Is Expensive Nail Polish Remover Worth The Money?

When it comes to nail polish remover, I usually go for the cheapest option possible, but is splurging on a more-luxurious formula worth it?

I’m a big supporter of splurging on things. In general, I believe that you get what you pay for, and I’d rather buy something once and have it last a long time than replace it over and over because I’m not getting the results I want. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule: I never buy expensive toilet paper, gardening tools, outdoor furniture, or nail polish remover.

For some reason, I just can’t get down with buying fancy remover. It’s not because it’s disposable, because I’ll easily spend $15 on a box of cookies, or that it’s just a silly beauty product, because duh, it’s not. I guess when it comes down to it, the thought of going anywhere other than the dollar store for a bottle of polish remover never really occurred to me in the first place.

I’ve written about my poor nail health before, and I’m still on a mission to find a product/routine that works for me, so I’ve been re-evaluating all things nail related in my life, and it finally clicked. Maybe using cheap, weak polish remover that I have to repetitively scrape my nails with to remove the glitter and colour is partially responsible for my sad cracked nails, or at least for my dry, hangnail-ridden nail beds. Maybe polish remover was the one cheap thing I should be splurging on this whole time!

Determined to see if fancy nail strippers really are worth the extra cost, I gathered up a few options and tested them out to see if they removed paint better than their cheaper counterparts. I used a super cute glitter polish with a pink base coat that I’d been wearing for about a week as my test subject to make sure the 3 products had the same challenge, and documented the results.

Quo Strengthening Nail Polish Remover, $7

The cheapest option on this list, Quo is cheaper than brand-name formulas, but more expensive than whatever is on offer at the dollar store. Though I’ve read a lot of positive reviews about this Canadian product (available only at Shoppers Drug Mart here in Canada), I don’t like it personally. It dries out the skin around my nails, and doesn’t take off normal nail polish very well at all. Most important, it’s completely useless on glitter polishes (even if I soak my nail in it for a couple minutes), which obviously doesn’t work for a glitter queen like me!

Formula X Delete All 5-Finger Nail Polish Remover, $14

I was worried this product would be scary strong and toxic, because when it arrived in the mail, it had somehow leaked, and had melted the lids of the Formula X polishes I ordered along with it. Scary right? When push comes to shove though, this stuff really works; it’s so much easier to stick my hand in the little foamy finger slots than to use a bunch of cotton wipes. It definitely dries out my nails and the surrounding skin, and doesn’t quite pull all of the glitter fragments off, but for the most part, it does a great job, and the remaining glitter is easy to just scratch off!

Deborah Lippmann The Stripper Lavender Nail Lacquer Remover, $19

This is the most expensive option on the list, and, wouldn't you know it, it ended up working the best. With a sweet, lavender scent that’s far less toxic than any other product I’ve ever used, The Stripper really does strip! With a few rubs of the cotton pad, my nails were totally in the clear--even the glitter was gone! This product also gets bonus points for the convenient push-top design. (It makes me feel like I’m in a nail salon OK?)

What nail polish remover works best for you? Any glitter-removal tips you want to share?