Tuesday, December 11th, 2012


Say Hello to Indie Nail Polish

“Indie” nail polish is a category of brands that are independently-owned and operated, and generally, have a smaller distribution. They are small businesses with big ideas and are full of passion. They’re not brands you’ll find at Nordstrom, Sephora, or your local drugstore (but maybe, one day, you will). One brand we’ve featured in the past is Cult Nails, but we haven’t delved too deeply into the world of indie brands when it’s come to nail polish. (Though, there are “indie” brands that have larger distribution and more brand recognition that are still technically “indie,” as they’re independently-owned and operated (and may be considerably smaller than polish giants like China Glaze and Essie) but may have a more traditional corporate structure.)

This niche is pushing boundaries, experimenting, and making nail polish, in and of itself, an art form. I think the push and rush of glitter polishes in the past six months by major brands is a result of the rise of indie polish shops. A year ago, when I searched for “nail lacquer” on Etsy, there were only a handful of sellers. Try that search today, and you’ll be overwhelmed with options!

Availability of brands, shades, and stock are on the rise, which has finally made it a topic we can start to touch on, but be prepared to do a little battle, perhaps some stalking, and have your money at the ready. It’s tough to review indie polish, because by the time I can buy it, receive it, and test it? It was already sold out hours after I bought it! But the brands are getting better at preparing stock levels, restocking, and making their polish more and more available. Today, I’m featuring fifteen shades from four brands that I’ve tried:

  • Enchanted Polish is available through their own website (but there’s nothing in stock at the moment) and also Harlow & Co., which has very limited stock at the moment. Pricing ranges between $13.00 and $15.00 per bottle. This particular brand features many holographic and special effect layering polishes.  Three shades were sent to me for potential review, and all three were very transformative.  Those who like holographic, multi-faceted polishes will want to check out this range. The formula wasn’t too thick or too thin, though it was slightly thinner than the average polish. Ola Rio was my favorite of the three.
  • KBShimmer is available through their own website for U.S. orders (use Harlow & Co. for international orders) and currently has 34 shades available, including many holiday-themed polishes. Each polish is $8.75, and shipping is calculated based on weight–I purchased nine shades and shipping was $5.15. What I like about KBShimmer’s polishes is that they don’t have the more typical thickness of glitter-packed polishes. Some shades are opaque on their own, while others are designed to be layered over something else.  I was particularly impressed by Candy Cane Crush, which also smelled of peppermint. It was all very first-grade, scratch ‘n’ sniff sticker for me–in the best kind of way.  Sugar Plum Faerie is beautiful on its own or layered.
  • Lacquistry is sold via Etsy, and there are, currently, eight shades from the holiday collection still available for sale. Each shade retails for $8.75, exclusive of shipping ($3.00 for the first bottle, then $0.50 for each additional bottle; international is $6.50 for the first bottle and $1.00 for each additional bottle). You can keep up with restocks for the holiday collection as well as future shade releases and updates through Lacquistry’s Facebook page–I was totally stalking the Facebook page when I was waiting to buy from the holiday collection! Lacquistry’s polishes are typically best as layering shades, so it’s about finding the right base color to make each polish sing. The first Lacquistry polish I ever purchased and used was Faux Fir, this past February.  Can-Berries works well on its own or layered; it has a very jelly-ish look by itself.
  • Lynnderella is available via eBay, and each bottle retails for $20.00 (or $22.50 each, inclusive of shipping) for most permanent and seasonal offerings (all limited edition shades are available auction-style). The brand looks to have 55 different shades currently available, including a 14-piece Halloween collection and 14-piece holiday collection most recently launched (all shades are available individually as well as sold in partial and full lots). Lynnderella could definitely be considered one of the first to the scene, and there were some bumps in the road but it looks like those kinks have been sorted out, and they’ve figured it out.  This brand currently has good availability in stock. I remember when I saw Brooke swatch Connect the Dots, which made me sit up and go, “What? What did I just see?” which led me on a hunt to find it, and it was from there I discovered Lacquistry, via Etsy, when I started wondering who else was making their own polish.  It might just be me, but I loved the way Undead Red looked over SpaRitual Lithographic.  There was a great mix of Halloween-hued bits and pieces in Witch Cauldron Was It? that looked fantastic over black.

This post is an overview of a very small selection of what’s available on the market.  Most of these you should be able to find–some with more effort than others–and it is my hope to find more ways to showcase these interesting polish brands in the future.  When shopping niche brands, shop smart – make sure you read their policies, read reviews, and do your research. I’ve never been burned, but I did purchase dozens of bottles from one shop that then disappeared overnight (I received mine but many others, unfortunately, did not)! I definitely am hoping to buy from Crows Toes, Dollish, Hare, and more in the future!

P.S. — You might need to be patient, as there are over 100 photos in this single post.

See more photos & swatches!

