Full disclosure: I am a blogger and some of the polishes featured in this post were press samples, but I will say that the majority of the brands that I blog for, I was a customer of long before I ever blogged for them. I am an indie polish fan first, blogger second. That has always been me. Also, this list is definitely not all-inclusive of the wonderful brands out there, but I decided to limit it to 20 (in alphabetical order) so my post wouldn't be forever long. In fact, I've just recently purchased some gorgeous polishes from Polish My Life, Firecracker Lacquer, and Lemming Lacquer and they are just amazing so I will look forward to adding them to my long list of beloved indie brands.
If you want to join in an help to support the amazing indie polish brands out there, please post your favorite indies and use the hashtag #itrustindiepolish or #itrustindies across social media to help us boost up these hard working companies! Just remember there is a huge world of people out there who aren't in the indie polish "bubble" so we want to make sure that they are exposed to some good press for our favorite indie brands, not just the negative things they are hearing in the media.
Baroness X is a brand that I've just recently had the pleasure of trying and I'm so impressed! The polishes I've tried have such beautiful complexity (I can't wait to show you some upcoming multichromes!) and I also love the attention to detail with the bottles, which all come with gem on top that is painted with the polish inside. Demi will also be adding some mani/pedi care products to her site soon that are fabulous, so stay tuned for some wonderful stuff to come soon!
Baroness X Aurora Sparks
Chaos & Crocodiles is a brand that sucked me in with their glitters several years ago (hello Fireside Nights and Ferris Wheel at Dusk), and I keep coming back for Sarey's creations which now have expanded to include all sorts of holos (including the hugely popular Secret Agent Collection), glittery, and flakie creations. The branding for this line is absolutely adorable and you can always bet that Sarey will include some cuteness with your order, be it with origami stars or tiny buttons emblazoned with the cute little crocodile mascot.
Chaos & Crocodiles Subterfuge
Contrary Polish is a brand that I've been following from the very beginning. Maker Carrie specializes in complex shimmer polishes that are really sophisticated and classy. She really has an eye for amazing shimmer combinations, especially contrasting shimmer and her formulas are just amazing. I feel like she really draws her inspiration from old school shimmer polishes, but she puts a modern twist on them. Contrary Polish is available from several international stockists, but was exclusively available at Llarowe in the US, so hopefully we will be seeing her open her own shop or partner with a new US stockist soon!
Contrary Polish The Mellower Season
CrowsToes is yet another brand that I've followed from the very beginning. I think I was one of her very first orders, actually (who remembers the Alice in Wonderland-themed glitters?!). The crazy head crow herself, Lauri, has been concocting crazy glitterbombs for years now and has really branched out to include shimmers, multichromes, metallics, holos, and even textures! CrowsToes will now be stocked at Color4Nails and there is also a Big Cartel shop in the works since they were previously exclusively stocked at Llarowe in the US.
CrowsToes Tiki Torch (over OPI Viking in a Vinter Vonderland)
Elevation Polish is a brand that is known for the superb formulas, creative artistry, and complex names. Creator Lulu is a world traveler and avid hiker, so much of the inspiration for her brand comes from nature and the amazing places that she has visited. My love for Elevation started with her glitter toppers (I was all about the circle glitters and Stay Behind, Catch a Wave was a must have), but then I quickly realized the value of a fabulous indie creme when I first tried an Elevation creme. It was down the rabbit hole from there and I'm always impressed with everything that Lulu makes as well as her integrity and dedication to her craft.
Elevation Polish Cloud Peak
Darling Diva Polish is yet another brand that I've been following since very close to her beginnings. I got my very first holo topcoat, Dreamy, from her! Can you remember when holo topcoats were a new thing? It's been years! For ages Carrie has been pumping out glorious holos, glitters, multichromes, and flakies in all sorts of forms. She has super fun collections that are based on everything from her favorite movies, TV shows to bands and classic cars, and even some more salty themed collections (especially when her husband Rick gets involved). There is one thing about Darling Diva Polish that I've always found to be true, her polishes are never subtle! They are always going to pack a punch on your nails!
Darling Diva Polish The Alchemist
Girly Bits Cosmetics is...yet again...another brand that I've been following since she opened shop (can you guys tell I've been around the indie world for awhile?). My love affair with Girly Bits started with her amazing color shifting topcoats (Shift Happens is still my most used indie ever), and just grew from there. Pam has explored pretty much every finish since then and has an amazing, comprehensive line of polishes. I especially love her soft holos as well as her "shimmolos". I remember when indies started to become big that I always looked to Pam as a pillar of professionalism in the indie world, and she has never changed.
Girly Bits What Happens in Vegas, Ends Up on Facebook
Glam Polish has taken my heart by storm in the past 2 years or so. I remember first being enamored with a Mei Mei's Signatures exclusive called Star Candy that I had to break down and buy. Then...the first Cast a Spell Collection came out. Let me tell you, those polishes (all 3 parts) are some of the most beloved polishes in my collection. I really hope that I can get my hands on all of them one day so that I can have a complete collection. The thing about Glam Polishes is they have SO MUCH GOING ON that pictures don't even do them justice. They are always better in person. Rachel just has some sort of magic going on, and it just keeps going and going and going. If you like holos and glitters and GLITTERY HOLOS, you need to treat yourself to a Glam or 5.
Glam Polish Hey Ya!
Great Lakes Lacquer is a pretty brand spanking new indie brand that I have had to pleasure of working with since the beginning. I have seen new indie brands come and go in my time, and you can really tell when a new brand has put in the time and done their homework before releasing their first collection, and Mariah has definitely done that. She has the thoughtfulness of a seasoned indie maker when it comes to her polishes, and if you haven't give them a try I highly recommend you do!
