|Sally Hansen CSM Haute Chocolate|
|Such a gorgeous russet color!|
Bargains and Comparisons
I really enjoy comparing polishes, especially between the premium brands and the department/drug store brands. As one might expect, the premium brands like Dior and Chanel, particularly Chanel, are usually the first to come up with dramatically different colors that quickly become the much-copied new classics (Chanel Particuliere, anyone? Who else would have thought that mushroom would be a great nail color??? ) Fortunately for those of us on a budget, other polish manufacturers are quick to jump on a trend and provide alternatives that are — to quote the late, great Buffy, the Vampire Slayer — "stylish, yet affordable." Sometimes we bargain hunters really luck out and find that the dupe surpasses the original, but other times there's no discounting quality. Any time I've compared a butter LONDON polish, for example, it's always been the hands-down winner for both color, finish, and durability and at $14/bottle it's still a bargain compared to brands like Chanel and Dior, which typically sell for upwards of $23/bottle.
Naturally, there are nearly always subtle differences, like the hue of a shimmer or the fineness of a glitter or even the barest leaning toward a bluer/pinker/grayer tint, and sometimes that's what will be the make-it-or-break-it difference to the buyer. When I need a polish that's going to look good for a long time because I won't be able to change it for whatever reason, butter LONDON is always my go-to choice. I only have a few of their colors but it's enough to choose an appropriate color for any occasion. Because I usually change my polish every other day or so, I normally do quite well with a bargain brand.
If you live near a Sally Beauty Supply I recommend getting a Sally Card for the discounts. They carry the China Glaze, Orly, and Nina Ultra Pro lines and when a China Glaze limited edition collection expires they typically mark down the remainders to around $3. I'll usually grab a must-have color when they come out if I don't want to take a chance that it will sell out, but it's a great way to get the other colors I'd been on the fence about getting — if it sold out, it wasn't meant to be!