For quite some time, I've been using Zoya's Remove+ as my go-to polish remover. I've been in love with the pump dispenser, and the fact that it doesn't smell bad.
However, I recently acquired a 3 pack of Butter London's The Remover Collection (scented remover), as well as Julep's new Conditioning polish remover. I believe each is "3-free" and acetone free. I decided to see how they stacked up against each other.
Here's a bottle shot:
(L-R) Zoya Remove + 2oz, Zoya Remove+ 16oz, Julep Conditioning Nail Polish Remover 4oz, Butter London Lacquer Remover in Powder Room scent 2oz
For this challenge, from Butter London, I used the Powder Room fragrance. I also received Beach Bum (Pina Colada) and Nutter (Almond) but didn't want to open the seal on the bottles just to sniff them, and then have them evaporate on me before I needed to use them. This was probably wise, as I will explain shortly.
For the manicure, I was removing Pinkgasm--a glitter--so I used the Foil method. I figured this would give me a better idea of how each remover worked vs The Big Bad Glitter.
Here are my results, in a few categories:
As I mentioned, Zoya's scent is there, but not unpleasant. Julep, however, had even less of a scent. Butter London--OMG. AWFUL. Not only was it ridiculously strong, it did not smell like powder to me (although my daughter walked in the room and asked why it reeked of baby powder). It makes me REALLY glad I did not open the other 2 or I most likely would have given myself a migraine. Zoya leaves a hint of a scent that again, is not unpleasant. Butter London--I couldn't stand to have my hands near my face for at least a day.
WINNER: Julep, with Zoya a very close second.
Zoya's pump bottle has been a revolution to me. Not only is it easy to dispense, but the top twists to lock. The cap don't have a firm closure but that hasn't been an issue. The smaller bottles that you often get as a gift with purchase and large refill bottles do not have this feature, simply a screw cap.
Julep's bottle comes with a screw cap and a pump cap. In addition to the twist-to-lock feature, the lid snaps on tighter than Zoya.
Butter London only has a screw cap. It is far too easy to spill it, or oversoak your cotton ball, wasting remover.
*EDITED TO ADD* When I took photos of the bottles, Butter London tipped over and LEAKED. The cap was screwed on tightly. The smell was now so bad (I had a migraine to boot) that the bottle was removed from my room. EPIC FAIL. I will be contacting Butter London. (I got a rather form-letter response, no apologies, just a "we'll pass on the message" reply. Meh.)
Zoya's Bottle is larger than Julep's, so I think this comes down to personal preference. I can see using Julep to travel, But obviously you get more with Zoya. More on size/value to come.
WINNER: Julep (by a hair) and Zoya. The fact the cap snaps closed on Julep's bottle gives it a tiny advantage.
Here's where it comes down to the real purpose. Using the foil method, I used each remover on a nail and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
Zoya--only needed a small swipe of another cotton ball to get rid of the glitter that stuck to the nail
Butter London--needed more remover and some scrubbing to get off the last of the remover.
WINNER: JULEP! I am still very happy with Zoya, however. Butter London is NOT faring well.
Zoya's Remove+ pump bottle is $9.99 for 8 oz at Zoya.com ($1.25/oz)
The small bottle (cap only) is $4.60 for 2 oz ($2.30/oz)
The refill bottle (cap only) is $25 for 32 oz (.78/oz)
Julep remover is $14 for 4oz at Julep.com ($3.50/oz)
If you are a Julep Maven, the cost is $11.20 ($2.80/oz)
At this time, Julep does not offer a refill.
Butter London 3 pack is $19 for a total of 6 oz at Butterlondon.com ($3.17/oz)
Single bottles are available $8 for 2 oz ($4/oz)
WINNER; Zoya by a landslide!
The judges have convened and the medals awarded.
GOLD: Zoya's Remove+ for value, bottle design, scent, and refills
SILVER: Julep's remover for bottle design and scent
Congratulations to you both!
There is no medal awarded to Butter London. I feel it falls *incredibly* short from what I've come to expect from this brand. I love their base/top coats and polishes. But for a remover, no thanks. If they were to offer an unscented option, with a different dispensing system, I would re-evaluate my opinion. However I felt that as a remover itself, it was not equal to the other two.
I am glad there are so many non-acetone polishes on the market. I really couldn't stand that, and my nails are really healthier without it. In addition, although I deal with skin issues, neither of my top 2 bothered my skin.
I have not yet had the opportunity to try Deborah Lippmann's polish remover, The Stripper, which also has a pump. When I do, I will update this competition.
**While I no longer support ZOYA I do stand by this review. In the future however, I will be switching brands when I run out of Remove+**
Do you have a favorite remover? Do you prefer non-acetone remover or "3 free" to traditional polish removers?