This is just a quick review post for those of you that may be considering investing in this line.

At Unvarnished, we were excited to offer a polish line developed by physicians. We believed that the concept would be well-received by our patients, many of whom are very health conscious and concerned about the chemicals used in traditional lacquers. At $14 a bottle (our cost), keeping the retail price per bottle reasonable was not easy. We decided to retail them for $19 a bottle. Although the price was high, the polishes sold based on the fact that they were formulated by physicians and the fact that their marketing exploits their demographic’s fears. Pregnant women fear the potential harm the polish could do to the baby and everyone is afraid of developing a fungus.

First of all, we all know that the majority of major polish lines are now three-free. Several are five-free, and a few are 7 or 10-free. (So, pregnant women, fear not. Your nail polish will not melt your fetus in utero.) Those of us with half a brain know that no polish can treat or cure nail fungi or cure any kind of nail disorder, so marketing it like it’s some kind of magical product that will do so is just insulting to the intelligence of their consumers and to the intelligence of the nail technicians and podiatrists who carry it.

On the “about” page of their website, the doctors who formulated Dr.’s Remedy realized “a top reason patients come into their office is because of brittle, discolored nails, often times associated with the harsh chemicals in commercial nail polish. Together, they created a line of nail polish to combat this epidemic.”

And this is where I roll my eyes and say, “Only a doctor would create a polish line and retail it for almost $20 to ‘combat’ a nonexistent ‘epidemic.'”

Salon quality polishes do not cause brittleness or discoloration because they don’t contain the chemicals that cause those issues. (If they did, we certainly wouldn’t be using them.) If a patient has brittle, discolored nails that isn’t due to genetics, injury, or a disorder of some kind, it’s likely because she’s purchased some cheap, garbage polish at her local drugstore or Dollar General and applied it directly to her nails without any kind of base coat. It’s likely that she wore this polish for an extended period of time without removing it.

Nail technicians know these clients. These clients prefer to pile on coat after coat of polish over the course of several months instead of removing it properly and painting fresh coats on.

This patient is not very likely to purchase a $20 bottle of “enriched” polish. If this patient were willing to pay $20 for a bottle of polish, she would have dropped it on a designer label like Butter or Dior. If she were willing to spend even half of that on a bottle of polish, she would have dropped $8 or $10 on a fashionable yet affordable line like OPI or Essie.

Clearly, she wasn’t.

Instead of purchasing either of these, she chose to purchase some unknown brand on clearance (perhaps regularly priced at $1.50, on sale for $0.25 at her local Pik N Save). Now that she’s removed the 20+ coats of Corvette Red polish she’s brushed on every week for three months, her nail plates are stained varying shades of pink and yellow until they grow out. That’s what happens when you buy polishes with cheap pigments and apply them without base.

These polishes, however, are so hard to find that they could in no way be considered an “epidemic,” but I’ll talk more about that later. It seems that these doctors don’t understand the core reason their patients are experiencing these problems, likely because they’re asking the wrong questions or because feigned ignorance benefits their marketing angle. In any case, women experiencing these problems probably aren’t suffering from “harsh nail polish chemicals;” they’re more likely suffering from irresponsible nail care, poor nutrition, a nail disorder, or a systemic disorder.

The polishes were inconsistent. Some were very thin and watery and some were as thick as mud. Anyone who applies polish professionally knows the consistency a long-lasting polish requires. Dr.’s Remedy did not have that consistency.

Many of the colors had poor coverage. For a polish that markets itself to clients with nail disorders, many colors were not opaque enough to cover the discoloration on my clients with bruising (runners and ice skaters). This wasn’t an issue that could have been solved with an extra coat. It would have required several extra coats.

Shortly after purchasing the products, client complaints came rolling in. Two days after their pedicures, the polish was chipping off. This was not a problem I had with just one client. Damn near every client who purchased the polish was complaining.

Let me make this clear: it was not my application method.

I’ve been applying nail polish professionally for the last 12 years. My pedicures last for six weeks (at minimum) and my manicures last anywhere from 1-3 weeks. I have a few clients with hard natural nails that came back at 4 weeks with minimal chipping, thanks to their adherence to my home care routine, which requires periodic reapplication of top coat.

I used the entire Dr.’s Remedy system from base coat to top coat, as directed. Still, the polish chipped off.

Normally I would explain to the clients that Dr.’s Remedy does not contain the same chemicals that other polishes do (DBP, toluene, formaldehyde, and formaldehyde resin) and therefore may not last as long. However, SpaRitual does not contain DBP, toluene, formaldehyde, or formaldehyde resin either and that polish is the longest lasting, most durable four-free polish I have ever used. Zoya is five-free and lasts just as long. Both are vegan as well and costs far less than Dr.’s Remedy.

We quickly made the decision to pull the line. We contacted the company to arrange for a refund. Getting it was not easy. It took several phone calls and a lot of aggravation to get that accomplished. (Even then, we ended up getting stuck with a portion of the polish, which we clearanced out at $5 a bottle just to get rid of it.)

There is my short, sweet, and accurate review of the Dr.’s Remedy polish. In my opinion, this brand needs a lot more work before it’s ready to stand up against competing lines and they certainly don’t seem to understand the industry they’re trying to enter, or the competing products within it. I absolutely do not consider it worth the amount of money they’re charging per bottle.

If you’re going to charge premium polish prices, you had better be sure it performs better than its less expensive competitors.

This one does not–at least not yet. While I completely disagree with their marketing claims and their angle, I believe that with a bit of work (and a price adjustment), the line can be successful. However, as it stands, this looks to me like a cash grab based that leverages the fears of uneducated consumers utilizing the implied authority of a physician’s endorsement. I just can’t get behind that.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, I must be the exception. Colors are gorgeous, my last pedi lasted almost 3 months (by necessity) and no chipping. I wholeheartedly endorse it just as I do OPI or any of the other Big Boys.

    • Hi Mary! I’d be shocked beyond belief if they hadn’t changed their formula by now. I think it’s pretty likely that they’ve improved the product based on your experience. When I used them, they had literally just released.

  2. Thank you so much for the educated write up! We found your article while searching for a place to purchase DrR. If it’s too good to be true, it is!

  3. Tina..
    Is there ANYTHING that can be done for yellow nails?
    So ugly! Soaking in lemon juice will take the rest of my natural life.
    I want to wear polish and always have but not to hide ugly, yellowed nails!
    Thx!!

    • Why are your nails yellowed? Before you can solve the problem, you have to know what caused it. Are you wearing deep reds without base coat? I find that most of the time, yellow staining comes from highly pigmented polishes (usually cheaper varieties) being applied without a base coat.

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