Enchanted Polish Magical Mystery Tour Nail Lacquer
Enchanted Polish Magical Mystery Tour Nail Lacquer

Enchanted Polish Magical Mystery Tour Nail Lacquer
Enchanted Polish Magical Mystery Tour Nail Lacquer

Enchanted Polish Magical Mystery Tour Nail Lacquer
Enchanted Polish Magical Mystery Tour Nail Lacquer

Enchanted Polish Magical Mystery Tour Nail Lacquer
Enchanted Polish Magical Mystery Tour Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Color Club Style Icon, one coat Illamasqua Boosh, two coats alone)

Enchanted Polish Magical Mystery Tour Nail Lacquer
Enchanted Polish Magical Mystery Tour Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Color Club Style Icon, one coat Illamasqua Boosh, two coats alone)

Enchanted Polish Magical Mystery Tour Nail Lacquer
Enchanted Polish Magical Mystery Tour Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Color Club Style Icon, one coat Illamasqua Boosh, two coats alone)

Enchanted Polish Magical Mystery Tour Nail Lacquer
Enchanted Polish Magical Mystery Tour Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Color Club Style Icon, one coat Illamasqua Boosh, two coats alone)

Enchanted Polish Ola Rio Nail Lacquer
Enchanted Polish Ola Rio Nail Lacquer

Enchanted Polish Ola Rio Nail Lacquer
Enchanted Polish Ola Rio Nail Lacquer

Enchanted Polish Ola Rio Nail Lacquer
Enchanted Polish Ola Rio Nail Lacquer

Enchanted Polish Ola Rio Nail Lacquer
Enchanted Polish Ola Rio Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Color Club Style Icon, one coat Illamasqua Boosh, two coats alone)

Enchanted Polish Ola Rio Nail Lacquer
Enchanted Polish Ola Rio Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Color Club Style Icon, one coat Illamasqua Boosh, two coats alone)

Enchanted Polish Ola Rio Nail Lacquer
Enchanted Polish Ola Rio Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Color Club Style Icon, one coat Illamasqua Boosh, two coats alone)

Enchanted Polish Ola Rio Nail Lacquer
Enchanted Polish Ola Rio Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Color Club Style Icon, one coat Illamasqua Boosh, two coats alone)

Enchanted Polish Ola Rio Nail Lacquer
Enchanted Polish Ola Rio Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Color Club Style Icon, one coat Illamasqua Boosh, two coats alone)

Enchanted Polish Ola Rio Nail Lacquer
Enchanted Polish Ola Rio Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Color Club Style Icon, one coat Illamasqua Boosh, two coats alone)

Enchanted Polish Ola Rio Nail Lacquer
Enchanted Polish Ola Rio Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Color Club Style Icon, one coat Illamasqua Boosh, two coats alone)

Enchanted Polish Secret Sauce Nail Lacquer
Enchanted Polish Secret Sauce Nail Lacquer

Enchanted Polish Secret Sauce Nail Lacquer
Enchanted Polish Secret Sauce Nail Lacquer

Enchanted Polish Secret Sauce Nail Lacquer
Enchanted Polish Secret Sauce Nail Lacquer

Enchanted Polish Secret Sauce Nail Lacquer
Enchanted Polish Secret Sauce Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Color Club Style Icon, one coat Illamasqua Boosh, two coats alone)

Enchanted Polish Secret Sauce Nail Lacquer
Enchanted Polish Secret Sauce Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Color Club Style Icon, one coat Illamasqua Boosh, two coats alone)

Enchanted Polish Secret Sauce Nail Lacquer
Enchanted Polish Secret Sauce Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Color Club Style Icon, one coat Illamasqua Boosh, two coats alone)

Enchanted Polish Secret Sauce Nail Lacquer
Enchanted Polish Secret Sauce Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Color Club Style Icon, one coat Illamasqua Boosh, two coats alone)

Enchanted Polish Secret Sauce Nail Lacquer
Enchanted Polish Secret Sauce Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Color Club Style Icon, one coat Illamasqua Boosh, two coats alone)

KBShimmer Bejeweled Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Bejeweled Nail Lacquer

KBShimmer Bejeweled Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Bejeweled Nail Lacquer

KBShimmer Bejeweled Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Bejeweled Nail Lacquer

KBShimmer Bejeweled Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Bejeweled Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone on thumb/pinky, one coat over CoverGirl Constant Caribbean)

KBShimmer Bejeweled Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Bejeweled Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone on thumb/pinky, one coat over CoverGirl Constant Caribbean)

KBShimmer Bejeweled Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Bejeweled Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone on thumb/pinky, one coat over CoverGirl Constant Caribbean)

KBShimmer Bejeweled Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Bejeweled Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone on thumb/pinky, one coat over CoverGirl Constant Caribbean)

KBShimmer Bejeweled Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Bejeweled Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone on thumb/pinky, one coat over CoverGirl Constant Caribbean)

KBShimmer Candy Cane Crush Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Candy Cane Crush Nail Lacquer

KBShimmer Candy Cane Crush Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Candy Cane Crush Nail Lacquer

KBShimmer Candy Cane Crush Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Candy Cane Crush Nail Lacquer

KBShimmer Candy Cane Crush Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Candy Cane Crush Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone on thumb/pinky, one coat over Color Club Fashion Moment)

KBShimmer Candy Cane Crush Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Candy Cane Crush Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone on thumb/pinky, one coat over Color Club Fashion Moment)

KBShimmer Candy Cane Crush Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Candy Cane Crush Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone on thumb/pinky, one coat over Color Club Fashion Moment)

KBShimmer Sugar Plum Faerie Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Sugar Plum Faerie Nail Lacquer

KBShimmer Sugar Plum Faerie Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Sugar Plum Faerie Nail Lacquer

KBShimmer Sugar Plum Faerie Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Sugar Plum Faerie Nail Lacquer

KBShimmer Sugar Plum Faerie Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Sugar Plum Faerie Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone on thumb/pinky, one coat over L’Oreal The Queen’s Might)

KBShimmer Sugar Plum Faerie Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Sugar Plum Faerie Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone on thumb/pinky, one coat over L’Oreal The Queen’s Might)

KBShimmer Sugar Plum Faerie Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Sugar Plum Faerie Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone on thumb/pinky, one coat over L’Oreal The Queen’s Might)

