An Addiction, an Internal Conflict

For those of you that know me–even if you don’t know me but have seen me around–you probably know or have noticed that I love nail polish.

A couple of months before our MBA trip to China, we had a mandatory trip meeting. We were asked to sit with a classmate we didn’t know very well, learn something about them, and tell the rest of the class. The girl I was sitting next to is incredibly sweet, personable, and helped several of us push through the language barrier while we were in China.

When it came time for her to say something about me during the introduction game, I realized I hadn’t told her anything (oops). She said, “Sara LOVES nail polish so much that she changes colours two or three times a week, sometimes every day!”. It was endearing, but also made me wonder if my assumed/observed M.O. is “girl obsessed with nail polish”.

This particular post is about a few things (I’ll try not to make it too long):

  1. How to manage and minimize your nail polish collection (it makes my husband really happy when I’ve done this, not so happy when he finds out I bought MORE nail polish)
  2. Where and how to dispose of nail polish or other hazardous cosmetic items safely
  3. The unanswerable and timeless question of “why am I so obsessed with nail polish?”

How to manage and minimize your nail polish collection!

Step One: Address that you have a problem, ask a significant other, friend or family member to offer support. They already know you have a problem!

Step Two: Choose a box or container that you would like to limit yourself to and/or a specific number of colours. The box and/or number is your limit. No, a Rubbermaid container is not wise. I chose to limit myself to a medium-ish box, it looks like this:


Heh heh, I kind of cheated because several of my nail polishes are from Julep which are long and skinny…but no cheating!

And oh. Quit any subscriptions you have. Julep is kicking my ass. The box of polishes in the picture below came in yesterday, and I’ve vowed it would be my last. They’ll be getting a phone call from me.

Aside: Julep polishes come with a little swatch label, but I’ve always been mystified as to their placement. How am I supposed to swatch the top of the cap when you put the label on the brush cap? It would really just make more sense to send subscribers the proper amount of stickers so they can swatch, peel, THEN put it on the cap. The peeling off the label from the cap, ripping it in the process and subsequently calling it quits method is so frustrating I don’t even bother to swatch at all.


Step Three: Choose the nail polishes you like / use the most often and put them in the box. My problem is that certain nail polishes have sentimental value and I get way too nostalgic trying to sort them. Like the colour I wore skydiving, or the one I wore when I got married or the ones gifted to me, etc.

Step Four: Give away the rest! Or if you don’t have any friends interested in taking them off your hands, look into disposing them safely. If you have a hefty collection you can sell them on Kijiji or at your next garage sale.

Safe Disposal of Nail Polish, Acetone, and other Potentially Hazardous Cosmetics…like eyelash glue

Saskatoon has Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Days, where you bring things like batteries, used nail polish and (eep), asbestos for someone else to safely dispose of. The easy way of finding out: it should be the same place where you can drop off your used batteries. I don’t want to say “shame on you” if you throw your batteries or nail polish in the garbage, but…you should know better.

All you need to do is Google “household hazardous waste my city”. Okay, but because I’m nice I’m adding Thunder Bay’s Waste Disposal information.

And now moving onto…

Why am I So Bloody Obsessed with Nail Polish? (A mini-essay speculating on my personal obsession with colours in a bottle)

I have a few theories about this, starting with my mom. I think my mom loves nail polish, and I caught on by proxy. There are pictures of me as a kid with nail polish. I remember falling madly in love with black nail polish when I was 8. I’m still on the hunt for this one amazing nail polish I had when I was 9, navy blue with tiny silver sparkles that looked like the night sky was painted onto your nails. Sigh. That bottle broke all over my grade 4 teacher’s floor. Oops.

Anyway, I digress.

The obsession.

While I lived in Israel, painting our nails, watching a movie and eating / making dinner together was bonding time with the amazing ladies I worked with. It was some sort of bizarro feminine ritual. Could we liken it to a knitting circle? A Stitch and Bitch?

The voice in my head that followed me all through Women and Gender Studies, and duh, after, tell me I would enjoy it just as much (if not more) if my husband were in on it, haha. I still find it relaxing to sit down at the end of a long day, half watch half listen to Netflix and do my nails. It’s my me-time.

I did spot a man about the same age as my dad a couple weeks ago who had painted toes! I secretly go gaga when I see men that don’t see nail polish as gendered. Although, I really have no idea what he was thinking, so no gaga here. Just gaga over the concept.

I think what it really comes down to is all the pretty colours. And my nails just look so meh to me when they’re naked.


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