Coloring Outside the Lines; This Crayola Nail Polish Is Not The Ish

Children have child-sized nails, and require even less nail polish to cover the surface area of those nails. If you want to get technical about it.
Publish date:
July 16, 2012
nail polish, manicures, mariannicures, negative reviews make me feel guilty

It’s not that I consider myself Julie’s stylistic polar opposite or anything. That would be silly, because Julie reviews great products. But I do think there are different kinds of beauty and different approaches -- so when Julie posted about the Crayola mini polishes that are now available online, and said she couldn’t get behind the cute, I was ready to step up and champion the tiny bottles of crayon-inspired polishes.

Some of that impulse might be an urge to root for the underdog -- because I am a fan of the underdog. But mostly, the real truth is that I’m a knee-jerk objector to beauty rules. I hate feeling boxed in by other people’s expectations, and -- hey, it’s a character flaw I am willing to own--– there is no surer way to make me want to do something than to tell me I can’t do it. Not that Julie was telling me I wasn’t allowed to like these polishes.

Still, I went online, placed my order, and waited with no small amount of impatience.

This makes me crave actual crayons.

I’m predictable about this stuff if nothing else.

Ordering polish online is a great money saver, usually. I order fairly often from 8ty8 Beauty and the savings has helped me justify a whole bunch of purchases. This set sells at Fred Flare for a whopping 12 bucks, but I couldn’t find it anywhere else for cheaper. I had a free shipping code, so I went all hand to forehead and bought them anyway. The cost breaks down to $1.50 for each of these itsy bitsy bottles.

The packaging really is charming -- though mine was a bit roughed up by whoever packaged my order (or maybe by whoever pulled the stock in the first place). The 8 bottles come in a plastic tray that slots into a box designed like the classic Crayola crayon box. I mean, that’s cute.

Cute but not a practical way to store anything, so a big chunk of the cute factor gets trashed upon receipt.

Tiny bottles (not in the wine) make me happy.

The bottles really are miniscule. Like, I have mini bottles from Orly and China Glaze and they are bigger than this. Generally speaking, I prefer mini bottles because I almost never finish a full-sized bottle of polish. But these are a little ridiculous. If, to make a comparison that reveals how hungry I am right now, a regular mini bottle of polish is a small order of hot and delicious French fries with the perfect amount of salt on them, then these are the even smaller order that comes with a Happy Meal.

That’s not terrible, if you’re talking about giving these to kids. Children have child-sized nails, and require even less nail polish to cover the surface area of those nails. If you want to get technical about it. I mean, there’s something to the argument that children, not being as practiced at manicures, would actually go through more nail polish because of messy application.

Which is not to cast all children as sloppy nail artists.

My point is that you are probably only going to get a couple of manicures out of each bottle of this stuff.

Don't feel inadequate, tiny bottle!

If you even get that much. Because, completely apart from the marketing, these nail polishes are not what I would consider to be really good quality. There are 8 colors, like I said. But one of them, at least in my set, had a goopy formula as well as a totally jacked up brush that made application a pain in the ass.

These polishes are not going to make anyone feel expensive.

That said, I am a little obsessed with the purple in this collection. The dark blue and the red are also fairly hot stuff. Though you can clearly see my visible nail line after two coats of the blue.

The glitters are just about bog standard cheap glitters. The metallic orange and the pink are so sheer as to be useless in almost every way.

In fact, these are not highly pigmented in general, even the colors I really like. That does make them excellent for gradient manicures -- but the lack of product means using them for gradients would be kind of counterproductive.

I had to use this China Glaze to make my thumb nail orange.

(Skittles nails just always make me think of Dexter now. I promise, my fingertips are not dismembered.)

Look, special packaging is neat. I am totally MAC’s beck and call girl when it comes to limited edition, themed collections and I love my Disney Villians packaged stuff. But there is only so much I am willing to pay for packaging (and it isn't a lot), no matter what the product. The shit inside has to work. That is what makes me hand over my debit card.

For $12, I was willing to take a gamble, but you will be better served going the old-fashioned Wet&Wild product route unless you are a Crayola collector. In which case, you aren’t using these polishes anyway so much as dusting them off on a regular basis in their place of honor on your shelf.

As cute as the packaging is, I still hesitate to pass these on to a little femme. I hate to give away product I don’t enjoy using. So I’ll probably keep these and use the bottles for frankening up some new colors (that will possibly be terrible because I am awful at frankening).

In the end, these don’t fail because they are cheap; these polishes fail because they flat out aren’t as good as the crayons they take their names from. Though they do succeed in one way: I’m hella nostalgic for a coloring book right now.