My Honest Review of Kapa Nui Nail Polish

I’m going to talk a little bit about one of the most revolutionary nail polish brands and the experiences I have had with the nail polish. Let’s gloss over this.

The impact

This nail polish and nail care brand aims to supply people around the world with eco-friendly nail polish that doesn’t compromise on quality or price. According to their website, “Each and every one of our products is either toxin-free, non-toxic, no VOCs or low VOC.”

What are VOC’s? Those are volatile organic compounds that are put into nail polish to keep certain other ingredients liquid while in the bottle- once exposed to air, they dissolve and leave behind the part of the polish that is solid in its natural state- that is nitrocellulose in most cases.

Kapa Nui uses a copolymer base that they say is made of carbon, nitrogen, and water and, according to the website, dissolved into these primary elements over time when exposed to the environment after it’s been removed.

Kapa Nui doesn’t use any polymers, phthalates, formaldehyde, parabens either, along with more long worded chemicals. They even provided several PDF documents of studies and links to articles detailing what copolymers are and what microplastics are and their impact on the world.

Not only does Kapa Nui take its environmentalism seriously, but it also cares about animals. They are a proud partner with PETA’s “Beauty Without Bunnies” program and claim not to test on animals. While this is great news, PETA’s standards for no-animal-testing certifications are easy to attain and only need a one time fee of $350. I would like to also see this company become Leaping Bunny certified in the future to cement their ideology and practice.

One more little thing- Kapa Nui also doesn’t use any plastic in their products- their polish wands are entirely made of bamboo and their polish remover comes in a glass bottle, along with reusable cotton disks. They also make their polishes entirely in Hawaii.

Because of their commitment to sustainability and eco-friendliness, I am giving this brand a 5/5 for impact.

The Quality

So this is where it gets a lil’ bumpy. I am a crafty person at heart, so I do a lot of stuff with my hands- wirework, photography, working with clay, blah blah. So what I am trying to get at here is that I get a lot of chips when I wear nail polish.

Unfortunately, this nail polish does chip after as little as a day of wear for me personally, so I have a hard time wanting to wear it long term. Even with the base and top coat on, it’s not very long-lasting. It’s great for a major event or holiday, but day to day, it just doesn’t cut it for me.

The polish goes on in pretty thin layers, so I can see the ridges of my nails and other imperfections when I wear it, which I don’t really fancy. However, the color pallets are beautiful and vibrant on the nail. While it takes two to three coats to truly have the color in the bottle, that’s pretty standard for non-gel polish.

It also takes a little while to dry entirely, so prepare to give yourself thirty minutes to an hour after you’ve painted your nails for it to solidify completely. According to Kapa Nui’s site, it takes 4-6 hours for the polish to set completely, so they recommend painting in the evening and letting the polish set overnight. Kapa Nui also recommends setting your hair dryer to low heat and curing the polish that way.

The colors also are a little different from what I’ve seen online. For example, the color “Kalapana” looks different on the nail than it does in the bottle. While I was expecting it to have a reddish shimmer like it has in the picture, it looked pretty matte and almost black on my nail- however, they do have pictures of what it looks like on nails as well as in bottles, which provides a more accurate portrayal.

Because of the unique nature of this polish, it requires a unique formula for the polish remover, as well. This remover comes in a small glass bottle and has its own cotton disks for removal. While it’s nice to have an eco-friendly, plastic-free nail polish remover, I can’t say it was easy to do. The polish is a bit stubborn when removing with this specialized remover, and, of course, it won’t come off at all with regular acetone.

Overall, the quality of this polish could be a lot better, but it is still a relatively new brand. I’m giving it a solid 2/5.

The Variety

Kapa Nui Nails has an ever-growing collection of colors, finishes, and products overall. When I first found out about them, they must have had only fifteen shades. now, they have well over fifty shades!

They have several shades of white including “Coconut” which is a true white, and “Olili” which is a pearlescent white with shimmer. Other color groups also have many options for colors including different hues and finishes such as shimmery and metallic.

Not only do they have shades, but also have a shine and matte finish coat to choose from and a base and top coat sealer, which helps a bit with longevity. There’s also a nail repair and strengthener that is 100% organic and Physician approved.

The variety of this polish brand is honestly really good for a small startup. I am giving variety a 5/5.

The Price and Where to Buy

When it comes to price, Kapa Nui is a little on the pricier side. Their 9ml polish bottles are $10.50, and their 15ml bottles are $15- keep in mind that 14-16ml is the standard size for nail polishes across the board.

The nail repair and strengthener costs $20 for a 15ml bottle and the nail polish remover itself costs $16.50 for a 4oz bottle, not including the reusable cotton disks, which cost $4.50 for a five pack. That’s a little costly when you consider that you can buy a 16oz regular polish remover for $4 from, say, Target or Walmart.

Because Kapa Nui is such a niche brand, you can only buy its products directly from its website or from several stores in Hawaii and one in Seattle, as of December 2021.

Because the price is rather steep and because of the lack of stores selling this product, I am giving it a 2.5/5.

In Conclusion

If you’ve got money to spare, this company is definitely worth a shot. If you want to know more about their ingredients, tips for application, or learn more about their story, they have all the resources available to you on their website.

Overall, this polish brand is excellent when it comes to being mindful of the environment and animals. The quality and usability of this product can be better, and the prices could be more affordable. The company’s transparency and desire to do good is one of their strongest qualities and I value that a lot. The average score for all the categories for this brand is a 3.625, and I think that’s fair.

I really can’t get on board with this product simply because it chips and frays so easily. Otherwise, it’s a great concept. Hopefully the company will perfect their formulas over time and make the polish stronger and longer lasting. Thank you for reading and until next time, hobble on!

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