nail strengthening options in the comments!

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Polish Project #48

by Jamie Sanford on December 8, 2012

Click here to see all of the previous Polish Project posts.


OK, first, let’s see where this all began:

For some reason, it never occurred to me to take a picture of the before shelf with a real camera instead of my phone. Either way, you get the idea. My homemade shelf was STUFFED with polishes, you can sort of see some of the bulging in a few spots. It was clearly out of control. I had no more room to shop, and no REASON to shop.

The Project

So I started this little project, where I figured I should test all of the polishes before I bought any more. I started testing polishes one by one, painting my nails and commenting on a spreadsheet derived from Sara‘s about application and staying power. I took pictures with my phone and blogged about them.

Soon enough, I realized that this was going to take a long damn time, and started grouping polishes by color. I wore a series of 5 pastels at one time – the Easter egg manicure, and did color gradients with purples, reds, blues. The grouping certainly helped things move along much faster. And meant less time exposing my nails to the acetone – and I still use acetone because of this amazing Target plastic bristle jar of polish remover.

I don’t remember how long it took me to break and buy polishes. I do believe I broke down when Walgreens was having a clearance event, and the Sally Hansen HD polishes were something like $1.25 each. I just checked and I was only on post 7, but it was a tough road to go from just collecting polishes to nothing. I bought a few, fell absolutely in love with the first one, and then hunted down the rest, all on clearance. I didn’t feel as bad about it.

So, from there, I bought a few here and there, sometimes on sale, sometimes just stuff I could not resist. I bought Fergie’s Hollywood Walk of Fame because I wanted those stars, and I bought random Orlys because they looked gorgeous. (The Orly polishes did not disappoint.) I definitely picked up some Hunger Games polishes when they were on clearance at Sally’s too, although 2 were for my Mom, who has benefited the most from this experience.

Perhaps the greatest success of this project was Mom telling me that she can’t even look at her old polishes anymore since she has so many fabulous new ones – and let me tell you, Mom had a penchant for some unfortunate brick-hued polishes before. I’m pretty sure her favorite out of what I’ve sent was either a Nicole by OPI shimmery orange (which I can’t find so I think I gave it to her pre-project), or King Arthur by A England. I am going to try to get her started on layering polishes when I see her for the holidays.

So, here at the end, my polish shelf doesn’t look all that different, at least if you only glance at it.

It looks full, right? Also the picture is 1500x better. Either way, you can see that the polishes are not all cramped and shoved in together like they were for the first image. The top 2 shelves are all OPIs, including minis. Then we have China Glaze, Orly, Essie, Sally Hansen, NYC, A England, Sinful Colors, Milani, Revlon, LA Colors, Zoya. The bottom row has Wet ‘n Wild on the far right, with Sephora by OPI next to them, and the rest of the row is single polishes from brands I have not frequented.

Lessons Learned

  • I very much prefer dark polishes to light ones, although the light ones have their moments.
  • I do NOT need every polish in a collection because they are a collection. I know now to check out blogger swatches and decide which polish is something I really want to wear.
  • A England polishes are superior to anything else I currently have in the collection. I bought 3 more of them last week because they had a sale – I have no regret or shame about it. If I was forced to, I would give up the rest of the collection and just use A England forever.
  • I need to get more into layering polishes. My favorite manicure of this entire project was a 3-layer creation.
  • I suck at stamping, and I’m not sure I care.
  • The dotting tool is totally fun. Not as fun as asking your husband to draw dots on your nails with a nail art pen though.

I am going to attempt to keep track of the polishes I use most frequently in 2013. I figure that this is definitely the next best way to cull the herd. I definitely still have a lot of blue and purple polish, probably more than necessary, but things being necessary was never the point of this, was it?

New project for next year, one much more in line with my career intentions. I will keep sharing polish experiences though. Thanks to everyone who read my posts and talked to me about the finer points of nail polish – it was an experience I did not expect.

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Polish Project #47

by Jamie Sanford on December 6, 2012

Click here to see all of the previous Polish Project posts.

159. Milani 3-D Holographic Hi-Tech
160. Milani 3-D Holographic Cyberspace

Milani 3D Holographic in Hi-Tech and Cyberspace.

Milani Hi-Tech and Cyberspace.

Milani Cyberspace and Hi-Tech.

Milani Hi-Tech.

Thoughts: I totally bought these to add to my collection of the Milani 3D Holographics. They are really beautiful.
Verdict: Obviously keeping them. I haven’t been able to find a crazy linear holo that is less than $10 so for now, I will settle for drugstore scattered holo polishes.

That is the END of the polishes! Recap post up next.

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Polish Project #46

by Jamie Sanford on December 3, 2012

Click here to see all of the previous Polish Project posts.

157. Soo Black Knights (cannot find this anywhere online)
158. Nanacoco Fly to the Galaxy

These two polishes are from a trip to an off-brand beauty supply store. Sketchy at best.

Soo Black Knights.

Closer view.

Soo Black Knights on a testing wheel.

Thoughts: Promise in the bottle, crap when applied. The glitter didn’t disperse well, and it is super textured and wrong. I don’t know.
Verdict: I think I’m tossing this one.

Nanacoco Fly To The Galaxy.


Even closer! Beautiful in the bottle.

WOW. Gorgeous. Look at the rainbow!

Thoughts: OMG this was cheap and it’s so pretty and I need more.
Verdict: Obviously it stays – this was obviously the best find in the weird beauty store.

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Polish Project #45

by Jamie Sanford on December 1, 2012

Click here to see all of the previous Polish Project posts.

155. Kleancolor Chunky Copper
156. Revlon Rain Forest

Kleancolor Chunky Copper on right (photographed with Milani Black on Black, which I used as a base coat).

Bottle porn – sparkly bits!

Weird orangey tinge to the base color and awesome glitter bits that don’t spread out very well.

Works much better over black.

Thoughts: This Kleancolor is the STINKIEST nail polish I have ever used. So many fumes. However, the end result was really fun and sparkled like crazy. This over black were my Halloween nails and I loved it.
Verdict: Totally staying, I have nothing else like this, regardless of application difficulty.

Revlon Colorstay Nail Polish in Rain Forest.

Not so good with application. Plus, I keep breaking nails and then filing the rest down so they sort of match. Good times.

Thoughts: I saw this on a few blogs, and I love green, and I thought it was going to be amazing, but I am not in love with it.
Verdict: Share! I think Mom will get this one.

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