KBShimmer Sugar Plum Faerie Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Sugar Plum Faerie Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone on thumb/pinky, one coat over L’Oreal The Queen’s Might)

KBShimmer Sugar Plum Faerie Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Sugar Plum Faerie Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone on thumb/pinky, one coat over L’Oreal The Queen’s Might)

KBShimmer Sugar Plum Faerie Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Sugar Plum Faerie Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone on thumb/pinky, one coat over L’Oreal The Queen’s Might)

KBShimmer Wrappers' Delight Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Wrappers’ Delight Nail Lacquer

KBShimmer Wrappers' Delight Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Wrappers’ Delight Nail Lacquer

KBShimmer Wrappers' Delight Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Wrappers’ Delight Nail Lacquer

KBShimmer Wrappers' Delight Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Wrappers’ Delight Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone on thumb/pinky, one coat over L’Oreal Drop Dead Gorgeous)

KBShimmer Wrappers' Delight Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Wrappers’ Delight Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone on thumb/pinky, one coat over L’Oreal Drop Dead Gorgeous)

KBShimmer Wrappers' Delight Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Wrappers’ Delight Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone on thumb/pinky, one coat over L’Oreal Drop Dead Gorgeous)

KBShimmer Wrappers' Delight Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Wrappers’ Delight Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone on thumb/pinky, one coat over L’Oreal Drop Dead Gorgeous)

KBShimmer Wrappers' Delight Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Wrappers’ Delight Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone on thumb/pinky, one coat over L’Oreal Drop Dead Gorgeous)

KBShimmer Wrappers' Delight Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Wrappers’ Delight Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone on thumb/pinky, one coat over L’Oreal Drop Dead Gorgeous)

KBShimmer Wrappers' Delight Nail Lacquer
KBShimmer Wrappers’ Delight Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone on thumb/pinky, one coat over L’Oreal Drop Dead Gorgeous)

Lacquistry Can-Berries Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry Can-Berries Nail Lacquer

Lacquistry Can-Berries Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry Can-Berries Nail Lacquer

Lacquistry Can-Berries Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry Can-Berries Nail Lacquer

Lacquistry Can-Berries Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry Can-Berries Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Color Club Style Icon, one coat Illamasqua Boosh, two coats alone)

Lacquistry Can-Berries Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry Can-Berries Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Color Club Style Icon, one coat Illamasqua Boosh, two coats alone)

Lacquistry Can-Berries Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry Can-Berries Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Color Club Style Icon, one coat Illamasqua Boosh, two coats alone)

Lacquistry Can-Berries Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry Can-Berries Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Color Club Style Icon, one coat Illamasqua Boosh, two coats alone)

Lacquistry Can-Berries Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry Can-Berries Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Color Club Style Icon, one coat Illamasqua Boosh, two coats alone)

Lacquistry In a Pear Tree Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry In a Pear Tree Nail Lacquer

Lacquistry In a Pear Tree Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry In a Pear Tree Nail Lacquer

Lacquistry In a Pear Tree Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry In a Pear Tree Nail Lacquer

Lacquistry In a Pear Tree Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry In a Pear Tree Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Color Club Style Icon, one coat Illamasqua Boosh, two coats alone)

Lacquistry In a Pear Tree Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry In a Pear Tree Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Color Club Style Icon, one coat Illamasqua Boosh, two coats alone)

Lacquistry In a Pear Tree Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry In a Pear Tree Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Color Club Style Icon, one coat Illamasqua Boosh, two coats alone)

Lacquistry In a Pear Tree Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry In a Pear Tree Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Color Club Style Icon, one coat Illamasqua Boosh, two coats alone)

Lacquistry In a Pear Tree Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry In a Pear Tree Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Color Club Style Icon, one coat Illamasqua Boosh, two coats alone)

Lacquistry Jacked Frost Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry Jacked Frost Nail Lacquer

Lacquistry Jacked Frost Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry Jacked Frost Nail Lacquer

Lacquistry Jacked Frost Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry Jacked Frost Nail Lacquer

Lacquistry Jacked Frost Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry Jacked Frost Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Illamasqua Boosh, over two coats Illamasqua Elope)

Lacquistry Jacked Frost Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry Jacked Frost Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone, over one coat Illamasqua Boosh, over two coats Illamasqua Elope)

Lacquistry Jacked Frost Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry Jacked Frost Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Illamasqua Boosh, over two coats Illamasqua Elope)

Lacquistry Jacked Frost Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry Jacked Frost Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Illamasqua Boosh, over two coats Illamasqua Elope)

Lacquistry Jacked Frost Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry Jacked Frost Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone)

Lacquistry Jacked Frost Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry Jacked Frost Nail Lacquer
(over one coat Illamasqua Boosh, over two coats Illamasqua Elope)

Lacquistry Whadya Gelt for Hanukkah Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry Whadya Gelt for Hanukkah Nail Lacquer

Lacquistry Whadya Gelt for Hanukkah Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry Whadya Gelt for Hanukkah Nail Lacquer

Lacquistry Whadya Gelt for Hanukkah Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry Whadya Gelt for Hanukkah Nail Lacquer

Lacquistry Whadya Gelt for Hanukkah Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry Whadya Gelt for Hanukkah Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone, over two coats of China Glaze Hanging in the Balance)

Lacquistry Whadya Gelt for Hanukkah Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry Whadya Gelt for Hanukkah Nail Lacquer
(over two coats of China Glaze Hanging in the Balance)

