When I went to the drugstore a few days ago to run some errands (and maybe check out the new P2 nail polishes) I noticed that quite a few brands have come out with these sponge type nail polish removers. Basically, these are bottles with a sponge soaked in nail polish remover. You simply stick your finger into the hole in the middle, twist a few times and your nail polish should be removed in no time. The first German drugstore brand I saw releasing this kind of nail polish remover was P2 and I reviewed their product a few months ago. Now Essence and also DM's own brand Ebelin threw their take on a sponge nail polish remover on the market. While I was not pleased with the P2 remover, I am still drawn to this kind of product, because it is great for on the go or when you're in a hurry. There is no need for cotton balls and the remover won't leak when you throw the bottle in your bag or suitcase, because the liquid is "trapped" in the sponge. So I gave the Essence Quick & Easy Sponge Nail Polish Remover a try. For my detailed thoughts and a little comparison to the P2 remover read on after the jump!
The main reason I wanted to try this remover is the formulation. The P2 Express Nail Polish Remover was really drying on my nails and cuticles. The main solvent in this is MEK or methyl ethyl ketone, which is rather harsh (more agressive than acetone and even used to dissolve certain plastics, so you definitely do not want to expose your skin to this) and considered an irritant. Also, the smell of this was aweful!
The new Essence Quick & Easy Sponge nail polish remover contains ethyl acetate as the main solvent (which you also find in regular acetone free nail polish removers). It can still be harsh to your skin, but is not as bad as MEK. To counteract the drying effect the solvent has on your skin, the Essence remover contains various oils and glycerin. Due to the slightly milder solvent, the Essence remover takes a tad bit longer than the P2 remover to get your polish off, but still it is quick. For creme finish polishes (one layer of base coat, two coats of color and one layer of top coat), I dip in, turn my finger three or four times and everything is gone. For textured or glitter polishes it takes a bit longer and you need to rub your nails extensively against the sponge. Also I find the glitter particles tear on the sponge so I ended up with black fuzz on my fingers. I always wash my hands after I removed my polish, so that does not really bother me. The main issue I have with all the sponge type removers is the fact that the dissolved polish and all the pigment, glitter particles etc. build up in the sponge - the more often you use it, the more likely you are to end up with glittery goodness from weeks ago on your fingers. Again, not a big deal if you wash your hands afterwards, but still annoying. On several blogs I read that you can take out the sponge, wash it and soak it with new remover, but I have not tried this (my sponges aren't dirty enough, yet).
These sponge removers are also much more expensive compared to a bottle of regular nail polish remover. The P2 Express Remover is 3,95€ for 50ml. The Essence Sponge remover costs 2,99€ for 75ml. For reference, my usual acetone free nail polish remover from the drugstore is 0,59€ for 125ml! So I'd only go for the sponge type nail polish removers if you don't change your nail color too often. For us
crazy lovely nail polish hoarders ladies this product might get a bit expensive over time.
My final verdict: This remover does what it claims and for quick removal of creme or shimmer polishes on the go, this is perfect. For everyday use I will continue to reach for my usual nail polish remover and cotton balls due to the high price of the sponge removers. For removal of glitter polishes I still prefer the foil method, because it saves me the scrubbing!
Have you tried any of these sponge type nail polish removers? Or did this review make you want to try one of them? Let me know your thoughts! I hope this was helpful.