What do the following products have in common: laundry detergents, spackling compounds, nail polishes, and water-saving toilets? All were the subjects of scrutiny in the February 1995 issue of Consumer Reports. In an article titled “Nailing Down the Best Polish,” the magazine compared eight popular brands of consumer nail polish, rating them on the basis of dying speed, application, evenness, opacity, chipping, and overall wear after four days. As you might expect, price was not the determining factor in quality, in fact, the 95₵ per bottle Wet ‘N’ Wild was rated above Channel’s $14.50 product. They also confirmed what we already knew, that using a base coat and top coat “can mean the difference between a mediocre manicure and long-lasting one.” Although it did not review professional brand polishes, the magazine did send a reported in the way of professional nail care. While the reporter’s experiences as an undercover client were largely positive, she did encounter some aggressive cuticle clippers and, on more than one occasion, was asked to reach into her wallet with still wet nails. Her overall impression? “Where you go or how much you pay doesn’t matter as much as the skill of the particular technician.” The article wrapped up with some good information about the hazards of toluene and formaldehyde, tips on protecting a manicure, and nails as an indicator of general health problems. We are also happy to report that the magazine used the term nail technician, rather than manicurist, through much of the article.
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