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I've always been a huge fan of nail art, whether it was the textured crackle trend I used to love or the lengthy acrylic sets I drool over now. And before I transitioned to using mainly press-ons, I painted my own nails with the rainbow assortment of nail polishes I had from popular brands like SinfulColors.
The nail-polish brand has always been a favorite because of the affordable price, accessibility, and variety of color, texture, and finish. I could walk into any drugstore and grab a super-cute, glittery, purple polish, an opaque bright pink lacquer, or any other color for only about $2 each. SinfulColors is known for its creativity with crackle, glow-in-the-dark, and even velvet-textured polishes, and now, it's innovating once again with its Essenchills collection of scented nail polishes.
Now, you're probably thinking that the idea of scented nail polishes sounds a bit gimmicky, and truthfully, so did I. So as a skeptical beauty writer, I just had to try them out myself to see what's going on.
The Essenchills collection features nine polishes in neutral and pastel hues, each with a complementing scent. To create the shades, the brand looked to wellness culture, incorporating certain calming smells such as lavender, eucalyptus, and chamomile.
"In order to look at color and scent, we ordered a bulk of wellness items to the office to start shaping the color palette," Allison Dratch, the senior manager of product development at SinfulColors, tells Allure. "Our desks were crowded with dried lavender, bottles of essential oils, the works."
The brand chose a mix of scents that it felt would "evoke a sense of calm" and look gorgeous on the nails. The results are Bath Goals (shimmery pale pink), Salt Bath Babe (warm pink with hints of blue shimmer), Smoky Palo Santo (darkest brown with silvery swirls of fine glitter), Low-Key Lavender (pastel purple with pink shimmer), Chamomile Calm (muted dark yellow), Eucalyptahhh (seafoam), Coffee Drip (shimmery medium brown), So Matcha Better (pastel green), and Beach Vibes (deep navy).
When I got my hands on the bottles, I couldn't help but open one and take a whiff. All I could smell was the familiar pungent scent of nail polish — which obviously isn't what I was expecting — so I started my manicure to see if that would change anything.
After prepping my nails, I decided to have a bit of fun and use the pastel Low-Key Lavender on my right hand, and the light green So Matcha Better on the left. These polishes are fairly opaque, so I used two coats for the green and three for the lavender. The shimmery shades are a bit on the sheer side, so you may need several coats for your desired look.
Immediately after my nails dried, I smelled them and noticed the subtle scents of lavender and matcha. I was pretty impressed and surprised by the results — my nails looked cute and smelled nice. I gave it a few more whiffs before sealing the deal. Though a topcoat is a must for me, Dratch does warn that it can potentially block the scent. "SinfulColors recommends adding a topcoat after the consumer has experienced the scent to their liking," she says. "That could be as little as after a few hours or a day."
All in all, my manicure looked good. Personally, I don't think I've ever had a chip-free manicure for long, even with gel polish, so I experienced normal chips as I usually would throughout the week. While the scent of the polish was superb when I first painted, after the topcoat, it was hardly noticeable. Without a topcoat, you can get a slightly longer-lasting scent — about one to two days, according to Dratch — before it fades away.
These scents may not be long-lasting, but the super-cute manicure you get from them is worth it, in my opinion. But still, I was curious: What happened from the bottle to my nails that I could only smell the scent on my fingers?
A nail polish typically contains solvents, like butyl acetate and ethyl acetate — which is what creates that distinct nail-polish scent — and a polymer like nitrocellulose, cosmetic chemist Ginger King explains. "The fragrances are embedded in the polymer, and once the solvents, butyl acetate, or ethyl acetate evaporates, the fragrance is released," says King, who was also able to try the polishes. "The scent does not linger, though."
Though they don't last, King was impressed by the gorgeous shades and felt that the scents "are right on the description." If the scent was too strong, King says, it could potentially cause a headache. "SinfulColors gives a good user experience, so instead of smelly solvent, it enhances the user experience with a subtle scent," she says. "It's well-done, not to mention the pricing is ridiculously low."
Speaking of pricing, SinfulColors kept these polishes affordable at $2, which I love. You can head on over to target.com to get one of these beautiful nine shades for yourself.
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