Lacquistry Whadya Gelt for Hanukkah Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry Whadya Gelt for Hanukkah Nail Lacquer
(over two coats of China Glaze Hanging in the Balance)

Lacquistry Whadya Gelt for Hanukkah Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry Whadya Gelt for Hanukkah Nail Lacquer
(over two coats of China Glaze Hanging in the Balance)

Lacquistry Whadya Gelt for Hanukkah Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry Whadya Gelt for Hanukkah Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone)

Lacquistry Whadya Gelt for Hanukkah Nail Lacquer
Lacquistry Whadya Gelt for Hanukkah Nail Lacquer
(over two coats of China Glaze Hanging in the Balance)

Lynnderella Undead Red Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella Undead Red Nail Lacquer

Lynnderella Undead Red Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella Undead Red Nail Lacquer

Lynnderella Undead Red Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella Undead Red Nail Lacquer

Lynnderella Undead Red Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella Undead Red Nail Lacquer
(over two coats of SpaRitual Lithographic)

Lynnderella Undead Red Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella Undead Red Nail Lacquer
(over two coats of SpaRitual Lithographic)

Lynnderella Undead Red Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella Undead Red Nail Lacquer
(over two coats of SpaRitual Lithographic)

Lynnderella Undead Red Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella Undead Red Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone)

Lynnderella VamPink Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella VamPink Nail Lacquer

Lynnderella VamPink Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella VamPink Nail Lacquer

Lynnderella VamPink Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella VamPink Nail Lacquer

Lynnderella VamPink Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella VamPink Nail Lacquer
(over two coats of SpaRitual Slate)

Lynnderella VamPink Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella VamPink Nail Lacquer
(over two coats of SpaRitual Slate)

Lynnderella VamPink Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella VamPink Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone)

Lynnderella VamPink Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella VamPink Nail Lacquer
(over two coats of SpaRitual Slate)

Lynnderella VamPink Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella VamPink Nail Lacquer(over two coats of SpaRitual Slate)

Lynnderella Very Witchy Business Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella Very Witchy Business Nail Lacquer

Lynnderella Very Witchy Business Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella Very Witchy Business Nail Lacquer

Lynnderella Very Witchy Business Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella Very Witchy Business Nail Lacquer

Lynnderella Very Witchy Business Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella Very Witchy Business Nail Lacquer
(over two coats of Zoya Logan)

Lynnderella Very Witchy Business Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella Very Witchy Business Nail Lacquer
(over two coats of Zoya Logan)

Lynnderella Very Witchy Business Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella Very Witchy Business Nail Lacquer
(over two coats of Zoya Logan)

Lynnderella Very Witchy Business Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella Very Witchy Business Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone)

Lynnderella Witch Cauldron Was It? Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella Witch Cauldron Was It? Nail Lacquer

Lynnderella Witch Cauldron Was It? Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella Witch Cauldron Was It? Nail Lacquer

Lynnderella Witch Cauldron Was It? Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella Witch Cauldron Was It? Nail Lacquer

Lynnderella Witch Cauldron Was It? Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella Witch Cauldron Was It? Nail Lacquer
(over two coats of L’Oreal The Queen’s Ambition)

Lynnderella Witch Cauldron Was It? Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella Witch Cauldron Was It? Nail Lacquer
(over two coats of L’Oreal The Queen’s Ambition)

Lynnderella Witch Cauldron Was It? Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella Witch Cauldron Was It? Nail Lacquer
(over two coats of L’Oreal The Queen’s Ambition)

Lynnderella Witch Cauldron Was It? Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella Witch Cauldron Was It? Nail Lacquer
(two coats alone)

Lynnderella Witch Cauldron Was It? Nail Lacquer
Lynnderella Witch Cauldron Was It? Nail Lacquer
(over two coats of L’Oreal The Queen’s Ambition)

For clarity: Enchanted and Lynnderella polishes were provided by brand for review consideration. KBShimmer and Lacquistry polishes were all purchased by me.

Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the FAQ section (above) for information about purchasing, price, dupes, and the like. If you have general feedback or need technical support, please contact us.

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75 thoughts on “Say Hello to Indie Nail Polish

  1. Kat

    They are pretty but difinitely not my type of thing. First they are too expensive for what they are, most of them are more than $10 which for me it is too much for a un-named brand. Secondly most of them are just glitte polishes. You can go to craft store get some glitters and mix your own.

    • I agree the expensive is often prohibitive. However, you actually can’t just go to a craft store and use their glitter. It will bleed, polluting the base, and losing its color. It takes a lot of trial-and-error, creativity, and proper suspension base to make these kinds of glitter polishes.

      • Kat

        Really? I tried before and it works. Maybe because I didn’t use too much glitter, and the particles are really small.

        • It depends on the glitter entirely – there are glitters out there that aren’t solvent resistant, and some that are. You managed to luckily get some that weren’t.

    • Trust, I thought the same thing at first. I read from multiple people that you can’t just buy stuff at the craft store and mix it up. Still, I wanted to try. I ended up with bleeding glitters in EVERYTHING. Seriously, my white polish with black glitter ended up being dark gray. If you ever start thinking that indie polish is “easy” I encourage you to try it. My hat is off to these incredible ladies who make these.

