I wasn’t sure what to call this post. I wanted to do a little round up of some nail brands I’ve been trying, liking but know aren’t as well known or readily available in the UK as other more mainstream brands. But then didn’t want to say ‘new’ because some of them aren’t that new. Others are established/well known in other countries but not here. Others are maybe just smaller brands that are more premium so not as widely known. So I settled on ‘lesser known’ to hopefully capture what I’m getting at. These are eight nail brands that I think are worth tracking down/hunting out and giving them a go.
Sure some of these might be ones you have heard of or already know, or even have tried. They’re not exactly ‘secrets’, just alternatives to the usual/easy to find Essie/OPI/Sally Hansen etc high street brands that you can find everywhere.
Smith & Cult * – This brand wins the award for the prettiest bottle in my opinion. I love the distorted chrome caps and the shades the brand has are just gorgeous. The one I’ve included here is a favourite of mine (from all my nail shades, not just these eight) and is a purple-y greige type shade. It’s called Doe My Dear and it’s a beaut. I’ve talked about Smith & Cult before so if you want a peek at some of the other shades take a look HERE. Or if you want to try the brand for yourself it’s available from Cult Beauty/Selfridges/Space NK now (£19 each)
Little Ondine * – There’s a few things that make the colours from Little Ondine special, one being that they’re formulated with ‘only natural elements’ which means no stinky polish issues. Plus no need for harsh chemical removers as the colours just peel off. They’re a step forward compared to other formulas that have offered that peel off result in the past. They don’t tend to peel off just as fast as they apply, which is ace. They even have some gorgeous glitter shades in there too. My favourite is this bright blue one though – called Bohemian. Forever a sucker for a blue. Available now from QVC (the brand was a joint winner for the ‘Find a Beauty brand’ competition you can read about HERE. (From £12)
Zoya * – A brand that always reminds me of when I first started blogging a that’s when I discovered it. It caught my eye because it was a brand with a really extensive rainbow of colours at a time when the vast majority of nail brands were limited to typical pinks and reds. I still have a shade from Zoya that’s a gorgeous purple duo chrome type shade that I’ve probably had for pushing 8 years now. Anyway, the brand is obviously not new but it isn’t one that’s all that easy to stumble across in the UK so I wanted to include here. Having just had a look it shows as being available online in a couple of places including Holland & Barrett (£11 each). There are two other notable things about Zoya, one (the shallow one) the bottles are really lovely. They just feel so smooth and lovely to hold. And two, they’re ‘big 5’ free (i.e. there’s no toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin or dibutyl phthalate in the formula).
Lottie London * – On the other end of the scale we have a pretty new brand, Lottie London. Which also on the other end of the scale seems to be available all over the place. But this one I wanted to include purely as a new brand that I think is a lot of fun. Not just nails, there’s also brushes and beauty tools. But it was the nails that caught my eye first. With the striped lids and swirly worded brand name combined with fun colours (and names like ‘Happy Hump Day’) all at an affordable price of £5.99 available from Superdrug/Feel Unique
Soigne Botanique *- There’s something about the packaging for Soigne Botanique Nails (Pronounced ‘swahn – yey’ ) that won me over immediately. It feels sophisticated and quite premium. Perhaps more premium than the price of £11 a bottle. Not bad really? I always like something that looks more expensive than it is. This brand is Parisien inspired and created in France, with upto 85% plant-sourced, natural ingredients. It’s a 5-free formula that is vegan friendly. Plus it looks fancy too. There’s a good range of colours from murky greens, dark navys to the typical reds and pinks. This is a great brand to try if you like muted slightly ‘murky’ cream colours over bright/pastel type shades as the majority have that sort of tone to them. I mean this in a good way, murky seems like a negative but I think those murky shades are quite sophisticated and stylish. Think khakis and trench coats. They’re available on their own website or from Birchbox (as singles or in sets of three) from £11.
Nailed London Gel Wear * – A London brand from Rosie Fortescue (from Made in Chelsea now turned Fashion Blogger) there are 28 shades in the range and whilst that might not seem as vast as other ranges it really does have a huge selection. Personally, I LOVE the shades from this brand – as it’s full of gorgeous bright blues, greys and pale pastels. All the sorts of shades I have a thing for. The one shown here is called Stormy Violets and it’s what I’ve had on my hands this week and I love it. I’ve been in a bit of a cream colour phase but this metallic one has busted me right out of that. A purple/blue hybrid colour that applied like a dream. This is definitely a brand to check out. They’re available from Harvey Nichols and at a reasonable £8 a bottle.
Rococo Nail Apparel * – This is a premium nail brand that has been around for a while, but there’s still every chance you may not have stumbled across it before so wanted to add in. It was available in Space NK (although at the moment it’s not listing so there’s every chance it might not be there for much longer…) and online at HQ Hair, but I feel like it’s a brand that unless you’re really into your nail colours there’s every chance this one wouldn’t have come to your attention before. This brand first caught my eye when it had it’s gold leaf shade out – VERY premium (£35 – on sale at HQ Hair for £21 at the moment…) as it contained REAL GOLD. They have an RRP of £12 but currently on sale on HQ Hair… I wonder if maybe the brand is going through some changes as the availability seems to have dropped and lots of reduced prices… time will tell, but I’d still recommend getting your hands on a shade if you can as they’re really great.
OFAT (Only Fingers And Toes) * – Another British brand that has something special about it. Combining a luxury approach with a five free formula and a lot of other positive messages (sustainability, supporting projects for vulnerable women in the UK and US) AND being fashion focussed working with a number of catwalk LFW shows It combines a lot to make an interesting brand with some great shades in there. A couple of cool things that Only Fingers And Toes also does – gifting is it’s specialty, with multi-polish boxes (up to 24 in one box) on sale. Plus they also offer little sample bottles of a selection of shades, so you can spend a little (£5) to trial the quality/formula before you invest in a full size version. I like this and think it shows confidence in their product. Downside is it’s only three of the shades on offer, but perhaps this will extend over time. Available online on their website for £16 a bottle.
Now I’m sure you will have heard of or tried some of these nail brands, but hopefully there’s one you maybe haven’t heard of or maybe you have but not tried yet that this might tempt you to… If you have tried any of these brands I’d love to hear what you think in the comments!
*PR sample or gift