Arrowpak’s Chanel-style bottle showcases Blaze’s color-changing nail polish.
Nail Polish Pizzazz

Trends in nail polish range from fun nail art to classic colors with a new twist. Packaging— from bottles and caps to labels and cartons—showcase the latest offerings in style.

The nail polish segment is on fire. It is set ablaze with vibrant colors, nail bling, glitter flakes, crackle, at- home and salon gels, and kits with nail polish strips and press-ons with eye-catching patterns and designs. For those who choose to catch a break from the fads, the pendulum swings to reserved colors and ombré sets that provide a contrast to the fanciful options. One thing is constant: sleek and functional packaging holds it all and helps make a convincing statement.

Nail Segment Shines

“We are in the midst of a nail polish trend. The industry is enjoying very good sales right now. A lot of people are using nail polish, especially the newer gel polishes, and when that happens, you see new companies come out of the woodwork,” says Jim Slowey, vice president of marketing and sales, at Arrowpak, a major supplier of nail polish bottles, caps and brushes in the industry.

“Often a company that is starting out with 5,000 pieces can buy from stock, and as their business grows, they can move into the private mold as their brand develops its own identity,” he says.

The nail art trend is reflected in category sales. In 2011 the prestige makeup segments saw dollar growth, with the nail category really taking on a shine, according to beauty market research conducted by The NPD Group, Inc. For the first 10 months of the year, Total Nail was up 59%.

Multipacks, like the one Cosmetic Industries supplies to Gold Grenade, are garnering attention.
Multiple Packs

The growth has spurred versatile products and packaging. “Nail color and nail packaging is trending toward multiple packs, such as 2-, 3- or 5 packs,” says Mark Pollock, vice president sales at Cosmetic Industries Inc. “For example, today in stores you see multiple packs of nail polish. In the past, a person wanted one color and multiple packs were a reason not to buy. Now, multiple packs seem to be a reason to buy.”

Gold Grenade is successfully using the multipack concept for its product The New Black. The packaging and marketing of these multiple colors makes them especially attractive to consumers, notes Pollock.

“Our point of difference is we pre-curate compatible colors, which is one of the hardest parts.For our five-piece Ombré set, we take nails beyond the pale and graduate from the monochrome nail to incremental colors on each nail,” says Leticia Govea, VP of marketing and production, at Gold Grenade. “Retailer response has been amazing. The New Black is now at your fingertips.”

The Spring 2012 Collection features five new collections, including one with sea pearl hues and a Runway Limited Edition Kit inspired by the WWD Spring “must have” colors.Currently the Valentine’s kits are available at Henri Bendel, and The New Black also comes to Sephora this February.

“We wanted to make The New Black very minimal but at the same time we wanted to make sure the colors were well displayed for customers to jump on trends in the nail category, without having to invest in full-size bottles. The transparent packaging works out perfectly,” she says. “We chose the gold header because it made the colors stand out. This year with our 2012 Spring Collection and moving forward, all of our headers will be in silver, which makes the colors especially attractive.”

The multiple pack concept, which can be used with full-size bottles or smaller ones, looks great on shelf, Pollock says. He notes the product is not complicated to make, but can be challenging to assemble.


Manufacturers are taking advantage of the market surge and introducing trendy, fun offerings. China Glaze, a division of American International Industries, has its fingers on the pulse of pop culture and is launching the “Hunger Games” Colors of the Capitol movie tie-in nail polish collection just before Lion’s Gate releases the highly anticipated film. The line, which is inspired by the over-the-top fashion of the fictional Capitol of the nation of Panem, sports 12 colors that go along with eccentric characters who like extreme cosmetics, bold wigs and outlandish costumes.

China Glaze’s Magnetix nail polish line uses iron filings and a magnet to create nail art.
Another line from China Glaze that is sure to attract consumers is its new Magnetix nail polish. This six-shade collection of polishes, housed in the China Glaze signature bottle, is infused with iron powders that move when exposed to a magnet.The products ($10 each) are sold with a special magnet ($10) to be used to create three designs—a starburst, repeating arrows or diagonal lines.

Blaze Nail Lacquer also heats up the nail category. It is the only FDA-approved nail polish that changes color when exposed to the sun’s UV rays. The brand features three polish lines with more than 35 color-changing shades including matte, glitter, pearlescent and fluorescent colors.

“The name of our product—Blaze Color Change Nail Polish—references the rays of the sun, and how quickly our colors change,” says Blaze founder, Debra Mattes. “Sunlight/or the UV rays as seen in a blaze from the sun gave us the idea for the name. The beautiful bottle displays our product well and is reflective of glamour and luxury.”

The symbolism of the sun is key to the brand’s image. “We decided on using a sun graphic on the labeling because it’s representative of the color-changing that takes place when exposed to the sun’s UV rays,” she says.

Bottle Choices

Blaze uses the classic “Chanel” style bottle from Arrowpak Inc. “Another popular bottle is the round ‘Brucci’ bottle,” explains Arrowpak’s Slowey. “There are over 100 different brands that use it and more than 50 different manufacturers that manufacture that bottle with small variations. The Brucci bottle is round and substantial looking.”

