Nailing it: 5 unsung polish brands to try

Nailing it: 5 unsung polish brands to try

The perfect paint job

Text: Angelyn Kwek

Thinking of expanding your nail polish collection? Here are five lesser-known labels you ought to start stocking

When your nail polish wardrobe reads like a stockist list of O.P.Is and Essies with nary a diversification in sight — leaving you speculating the existence of other brands — you know it's time to stray out of your comfort zone.

Indeed, in today's ever-expanding beauty scene (bloggers, vloggers and online beauty gurus, anyone?) nail polish is increasingly the accessory of choice for your digits. And improvements in formulations also mean longer wear, hardier chip-resistance, blinding shine and a big step up from the toxic nasties that were chockfull in the polishes of old. Proliferating far and wide, newfangled nail polish brands are seemingly springing up overnight to incite the hoarding demon in all of us.

Regardless if you're a budding polishaholic or a seasoned beauty addict, these five oft-uncharted names will infuse much needed variety in your collection. Bonus: You might score a new favourite label to justify filling out that empty drawer in your polish empire.

1. Jacqueline Burchell
Proudly branded Singaporean, Jacqueline Burchell came into being 15 years ago in a quiet corner of Holland Village. Starting out as modest nail salon that opened with the aim of delivering a cornucopia of shades, this homegrown name has heartily adopted the mantra that 'life should be more colourful'. Having grown their presence with their specialty in gel lacquers, available in a dizzying array of colours and finishes, this is the one for those who love long-wearing brilliance that won't budge.

2. NCLA 
Unapologetically fun and oh-so-Cali with a high Instagramability factor, this Los Angeles brand takes inspiration from their namesake city to churn out a slew of gorgeous polishes with tongue-in-cheek names like 'AM: Beauty Sleep, PM: Shopping Spree' and 'Bel Air Trophy Wife'. Can't wait to dip your toes (pun intended) into their juicy colours? Try their limited edition Box of Cool for a curated selection of six trending shades, all bundled up in an exclusively designed box.

3. Jinsoon 
High fashion meets varnish innovation: Jinsoon is the brainchild of manicure artist Jin Soon Choi, dubbed the 'nail guru' by The New York Times Magazine. The supermodel of nail polishes, Jinsoon lacquers make regular appearances on the runways of fashion week, editorial spreads and hang out with the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker who's a fan of the brand. If your leanings tend to go the K-beauty route, these high-tech polymer and resin formulations are bonafide couture-in-a-bottle.

4. Inglot 
Makeup junkies would likely have sighted Inglot on their radar for the smorgasbord of pigmented eyeshadows and covetable lipstick shades. But did you know the brand also has an equally extensive nail polish collection? Boasting a unique breathable enamel in everything from pastels to vampy hues, the range is both air and water permeable to keep your nails healthy instead of smothering it in numerous coats. Luxurious, buttery colours with a side of nail care? Yes, you can have it all.

5. Smith & Cult 
Aptly christened, this avant-garde label is primed to be the next cult name in the industry. Steadily gathering a loyal following among the masses, Smith & Cult is nail polish's answer to gritty, edgy makeup brands like Urban Decay and Nars. Delivering flawlessly smooth coverage and glossy shine with a handful of stunning, densely packed glitter shades, the distinctive bottle with its hammered gold handle will sit pretty on any vanity countertop. This is one lacquer revolution you want to get in on.