    • Sarah

      Craft store glitter isn’t solvent resistant and so will lose its colour (polluting the rest of the contents of the bottle) and possibly either curl up or start to flake and break down in the base. You also cannot put glitter into clear nail polish and come out with a glitter nail polish, it requires specialist suspension base otherwise everything will sink to the bottom in one big gloopy mess. Both solvent resistant glitters, pigments and suspension base are a fairly expensive commodity, especially for smaller sellers. Even bottle costs add up. At the end of the day, while China Glaze might be able to produce your polish for a few cents, that isn’t the case for the person sitting in their workshop creating their own unique polish to sell to people. The price for the materials AND of course their time – all creative folk need to place a value on this! – does cause the polish to cost a bit more than your average drugstore buy.

      Oddly enough though, when you compare indie prices (not including shipping) to international prices for many nail polish brands, they’re fairly similar or less…

  2. Well, then! *dusts off imaginary lint*

    That was excellent. :D //happy flails

  3. Yellowlantern

    I love some of these names! Especially Wrappers Delight. :D

    I really want to get in to indie polish companies, but so much of what I’ve seen (on other blogs and here) are sheer glitter polishes. I wish I saw more creams and shimmer polishes which I generally prefer over glitter polishes.

    • I sometimes hate the term “indie” only because I feel like it is confusing and nobody can agree on exactly what it means, but ANYWAY! you might like brands like Enchanted (in this post), since they don’t just do sheer glitters (not sure if they do them at all?), Picture Polish I know has creams and also does other types of finishes, too… Ozotic has various holographic shades, a england has shimmer/cream, Hare polish seems like they have several jelly-ish finishes so they’re (more) opaque than sheer. I don’t know if everyone considers each of those “indie” but they are more niche brands.

      • Yellowlantern

        I looked into Ozotic after your post a while ago but back tracked immediately once I saw what shipping would cost! A England has been simmering on my mental back burner for a little bit, especially the shade Lady of the Lake. Thanks for the suggestions! I’ll look more into Enchanted and Picture Polish.

        • It’s definitely one of those things where you have to 1) bite the bullet on shipping or 2) order a lot and at least make the shipping “worth it.” I hate paying shipping with a passion!

        • Just so you know, you can get Ozotics and A-England from e-tailers like Llarowe, Harlow & Co., and Ninja Polish, where shipping is often more reasonable (for instance Harlow & Co. does free shipping over $50 anywhere).

      • I think Ozotic and Picture Polish are more mainstream now than Enchanted Polish, but regardless, they are very nice too. I have lots from Ozotic, nothing from picture Polish yet, might have to rectify that soon. :)

    • Hey Yellow Lantern, I have tried dozens of indie brands and there is one that comes to mind as far as cremes/shimmers. She also does holos as well as jelly glitters and of course glitter bombs. She is fairly new but has been working on her creations for several months. http://www.maya-cosmetics.com. Her name is Kat and I have every last one of her polishes. They are fantastic.

  4. Yeah, I’m addicted and stalk and skulk ≧◠◡◠≦✌ Great post, Christine, but did you just make the competition that much more fierce :P

    • Well, I figured with so many shops available, everyone’s been feeling the competition for awhile, and as a result, a lot of brands have gotten better at stocking. Not yet perfect but at least there’s some method to all the madness (the stalking). I hope to one day be at a point where I can review indie nail polishes that just launched AND you can still buy them, lol!

      Oh, and I know you are keen on this niche, so you have to share your favorites :) And maybe some stalking tips!

  5. I had Candy Cane Crush over alternating red and white nails last week (Essie Marshmallow & A-list, respectively), and I loved it!

  6. What a great collection of pictures, it’s almost like art! :-) I really really really like them!

  7. Out of these brands I have only tried Enchanted Polish (by the way they are also available from Llarowe (llarowe.com) and Mei Mei’s Signatures (meimeisignatures.com) – I thoroughly recommend Llarowe, they are excellent) and have many polishes form them. The Beatles series polishes (incl. Magical Mystery Tour) are amazing, not only holo but also multi-chrome! They are very limited and hard to get hold of, always sell out within minutes, but they really are amazing. I have also tried Darling Diva Polish from Etsy, those are lovely too. :)

  8. You’ve done a nice review Christine, and believe me, I know how time consuming swatching can be! I love your site, your dedication, and your reviews, but I wish you would also acknowledge the downsides of some of these polishes, just as you would in your other reviews.

    For instance, when you talk about other polishes (such as your review of China Glaze in Pizzazz), you mention when they are too thick, etc. Another downside is that these indie brands don’t have the resources or time for testing as extensively as major brands. This has resulted many times in taco glitter (glitter that is curved and won’t lie flat on the nail, i.e., Color Club in Backstage Pass); bleeding glitter, which eventually makes the glitter change color (Lynnderella markets some of her polishes as intentionally bleeding, but often others don’t inform consumers or even know themselves); or sinking glitter (glitter that eventually sinks in the suspension base). Customer service can be variable from great to abhorrent. Shipping can be slow and communication can be spotty.

    I think indie polish is great! I just know your review will bring a lot more customers to these brands and if they don’t know what to expect, they might end up unhappy, especially with the pricing of some of these brands. I would encourage people who are interested in indie polish to do some research before purchasing, because some brands are more professional than others.

    I also would distinguish between niche brands (Picture Polish, Cirque, BB Couture, A-England, etc.) that are produced in a lab and indie brands (the ones you’ve included, etc.) that are hand-mixed.

    • Hi Jennifer!

      This was more or less an overview – not a review :) (You’ll notice there are no grades, no shade-by-shade descriptions, etc.) I wanted to introduce a few brands and share some nail spam, and hopefully, from here, I can actually review products. All four brands here I’ve tested for wear, and none of the shades I’ve included in the post were shades that I had any problems with like glitter curling or the like.

