Earlier this year I joined a Facebook group aimed at connecting people who have Five Below stores with people who don't, so the former can shop for the latter. I'm the former, of course, and have been enjoying exercising my shopping muscles in a way that doesn't make my stash expand so much. Here's what my kitchen counter looked like after I made the rounds of several stores to pick up orders in February.
Way in the back of that photo, there are some boxed sets. I was able to resist getting the one on the left for myself, even though the Disney princess bottles are cute, because the polish is water-based, and I've decided I don't want to deal with water-based polish anymore. Tried it; didn't like it. Have to draw a line somewhere. The one on the right, though, the ice cream polishes; those were chemical-based, and cute, and glittery, so I gave in and got myself a set.
Upon opening the first bottle to swatch, I was immediately hit with the strongest polish smell I've smelled in a very long time, and I've used Kleancolor recently. Not just chemicals, but super duper chemicals, and I say this as someone with a not especially sensitive nose. I decided to limit my exposure by doing Skittles swatches with these, putting two coats plus topcoat on. In the bottles, it looked like I had five different base colors, but on the three of the pinks looked very similar and the fourth was just a little lighter. I did have at least three different glitter mixes in the various bases, though, so that was good.
The other not so great thing I noticed about these polishes, besides the smell, was grey gunk on the threads of some of the bottles. This pink was the worst one:
It looked to me like the way the bottles were packaged, threads down, was allowing the super chemically polish to interact with the black plastic lining the cap, forming this grey sludge. Yuck.
I also wonder if this chemical reaction was changing the color of the polish, as on later trips to Five Below I noticed variation in the colors included in the sets, with some having a fairly vibrant light orange in them. Or maybe that's just due to randomness in how the sets got packaged; we've certainly seen color variations from bigger brands than this.
Normally I keep polish around at least until I swatch it on a wheel before I destash, but between the smell and the grey yuck, I decided to let go of these almost immediately. After checking that she wanted them, I included them as free extras in one of the packages I sent out to the ladies who'd ordered from my Five Below group buy. Looking at the photos again, I am a tiny bit tempted to replace them because I do like the bright glitter against the pastel milky bases, but I'm telling myself I have better versions of that look from indie makers.