If you’re a normal person, you probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about nail polish remover. Neither do I. But, since I was getting low, I spent a few minutes in the Target nail care aisle pondering which polish remover to buy. I usually opt for the cheap, generic stuff that costs about .99 cents. Then I noticed some fancier stuff that was $2.50. Why the price difference? I grabbed a bottle of the expensive brand and headed home for a test. Consider this the first ever battle of the nail polish removers. It’s Target’s house brand, Studio Tools Lemon Acetone Nail Polish Remover Enriched with Protein (.99) vs. Cutex Essential Care Non-Acetone Advanced Nail Polish Remover ($2.50).
Round 1: Packaging
Studio Tools: The usual nail polish remover bottle—an opaque plastic textured with ribbing (for her pleasure?) and a yellow cap. The whole thing is topped off with a very generic looking label on both the front and back with all the pertinent information.
Cutex: A smooth, opaque plastic bottle that fits easily in the palm of your hand with a rather elegant black cap. The front label is a shiny metallic, and the back is clear with black font.
Winner: Cutex. It looks much fancier than the Studio Tools—and it should since its almost 2 & ½ times the cost of the Target brand.
Round 2: Dispensing
Studio Tools: A cotton ball sort-of-kind-of-not-really fits over the mouth, but if you’re not careful, it would be easy to spill this all over the place.
Cutex: This is an interesting cap! Instead of screwing off the entire cap, you just twist it and a little nozzle-type thing pops up allowing for a more control.
Winner: Cutex all the way. The flow control cap does a great job and makes spills a thing of the past.
Round 3: Smell
Studio Tools: The minute you open the cap, you’re hit with the strong odor of alcohol and acetone covered up with an artificial lemon scent.
Cutex: There is a mild alcohol smell, but nothing too offensive.
Winner: Cutex. Using Studio Tools in a small space may result in the loss of brain cells.
Round 4: Removal Power
Note: I really put these to the test. My nails were painted with a dark purple color, and I used Studio Tools to remove one hand’s worth of paint and Cutex for the other.
Studio Tools: I seemed to use a lot of remover and went through several cotton balls. It takes forever to remove a top coat, two layers of color and a base coat. After my first pass, I still had flecks of color in the corner of my nails.
Cutex: Cutting through the several layers took some time and effort, but I used about fewer cotton balls and seemed to have cleaner nails.
Winner: Cutex. I would say it took half the effort and time versus the Studio Tools.
And the overall winner of the battle of the nail polish remover is…Cutex. I never gave much thought to nail polish remover and always figured this was an area where I could same a few pennies. Never again. If given the choice, you may want to try the more expensive remover—you really get what you pay for. Who knew?