      I don’t think that brands produced in a lab aren’t indie (this is my opinion) – like Sugarpill and OCC are both indie brands (though OCC now at Sephora may change that perception) but are formulated by labs. “Indie” is a very tough term, because there is never a consensus on what exactly it means. I think what most agree on it they’re independently-owned and operated, have smaller distribution/aren’t widely available, and have passionate people at the helm. Other things I’ve seen are more about a spirit – perhaps running counter-culture or producing what interests them, regardless of popularity – or having to maintain a certain employee size, not be available at major outlets like Sephora or Nordstrom. And of course, there’s always the “when does a brand lose its “indie” status?” question. Does a brand like OCC, who I think embodies the spirit of “indie,” lose its “indie” status because they’re now sold at Sephora? Do we just say they’re a niche brand instead? It is a very interesting discussion, I think, to find what is or isn’t indie to someone. My definition keeps evolving as I talk with other readers!

      You definitely need to do a little research and be cautious! Thank you for sharing some great advice about shopping indie!

    • Amanda

      I have 6 bottles of glitter polish from commercial brands with more serious “taco” glitter, and bleeding than any indie I have bought. OPI, Wet and Wild, China Glaze… ALL have curling and bleeding! I dare say that these issues are only “indie” brand found, as it would not be true! I think indie brands put forth much time and effort to bring about quality and uniqueness! That’s not to say there are not some total crap wanna be indie lines out there. For that reason I tend to shop with Llarowe (shop.llarowe.com) and other 3rd party sellers… this way I know that others (besides) the maker have looked at, tested, swatches, approved, and endorsed a particular brand as quality. sure I might pay a little more when I shop there, but it’s worth it for me.

  9. Rachel

    Wasn’t there drama with Lynnderella? I don’t remember the details except that people weren’t fond of the owner(s) business practices. The prices she charges on Ebay also make me have no interest in trying her products, no matter how pretty they are.

  10. Michelle

    Not a fan of indie polishes. I don’t get the hype. I can make this in my kitchen with the right materials. It might not be practical for someone who has no time to make them but neither is the $20+ price tag for a Lynnderella. I’ve seen some of her polishes go for literally hundreds of dollars, all for some chunks of glitter that, again, I can stir up in my kitchen. For that price, it better stay on my nails for a year with no chipping. Enchanted might be the only one worth shilling out money for, but I still wouldn’t buy them if I can find something similar for cheaper. I don’t even find these polishes to be all that unique. I think it’s just overrated and everybody buys into the hype because so and so raved about these and now everyone’s jumping on the bandwagon.

    • I have to agree with you on the indie glitter polishes. They aren’t worth the hype whatsoever, nor the price.

      I won’t say that I don’t support ANY of the indie polish brands, though (I’m practically an a-england spokesperson, lol). I just don’t get the indie glitter hype.

    • I see Indie polishes doing things that name brands aren’t…and while not every Indie brand is a hit with me, I do appreciate the work that goes into them (and sorry I doubt you could replicate some of these brands in your kitchen).

      It’s fine if you just want to buy commercial polishes. But some of us aren’t buying Indies “out of hype”. I like supporting a small business over a large corporation.

    • I encourage you to find something similar to Enchanted Polish nail polishes that are not indie brands. :) And please let me know when you do because I adore the EP polishes and would love to find cheaper and more easy to source alternatives. ;)

    • Kristi

      I have to disagree with you there.. just to re-create one high quality indie polish, you’ll easily spend $20+ on “sample sized” ingredients. And sure, you can make it in your kitchen – I make polish and I do so in my living room. But I spend months testing glitters for longevity and quality, as well as perfecting my formula. It is an artcraft and does deserve some respect. As to whether any nail polish is worth hundreds of dollars… the value is created by the person who is willing to pay that much. People pay that for many items which aren’t even able to be used the way nail polish is. The truth is the indie polish market, the same way the indie makeup market, is changing the way big brands do business. That’s why Sephora’s new X polishes contain dupes of indie polishes, because that’s what’s selling. It’s not because we’re all jumping on the bandwagon, it’s because there was a market for it, and because the supplies are finally readily available for those with the skill & craft to make polishes. While I could probably re-create a Lynnderella polish myself, I couldn’t have done it a year ago when she WAS doing it, without easily found ingredients that you or anyone else could find now.

  11. Kafka

    I <3 your site! I never use that expression but nothing else would really do! The plethora of amazing photos…… it was a visual nail porn!! (Hey, foodies use "food porn" constantly, so why not nail porn?!) It was almost too, too much (even apart from how it crashed my Chrome browser. Twice. lol), but in the best way. A visual feast. I almost can't take it all in! I don't even want to know how long it took for all these swatches and photos!

    I love it when you review other or diff. brands. I just love it. It doesn't matter that there is a 99% probability I will never order (or find) a single one of these. I just love the introduction to new things. Thank you for the incredible hardwork that was involved in this post but, most of all, for a visual feast!

  12. Andrea

    Oh! Please keep doing these indie “overviews!” I love to hear your thoughts on anything, and indie polishes are the kind of thing that I definitely try to find high-quality photos of before purchasing. To everyone lamenting the prices of these polishes: I get it, and that’s why these are “treat myself” kinds of purchases for myself personally. But what you have to understand is that most mainstream brands don’t produce the types of glitters that indie brands are so known for, and you actually can’t just mix your own polishes without knowing what you’re doing. If it’s a brand that makes a quality product, it can be totally worth the splurge, and nail polish lasts a *long* time as long as you buy a thinner to keep it from getting gloopy over the years. (Disclaimer: I don’t understand the hype around Lynderella, so I’m not advocating for the pricetags on THOSE polishes, haha.)

