Battle Of The Express Varnish Remover Pots: Which Performed Best?

Nail varnish remover used to be one of the dullest items in beauty. Functional, stinky and messy, nobody ever took pleasure in removing their nails – until handy and cute nail varnish remover pots cropped up and made the process quicker, simpler and cleaner. Although the original pots used to be relatively affordable, albeit double or triple the price of a standard bottle of remover, in the past year a huge amount of copycat products have been launched that cover all budgets. I’ve been putting three to the test over the last few months to see if spending more money really buys you a better product. Here are the results…

1. Primark Nail Polish Twist Pot (£1.00)
This little black tub can be nabbed for only a quid, making removing your nail varnish super quick and even more affordable. However, you definitely get what you pay for – the foam inside is really cheap and not particularly comfortable to move your fingers around, as well as being filled with little bits that separate when you dip in your digits. It’s a little frustrating to remove your finger and bring with it lots of little bit of foam! The remover itself is pretty poor too, taking quite a while to dissolve polish and needing a lot of movement to really wipe it all off. Although it can remove thin polish relatively easily, any strong colours or thick formulas it struggles with; I often find my nails need buffing afterwards as there’s still a little residue left over.

2. Maybelline Express Remover (£4.99)
Containing much softer and more resilient foam than its Primark counterpart, this express remover really does help to remove polish in practically an instant. You do need to move your nails around a little to get rid of all the polish, but the formula helps to dissolve the colour within seconds and leaves nails feeling clean. The only downside is that it seems to cling onto dark shades and reds, meaning I can often find a red halo around the base of my finger where I’ve dipped it into the remover and unwittingly picked up some colour. All in all, a great product that doesn’t smell bad – a great way to spend a fiver.

3. Nails Inc Express Nail Polish Remover (£8.00)
My favourite of the three, this pot is slightly smaller but contains super soft foam that’s incredibly comfortable to use. It clings to my polish and removes it within only a few seconds, helping to leave nails looking and feeling clean without being stripped bare. The scent is a lot more subtle and it doesn’t seem to cling onto colour as much as the Maybelline version, making it great if you’re a fan of reds and dark shades. This is the only one of the three that actually makes my nails feel good after removing polish, rather than being stripped of nourishment and needing a lot of care.

So basically, spending a little more when it comes to these pots definitely pays dividends. You get what you pay for when it comes to budget buys, but even the mid range alternatives are much more effective. Considering these last for an age, they’re a great investment for nail enthusiasts or those of you that are simply fed up of faffing about with cotton wool buds.

Have you tried any of these three nail varnish remover pots?



  1. Tina Holmes
    August 14, 2014 / 3:04 pm

    I've been waiting for your verdict on the primark one. I love the nails inc one so I will defo stuck with that.

  2. Lucy Dorling
    August 14, 2014 / 3:17 pm

    I do use the Maybelline one and I like it, although it doesn't last that long for me as I change my colours every couple of days. It's good and quick though, when I get a next pot i am going to wash it out and try refilling it (I understand you can do that once with the Nails Inc one) but even if that doesn't work it's still pretty cheap to replace xx

  3. Anonymous
    August 14, 2014 / 3:42 pm

    Thanks for sharing these products.

  4. jasmine turner
    August 14, 2014 / 5:55 pm

    I definetly need to try the Nails Inc one! Sounds amazing :)xprincessjas | ♥

  5. Inge | blogboutique
    August 14, 2014 / 8:49 pm

    In Holland I only could find the Maybelline one! It works great, also for structure polishes. But I really like to try the other 2!

  6. Anonymous
    August 14, 2014 / 9:21 pm

    I tried the nails inc one over a year ago. I change my nail polish about 2-3 a week bc I'm obsessed with nails haha! I have just had to repurchase a new one. That one little pot lasted me about 12 months before it was completely stained and not removing my polish. It started to wear away a little after about 10 1/2 months of use. It definitely lasts so it is worth the money!! I love it and would never go back! Even gets off pesky glitters too. Tina please come and pay me a visit?p.s i LOVE your blog! Xx

  7. Nathalie Sheridan
    August 22, 2014 / 3:11 pm

    Great review Hayley but I'd have liked to have seen a review of the new Bourjois Hands and Feet Nail Varnish Remover pot too. Any plans to do a review on this please?

    • Hayley Carr
      August 22, 2014 / 3:44 pm

      Nope – I used to work for them so don't feature any of their products out of principle. Sorry!

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