Olive & June Manicure Box Review 2020
I wanted to hate Olive & June’s Everything Manicure Box. The skeptical side of me thought, There’s no way this is a good deal. $80? To do my own nails? Please. Still, I yearned for a manicure—to feel a surge of joy and normalcy upon glimpsing my pretty, painted hands, even if I’m not headed to any formal events or an office soon. So when I received a sample, I decided to try it with an open mind, and somewhat begrudgingly, I really, really like this dang box. It makes doing my own nails way more enjoyable than it’s ever been before.
For a little background: I have a long-running relationship with nails/manicures. I sucked my thumb until the age of five, when my dentist persuaded me out of it (with the promise of an enormous stuffed reindeer, which I named, no lie, Rudolph Giuliani). But then I took up nail biting instead. In my adolescent years, I tried to quit by using bitter-tasting polishes designed to turn me off, but this didn’t work. I continued chewing my nails, hated myself for doing so, and, in turn, spiraled and bit them more.
In my 20s, after I moved to New York and landed my first job, I finally stopped nail biting by getting regular gel manicures. On one hand, yay, I no longer bit my nails! On the other hand, I became reliant on salons, spending $40 every two weeks to swap out shades. This was incredibly costly, an exhausting use of time, and—as I stuck my hands under a U.V. light to dry the gel—potentially damaging for my skin. I realized that I couldn’t, nor did I want to, spend the rest of my life replacing one habit with another. I eventually gave up manicures completely and just let my natural nails live and grow. I started exercising more to (somewhat) manage my anxiety, and I’m pleased to report that I haven’t bitten my nails in several years. I’m no longer dependent on manicures as part of my routine, which strangely frees me to miss them as acts of self-care. With the pandemic forcing me to stay home (which is, I recognize, a privilege), I’ve started missing the pampering of my hands. Enter the Everything Box.
Inside this pale pink box is, true to its name, everything you need for a salon-quality manicure, including specific tips and tricks (like how to manage cuticles), six nail colors of your choice (from subtle nudes to splashy neons), and a glossy, quick-drying top coat. As someone who struggles to find polish that isn’t too watery or clumpy, I can vouch for how this polish goes on evenly and stays put for, miraculously, at least a week. The bottle’s brush is just the right size and shape to cover my nail’s surface in two to three strokes (something that gives me trouble with thinner-brush bottles from brands like Essie and Sally Hansen).
But the best part of the kit, what really makes it the “everything,” are the tools, of which there are many: a nail-polish-remover pot (which you use with a satisfying soak of your finger in a small sponge), a nail clipper (designed with a flat edge for level clipping), a dual-grit nail file (way stronger than my flimsy emery boards), a buffer cube (for shaping, smoothing, and keeping cuticles in line), a universal polish bottle handle (a rubber insert that covers the top of a polish handle and makes it far easier to apply coats, especially when using your nondominant hand), cuticle serum (made with nourishing cactus flower), and a clean-up brush (my personal favorite tool). No matter how messy my manicure is, at the end I use this fine brush dipped in remover to clean up errant polish, and presto, my nails look like they’ve seen the inside of a salon.
Realistically, $80 isn’t financially feasible for everyone. For $50, Olive & June also offers a Studio Box, which comes with all of the tools plus one polish of your choice and a top coat. For $42, you can buy the Tool Box, which includes just the tools, to be paired with any polishes you already own. FWIW, while you can certainly purchase everything in these kits piecemeal, for the price, you get thoughtfully designed, high-quality products and expert advice, all in a pleasing package. With a single bottle of polish usually costing around $7 to $9 a pop, to get six (and a top coat) in colors I love is a good deal. I expect to use the contents of this kit for months to come and am excited to gift it to friends, especially to those who need a pick-me-up. Final verdict? Nailed it.
Olive & June Everything Box
This toolkit includes everything you need to take on a spa-level manicure at home.
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