    Thanks, Christine!

    • Lynnderella is definitely the priciest of the bunch, and though I don’t think most people would call Rescue Beauty Lounge “indie,” it kind of is (small, owner-operated, small distribution, passionate owner, not mainstream), it’s also at a similar price point. Just as some don’t see the point in paying RBL prices (and the same is true for mainstream brands, higher-end polishes by Dior, Chanel, etc.), it’s all so, so subjective! Sometimes just one shade is “worth it” and for others, all shades are, and some see no point at all, ever – even for a $10 polish. Ahh, whatever makes you happy without making you totally broke :)

  13. I love the stuff Ninja Polish comes out with! Hanukkah Floam is amazing! I’ve also had a good experience with Feenix Polish on Etsy. (Clots of Love was a standout!)

  14. blueraccoon

    This was a lovely nail spam post :) I don’t want to think about how long it took you to do all the swatches, but thank you! this was gorgeous to look at.

  15. a-england is the only nail polish I really use nowadays. Their quality surpasses all other brands I have ever used (including some of those you posted, though they are also beautiful), and in my opinion, totally worth the money. Not only that, but the customer service is absolutely amazing. Any time I ever have an issue (which doesn’t happen often at all), Adina is there right away to fix it free of charge. Absolutely recommend them.

  16. Enchanted is also available at LLarowe.

    KBShimmer is one of my all time favorite brands, and definitely my current indie fave!!!

  17. Ksana

    Oh that’s so great! Thank you for the post!
    Hardly can imagine how much time, patience and nails it took you :D
    It really made my night! And delivered a very Christmas mood as well ;)
    Lynderella packaging is cute, one of those which directly catches an eye on a shelf

  18. LOVE this post so much. Now I will happily go into a glitter coma. *faints*

  19. I love indie polish! Nail Pattern Boldness is my favorite indie at the moment, and Hare has some lovelies too. I also franken my own polishes using nail polish suspension base & solvent resistent glitter (and sometimes mixing in commercial polish and pigments) – super easy, and very fun!

  20. Miss J

    What a FANTASTIC post! :D All those nail swatches… You’re a champ, Christine! Haha. This was a really great overview. I know they are pricy, but my favorite thing about indie nail polish is that they really up the ante in creating interesting polishes with new textures and formulas. I’m all about it, and it’s cool to me that anyone will take something they love to do and are passionate about and then turn it into a business and share their creations with others.

  21. Thanks for putting this out there! I love a lot of independent brands and it’s nice to see them get some proper love. Though after all the kerfuffle that Lynn caused this past summer I doubt I’ll ever buy anything of hers again. She insists she isn’t an indie maker, instead an “artist” and that is why she charges what she does. Blagh, I don’t need that in my life! ^__^

  22. Rae

    Thank you for finally reviewing some of these indie nail polish brands! I know that they will often use eyeshadow pigments and buy glitter or a clear top coat as a base for the polish so I’m wondering how re-selling these polishes is legal? I anticipate some legal troubles from big name companies…

    • Why would there be any problems with how legal selling these polishes are? These are created without using any other existing nail polishes, the creators buy their own pigments, glitter and glitter base/nail polish base.

    • Kristi

      As a polishmaker, I can assure you it’s not that simple. And actually a lot of cosmetic ingredients aren’t “legal” – neon pigments used by big brands (China Glaze, Color Club, etc) aren’t legal to use, because no one’s submitted a request for it to be evaluated & used. But our ingredients are much more complex, simply mixing eyeshadow & clear top coat will result in a lumpy product with the pigment settled on the bottom within hours.

      • Totally! Im not an indie maker but I do know that its definitely much harder than what people think. Glitter into a top coat just doesnt work like that. Guess thats the thing with alot of other indies as well. People think they can throw some glitter into a bottle and make money. Same as you just cant buy “any” glitter and put it into “any” clear coat. It takes time and a lot of thought.

        • HOLLY

          It’s called Frankening. You can youtube some videos on how to make it. What cost so much is all the dang supplies.

      • Oooh, I think we might be talking about different things – I think Rae thought that indies were created using existing polishes/finished products, which could be questionable, rather than raw materials like loose glitter/pigments/suspension base.

  23. Rae

    Big name companies can learn a thing or two from indie nail polish brands who aren’t afraid to try new things and more importantly, use glitter! As great as these are, I encourage everyone to have fun making their own nail polish! It’s easy and doesn’t cost as much! Maybe Christine will try it for us some day? :)

  24. Liz

    Indie polishes are great and all but imo it’s easier to just buy the components and diy the polish instead of hoping to catch a restock.

  25. Nails Beautiqued

    Indie Brands are awesome! Love the combos. But, looks like the bigger brands are starting to jump on the band wagon…(cough cough) China Glaze recent glitters, Revlon, and others :)

  26. Hi Temptalia! This is a fantastic post and intro to indies, all of whom I own several of. Jenna from Lacquistry is an amazing person and artist! I have tried over 60 indie brands! Of those indie brands, Girly Bits, Maya Cosmetics, and Dandy Nails are some of my favorites with amazing quality and excellent customer service. I love that you have put this out there for other people to see! :)

  27. Brenda

    Thank you for this post!!! I might love nail polish even more than makeup and am just delving into indie brands myself. Looking a pictures of nail polish swatches makes me weirdly happy LOL! But then I’m reminded of the 150 bottles of polish I have to get through in my spare bathroom….

