What are the best nail polish brands under $10?

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Answered by: Nicole, An Expert in the About Nails Category
When you have over three hundred bottles of nail polish like I do, you tend to notice patterns within the best nail polish brands. I've recently found myself gravitating toward the Zoya brand of polishes.

Founded by a married couple in 1986, Zoya polishes have always adhered to the best standards of quality both in pigmentation and in ingredients. Long before nail polish manufacturers were required to be “three free” (eliminating Dibutyl Phthalate, Toluene, and Formaldehyde from their formulas), Zoya adapted a “five free” formulation (also removing Formaldehyde Resin, and Camphor). In doing so, the Zoya brand proved its commitment to protecting the health and safety of its customers, as well as the beauty professionals who use these materials daily.

Zoya offers a variety of textures and finishes including sheer, jelly, crème, metallic, matte, and duochrome. When ordering polish from their easy-to-use online store, each polish has a one to five rating for opacity (sheerest to most opaque) as well as a finish and tone rating. For those who simply must see a sample of the polish in person, Zoya offers “sample spoons” for the low price of $0.50 each. The spoons are small plastic pieces, brushed with two coats of your chosen polish.

Two to five new collections premiere each season, reflecting trends in fashion, color, and texture. Fall collections are released in conjunction with New York Fashion Week and have included my favorite colors from the “Diva” collection—rich jewel tones in a foil metallic finish. The polishes in the Diva group are supreme for use in a number of nail art techniques including stamping and water-marbling.

Zoya’s most recent innovation is its “Pixie Dust” finish. With a raised, slightly rough matte texture and dense glitter content, the Pixie Dust polishes bring a 3D element to manicures not usually found in nail art. The sand-like texture is incredibly popular among nail enthusiasts and professional stylists who often feature Zoya polishes on celebrity clients and on the fashion runway. The “Fleck Effect” top coats introduce an iridescent Mylar glitter that resembles glass shards. Zoya was the first to offer such a polish, now commonly referred to as “flakie” glitter and a popular offering among most commercial brands.

The two newest seasonal releases from Zoya include the “Awaken” collection and the “Monet” Special Effect top coat. The Awaken polishes are variations on the traditional pastels expected of spring, with punched-up saturation and intensity. “Hudson” is my favorite from the set; a cool-toned vivid lilac with a metallic finish and dense silver micro-glitter. It looks great on its own, or paired with Zoya’s other spring 2014 release, “Monet.” Monet is a rainbow of pastel cellophane glitters suspended in a sheer pink jelly base. Including a variety of sizes of hexagon glitter, Monet adds a dimensionality to any polish when used as a top coat, and is also lovely layered on its own.

Zoya’s business ethics and customer service are unparalleled, firmly seating them as one of the best nail polish brands available. And at $8-10 per bottle, buyers get a fantastic bargain for a high-quality product. In addition to nail polishes, Zoya offers nail care supplies in their “QTICA” brand, featured prominently in spas, as well as lip glosses and aromatherapy products. Zoya and QTICA can be found online at zoya.com, as well as in stores and salons.

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