Back in June, I was asked by a friend of mine, Tanya aka Tanyatopia_too on IG, if I had a list or post of Women of Color (WOC) indie nail polish makers and sadly, I replied, “no”. When I started my blog in June of 2016, I had a post that focused on WOC swatchers/b(v)loggers because I felt there was a need for us in the indie nail polish community. My intention was always to feature WOC nail polish makers too, but it never got off the ground until now because ….life, ya know.
WOC encompasses all shades of #browngirlmagic and this post is not to exclude a race but to honor and share the spotlight with all ethnicities and races, because let’s face it, beauty is like nail polish we all come in different, shades and finishes
So here we are, and after doing my research and scouring IG, FB and the interwebs for every search term and hashtag known to man, I send out 30+ emails to WOC indie polish makers. I am excited to highlight those who responded back. Below you will read about a few amazing WOC indie polish brands, who they are and what makes them so different.
Tenisha “Nee-Nee” Capers
32 Flavors Nail Candy
Initial Launch Date: 11/2013, Relaunch Date: 05/2015
*What makes your brand different? 32 Flavors Nail Candy is different because we aren’t only here for vanity. We care about our customers having healthy nails and making them feel beautiful from the inside out with a simple manicure.
*What got you started creating nail polish? I got started in creating nail polish because I’ve worn nail polish almost every day since I was in junior high school. The funny thing is that I’ve never really been addicted, obsessed or in love with nail polish before creating my line. The reason I wore polish every day is because I was and still kind of am self-conscious about the state of my nails and hands. When I was younger I would bite my nails when I was nervous and eventually I began biting them just because. Doing that for so long eventually caused trauma and my nails, which were once “normal” became dark and discolored. When I got to junior high school I noticed that I wasn’t comfortable showing my nails and that’s when I decide to hide them with polish. As time went on I slowly stopped biting my nails but I started doing something even worse…biting and peeling the skin off of my fingers. By the time I got to high school the only thing that made me feel normal was getting my nails done and rocking the prettiest shades of polish. Fast forward to 2013 when I was 23/24 years old, I decided that I wanted to create my own line to make other people feel as beautiful as I did when I polished my nails. And I did just that!
Ariel Terry and Tauaishu Porter
*What makes your brand different? Our brand is unique because it is a Nine-Free Non Toxic Lacquer which embodies every woman. We hand select colors to represent three types of women; The Quirky Woman, The Business Woman and The Down to Earth Woman. While also being able to represent every type of woman, this is also a nail lacquer with a story, each color’s title is indicative of Brooklyn from “Real Tawk” to “It’s Brick!”
*What got you started creating nail polish? We got started creating nail polish with the conversation of limited opportunity to obtain a job in the workforce immediately after graduating from undergraduate school. In the midst of juggling to gain a career, getting our nails brought about a sense of relaxation and tranquility, but the fumes were extremely intense in many of the salons we frequented. We wanted to create a brand that represented who we were as young millennials, a brand with a twist that was like no other and a brand that promoted a healthy lifestyle. This is how Breukelen Polished came to flourish within 6 months of heavy strategic planning.
Anetress “NeNe” Malone
Dainty Digits Polish
Launch Date – August 2013
*What makes your brand different? I believe that DDP is different for two reasons: (1.) My Galaxy Collection is constantly growing. I’m currently at 47 holos and counting! It started it all and even if the others leave, this one will always remain. (2.) I’m inspired by the most random of things. For instance “Just Wonder-ing” is a crelly inspired by a famous brand of bread. Another crelly, #SquareBiz, was randomly inspired by the song of the same name, on my way back home. Sometimes I never know where my inspiration will be drawn. Stay tuned!