    • Brenda

      I have to add a thought as well – I have tried to mix a pigment (MAC) and cosmetic glitter into clear polish to see what I could get. This was about two months ago and it did NOT make nail polish. It made a glitter and sediment mess at the bottom of the bottle. I fully support honest, ethical indie polishes.

  28. fks

    Christine, it is great to see reviews of indie nail polish brands on your site. Could you also review other kinds of makeup from indie brands? It would great to see reviews of the eyeshadow stacks from some indie brands, for example.

  29. stephanie

    This is easily one of the coolest posts I have ever seen on your blog, and I’ve been a follower for a very long time! The KBShimmer polishes especially look amazing. Unfortunately I personally had a bad experience w/ Lynn on eBay, and that, paired w/ her track record (which is widely known) would make me loathe to recommend or buy her polishes, but I fully support all other indie brands that have good customer service and innovative product. I agree with other people who have commented and suggested doing some indie makeup too. I’d LOVE to see you talk about Fyrinnae for a while.

    • Brenda

      I second the Fyrinnae! At the moment they are the only shadows I’m buying. er, when the site is up, that is ;)

  30. Urooj

    WOW WOW WOW!!!!i love glitter nail polishes and these are love :) wish i could get these :D

  31. I love the overview. I have tried several Indies as of lately but haven’t tried any of these. I have wanted to try KBShimmer especially. Lyn polish not as much, I just can’t see spending that kind of money, and I thought Lyn no longer wanted to be referred to as an Indie Polish any more. ??

  32. An idie nail polish I love is Girly Bits. I like Lyndrella too, but it’s hard to get the shades I want as they sell out and stay sold out for long periods of time.

  33. caitlin

    this is absolutely fantastic!!! thank you for putting in the work to do this! whenever i’m having a bad day i will come back to this post :) Lacquistry Whadya Gelt for Hanukkah Nail Lacquer over two coats of China Glaze Hanging in the Balance is actually making me salivate! have you discovered uslu airlines yet? they have some amazing and off beat colors you wouldn’t find elsewhere..as far as indie brands go i think you may like them!

  34. Katie

    I LOVE a lot of indie brand nail lacquers, but I wish they would focus more on custom colored lacquers that you can’t find anywhere else opposed to clear lacquers with various sized glitter in them. I guess I attend a lot of car shows with my husband and I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve said, “If only that were a nail lacquer!”

  35. Quinctia

    There are some neat indie polishes out there. I’ve bought some! I’ve got some rules I follow now. I only buy product from drama-free indie companies/sellers, and I only buy things that have received positive reviews from impartial reviewers.

    A lot of nail bloggers out there reviewing indies aren’t giving the whole story for various indie polishes–they seem too happy to just give everything they receive a great grade. I don’t know if it’s because they don’t want to seem too harsh, don’t want to jeopardize being able to receive product for review, etc. I’ve found a good community of nail polish lovers on a forum I frequent. We’ve got a few testing and creating their own lines of polish, and plenty of straight up reviews from happy and unhappy recipients. For instance, Rainbow Honey’s gotten mixed reviews (some of us were more pleased with the Equestria collection than others–though I enjoyed mine), and some Hare polishes lately have been arriving with taco glitter.

    Indie products are a great way to try out things that aren’t being produced by the mainstream, big companies, but since they are smaller areas of production sometimes development or customer service isn’t all there, so caveat emptor!

    • It was actually all the rave reviews that made me go — okay, what am I missing? I had to see what the hype was (especially re: Lynnderella). Nobody should be afraid to give critical feedback, though, if only because it is what will make a business better and improve the product they’re making. Not so much with polish, but makeup, a lot “indie” brands reach out because they want the eyeballs but when they see my review policy, most of them run for the hills ;)

      What are your favorite brands?

      • Quinctia

        When there’s some forced limitation to product distribution, sometimes just having a rare item makes that item seem more fantastic. I used to me more involved with swapping perfume oils, and people would go nuts over one-off prototypes or super limited editions that didn’t even sound like they smelled nice, haha.

        I don’t have a huge list of recs or anything, because there’s some I’ve steered clear of, and some I didn’t like after I purchased. I personally liked what I received from Rainbow Honey, though others have said they thought the polishes were mixed a bit too thickly and really needed thinner–I didn’t have that experience. And I thought they were really pretty.

        Ninja Polish’s Floam looked really nice and applied well, but I had a hell of a time removing it. I wear glitter all the time, but this was different. From what I’ve seen, though, this problem is uniquely mine!

        I do really recommend Hot Mess Lacquers on Etsy, though. I think everything I’ve gotten from her has applied really well, and her cuticle balm’s pretty nice. Full disclosure, though, is that I tested a couple of products for her before release. But the testing is because of how stringent she’s been with making sure the suspension base and glitters worked.

        • Thank you for the recs, Quinctia :) I will definitely check out Hot Mess Lacquers.

          I hear you on anything super rare, limited, hyped up, etc. I think the same is true with anything super $$$ – sometimes we tell ourselves it’s better than it really is!

  36. A.

    Okay, so glitter is not my thing and I won’t comment on any of the above colors but $15-20 for a bottle of indie nail polish purchased online (i.e. non-returnable)??? Whoa. Don’t get me wrong, I’m interested in trying as many indie brands as possible (not just nail polish ones) but I do expect them to be priced reasonably, at least while they’re still small and fairly unknown.