Stock bottles are ideal for smaller runs. The round bottle requires one pass for decoration because it spins on the machine, whereas a square bottle involves two-pass decoration: one on the front and one on the back. However, some companies choose to make a private mold bottle that captures the essence of their company rather than using something generic. Slowey notes that customization of a bottle mold has gotten less expensive over the last 10 years because there are more companies producing nail polish bottles, mold costs have gone down, and bottle prices have not risen significantly. “The out-of-pocket expense is not as great as it used to be so there is more variation in the marketplace,” he adds.

Angular Options

In the ever more crowded segment of nail polishes, Bodyography Professional Cosmetic’s new line of nail lacquers was conceptualized to make a sleek statement using package design from the get go. The soft corners of the half-ounce square glass bottle, matte black slightly domed cap, and the clean white text promote the brand’s attention to detail. “The lacquer bottle was designed to be extremely clean, with the Bodyography logo the focal point on the front of the bottle. The square shape of the overall bottle follows a more modern approach to nail polish bottles, straying from the traditional round bottle,” says Lori Leib, creative director for Bodyography Professional Cosmetics.

“The typography needed to be simple and elegant like the rest of the line but was limited by the size restrictions of such a small component. The typography, tri-lingual packaging and color scheme, blend with the current Bodyography product lineup,” she explains.

Finger Sweets also went square with bottles and silver caps from Cosmetic Industries Inc. “Finger Sweets was designed to appeal to a trendier, fun audience so we decided to go with a creative font in a smaller size on a square bottle,” explains owner Sheena St. Surin.“This way the brand name could be read but the details of the actual nail polish and color would be seen clearly.The square bottle gives a very sleek and expensive kind of feel which is why we went with it.”

Finger Sweets also offers tools and nail art products, such as nail polish stickers in a variety of different patterns and nail art pens.

The LAQA & Co. nail polish pen, offered by 3C, offers airtight packaging and an arty flair.
Airtight & Artistic

LAQA & Co. is a one-year-old company gaining attention for its high-gloss nail polish pens. The company commissions up-and-coming artists to design the folding carton packaging and they get a cut of the profits. “We wanted the packaging to be different, to stand for something. There are so many talented young people out there we wanted LAQA & Co. to be a space for them to get their work seen,” explains Georgina Hofmann, founder of LAQA & Co. “It seemed like a natural fit—using each nail polish color to inspire a unique piece of art that someone could also hang on their wall. That’s how we would like the brand to continue in the future, expanding the product line and combining color and art so both can be appreciated more.”

The airtight pushbutton nail pen is supplied by 3C Inc. “LAQA & Co. was looking for a pen that would remain airtight and not leak. Testing showed this pen matched their requirements,” says Lou Della Pesca, president of 3C Inc. “This product looks very much like our automatic lip pens and our other automatic pens. The nail pen is pumped once and enough nail polish comes out to paint a whole nail.”

Hofmann adds that 3C’s product has served the company well. “LAQA & Co. is very much about collaboration, and we try to bring that to life from the box packaging, right down to ‘& Co.’ which represents all of our contributing artists. We strive to bring our customers hip, convenient, high-quality products, which is the essence of our brand and perfectly reflected through our unique packaging,” she says.

Transparent packaging showcases colorful and trendy nail designs, like these from imPRESS.
Instant Manicure

Sally Hansen released its popular nail polish strips in a folding carton from Transparent Container last year. Now, Broadway Nails imPRESS Press-On Manicure line offers another way to get a “salon-perfect manicure” at home with its press-on nail covers. The nail kits come in varied shades and patterns or more classic styles. “X-Factor” judge Nicole Scherzinger, the brand’s ambassador, brings a “glam rock” style to the brand, which is available in 24 nail covers in 12 different sizes, 18 colors ($5.99 each) and 18 patterns ($7.99 each) at major drug stores nationwide.

“imPRESS is fashion for your nails. It is a revolutionary way to apply polish…it gives the look of a gel manicure—but you don’t need an appointment,” says Grace Tallon, senior vice president marketing, Broadway Nails.

L’Oréal’s Pull Formula System Brush, which will debut in April, is designed for a streak-free home manicure.
L’Oréal’s Brush Promises No Streaks

In April, the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Nail’s Pull Formula System brush will debut. The patented brush promises no streaks or mess and is designed to be precisely shaped for one-stroke application. It will be paired with The L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche nail polish collection that fuses 42 prestige-inspired shades with improved formulas.

The collection, which launched in January, is designed to deliver superior shine and color intensity due to crystal acrylics, shine agents and ultra finely dispersed color pigments. The polish is housed in a weighted rectangular glass bottle featuring a gold cap and matching label. The hues fall into four mood families: Trend Setter (six shades that will be updated every six months), Iconic Muse, Femme Fatale and Hopeless Romantic.