Water-Based & Peelable Nail Polish: Suncoat vs. Namaki * Product Battle #7

Curious to see if peelable nail polish really works, how clean it can get, how good it is, and whether or not it’s worth trying?

I spoke about the nail polish issue at length in several posts, and it feels like I’ve said all I wanted to say – I hope I have anyway. Now, for all of you who want to read more on the topic, I’ve updated my Guide To Non-Toxic Nail Polish just recently, and also the first Nail Polish Battle (Korres vs. Zao vs. Tromborg) is well worth a read. Please check those out to get the whole picture.


Water-based peelable nail polishes as a product – note that I’m not discussing the toxicity issues yet – are a neat idea. Even though I’ve found what I consider the cleanest nail polish remover product, a nail polish that technically doesn’t need a remover looks like a winner.

Pro: peelable nail polish is travel-friendly and fuzz-free, and the products come in a rich variety of colours.

Now my major concern with peelable polish – still not arrived at the clean’n’green topic yet – is the possible damage to the very surface of the nail. As some of you might remember from my post Is Buffing Nails A Safe Alternative, the nail body consists of thin layers. I’ve experienced peelable nail polish that went off smoothly, and I’ve experienced peelable nail polish that picked up a few thin “flakes” from the nails’ surface. Yikes.

Con: peelable nail polish can mechanically damage the nail surface – nothing dramatic of course, but quite unpleasant. The formulas might be free from obvious toxins but they are definitely based on synthetics.

Of course, just like their close relative, water-based nail polish, peelable water-based polish formulas got to rely on synthetic ingredients such as film-builders and plasticizers.


It’s entirely up to you personally what kind of manicure you prefer: going bare, using big-X-free, switching to water-based. It totally depends on your lifestyle and values and health concerns. Organic nail polish also exists but is not vegan-friendly.


product-battle-nail-polish-peelableWithout further ado, here are the brands that I want to compare.
Suncoat, a Canadian brand founded by a chemist, tries to up the natural factor of a nail polish. The Polish & Peel range comes in 12 colours plus top coat, €8 per 11 ml bottle. The brand tries to be super transparent, I suppose, because the full disclosure reads differently depending on where you pick it up (view INCI comparison chart below).
Available through Suncoat webshop for residents of Canada and the US, or via ecco verde in Europe.

The challenger, Namaki, is a new French brand that creates natural make-up for children. The peelable nail polish range consists of eight highly modern colours that probably appeal even more to adult women. A 7.5 ml bottle costs €6.
Availalbe through Namaki webshop in France, or via Outsider Fashion in the UK and in Contintental Europe.

Let’s look at the formulas first. The ingredient info comes from various sources, such as EWG Skindeep, Codecheck, and online research to back up the databases’ rating. [CLICK CHART BELOW TO ENLARGE]INCI-check-and-comparison-peelable-polish-suncoat-namakiAs you can see, the tricky part of this comparison is to say, without any doubt, which formula is cleanest – the INCI doesn’t regulate the amounts of ingredients used.

So Namaki might look like they have more questionnable ingredients but we can’t say how many. Might be vanishingly low. Might be not. Their formula also looks vegan-friendly to me although there is no such claim. The sole vegan-friendly colour from the Suncoat range seems to be ‘Mulberry’:Suncoat-Peelable-Swatch-INCI-Check-Mulberry‘Mulberry’ comes in a very heavy, thick texture that’s this close to get clumpy (but isn’t). The coverage is extremely opaque, 2 coats are enough. Drying time is tops; as you’re done with the first coat on the last finger, you can start with the second coat on the first.

‘Mulberry’ dries to an elastic film that protects the nail from some topical damage – clumsy fingers rejoice. The colour wears well for two days straight, minor bald patches can occur at the very tip. Of course, there is no chipping.

When it comes to taking off the film, ‘Mulberry’ acts slightly stubborn. It definitely needs a soak prior to removal. Otherwise it might cause a little damage to the top surface of the nail.Namaki-Peelable-Swatch-INCI-Check-Gold-01Namaki ’01 Gold’ has the fine, fluid texture of a conventional lacquer. It remains slightly transparent.

Drying time is absolutely adequate, a little quicker than ‘Mulberry’ because the coats go on much thinner. The film feels slightly sticky, like some kind of rubber, but no worries, nothing will stick to it. It’s just the sensation that you get if you touch the surface 😉

Once dry, the ’01 Gold’ film can start “curling” right away, so be extra careful to the tips of your nails – let the polish cure well. Namaki wore well for two days and was effortless to remove, with no nail bath whatsoever.

Both polishes also worked well together in this simple “Gryffindor”-themed manicure:Namaki-Gold-Suncoat-Mulberry-GryffindorMani

Bottom line: for me, there is no clear winner.

Both products have their pros and cons, both formulas are definitely cleaner than a conventional big-3-free product; both are reasonably priced. I’d love to know whether Namaki really is vegan-friendly, and also if Suncoat could veganise all the colours, that would be an asset.

The fact that there’s no remover needed adds up to a sleeker consumption behaviour and marks the way to a modern, cool, efficient product that doesn’t sell you follow-ups.

So the more curious am I to hear from you. The topic might be pretty mundane, but nail polish is a coveted product, with many companies trying to green up the formula.

Which are some of your favourites? What ingredients do you avoid? Have you tried peelable polish yet?

P.S. And please let me hear in the comments if you want to see nail art ideas and which manicures – made with water-based polish or with peelable polish only!


Geeking out about all things truly green, healthy and ethical over at BEAUTYCALYPSE.com (Avatar illustration by A. Goncharenko)

12 Responses

  1. Gryffindor mani for the win! Have you tried Little Ondine? I was extremely impressed with the wear which lasted a week (IF I used their base coat, without it comes off in a day). Though I must be the only person who doesn’t enjoy the scab-picking-like peeling off experience!-

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