Today, I’m going to talk a little bit about one of the most revolutionary nail polish brands and the experiences I have had with their nail polish. I’m talking about Kapa Nui Nail Polish, a naturally-derived nail polish brand based in Hawaii.
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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 V.O.C.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.
Kapa Nui is also PETA certified cruelty free. If you read this article on finding cruelty free companies, you know that I think the gold standard in cruelty free is the Leaping Bunny Certification, but being PETA certified is second best. While Kapa Nui is not a Leaping Bunny company, it’s still better than nothing.
Because of their commitment to sustainability, eco-friendliness, and cruelty free agenda, I am giving this brand a 5/5 for impact.
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 Kapa Nui polish 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.
I did get more into doing my own nails and learned a couple tricks, however. If you want to make your manicures last longer, I’ll let you in on a little salon secret: file your nail beds down with a coarse file (I highly recommend this Tropical Shine professional file with two types of grit), then dust them off with a nail brush. If you want to get really bougie, buy an inexpensive nail drill on Amazon (this is the one I use). This will allow you to get every bump and corner of your nail. After, apply the polish. Why file it down? The course file creates an uneven surface on your nails that allows the polish to grip better and therefore, it stays on much longer.
Colors may vary
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 3/5.
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.
Price and Where to Buy
When it comes to price, Kapa Nui is a little on the pricier side. While most polishes are 14-15ml, Kapa Nui sells their polish in a 9ml and a 15ml size- and the smaller of the two is around the cost of an O.P.I. or an Essie polish. If you are unsure about the brand and want to give it a try, it’s best to go with the smaller size. Buying these polishes in a bigger size, however, is more cost effective.
This brand is only sold through their website and in physical locations all across Hawaii – and one location in Seattle, oddly enough. Kapa Nui has yet to establish an Amazon store, or sell their products in major retailers. Kapa Nui does ship internationally, but keep in mind that their package will be subject to taxes, fees, and inspections depending on the country.
Because the price is rather steep and because of the lack of stores selling this product, I am giving it a 3/5.
Overall, this company earned a solid 4/5 from me- or 80%. I am a tough critic, so I applaud Kapa Nui for scoring a solid B from me.
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.
I really hope to see this company’s products appear in popular venues and beauty suppliers. Kapa Nui is a company to be reckoned with, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store in the years to come. Thank you for reading. Stay odd.
4 thoughts on “My Honest Review of Kapa Nui Nail Polish”
I just used this product and decided to read reviews and here I am. I totally agree with you and I am glad my feelings have been validated because it is a fairly green product. The ease of putting the polish on was great but taking it off was the game changer for me.
‘Aloha, Teri Fernandez
Hey there! Glad you got some use out of this review. Hope you like your “green” nails!
I agree with you. I like the four colors I purchased. However, it is soooo difficult to remove the polish. Unbelievably so. I really hope they do more research on improving this aspect of their product. I’m not giving up on them yet. Thanks!
I’m late to the party I see, but this is a fabulous review. I’m a ‘crafty’ person too, plus I swim a lot and hate the look of chipped polish, so I think after reading your review I’ll have to pass on trying this product. I’ll be going with the Lauren B Beauty brand instead, she makes a lovely polish that scores nice and low (3-4) on the EWG’s site. Thanks for the review!