*What got you started creating nail polish? Well, I’m a licensed nail tech by trade, so, DDP was actually born out of frustration, oddly enough. I was already “Frankening” well before I knew what it was called, but that was only for my clients. So, one day, I was at my nail table, trying to order Color Club’s holos, but everyone was either sold out or the markup was ridiculous. That led me to research what made holos, holo. I needed holos in my life and wasn’t gonna quit until I had some! I had about a dozen or so orphaned polishes and I decided to convert them into some unique holos. Colors such as yellow, green, midnight blue, you name it! I converted 14 bottles at once! My dear sisterfriend & colleague, Devon kept encouraging me to expand, but I didn’t even want to at first. She just would not let me brush it under the rug! Honestly, I was content with only our clients wearing them. I also didn’t want to fail from lack of support. About a month or so had passed & she was still on my case. Now, she wanted me to think of names for my first collection. She literally hounded me until I came up with my debut collection name. So, the “Galaxy Collection” was born in July of 2013! Holo has always reminded me of the Milky Way Galaxy, so the name just came to me almost instantly. It took me a few more weeks to launch because I did everything out of pocket. Supplies are so expensive, jeez, LBVS (laughing but very serious)!! It was definitely worth it and despite so many events that tried to sideline me (the loss of my mom, changes at my job, motherhood, etc.). It’s almost four years later & I am still hanging in there! I appreciate every single person that has shown DDP love!
Nail Social Nail Brand
January 2017/ Website June 2017
*What makes my brand different? I cannot compare my brand with other indies because I’m too focused on growing NSNB. I try to create and stay true to why I’m doing this, which is to create different colors, with sassy names, and pretty textured lacquers.
*What got me started in finally making polish? Ever went to a store to buy a few things, then wonder into the beauty section and leave the store with more then you intended? Ok, I’m guilty of that for many years. I’ve always wanted my own polish, especially when you have a true obsession for it. I finally did research early 2016 to debut NSNB, but I was sourcing my polish from elsewhere, and I wasn’t happy with anything. So around December 2016, I researched everything again, hand crafted my polish and debuted in 2017.
Pretty in Glam
*What makes my brand different? My brand is different because it stands out! my whole brand is created with love and make women feel Pretty and Glamorous. My polish bottles are bows because I believe every person is a gift from God.
*What got me started in finally making polish? I fell in love with nail polish & painting my nails at a very young age, i use to collect polish and always thought about having my own line one day. I knew i wanted my brand to be different, fun, pretty, and healthy. I looked into private label companies and wasn’t impressed so i began to look into how to make my own colors and that’s the best part to me because i know the products i use are safe & people won’t be able to find my colors everywhere.
Launch Date – January 2013
*What makes your brand different? I’m a nail polish fanatic so I only create polishes that I personally love and therefore that I believe my customers will love too.
*What got you started creating nail polish? For as long as I remember, I have loved nail polish and nail art. When I stopped finding polishes that were unique to me, I began to create them.
Nasty Nails Nail Polish
Launch Date – June 2015
*What makes your brand different? My brand is different from your average indie brand polish. Besides the fact it is 5 Free and Vegan friendly the concept of the brand is one like no other. It’s a sexual and provocative nail polish line. The polish names are ones that will shock you. It’s a brand meant to empower women and let them know it’s okay to be “sexy” or “sexual” and we do that though our nail polish.
*What got you started creating nail polish? I’ve always loved getting my nails done. In the 5th grade my mom gave me a birthday party at a nail salon. In HS I always had the long nails with the many designs and big earrings. It’s always been my thing so as I got older I decided WHY NOT start a nail polish line but with a twist.
Launch Date: 2014
*What makes your brand different? Oftentimes, self-care is not prioritized and as modern day women, we put ourselves on the back-burner, creating a lack of encouragement and worth. Not taking time to refresh and do things that make the modern day woman feel beautiful affects mindset and an ability to pursue and accomplish goals fearlessly. EA Polish aims to change this by offering a line of non-toxic fast drying opaque nail polishes that are inscribed with encouraging messages and re-inventing mani time as a time to reset and recharge.
