A Visual Ode to Nail Polish

I think a lot of people have that one thing they can’t seem to get enough of. Maybe it’s black boots, or pens, or comic books, but I think we all have at least a little something like that. For me it’s nail polish (and to a certain extent ribbon) I’ve tried to kick it, but I never have. I’m starting to think I need to give some of it away, or start a swap or something. I have shades that are so similar, only I and the manufacturer can tell the difference, but I love each of them. I like testing them on my fingers, matching them to outfits, and just taking them out and looking at the little bottles. When I was in high school I went through a phase of painting hair clips with nail polish, I was making art! Actually in high school I did use nail polish in art pieces. See how versatile nail polish can be?

It all started for me because I was a nail biter, painting my nails gave me a reason to break the habit. It’s difficult for me to walk past a beauty supply store without buying a new shade now. I rarely go to the nail salon, but when I do I am always disappointed that their collection isn’t as diverse as my own. I mix up my own shades when I can’t find the color I want (sometimes it works out, most of the time it’s messy), and I am constantly looking for new and interesting brands and hues. I know it is a luxury, but there are more expensive things to collect, and I found a beauty supply store where Essie is $5.99 and OPI is $6.99, not too bad.

For me painting my nails is ritualistic, before I lost my job, every Sunday night I would sit down, wipe off the polish from the week before, and choose a new color for the new week. There is something cathartic about it for me. I really enjoy painting my nails, it gives me at least an hour to do nothing because I have to let them dry. No multi-tasking, no work, no worries, just watch some mindless TV or listen to music, it’s an excuse to relax. Now I don’t paint my nails on Sunday if I don’t want to, but I still paint them every week even if most of the time I’ll be working from home.

In preparation for this post I dumped out all my polish and counted it, a little scared of the result, the final count was 64 not including nail art pens or base/top coat. Is it bad that I expected it to be a lot more?

In order to share my collection with you, my fiance and I spent some time playing with nail polish in the backyard yesterday. It makes for a good evening, except for the getting eaten by mosquitoes part.

I had to stand on a ladder to get this shot, scary.

Then we had some fun with vegetation.

Buddha got involved, he loves nail polish too.

And our cat Loki, he was super pissed he couldn’t knock over those polishes, that’s usually how he rolls.



Isn’t nail polish so pretty?

How can you not like something that comes in tiny colorful bottles?

Love those reds.

Whoa, those polish birds are hungry!

If only nail polish did grow on tree stumps.

This one is my favorite, it’s like Anne Geddes, only with nail polish instead of a terrified baby.

If you want to know any of the nail polish colors, leave a comment and I’ll let you know! Doing this post made me realize I don’t have nearly enough blue nail polish, I will definitely have to get on that. I mean I only have 64 right? Totally room for more.

I’d love to hear if other people have something that they just can’t help collecting. Beauty product or otherwise, let me know!


Filed under cosmetics

31 responses to “A Visual Ode to Nail Polish

  1. Megan

    Those photos are actually really beautiful. And the backyard is too! But now I want to squeeze me some Loki. And paint my nails green.

    • You must paint your nails green, and you know Loki is always available for squeezing. You should have seen him trying to knock over the nail polish through the screen—very amusing!

  2. wow u have loads!!!!

  3. sara

    i love your collection! i have an addiction to buying nail polish, too.
    have you ever tried water-marbling your nails? it takes forever, but the result is awesome. and it’s fun to mix the colors.

    • Oh, I haven’t tried that Sara, but now I’m going to have to! I am all up for any nail polish fun that can be had, remember that crackle nail polish from the 90’s? Loved that stuff!

  4. haren

    I think this is the best post yet. I love the pictures!

  5. vita lombardo

    I too love nail polish. I enjoy going to the nail salon and choosing a color. I usually choose a color to match my mood or a certain outfit.Looking at all the nail polishes is like being a kid in a candy store!

    • I’m just like a kid in a candy store too Vita! I am always that person standing there at the salon taking twenty minutes to decide on my color, so much fun!

  6. shelley

    great shots!
    why can’t they come up with little bottles, so we don’t have to load up on all the ones we only use once?
    maybe a nail polish exchange????

  7. I like the idea of a nail polish blog. I just had my gel nails removed (permanent french), so now I am back into the world of picking a nail polish color. I like putting little swatches of color on my nail to test it out and see what looks best with my skin tone. Aahhhh, the simple things that make a girl happy.

    • Chris, it’s true, just trying out colors on my nails can be so entertaining. I hope you enjoy your homecoming to the wonderful world of colorful polish!

  8. Carmela

    Justine, I love the blog. And the photos are great! I too can’t resist nail polish, but I sure don’t have 64 bottles. And I love doing my own nails, too. I get them done now and then, but actually prefer doing my own while watching mindless television. Keep up the great work.

  9. alison

    I love this!! I too am a nail polish fanatic, I was inspired by your blog counteto come home and check my nail polish inventory, 45 is my magic number, much like you I cannot pass a beauty supply store without popping in for some polish! Just today I discovered one on Chambers st, I found an amazing gold one from Essie called “shift power.” Justine, I really expected you to have atleast 100, better get back to the store! The other day I had a few girlfriends over and they were shocked at my polish collection, just as I was shocked to hear that they barely owned any. I happen to be blessed with a gorgeous soon to be sister in law who helps keeps my nail polish collection stocked. Love her.

  10. Da

    Great photos! Love the cat & hydrangia shots!

  11. Hi,
    What an amazing collection you have.
    And the way your arranged them – fantastic.
    You are so creative!!
    I love the table shot, it’s like wheel of fortune =)

  12. ellen

    I’ve stopped polishing but still can’t bring myself to throw out the polish. How long do you think they stay good to use? I’m going out tonight and just might take them out and reinvent their usefulness. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Thanks Ellen! Nail polish lasts for a while, but if it is really thick and goopy, obviously it might be past its prime. You can try adding a couple drops of nail polish remover to smooth it out, that seems to work sometimes. Happy polishing!

  13. oliveit

    AMAZING! I absolutely love the the photos!
    The vegetation photo is very cool- I would love to mix some of those colors for an nontraditional french manicure- great inspiration!

  14. Nan

    Justine, I have really enjoyed reading your blogs. i especially love your pics and art style, but also your sense of humor. it brightens my day!!!

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  16. lizzy

    my favorite is the nail polish birdies!

  17. joanne

    with the thousands of polish at the salon ..I find I’m “in heaven” too, but decided to splurge and treat myself every week to a new and different color…it’s my one luxury I refuse to give up…anyone know of a great “red” I haven’t tried yet?????

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  20. Stacee

    WOW! that is a lot of name polish. But i am proud to say that i am well on my way to having a collection like that! (I’m currently at 13, haha!) But honestly, i used to be a HORRIBLE nail biter and getting into the fun of nail art truly turned my nail biting habits around. Reading your story gave me extra hope =) MORE POLISH!

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