Butter London Nail Polishes: Vibrant But Fleeting

Published in: Nails, Product Reviews

Because I love the company’s name, I buttered myself up to like Butter London nail polishes. I’d never tried the brand before, but at $12 each I expected a lot.


They’re classified “3 Free,” meaning they don’t contain formaldehyde, toluene, or DBP (phthalate). My only other experience with a “3 Free” polish is Lippmann ($15 each), and I hella love those, so you can see why I was expecting a lot from Butter London.

Last week I tested the two colors they released for fall/winter, Branwen’s Feather and Saucy Jack.

Too many coats

One coat of Butter London polish doesn’t do much, applying almost transparently. It took me four coats to get a rich, solid shade with Branwen’s Feather (a glittery dark purple) and three coats with Saucy Jack (a creamy red).

Pretty colors

I like both of these shades, particularly Saucy Jack, which I like a little more than Branwen’s Feather. Once dry they’re both vibrant, eye-catching and shiny.

Hello, Mr. Chips

But after one day of wear, half of the nails I’d painted were already chipping. My nails take a lot of abuse, so any nail polish I’m going to wear on a regular basis has to be tough. Lippmann polishes are. They’re tough as nails (hehe!), but Butter London — not so much.

If you really like the colors, don’t mind applying multiple coats, and you rarely have problems with chipped nails, then Butter London might be worth a try.

To cap it off…

I love the bottle. It’s unique, but the rectangular cap makes the brush feel awkward, big and clumsy. Most nail polish caps like those on Sally Hansen and Essie bottles are easier to hold, and I have an easier time painting with their brushes than I do with these.

Butter London Nail Polish

Price: $12 for a 0.3-fl oz. bottle
Use: Pretty fall/winter nail colors, but they’re not the most durable polishes around
Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: C


Oh, ya gotta love Mother Nature. After waiting 12 hours to board a flight that was supposed to leave Oahu at 10:30PM Friday night (thanks to a scary electrical storm that took out power to 900,000 people), I finally made it home late yesterday, none the worse for wear, I might add.

How’s your weekend coming along? Tabs says hi. He’s back from his long stay at Hotel Cattyfornia (such a lovely place), reacquainting himself with his litter box and my writing chair at home.

I’m really excited about a bunch of spring Chanel products I’m testing right now. I just applied Wild Rose Glossimer (a shimmery dusty rose). I’m serious — this STUFF IS HOT! I’ll be doing reviews and faces of the day soon… but I’ll say it right now: the spring collection’s lookin’ pretty darn fantastic, ladies. 🙂

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 24 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Ellery says:

    I’ve been interested in these but I always said no because of how big and clumsy the cap is. Atleast now I know that they’re not what I would have expected since my nails seem to get chipped alot. 😀

  2. Hi Karen, welcome back to the Bay Area! I agree with you about Butter London. Great names, great colors, horrible bottle design and not so great staying power (even with their base and top coat)!

    Vampy Varnish´s last blog post..Vampy Varnish Tuesday Poll

  3. Glosslizard says:

    Thanks for the review! I’ve been wanting to try “Teddy Boy” by Butter London, but I’ll take a pass for now!

    I am so green with envy! I wanna play with the Chanel Spring collection too! At least I can look forward to pictures! 🙂

    Welcome home to you, El Hub and Tabs (such a lovely face)! Bummer that you had to do the grand airport wait, but good to have you back!

  4. Jaimie says:

    The colors are soo pretty! Sucks they take so many coats!

  5. Jaimie says:

    The colors are soo pretty! Sucks they take so many coats!

  6. Maria Palma says:

    I’ve never heard of this brand before, but I do love the colors. Thanks for doing the review!

    Maria Palma´s last blog post..It’s All About You

  7. Miss QQ says:

    Hi Karen. Glad that you are back. It feels great to hear from you that the Chanel Spring 2009 collection is looking fantastic. I’m getting a preview of it tomorrow, and I can’t wait! 😉 Can’t wait to hear your review too!

  8. eye4style says:

    I love the names and colors from Butter but it’s really disappointing to hear about the lack of staying power…

    eye4style´s last blog post..Trend Alert: The Modern Cameo, $85 & Under

  9. Karen says:

    Hi Ellery,

    Yah! That cap is very hard to work. I’m pretty dexterous, too, (played piano for many years) and it still gave me trubs.

