Cutex the brand dates back to 1911, when it was founded in Stamford, CT, USA.
Nowadays, Cutex is best known for its nail polish remover, but it’s had a long history of producing nail polish, too. In the company’s first few years, it developed a liquid nail polish based on auto paint. Prior to this, nail color generally came in powders and pastes; by 1925, virtually all nail polish sold had taken on liquid form. Three years later, Cutex started to sell acetone polish remover, and the rest is history.
Back in the 90s, even I owned one or two Cutex polishes! They came in a bottle just like the pink Cutex bottle in the second-last photo above, except mine didn’t say “Fresh Colors”…I don’t think. One was a browned pinky-mauve, the standard 90s mauve, and one was a sheer off-white shimmer; the formulas were awful! The last decade or two, however, I haven’t seen a Cutex color polish at all.
Earlier this year, Cutex launched a new line of nail polish remover, nail treatments, and, yes, nail colors! The color line is called Care + Color Nail Color. Personally, I’m a little surprised that they’ve priced the new line, at least in Canada, similar to, or even higher than, Revlon’s own nail line. I never think of Cutex as a prestige brand in the drugstore. I’d have pegged it as somewhere between SinfulColors and Revlon.
The color selection is pretty safe and straightforward—nothing too crazy!
I waited for a sale (sorry Revlon, not paying CA$9.99 for a Cutex polish), and while a $2 discount’s not great, it’s better than nothing! I was tempted to go old school with a mauve, but decided to choose one of the “wilder” shades instead: Blues Fest (200), a soft cornflower blue pastel cream.
While the bottle’s styling is decidedly snoozy and, well, kind of ’90s-looking, the quality is good. The bottle has a good heft in the hand, and though the plastic cap’s texture doesn’t have much grip, it is at least a little squared-off on the top.
The brush stem is long (due to the bottle’s height) and rectangular, which I hate because it holds too much polish. The brush itself is long, on the slim side, and slightly flattened. The end is squared off, but at a very slight angle which makes me think it just wasn’t cut well. The bristles are very pliable, which does make application a bit smoother.
I’m of two minds about this polish. One one hand, the formula is too thin and not quite pigmented enough for an opaque shade. I used three coats to get full and mostly even coverage. To be fair, the formula is pretty easy to apply, even with a slightly wonky brush, so requiring three coats was not a total killer.
On the positive side, the color is pretty darn swell. It’s not just a pretty blue—it also has “invisible” monochromatic, pearly shimmer in it that gives the finish a really gorgeous glow. The polish also dries to a perfectly glossy, glassy finish!
So, I’m a little torn. I’m tempted to try another one or two shades to see how they compare, but I also am not happy about the thin formula and the subpar brush. In addition, the price is about even with Essie and L’Oréal Vernis à l’Huile, which I feel are superior products.
For now, I’ll just say that the formula and brush could be better, but the color is pretty nice and this is still worth getting if you really like the color and can’t find a dupe in a different line. That invisible shimmer, though—ooooh.
I didn’t see any information online about the formula being free of certain toxins, but I checked the ingredient label on the bottom of the bottle and saw that it did not contain toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor, and dibutyl phthalate (DBP). Incidentally, the polish also contains oil from the seed of the isatis flower, a.k.a. woad, which has a rather interesting history as a dyeing agent.
Cutex Care + Color Nail Color contains 0.46 fl oz / 13.6 mL and retails for US$6.99 / CA$9.99. The formula is free from toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor, and dibutyl phthalate (DBP). It is made in Mexico.
Cutex was founded in 1911 by Northam Warren Co., based in Stamford, CT, USA. The company played an important role in the development of liquid nail polish and acetone-based polish remover. For much of Cutex’s early history, it was the world’s best-selling nail brand. Over the years, the brand has changed hands several times. Most recently, in 2016, Cutex was sold by Coty Inc. to Revlon Inc., based in New York, NY, USA.