Swatches of OPI Achieve grapeness (Nature strong)

Because of all the new Christmas collections that are being released, you would almost forget that OPI has released the new Nature strong line. The nature strong line consists of 30 new colors and a topcoat. 75.6% of the ingredients are from natural origin, the colors are 9-free, vegan, cruelty-free and the caps are made of 25% post-consumer recycled materials. The shades can be worn without a basecoat. If you want more information, you can look at my original post over here.

Because I wasn’t sure how the formula of these shades was going to be (there weren’t any swatches yet when I had to decide whether I wanted them or not), I decided to pick up only one, ‘Achieve grapeness’. Achieve grapeness is purple with pink shimmer. It was one of the colors that absolutely stood out to me compared to the other colors from the collection.

I was lucky because the shade did not disappoint. You can see the shimmer very clear on the nail. I was surprised to find that the Nature strong formula was very similar to OPI’s nail lacquer formula. It also smelled the same (at least to me). In the pictures, I’m wearing two coats. I’ve worn the shade for three days, and then I removed it because I wanted to wear something else. The shade still looked fine when I removed it. According to OPI, the colors may last up to 7 days.

Why ‘from natural origin’ is a bad selection criterium

As an engineer, who has followed many molecular biology, biochemistry, and organic chemistry courses, and who has worked in a lab, I find it necessary to discuss this topic.

Ingredients from natural origin are not a well-defined term in chemistry. In principle, every ingredient is from natural origin or it had precursors that are from natural origin. Although there is an ISO standard for cosmetic ingredients from natural origin (ISO 16128), a lot of companies do not actually use this standard and come up with their own definition.

OPI is not very clear about what they define as ‘natural’, but I think they try to imply that ‘natural’ means ‘not made in a lab’ and ‘not synthetic’. With the images of flowers and leaves, they try to give the impression that they just picked some flowers, crushed them, and put them into a nail polish bottle. Of course, this is not how it works, a plant needs to be processed and purified several times before you can use it for nail polish. In that sense, it still needs to be processed in a lab, even though it is of natural origin.

A lot of companies seem to imply that ingredients of “Natural origin” are better for the environment and lead to less pollution compared to synthetic ingredients. Although OPI does not explicitly state this, they do seem to imply it. This is actually a very common misconception. Sometimes choosing a synthetic or lab-made substance can be better for the environment. Let’s take an example: There are two ways of getting substance ‘A’: 1) The natural origin way: substance ‘A’ is mined in China ( causing maybe poor working conditions and maybe damage to the landscape), than it still needs to be purified and shipped to the USA before it can be used as an ingredient. 2) The synthetic way: Substance ‘B’ is a local ingredient that can be made into substance ‘A’ in a chemical lab without using any harmful chemicals.

If you just classify ingredients by looking at whether they are from ‘natural origin’ or not then you would obviously pick route “1”. If you would truly look at what is better for the environment, you see that route “2” is still an option, and might even be better. A good chemical engineer will look into every ingredient and will find the one that is the most sustainable, sometimes that’s the product from ‘natural origin’ and sometimes that’s the ‘synthetic’ product.

Another thing that annoys me is that ‘Natural origin’ seems to imply that is safer than synthetic ingredients for many consumers. Again, OPI also never mentions this, but it is an assumption that people automatically make. This is actually another common misconception. Some of the deadliest toxins we know, are from ‘natural origin’. Radioactive materials can also be from ‘natural origin’. Substance ‘A’ remains substance ‘A’ whether you obtain it from natural origin or the synthetic way. Therefore, where something comes from doesn’t tell us anything about how safe it is to use. Moreover, it is forbidden to use harmful ingredients in cosmetics, so you cannot put harmful ‘synthetic’ (or natural) ingredients in nail polish anyway (you do have to use the polish as intended though, if you start drinking your nail polish, it can be harmful and it won’t matter whether it is from natural origin or synthetic).

The third and last thing you might be wondering is maybe about the “Vegan” label on the Nature strong bottles. Does this mean that regular OPI shades are not vegan? No, not necessarily. In principle, most nail polish shades are vegan. The only shades that are not vegan (that I know of), are colors that use the red pigment “Carmine”. Carmine is a bright red pigment that comes from tiny insects, and yes, some cosmetics and food companies use this as a pigment. At least it is reassuring to know that the red shades in the nature strong line do not contain this pigment.

Conclusion & Availability

Despite my whole rant about ingredients from natural origin and everything, I do admire the effort OPI put into these shades. However, if you really want to do something good for the environment, you shouldn’t buy nail polish at all. It’s pretty difficult to check whether the Nature strong shades are actually better than the regular Nail lacquer line or not. So my advice would be the following: just pick up the shades that you like, no matter whether they are regular OPI shades or Nature strong shades. I’m very happy with the shade, but I won’t be purchasing more Nature strong polishes, just because I don’t feel I need them (pretty sustainable huh?)

I ordered ‘Achieve grapeness’ from Polish Pick (check them out! They ship to many countries!). The shades are also available on Beyond Polish over here, if you use the code “NOAENAILS”, you get 5% off regular priced items (also works for Beyond Polish Canada). I also found the shades on Amazon over here (affiliate link).

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you buy a product through one of these links, I might receive compensation at no additional cost to you. I label all affiliate links with the label “affiliate link”. As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

The Nature strong shades are also already available in some European stores. In the Netherlands, I have seen them for 20.95 euros, but outside the Netherlands, I have seen them for around 18,45 euros. This is actually much higher than the US price of these products. I therefore really recommend ordering from Polish Pick.

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