Great Lakes Lacquer The Fashion Artist
Hare Polish was my first EVER indie purchase back in the summer of 2011. My real love affair with Hare Polish began with the release of the her spacey, glittery jellies (and I can't remember the name of the dang collection!) but it included Dog Day Dream, Why So Igneous?, The Sky Was Pink, and Magic Mist. I've always thought that Nikole had such an eye for strange and wonderful color combinations. They sound crazy on paper, but in polish she just makes them work!
Hare Polish The Norwegians Are Coming
ILNP is a brand that always seems to be on the cutting edge with new pigments and finishes. Their multichrome line is wildly popular, as is their newer ultra chrome flakie line. I really love their newer holos with holo flakes and gold flakes too. This brand has always exuded professionalism and I've always heard only good things from their customers when it comes to customer service as well as their pre-order system and website design which allows for a smooth shopping experience.
ILNP Open Fields (over Elevation Polish Shilin Stone Forest)
Indigo Bananas is a brand that I found by chance one day while browsing Instagram. Have you even seen a polish and needed it immediately? That was me and Electric Unicorns. I've been smitten with Indigo Bananas ever since my first purchase and now I enjoy their cuticle balms as well as their polishes. Andrea always has the newest, coolest pigments and she has a magical way to make them come together in polish...there is always something just a little extra special in an Indigo Bananas polish.
Indigo Bananas Hole in the Sky
KBShimmer is another pillar of the indie polish community and I can't believe it took me as long as it did to check out their amazing polishes (I think I was first entranced by their Spring 2013 line with I Got a Crush on Blue and Squared Away). Christy and Jason are famous for their glittery jellies and crellies, but have since expanded their line to include fabulous cremes, holos, shimmers, and flakies as well. KBShimmer is known for outstanding quality and I can certainly attest that they live up to those standards. Their ever expanding line now includes nail care items as well as nail vinyls and decals and the fabulous bath and body products that they started their business with.
KBShimmer Vitamin Sea
Literary Lacquers is a brand that specializes in holos. I really fell in love with Literary Lacquers when I discovered their microglitter holos because they are just so sparkly! I have been impressed with this brand since I first purchased them because they have a fabulous formula and holo flame. Creator Amy draws inspiration for her polishes from literature and (on a side note) I think it is really cool that the Literary Lacquers fan group on Facebook even has a book club! If you love holos, be sure to check this brand out.
Literary Lacquers Strong Steady Hand
Pahlish...what can I say about Pahlish? I could write a whole blog post about my love affair with Pahlish. Once again, I've been a Pahlish customer since they opened and I've never slowed down. My very first Pahlish love was Train Underwater and swear I've got a new love every month! My favorite Pahlish finish is Shannon's flecked creme finish (like Nine Names that I've shown below), but she also make all sorts of holos, glitters, shimmers, and flakies. And then there are the Bespoke Batches...those are an obsession as well. I pretty much always have a Pahlish package in the mail! I just can't gush enough about this brand!
Pahlish Nine Names
Pretty & Polished is another brand on my list that has been around for a really long time. I remember when Jawbreaker was the hottest polish around and I absolutely had to get my hands on it. Chels really has a way with crelly glitters, but she has a full range of finishes including cremes, glitters, holos, shimmers, and several fun thermal polishes and glow in the dark polishes. In addition to polish, Chels also has a line of bath and body products and offers a monthly Beauty Box and Body Box which contain exclusive products.
Pretty & Polish Maleficium
Pretty Serious Cosmetics is a brand I was introduced to by my pal Kristy from The Polish Haven (man, I miss her blog!), and I still remember my first Pretty Serious obsession: Liquid Leprechaun. Creator Kaz is an avid vintage nail polish collector and she has channeled her love for vintage polish into the Pretty Serious line, most recently by creating a collection inspired by long discontinued polish relics. She has a full line of creme polishes, as well as shimmers, glitters, and duochromes. This is another company that has absolutely amazing branding, with all of their packaging featuring lovely artwork including their spunky mascot Daphne!
Pretty Serious Cosmetics Iktsuarpok
Renaissance Cosmetics is a brand that I just because acquainted with this year and I've been impressed from day one with their polishes. Meghan has absolutely perfected her 2 coated microglitter formula and I have been on a quest to get as many of them as I can. Her polishes are some that truly need to be seen in person to truly appreciate their delicate complexity. She is closed at the moment as she is moving to the US from Canada, but I can't wait for her shop to re-open!
Renaissance Cosmetics Blushing
Scofflaw Nail Varnish is the brainchild of creator Finch, and she makes some of the most complex and creative polishes out there. Scofflaw polishes always have the most fun and unique names and inspirations and the color combos that Finch uses are usually not something I would think would work in a million years...but they do...they REALLY do. She is an artist with glitter and shimmer and she knows how to use them in such a way to really elevate a polish to the next level.
Scofflaw Paranoid Android
Smitten Polish is last on my list, but certainly not least. I remember when Noelie first started out, she created a lot of glitters and glittery crellies (Hydrangea was a masterpiece!). Over time, she has really found her niche making some of the best holos and holo microglitters around. My Smittens are probably my most reached for holos in my collection, and I have a LOT of holos. She's even upped the ante this year with some fabulous matte shimmer polishes as well as her neon flakie line which is TO DIE FOR. What I've come to expect from Smitten is fantastic consistency and quality, and she always delivers.
Smitten Polish Ice Pop Paradise
Be sure to support the indie polish makers by using the hashtag #itrustindiepolish or #itrustindies across social media. We need help to make sure that the upstanding, reliable, amazing indie brands that we love don't get drug through the mud due to one businesses bad practices.
Thanks for looking everyone!