I’ve always had an addiction to nail polish, ever since I was young enough to break into my mum’s supply and clumsily glob it onto my fingers. However, I always felt that the colours were a little dull and that red or pink seemed to be the dominant colours I could choose from as I grew up. And when discovered how much makeup is tested on animals, I suddenly wasn’t comfortable buying cosmetics from the high street. In fact, the only shop I felt safe making a choice in was The Body Shop (the only place I knew of that had zero animal testing), and they weren’t doing nail polish. What I wanted seemed simple to me: bright colours in a full spectrum of shades and with no cruelty involved in their testing. A reasonable price tag also wouldn’t be amiss, if at all possible. Barry M turned out to be everything I was hoping for and more.
Barry M is a British nail polish brand that was set up in the 1980s. Being a product of the ’80s, it’s not surprising that they’re known for having some of the brightest colours you can find. Not only that, but they keep their prices low instead of marking up their products (honestly, there is nothing different in $50 nail polish), making them accessible to young people who want to try something new. And my favourite feature of their cosmetics is that they’re all 100% vegan and cruelty free—everything a thoughtful young girl could want from her nail polish.
When it comes to their nail paint, this British brand also offers some excellent styles, including their range of “nail effects” polishes. All Barry M products are made in the UK, in the same factory where their base of operations is. This had lead to some impressive research and development into distinctive nail polish styles you don’t often see anywhere else.
- Chameleon: A nail paint that changes colour when you add a top coat, many of the colours are metallic and they look lovely but I like using topcoats to ensure a long lasting colour so this isn’t my favourite.
- Crackle: Add a layer over the top of another colour and the polish contracts as it dries to create a stunning effect.
- Gelly: Great wet-look nail polish that looks even juicer when you add a topcoat.
- Chrome: Frankly, the gold and silver chrome Barry M nail effects are the shiniest nail polishes I’ve ever had the pleasure of using.
- Magnetic: With two coats and using the special magnet included, you can create amazing nail patterns without needing to visit a salon. I have heard that many people find these nail polishes hard to use and get the best patterns. You need to have a steady hand to hold the magnet close enough to your nails but not smudge the effect.
I’ve been stopped on several occasions when using the nail effects range and people can’t believe that I’ve simply used a nail polish. The crackle nail polish in particular is incredibly versatile because it shows the colour beneath it, allowing you to mix and match. My favourite has to be the Gelly range, with sumptuous colours that look good enough to eat and a range of colours (though these are often less intense than Barry M’s standard line).
If there are any problems with using Barry M, I’d have to say that they take longer to dry than some other more expensive brands. This might be a particular problem for something like me because I get quite impatient and discover I’ve smeared varnish on another pair of jeans. But the level of choice you get more than makes up for it, especially when many Barry M colours look great and last better than many other brands (even without a top coat).
Many of Barry M’s other cosmetics are vegan and none of their testing ever happens to animals. This includes a brightly coloured range of loose eye shadow (again, ’80s inspired and in a good way!) and lip paint. And everything is affordable, which makes me even prouder to sport this ethical cosmetics brand.
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