Yes, you read that right – nail polish remover cream exists and it works! Part of my Product Development position is knowing what beauty products are out there, no matter how big or small the company. I was looking through award winners from last year’s Indie Beauty Expo and I came across The Sign Tribe’s “Remove and Chill” Nail Enamel Remover (formally Nailflix & Chill which I honestly prefer more).
For the next day, I became obsessed with trying this product. It seemed impossible that it could actually work, and yet it had won a beauty industry award so there had to be something there. As my luck had it The Sign Tribe was hosting a giveaway on their Instagram to win 2 free remover creams and I ended up winning! I sent one tube to my beauty bestie and kept the other one for my personal experiments.
How does nail polish remover cream work?
As we know, nail polish is composed of pigments dispersed in solvents, binders, polymers, plasticizers, etc. Nail polish removers work by using a compatible solvent to slowly dissolve and remove the polish from a nail’s surface. Following the chemistry principle of “like dissolves like”. The high concentration of solvents in traditional nail polish removers can be pretty rough on nail health and are highly flammable. The Sign Tribe’s nail polish remover cream still uses a compatible solvent to remove polish but does so with the assistance of a naturally derived surfactant.
Ingredients: Propylene Carbonate, Cera Alba (Beeswax), PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Dimethicone, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Tocopherol, PEG-8, Caprylyl Glycol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Parfum (Fragrance), Limonene
Propylene Carbonate is a commonly used solvent in cosmetic products, has very low skin sensitivity effect and minimal health hazards. PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil is a waxy white paste that acts as a surfactant. As a surfactant PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil helps mix water and oils together so they can be efficiently rinsed away. The solvent and surfactant work together to help lift and remove the polish. These two ingredients are the base of the product along with an array of waxes and oils to hydrate and condition the nail during the removal process.
How well does nail polish remover cream work?
My personal experiment with Remove and Chill lasted the length of one episode of The Office. Apply a dollop of cream on the top of each nail and let sit 3 minutes per layer of nail polish. I typically apply a base coat, 2 layers of polish and top coat meaning I had to leave the cream on for 15 minutes. After letting the cream rest, I used cotton balls to remove the polish from each nail – which I will admit does take a bit of work. Using some pressure I was able to remove 95% of the red polish off my nails with minimal staining. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my nails actually felt hydrated afterwards! My cuticles weren’t dried out from acetone and my nail actually felt super healthy and not stripped of their natural oils.
Pros: effective removal, no odor, safe to use around candles, does not spill, leaves nails & cuticles conditioned and soft
Cons: expensive compared to traditional polish remover, time-consuming, the tube won’t last as long as a bottle of polish remover, messy