Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Separation Anxiety - what's wrong with my polish?

Hello ladies! Recently I discovered something very disturbing in my polish stash  - a large number of my polishes looked like this:

What the hell?!
Now, separation is nothing new.  This is something that happens to nail polish, and happens more readily in cheaper, or older polishes.  But what bothered me is - why all at the same time, and why so many?  Could this be something to do with the storage of my polish? (a terrifying thought given how many I have and how much time, love and money I've put into developing my collection - what would be next?).

I store my polishes in an Ikea Helmer (£20, houses up to 700 polishes, oh hells yeah!) that sat inside the wardrobe in my spare room.  Apparently the best way to store polish is upright, in a cool, dry, dark place so this should be ideal right?  Well perhaps not.  After a bit of online research I found that extremes of temperature encourage thickening and separation of polish.  I live in Scotland, so in winter the house gets pretty cold during the day, and the spare room is one of the coldest rooms since the radiator is turned right down all the time anyway.  I still find it hard to believe that the temperature would be extreme enough to cause my polish to separate in such large numbers. 

These same polishes looked fine before winter, so I think that temperature really is the main factor here.  So I have moved the Helmer into my bedroom cupboard, which backs on to the hot water tank cupboard and it warmer by on average 3 degrees (I did an experiment and everything....I'm a scientist I can't help it). 

From my online reading I found that the best remedy is to shake the separated polish 'vigorously' until thoroughly remixed.  There are a lot of bloggers out there saying that shaking your polish will fill it with bubbles that can't be removed.  This is utter nonsense.  Yes you will create bubbles in the short term, but these will gently rise up to the surface over time.  That's science peoples.  So I shook, I shook long and hard, and after nearly 300 polishes I pulled so many muscles in my arms and shoulders that I was in agony for days....

It seems that if the polish has not been left in a separated state for too long that the paint layer in the bottle will not have become too hard/thick to be recombined with the upper oil layer.  So if you have a separated polish, be kind, give it a shake!  Just don't try to shake your whole collection in the same day...only an idiot would do that....errr...

Shake it like a polaroid picture
So eventually they all ended up like this.  It's been two weeks now and the polishes have not re-separated, so I'm confident that the recombination is (relatively) permanent and not likely to settle back out.  Really I'll have to wait until next spring for the conclusion of this experiment, to see if the polish fares better in winter in it's new home.

Interestingly, by far the worst affected brand was Nails Inc.  This backs up my theory that Nails Inc polishes are cheaper made than other brands (even though they're not cheaper to buy!).

Finally, if you have a polish that is so separated and hard you're ready to bin it - don't! Check out this post from the amazing Scrangie on how to fix even the seemingly unfixable.

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