Cuticula is pretty well known for "nail tape". You know, that delightful little bottle of latex that saves you seven million years of clean-up (and scotch tape) when you attempt to do nail art. But what some folks may not know is that they also offer a time-saving peel off base coat! I have done an exhaustingly long road test for you guys, and I am here to share my results!
(gifted items ahead)
Peel-off base coats are one of the secret weapons for nail polish swatchers everywhere. It allows us to switch our polish 456,304 times a day without soaking our poor fingers in acetone each time. Without it, I don't think I would still have fingers left after all these years!
For a very long time, I have used Graftobian Liquid Latex. I even did a peel-demo way back in 2015. You can get it on Amazon for fairly cheap and just decant it into a nail polish bottle. It is a little fussy though. If you don't thin it out, keep the bottle topped off, and the brush well cleaned it can get a bit thick and lumpy. And it hates cream formula polish. Oh, and it stinks a bunch. But I still recommend it because it is readily available and fairly affordable. In fact, anytime anyone asks about latex in the myriad of Facebook groups I follow, I always recommend it first. Amanda of Cuticula saw me post this over and over, and decided to put her product up against my old stand-by. Because this is such an important part of my swatching routine, I put it to a very long and thorough test.
It applies surprisingly even, and the brush spreads nicely across my nail. It is a pale, cotton candy pink that dries to a pink tinted sheer base. I have not found that it interferes with the final color of my nail polish or art. In fact I think that it gives my nails a nice, healthy rose glow which is handy for counteracting the general yellow discoloration that swatching tends to give. If you are even mildly successful at painting your nails, this will be a breeze to apply.
I generally remove my swatches within 10 minutes, so longevity isn't a huge issue for me. But latex bases are really handy for those "one night only" polishes, so I decided to give this one a test overnight. It dried hard and felt normal under my Seche Vite. When I hopped in the shower the next day, it popped right off as my nails flexed in the water. If you have ever used the Yellow Stopper base from Sally's, then you already know how this behaved. I was able to pop each nail right off without issue. I would definitely give this a 24 hour lifespan. Maybe I can even stand textured polishes? I have to say that Graftobian has a similar behavior over a 24 hour period.
The one I was scent is faintly sweet and I want to say it smells like cotton candy. But the scent is nearly gone once it dries, which is just fine by me. I am a very vocal opponent of scented polishes in all their forms...it has to be just the right balance to make me like it. I didn't find this scent to be super strong...The sweetness mellowed the latex scent, and it was infinitely more pleasant than the Graftobian. If you're sensitive to that latex smell, I would pick the Cuticula.
So...an indie will never be able to compete with an international mainstream company. They just can't. Cuticula will cost you 0.5c per mL, whereas Graftobian is only 0.15c per mL for the 2oz bottle. But...you then need to source a bottle to use it from, because the 2oz doesn't have a brush. It is still cheaper, but not as much. And I like to support small businesses whenever possible. I'm cheap...but my conscience sometimes stomps on my wallet. I'm generally ok with that.
I am surprised that I like the Cuticula. I fully expected to be not wowed by it. But I used it for more than a month, during a very busy time period. I think I probably did 30+ swatches with this so far...and I've got at least 10 more to go before I rest today. I will definitely finish off this bottle, and take a peek at the available scents when I am finished. I think my Graftobian will have to become the understudy.
Now for some pictures! I used the Cuticula Peel-Off base for alllllll of these.
|Top Shelf Lacquer Light 'em Up
|Great Lakes Lacquer Going, Going, Already Gone
|Emily de Molly Art of Structure
|Great Lakes Lacquer My Kingdom for a Taco
|B Polished Like Anybody Reads in the Library
|Quixotic Polish Alexandrite Effect
And because I love peeling my polish off (it is a sickness, y'all), here are four perfectly perfect peelies after 10 minutes of wear.
And after! No scuffs and misery. You can see a few spots that stuck where I went over the latex and onto my nail plate...but eh. Good enough, yo. Good enough. I never claimed to be neat and tidy.
I really hope this scent comes back at some point. I am really enjoying it. But she does rotate the scents in her shop, so I image there is always something for everyone.