    It appears that we are in the same nail-chipped boat. 🙂 Do you use a top coat?

  10. Karen says:

    Hi Vampy Varnish,

    Thanks! I’m glad that it was sunny (but cold, brrr) today. It made coming back easier.

    Are you enjoying your new Elph?

  11. Karen says:

    Hi Glosslizard,

    Heya! How was your Christmas? I hope you and the fam (including the kitties) had a good one. 🙂

    Tabs is sitting on my lap… he wants to let you know that he gives you props for your knowledge of Hotel California lyrics. *meow*

  12. Karen says:

    Hi Jaimie,

    I know! I really liked the colors, too.

    How was your holiday?

  13. Karen says:

    Hi Maria Palma,

    Sure thing! Do you have a favorite nail polish brand?

  14. Karen says:

    Hi Miss QQ,

    Sweet! Are you going to a special Chanel event? What product in the collection are you looking forward to the most?

  15. Yes I love the Elph, it’s really nice! I also got a light box that I have yet to set up and test out. 🙂

    Vampy Varnish´s last blog post..Vampy Varnish Tuesday Poll

  16. Karen B says:

    The colours are good but yeah, longevity is important in nail polish. I still want to get some OPI for their fab colours but I didn’t have time to stop by the Sephora in Serris while we were there *pouts* Ah well, next time.

    Karen B´s last blog post..Feel the love!!!! wheeee!

  17. Elle says:

    Hey Karen!

    I tried a few of these polishes earlier this year–I’m a sucker for anything British (or British-ish) and while I did like them they didn’t have me running back to the website to try more. Plus $12 is a bit steep for me, and the shipping is pretty pricey, so I’ll stick to my OPI polishes (which are expensive enough for me)!

    Also, one word about the cap–I don’t know if it was just the polishes I got, or if they’ve changed their caps since my order came through, but I think the big rectangular top can come off, revealing a smaller, round top (kind of like Chanel polishes, but the last Chanel polish I ever owned was Vamp way back in the day). Again, they could have changed the caps, but try popping the top off one of your polishes and see if it works. 🙂

  18. Tiera says:

    I’ve never heard of Buttery London… but I guess maybe it doesn’t matter now, cause I don’t think I’ll be trying it!

  19. Ellery says:

    I wish I could play the piano!

    I usually use a top coat, it helps, but sometimes I’m too lazy. 😛

  20. Yeah I was really disappointing with Butter London. I just bought Chimney Sweep which is an awesome color, but after 2 coats, it didn’t even stick around for a full 24 hours. And that’s with mostly typing and no shower or dishes!

    OPI and Zoya are much better nail polishes and cheaper too. I will never purchase Butter London again…

    The Fashionable Housewife´s last blog post..It’s Our Super Triple Christmas Giveaway!

  21. Mariah says:

    Yeah, I’ve heard that about Butter (along with the sucky caps on them) but for some I guess a few of the colors are worth it.

    Are you wearing base and top coats?? That will extend the wear of the polishes (any Polishes) WAY longer. Plus it’s healthier. I’ve tried a few, but for me my HG base coat is Sally Hansen Nail Quencher and HG top coat is one layer of Revlon Colorstay and one coat of Seche Vite. Wears like iron!

    Also, you didn’t know it, but you HAVE been using “3 Free” polishes! Anything by OPI, China Glaze, Zoya or Essie are 3 free as well. It’s actually harder to find nail polishes WITH the bad 3 chemicals in them anymore.

    Mariah´s last blog post..It’s a Christmas Miracle!

  22. Glosslizard says:

    Christmas was good! I got MAC in my stocking! Yay!

    Thanks, Tabs! 😉

  23. Maria Palma says:

    Hi Karen,

    I’ve tried many nail polishes, but I don’t really have a favorite. I would like to try out Chanel’s nailpolish though.

    Maria Palma´s last blog post..J. Lynne Mineral Eyeliner Review

  24. tunalala says:

    The big square caps come off like the ones from Chanel. 🙂 I have a couple but so far so good.

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