Beauty Confession: Nail Polish Obsession

The other day I opened up the medicine cabinet in my bathroom, and aside from daily staples like sunscreen and moisturizer, there on the second shelf almost a dozen bottles of nail polish—lined up like little soldiers—stared back at me. Then I opened a drawer and another dozen or more bottles, lying neglected and hidden from the light of day, looked up longingly as if to say, Pick me! I want to be the color du jour!

And then it hit me. I am a total junkie. And my drug’s initials are  O.P.I.

My nail polish collection.

I’ve always known I was a lip product addict—there are six-to-eight lipsticks or glosses in my handbag on any given day. But the polishes, they’ve taken me by surprise.

When I moved overseas, I shipped my polishes and other beauty supplies because in Sydney, OPI is 20 bucks a bottle. I even doubled up on some of my faves (Lincoln Park After Dark, OPI on Collins Avenue, Sweetheart), which in hindsight is ludicrous. I’ve never gotten to the end of a bottle of polish before it has gone thick in my life. Though I have to say that it takes a long time for an OPI polish to go.

In the times I was home for a visit, I bought the same basic colors again, and they stayed at my house in the States. Eventually, I moved back to the U.S., and if you can believe this—I paid to ship my polishes back again. Even knowing that I had polishes there, as well as immediate and inexpensive access to more. For some reason, I couldn’t just abandon all my little beauties, all those bottles of vibrant color. I just couldn’t leave them behind.

So now I have Lincoln Park After Dark and OPI on Collins Avenue in triplicate. I have doubles of OPI Natural Nail Base and Top Coat, a couple I’m Indi-a Mood For Love, a Big Apple Red and an O’Hare & Nails Look Great. I’ve added You Don’t Know Jacques and Black Onyx and Hot & Spicy. And there are scores of other OPI shades amongst all those. And I’ve moved on from only OPI (great). There are now bottles of Sally Hansen Insta-Dri, a China Glaze, and an Essie. Because at least for this girl, there just can never be too much nail polish.

An Obsession Dissection
I think most women have some sort of beauty product addiction. For some it’s eyeshadow. Or lipliner. Or body cream. For me, I now know, it’s nail polish. And it is definitely an obsession. Because I don’t buy a new lipstick until I run out or really need a new color. But I keep buying polish even when there is plenty to be had.

And you know why? Because seeing those glorious bottles of color every time I open my medicine cabinet just makes me feel good. And I get the same joy when I look down at my fingers and toes and they gleam back in lacquered perfection. Polish is the ultimate girlie-girl marker, and on the surface it may seem insignificant. But isn’t it the most telling sign of self-love, of time made for one’s own sanity?

The first time I painted my niece's nails to match mine.

Nail polish is one of the few beauty products that is absolutely unnecessary. It is an indulgence on every level, especially if like me, you prefer to handle your own manicures and pedicures. Doing your nails is labor intensive, time-consuming, and as we ladies know, a process that simply cannot be rushed. And all for a few days of enameled bliss.

I think there is just something in some girls’ DNA that dictates an inherent need for nail polish. I am one of those girls. And my two-year-old niece and namesake apparently is too. Several weeks ago, after seeing my Essie Pink Parka-ed toes, she said she wanted pink toes too. Who am I to deny her this tiny indulgence? After some coaching about the required stillness and drying time, we embarked on this rite of passage together. Then we stood and marveled and the perfect pinkness of our toes.

And so it begins.

12 comments

    1. Thanks for your comment, Anita! I used to not be able to paint my nails decently. Several years ago, after the third time I’d gone to a salon and walked out thinking I could have done a better job, I decided to invest my money on other things. I just did the best I could with my nails, and you know what they say about practice…it does make perfect. I’ve really come a long way and can now paint my fingernails—even with my left hand—with very little clean-up required.

    1. Ooooh…Chanel. That’s not just a collection, but a small investment!!

      I keep thinking I need to put my polishes in the fridge too, but there’s just not enough room. And I bought two more polishes yesterday…a rose gold metallic, and gold. But my nails look so pretty today glimmering in rose gold. Will be awesome for summer.

      Thanks for your comment and for visiting! Happy polishing!

  1. Oh my God I think we’re long lost twins (or sisters, anyway). I am OBSESSED with nail polish (to the point where I don’t even know what color my ‘real’ nails are!) And I recently moved to Sydney from LA, and I am disgusted with the amount they charge for nail polish! I occasionally get my fix at cheapie stores like Sportsgirl, but boy do I miss my OPI 🙁

    1. Hello there, and welcome! Ha…yeah, I’m crazy with the polish and am looking at my nails right now thinking they need a change. For some reason over the last year, I just got really hooked on paining my nails. They’re like accessories, you know? Part of the package.

      OPI in Sydney just hurts. I hear ya! Hope you are settling in OK.

      Thanks for visiting and for your comment!

  2. Ok someone whose done just what I’m going to embark on next year. You said you brought your collection both to Australia and then back to the USA. I’m going back home to Australia the middle of next year after living in the USA for the past 10 years and I don’t want to have to get rid of my polishes. How did you ship them legally etc? Any advise you could give me would be GREATLY APPRECIATED!

    1. Z, I used a flat-rate international box from the US Postal Service. The big one runs about $53 I think, and you can get a lot of polish and nail stuff in it!

      And seriously, it’s worth it. Polish is ridiculously expensive in Oz.

      Good luck!

  3. Hello, i absolutely understand your polish addiction as I am an addict myself haha
    Ever since looking at beautiful swatches on Instagram plus I have a beauty blogger friend who updates me with her reviews of products , I have turned into a minor hoarder! Although i try to control my desire to buy every bottle that I see , there’s always that inner vioice that keeps on nagging me to at least purchase one or two polishes .

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