Let’s start with the most polarizing element – the quirky colourways. From pumpkin to cinnamon to olive to sludgey grey, they are likely to call your name if you usually hate nail polish (too prissy, too girly, too ‘done’) or if you really love it (and have considered camping outside of DJs for Chanel’s infamously trendy Le Vernis releases). As one who has a standing weekly date with herself for an at-home mani, but rarely strays away from the usual pinks and reds, I was outside of my comfort zone, though completely intrigued. Relic, like a pale butternut soup, would look utterly gorgeous on a deep skintone, though did nothing to flatter my own sallow skin. I couldn’t stop staring at my nails the entire time I had it on, though. Hepworth, which I wore over the Easter weekend, looked, appropriately and deliciously enough, like I had dipped my fingers into melted milk chocolate, and would be just right for everyday wear, without feeling stale. My favourite, Carob, went on like gleaming, intense espresso, and was elegant while still being unexpected. All three colours I tested were highly pigmented, creamy and opaque. Also, the packaging is beautiful, down to the beveled white cardboard box with sparse black type that each flat, rectangular bottle comes in.
The polishes claim to be non-toxic and specifically ‘seven-free’, in that J. Hannah chooses to exclude from its formula some chemicals that either used to be or are still commonly found in nail polish products – dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, toluene, formaldehyde resin, camphor, ethyl tosylamide and xylene.
I tested the polishes with a standard (not ‘seven-free’) base and top coat, and found it took about three days before wear started to show at the tips of my nails, versus the five or six days without wear I get when I use a standard colour between the same base and top coat. It will depend how often you like to paint your nails, or how quickly you get bored with one colour and want to switch it up, as to whether this will annoy you or not.
Realistically, the technology is just not there yet for a ‘seven-free’ polish to have the same wear as a traditional formula. Which element of that fact matters most to you – whether you want to exclude those particular chemicals, or to have a longer wearing product – will ultimately determine whether you think J. Hannah polishes are worth their top-end price point.
Most importantly, it seems we finally have a luxe nail polish range truly made for all skin tones. After aeons of the beauty industry standard that ‘nude’ equals shell pink, this is a welcome and much needed addition. And regardless of one’s skin tone, if you are more daring with your approach to style and looking for chic, fashion-forward shades, you will be especially impressed by this line.