Holistically Haute nail polish by Philly Loves Lacquer!

Holistically Haute nail polish by Philly Loves Lacquer!

I don’t do many product reviews anymore, but I had to make an exception for Philly Loves Lacquer (PhLL) for three reasons:

  1. I love supporting other Philadelphia-based small businesses
  2. I love promoting safer options for tricky product categories like nail polish
  3. They made a nail polish color called Holistically Haute!!!!!

Isn’t it gorgeous? I love how it matches my logo so perfectly and also has a subtle holographic effect with coral micro-glitter throughout. I think it’s wearable and classy, and still fun and original. I love nail polish and I’ve written about “How to Have Holistically Haute Natural Nails” in the past, and while I still love some of the other safer nail polish brands on the market, I have to say I think I like PhLL’s polishes even more.

I was first attracted to the PhLL brand when photos of the polishes appeared in my Facebook feed from some of the nail blogs I follow. While I’m fairly conservative with my hair, makeup, and clothing, I LOVE expressing myself with fun, sparkly, and creative nail colors so when I saw images of glitter, holographic effects, and unexpected color combinations I wanted to learn more.

Milk Was A Bad Choice, photo from Accio Lacquer

Milk Was A Bad Choice, photo from Accio Lacquer

When I learned that these fabulous polishes were made just minutes from my home, I was even more excited, so I reached out to Esther Renee, the owner, to learn more about her polishes. When she mentioned that she creates custom lacquers I just knew I wanted a Holistically Haute nail polish–not necessarily to sell–just to have for fun, and, of course for giveaways–which is one of the reasons for today’s post.

HH nail polish by PhLL giveaway info:

I’m really excited that *this close* to 2,000 Likes on the Holistically Haute Facebook page. How awesome is that! So I decided to celebrate by giving away a bottle of Holistically Haute nail polish by PhLL. All you need to do to enter is Like the page and the post below, share it with your friends, and leave a comment telling me your favorite nail polish color. Once the HH Facebook page reaches 2,000 likes, I’ll randomly choose a winner.

HH PhLL giveaway

Back to the nail polish.

Philly Loves Lacquer makes a great nail polish. The polishes are 5-free, meaning they are free of the 5 most toxic nail polish ingredients: dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, and camphor which is a huge plus because most mainstream brands still contain some or all five of these ingredients. The polish goes on smoothly and dries super-fast, which I wasn’t expecting.

When I used to have artificial nails, polish dried very quickly. It takes longer on natural nails because there’s no synthetic polymers for the polish to bond with and natural nails contain natural oils which also slow down the drying process. When I realized that two coats of this polish, between coats of base coat and top coat, had dried in about 5 minutes I actually emailed Esther to tell her how cool that was and ask her if that was normal! She responded yes, she hears that often about her polishes.

The brains behind the nail polish:

For this post and giveaway, I also wanted to share a little “behind the scenes” information about Esther and her fabulous nail lacquers so I asked her some questions which she was kind enough to answer. Here are her responses:

Golden Crown and the Pirates photo from Lacquer: The Best Medicine

Golden Crown and the Pirates photo from Lacquer: The Best Medicine

Rachael Pontillo: How did you get into making nail polish?

Esther Renee: I have always loved nail polish, going back since I was around 5 or 6, but I always bit my nails. My much older sister was a nail tech at the time and she refused to do my nails until I stopped biting them. Needless to say, she never did my nails LOL! Fast forward to November 2012, and one of my friends told me about a nail polish subscription box by a brand called Julep. The same friend also made indie nail polish, so I decided to try both Julep AND her brand, and it was a downward spiral (but in a good way haha) from there. Around February 2013, I began learning more about indie nail polish and decided that I wanted to try my hand at making my own. I did tons of research and bought some supplies, and it just clicked from there. I never thought that PhLL would make this far, but it’s been such a fun ride!

RP: Why did you choose to make them 5-free?

ER: The decision to become 5-free was actually sort of a fluke. Not that I didn’t want to be 5-free in the first place, but there seemed to be some sort of disconnect between 5-free suspension bases (the base for the nail polish) and big heavy glitters, so a lot of the 5-free indie brands had issues with the bigger glitter sinking. So, I did the next best thing and sought out a 4-free base, which is free of dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde, and formaldehyde resin. The base I’ve used has amazing suspension properties and works wonderfully for both glitter based polish and cream based. As luck would have it, a few months ago, my base supplier identified a mistake that the manufacturer had made in the MSDS for the base; a good one, in fact! It turns out that my suspension base was 5-free all along. So in addition to the 4 big no-no’s, PhLL is also free of camphor. I’m currently working to update my logo, website, and other materials to reflect this exciting change.

RP: Did you encounter any challenges in making 5-free polishes?

ER: I don’t think I’ve run into any issues thus far, in terms of being 5-free. For about a month after my base supplier announced the mixup, I was hesitant to advertise the fact that we were now 5-free instead of 4-free, but we were able to have it tested and verified. I think the only issues, in terms of polish making, that I’ve run into are just issues with certain glitters. Everything I use goes through an extensive testing period, and some of the things I have high hopes for don’t always make the cut. That always makes me a little sad, but it is what it is! I just see it as a way to find something else equally awesome or even better to use.

RP: Other than your custom polishes, how do you get inspired for new colors and names?

Star Barn photo from Paint those Piggies

Star Barn photo from Paint those Piggies

ER: Since PhLL is homegrown in Philadelphia, my main inspiration is of course the City of Brotherly Love. Since I grew up here, I have a lot of memories here. I try and pour (pardon the pun, haha) as much nostalgia as I can into PhLL, and I am always researching neighborhoods and landmarks for future collections. In fact, I am working on a collection right now for the summer, and the inspiration is coming from all my summer vacations spent down the shore with my family. I know that Wildwood isn’t in Philly, but it’s pretty much a standard vacation spot for most natives here.

RP: What’s your vision for PhLL?

ER: When I first started PhLL, I didn’t know where it would go. Since I started just a little more than a year ago, it’s grown into this amazing awesome colorful beast, and I cannot wait for what’s to come. I would love to see PhLL be carried in some more local shops, and maybe eventually expand into other cosmetics. I am working on so many things, my mind can barely handle it all! But it’s going to be fun, and what was once pretty scary, is now becoming my life. And I couldn’t be more grateful for that!
I personally think PhLL is destined for greatness–Esther’s original colors and amazing formulations need to be shared with the nail polish-loving world!
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway on Facebook–I think it will be over very quickly!

For another chance to win a free bottle of Holistically Haute nail polish from PhLL, sign up for free email updates–I’m doing a private giveaway just for my subscribers over email! Good luck!

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