Review: Acquarella Water-Based Nail Polish in Wicked

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I don’t often paint my nails, partially because I tend to make a massive mess of my cuticles and partially because I hate the smell of nail polish and nail polish remover.

So when I heard about Acquarella, a water-based nail polish with a custom, no-stink remover, I was intrigued. I also liked that Acquarella is also made here in the United States, in Tuscon Arizona. When I saw that they offered the kind of dark green I like painting my nails, I decided to take the plunge and buy a bottle to try. I also purchased a bottle of their remover.

The price tag for the polish is a little steep: $16 per bottle, but at least shipping is free if you spend $25 or more. I ordered one bottle of nail polish and a full size bottle of Acquarella Nail Polish remover ($9), thus qualifying for free shipping. The color I purchased was “Wicked,”and I was quite pleased with the color of the polish I received.

When the package arrived, I was also pleased with the professional packaging of its contents. Nothing had leaked or broken, which I had been nervous about, as it included the liquid nail polish remover. I actually opened and sniffed the remover immediately, curious as to how it would smell. I was pleased to discover that while it does have an alcohol-like smell to it, it isn’t strong, stinky, or cloying in any way like acetone-based removers.

Here’s the sad news for you, ladies: Acquarella remover only works on their line of polishes and will not remove any other brand of nail polish. The good news, however, is that they have a line of 49 brilliant colors, including a wide range of bright, well-saturated colors, neutral tones and even translucent polishes.

These nail polishes are a great option for the chemically-sensitive person. There are no formaldehyde or formaldehyde-like derivatives, toluene, ketones, petrochemical solvents, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) or other phthalates, polyurethanes or polyurethane film-formers, parabens, camphor, gluten or wheat by-products, or aromatic hydrocarbons. The colorants do not include FD&C, mercury, lead, or coal tar (Lake). It’s a water-based acrylic emulsion, and it has minimal smell, especially when compared to standard nail polishes. The company points out on their website that their unique formula makes nail polish safely available to many, such as pregnant women, those with chemical sensitivities, and those with asthma.

Applying it went smoothly enough; the polish dries relatively quickly. Two coats was all I needed to get excellent depth of color out of the Wicked green polish. The bits that I got on my cuticles were very easy to remove with the edge of a pair of tweezers. Here’s the only downside: the instructions online and in the package recommend allowing the polish to set for at least eight hours. That means you can’t get it wet. I did have to wash my hands about a half hour after applying it, and the polish came off almost completely.

The second application, however, was allowed to set all night (I went to bed promptly after clearing the extra off my cuticles), and was able to withstand hand washing and breakfast preparation the next morning without issue. My nails looked great, and the polish held up pretty well, considering that I

Day Four, before removal

Day Four, before removal

didn’t use any kind of top coat, and I’m really rough on my nails. I garden, knit and cook, often using my nails as tools. The polish held up in great condition for two days, began chipping on day three, and had to be removed on day four, which is about average for polish longevity in my experience.

Removing the polish was easy enough; I doused cotton balls with the remover and gently rubbed off the remaining color. It took roughly 15-30 seconds per nail, with moderate pressure. It came off completely, leaving no residue. The scent was so minimal that the person sitting on the sofa next to me didn’t notice what I was doing until I was done. I also used only a tiny bit of nail polish remover, meaning that one bottle will likely last me a very long time.

Overall, I enthusiastically recommend this nail polish. The color saturation was excellent,. The metallic shine was subtle and pleasant under sunlight and artificial lighting. Although the curing time is long, if the polish is put on immediately before bed, this seems like a non-issue. It held up as well as mainstream polishes, and the lack of overpowering chemical stench made polishing my nails much less unpleasant. While $16 a bottle is pricey, some major nail polish companies charge similar prices, with many charging between $6 and $10 a bottle for a product made overseas. I think Acquarella’s nail polish is definitely worth a try! Interested readers can purchase it via the Acquarella website.


Feature Photo Credit: The Acquarella public Facebook page