I may be a rare breed amongst women, but I have never been one to enjoy doing my nails. I think this stems from the fact that I am not overly enthusiastic about my hands in general, and hence my nails are just those things stuck on the ends of my fingers. I have long fingers and large hands...hands that were born to play the piano, effortlessly reaching an octave. Unfortunately my brain failed to realize my potential and sad to say I will never play Carnegie Hall, (but I do a mean rendition of Heart and Soul). I also suffer from eczema that leaves my skin very dry and has damaged the nail beds of my thumbs so that those two particular digit coverings suffer from ridges. With all this going for me, I have simply chosen not to draw any more attention to myself by adding a very poorly applied nail polish.
Recommend this product?
Now having said all that, I do use polish from time to time for job interviews, weddings, and the like. My husband, who has yet to take notice of a new hair style without being hit over the head first, always notices when I use polish, and from the peculiar look on his face I deduct that he finds my efforts amusing. However, I have been very encouraged by reading the reviews of pbyaeger and elorraine, who make nail polish sound utterly provocative and enticing. So with no particular place to go, I decided to take my time to get this manicure business right.
Let the Competition Begin...
Currently residing in the bathroom drawer we have several light shades of the Revlon Top Speed and a bottle of Almay One Coat. Note that they were both carefully selected for similar reasons. The Top Speed dries in 60 seconds, and is Formaldehyde and Toulene free, the bottle suggests applying two coats. The Almay clocks in at 90 seconds, claims to be 100% fragrance free, non-irritating, and has been clinically, dermatologist and allergy tested. It also contains vitamins A, E, and Biotin.
Like the name suggests, the Almay provides double the colour protection in one easy coat. Fast drying time is very important to me, the quicker the product dries the less chance I have of mucking it up. With four kids I can’t loll around the couch waving my hands in the air waiting for my nails to set. Try telling a two year old to make his own breakfast.
But I digress. Now to make this fair, I prepare both hands and all ten nails in the same manner. I know...what a challenge! Nails are filed, cuticles pushed back, everyone involved is clean and dry as possible. I am ready and determined that this time I will not slip and paint my fingertips and cuticles too.
I start with the Almay, and despite being fragrance free it does smell like all nail polishes when wet. Like the Top Speed this comes in a round bottle which I understand is a good thing so that the bottle can be rolled between you hands instead of shaken (thanks Erika!...caleo.epinions.com/beat-review-6C-180C550C-3A16B970-prod2). The polish goes on smoothly and appears to level out on its own accord. I wait the recommended 90 seconds and sure enough it is dry. It is interesting to note that when the One Coat dries, the nail polish odour vanishes. No need to touch and risk damaging the polish, just take a quick whiff.
Now for the Revlon Top Speed. It has a similar consistency, not too thick, not too thin. I could get away with one coat of this, which is what I prefer (second coats are usually a disaster for me). The lines left by the brush are slightly visible; it is definitely not as smooth and “professional” looking as the Almay. A light odour remains even when it is dry, but you would certainly not clear a room with it. True to the name the first coat does dry in record time.
In the interest of good scientific practice, I apply a second coat of Revlon after the 60 seconds have expired. The results are not pretty and I end up with a tacky mess. I tried again ten minutes later and the results were much better. The second coat flowed on and helped to smooth out some of the fine lines left by the brush. I found though, that the second needs more time to dry thoroughly. Though dry to a gentle touch, I managed to dent and tear it some ten minutes later, suggesting to me that it remained soft underneath.
And the winner is...
Both brands are closely priced so that money is not a deciding factor here. Both lasted the same amount of time, remaining perfect looking for about a day and a half before the rigors of working and mothering took their toll. For my needs, though, I find I prefer the Almay One Coat hands down. The final finish was smooth, and relatively streak free. As I struggle for perfection and have little time or patience to get this nail polish thing just right, I prefer the ease at which this polish set. I am left with a finished, opaque look in just one, easy application.
I prefer clear to light colours on my nails, and there are lovely shades to choose from here. The selection is not nearly as plentiful as the Revlon line however, and those who prefer colour and lots of choice will be much happier with this well known brand name.
So where the Almay receives a five star rating, the Revlon ranks in slightly lower at four. It is still a very good polish: the bottle is right, the price is right, the first coat coverage is perfectly acceptable, and the colour choices are spectacular. I would not hesitate to recommend it to connoisseur and klutz alike. If you go for the second coat leave enough time for it to dry to a tough finish, or try the hair dryer and ice set methods.
Both products are available in a variety of retail settings. At drugstore.com the Almay One Coat is currently available for $3.99 with a choice of five colours, and the Revlon Top Speed (regularly priced at $4.82) is now on sale for $3.29 with a choice of 39 colours.
Read all comments (5)