When I first heard about non-toxic peel off nail varnish brand Little Ondine I was sceptical. Memories of Tinkerbell peel off children’s nail polish came to mind, thin and flakey and covering the carpet with flecks of pink plastic within the hour.
Fortunately, Little Ondine’s offering is very much for big girls (and boys). You need to follow the instructions (a handy Read Me! note is enclosed), mainly ensuring your nails are completely clean and dry and avoiding warm water for three hours afterwards. Texture-wise it’s similar to conventional nail polish, just slightly thicker, and very easy to apply.
Little Ondine suggest two to three layers or using their ‘Secret’ base and top coat. I found just one coat of the shimmery deep red ‘Enchanting’ gave the colour I was after and decided to see how it performed without the help of the top coat (read: I didn’t realise I was meant to use a top coat and hadn’t ordered it). I expected it to chip fairly quickly and the fact it’s peel off had me showering and washing up rather tentatively.
I needn’t have worried. It held up remarkably well, only chipping after a couple of days’ wear. In the end I peeled it off in the shower after three days (I could probably have got away with another one, but I was washing my hair which helped loosen it a bit). The peeling off part was fun and fairly easy; I had to scratch a bit at the edges to get a lift and then it came away in one very satisfying piece. And despite the dark colour and absence of base coat there wasn’t a hint of staining on the nail.
Aside from the peeling off, the most striking thing about these polishes is that they don’t smell. At all. And it did occur to me that that makes them perfect for a quick in-flight/on bus/under your desk mani…and if you bodge them you can just peel off and start again rather than needing a nail varnish remover to hand.
These little puppies really are the way forward. When I buy some more, and I definitely will, I’ll be picking up the Secret base/top coat – the word on the green beauty street is that this prolongs the wear a fair bit.
Natural credentials: According to the website the nail varnishes are made of water, purified resin and colouring. Full ingredients appear on the packaging. I put every single one into EWG’s cosmetic database and each was rated as 1 or 2 (which is good), apart from:
Triethanolamine: EWG rate this as a 5 (of moderate concern). This does appear quite far down the Little Ondine ingredients list and is, according to EWG, “determined safe for use in cosmetics, subject to concentration or use limitations”.
Laureth-21: Way down the ingredient’s list and a 3 (of moderate concern) on EWG’s site. As I understand it the main concern with this ingredient is contamination with two other ingredients, which aren’t present in Little Ondine’s product.
I don’t wear nail varnish very frequently and am careful to only paint my nails and not the skin surrounding them. Little Ondine seem to have a more natural, kinder alternative to conventional brands and it saves you from having to use a nail varnish remover too.
Available from: Full range on Little Ondine’s website. Most colours are £8.40, but they also have sale prices as they release new shades regularly.