When we think of nail polish, we usually do not think beyond colour and durability.
However, there are breathable or porous nail polishes in the market, which claim to be healthier for nails since they let air and moisture pass through them.
Largely targeted towards a Muslim audience, these special nail varnishes also claim to be halal and thus 'Wudu' (ablution) friendly.
The Business Standard reviewed three breathable nail polishes by three different brands to see how they were different from regular ones, and whether they really were porous as they claimed. We chose three different colours too.
We did the porous testing by putting some of the polish on tissue paper and then once they dried (which took forever!), we put droplets of water to see whether the tissue got soaked underneath or not.
Although the test may seem crude, scientific tests were not really our options.
We took this idea from various YouTube tutorials where beauty influencers were trying out breathable nail colours.
We also did the test with regular polish to compare the differences, and the tissue did not become wet, thus proving that regular nail colors are definitely not porous.
Keeping in mind the pandemic, we ordered the products online.
INGLOT O2M Breathable Nail Enamel
Shade: No 653
Size: 11ml/0.37 US fl oz
The Polish brand INGLOT has been quite popular ever since it was launched in Bangladesh. The products are pricey, but the company keeps giving out big discounts.
No 653 is a bright, crimson red which looks really nice. The bottle has an elegant, rectangular shape and it looks and feels expensive.
It smelled like a regular nail polish but the formula was runnier than usual nail polishes. It was almost watered down, but dried off quite quickly.
The application brush was convenient and a good colour appeared on the nails with only one stroke. As mentioned earlier, it is a pretty shade of red.
Breathable test: We waited till the colour completely dried off on the tissue and then applied a little water with a clean, mascara brush. At first the droplet remained unchanged and the tissue was dry.
However, after a while, the water spread a little on the tissue surface but still not enough to wet it. Could we understand the nail colour's permeability? Not very clearly.
Lafz Breathable Nail Colour
Shade: Ballarina Rose
The bottle looks like a standard nail polish container and the shade Ballarina Rose was a muted or nude pink. On the bottle it was written 'Halal Certified'.
The colour did not look great and the formula was quite thick. This made the application difficult and the polish looks lumpy on the nails. The smell too was that of a regular polish, quite acrid. The application brush was flat and thicker than regular ones.
Breathable test: After the colour dried off on the tissue, we put the water on it. To our surprise, the water did spread and the tissue underneath the stain became a little wet. This was not a great nail polish, colour or application wise, but it somewhat passed our permeability test.
Picture Polish Nail Polish
Size: 11ml/0.37 fl oz
This one was a standard, black colour and the square shaped bottle looked sleek with a matte, plastic tip. On the bottle it was printed 'It's dark, it's dangerous'.
On Picture Polish's website, it was stated that other than the brand's Curable Lacquer Line, all of their nail polishes are breathable.
The formula was thinner than the Lafz one and thicker than the INGLOT formula. The application brush was good and with one or two strokes, the black colour was visible on the nails.
Like the other nail polishes, this one too did not smell any different.
Breathable test: To our great disappointment, the stain on the tissue remained dry. So our basic breathable test seemed like a fail in this case.
Looking at all three nail polishes, there was nothing special that sets them apart from regular, non-breathable nail polishes. Even if the formula is porous, there really is no way for customers to know it once they apply it on their nails. They will simply have to trust the brands!