*What got you started creating nail polish? I had a baby! Lol. Prior to mommy hood, my nail color changed once a week. As a new mommy, my nails eventually were void of any nail polish. As I continued to adjust to mommy hood, my self care routine struggled. When a friend mentioned that my nails were unusually bare, they spoke encouraging words to me amd I got my nails, and self-care routine together. This encouraged me to start EA Polish in order to encourage other woman as they balance life and encourage the incorporation of a self-care routine.
The Howling Boutique; Supermoon Lacquer
Launch Date – 10/13; 05/16
*What makes your brand different? I started off making nail polish exclusively to use in my jewelry but got so many requests to do the polish separately, decided to give that a go! Other brands who make polish jewelry either use mainstream and/or indies that they bought but didn’t make themselves OR they start off making the polish and then do the jewelry. I formulate my polishes to all be one coaters – two coats at the most! – so they’re extremely pigments. They may not be super flashy but I really enjoy making colors that have those special, almost hidden ‘extras’ that aren’t really noticeable in photos but totally surprise you in person!
*What got you started creating nail polish? I was researching new jewelry to make and how to make my own make-up when I stumbled upon a blog post about nail polish jewelry. I then discovered indie polishes (I honestly didn’t – and still don’t – really wear polish of any kind) and that people were legit making it themselves! To set myself apart from other folks making polish jewelry, I decided to learn how to make it so I could claim it really was entirely handmade. After tons of requests to offer the polish separately, I spent almost another year reformulating before launching Supermoon Lacquer.
Polish My Life
*What makes your brand different? Specializing in creme polishes. When Polish My Life launched, there was little to no indie brands specializing in creme formulas that are 5 free. I take pride in my ability to keep my formula consistent throughout. My fan base know me as “The Queen of Cremes.”
*What got you started creating nail polish? I was in search a specific shade of coral/ orange nail polish a couple of years before starting Polish My Life. I started buying various.
Sacha Junique and Ari Jiordan
LAUNCH DATE: April 2010
*What makes your brand different? We’re a mother daughter team and we started when Ari was only 6 years old!
*What got you started creating nail polish? We started making nail polish because we were doing mommy/daughter mani dates since Ari was about 3 or 4. Around that time we decided, as a family, to start eating and living healthier. When I began researching products we put on our bodies I discovered the harsh ingredients in mainstream polish. Ari and I missed our dates and that began a search for polish alternatives. From there Jior Couture was born!
Launch Date: TBA
*What makes your brand different? My brand is different because it is 5 free, meaning it does not have the 5 harmful ingredients that are in regular nail polish. It does not have : Formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resin, and camphor.
*What got you started creating nail polish? I love make-up and I decided to create a video / tutorial using my moms make-up. She saw it and was upset but she saw something good within the video as she watched it. I love beauty and with that, she decided to show me how to mix my own nail polishes.
Little Black Dress Nail Lacquer
Launch Date: January 2016
What makes your brand different? Variety is the spice of life. My polishes cater women and girls of all walks of life and for any occasion.
What got you started creating nail polish? A combination of things, but mainly, I feel in love with nail art and decided I wanted to be able to create polish for my designs.
Lpno9 / Love Potion No. 9
Launch Date: 2012
What makes your brand different? Our brand is a Party Lacquer we host DIY manicures Parties every month to support new friendships and self-love. We encourage women to spend 9 minutes towards yourself adding a burst of color to your week.
What got you started creating nail polish? I am Army Veteran After serving in the OIF Iraq war while i was deployed the thing i missed the most was polishing my nails, wearing colors and visiting the nail salon. I created Lpno9 to help women all over the world feel Great daily! I believe Gorgeous nail colour’s have a therapeutic affect on women!
Launch Date: February 2017
What makes your brand different? I make 5 free stamping polish.
What got you started creating nail polish? I love nail polish and nail art and it’s something I wanted to do for a long time but couldn’t for various reasons until now. I have a degree in fine arts and just love using my knowledge of colors and pigments to create unique stamping polishes.
I hope you are as excited as I am to learn about and support some new brands. I dedicate this post to Tanya, thanks for the push 😉