Kristin Magaldi
Updated May 29, 2020
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Kristin Magaldi/HelloGiggles

Lately, my number one way to to recreate the joy I’m missing out on due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is to find new ways toelicit the feelings I’d have during certain experiences. When restaurants closed down, I dimmed the lights in my kitchen, lit some candles, and situated my takeout on my good dishes. When spring arrived with little hope of life returning to normal, I donned more florals and sprayed my linens with rose petal-scents to feel like I was outside. Now that we’re moving into summer, I don’t think I’ll be on a sandy beach embracing salty sea waves while sipping a fruity cocktail any time soon. But I’m going to grasp at that feeling any way I can, even if it comes from the most minute details like my nail polish.

I’d been eyeing Olive & June's Into You box since the beginning of springfor this very reason. The seven polish colors featured in the box reminded me of the exact colors I’d typically choose to wear throughout the summer. The “Bold & Unshaken” polish especially caught my attention because it matched the periwinkle shade of a bathing suit I had sitting in my virtual shopping cart, with no practical reason to buy. I’d also been curious about Olive & June because I heard its boxes were the closet thing you could get to a salon manicure, which felt like a major deal since many salons were still closed.

When my Into You box finally arrived, I was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of products in it because I wasn’t sure the purpose of all of them. I’d heard of the Poppy before, but was a bit skeptical that putting a silicone disk over the polish cap would make it easier to paint my nails. After doing some research on what the thin brush was for (cleaning up polish outside of your nails) and how to use the Polish Remover Pot, I picked up the “Bold & Shaken” polish and got to work.

Olive & June

Shop it! $88, oliveandjune.com

First impressions: This stuff dries really quickly.

After filing and buffing my nails, I started to apply the polish. The first coat was a bit sheer but once I applied a second coat, the color appeared more vibrant.

Typically, I start painting my nails with my thumb, then work my way around my hand. When applying the first and second coat of the polish, I noticed that by the time I reached my pinky nail, my thumb was already dry. I’ve used a lot of “quick drying” nail polishes in my day, but nothing that worked as well as this. I barely had to wait my to paint my other hand so that the polish wouldn’t smudge, and the whole process only took about 20 minutes.

To top it all off, the polish smell that often hangs in the air after an at-home manicure session wasn’t bad. My boyfriend even commented that he couldn’t smell anything, and he was sitting right next to me. An added bonus, for sure.

The topcoat is shiny AF.

Unfortunately, my right hand still looked far from salon quality (non-dominant hand struggles), but the topcoat really saved the day. It was just thick enough to offer a nice post-manicure sheen while masking some of the errors I made with the first two coats. It did take a bit longer to dry than the polish itself, but not by much.

Glancing down at my nails, they looked the closest to a professionally done manicure that I had ever been able to achieve on my own. I was also extremely grateful for the Clean-Up Brush because it was thin enough to get rid of any polish that strayed from my nails onto my skin without ruining the manicure itself.

I was struck by how summery the color felt. For a brief moment while assessing the job I’d done, I pictured myself in the sun, smelling of SPF, and wearing a bathing suit in that exact shade of periwinkle. And for the first time, that thought didn’t feel like FOMO—it felt like hope that there’d still be some summer to enjoy.

Kristin Magaldi/HelloGiggles

I will never use another nail polish remover again that is not the Polish Remover Pot.

While I could talk at length about how much I love Olive & June’s nail polish colors, I must spend a moment on the ingenious invention that is the Polish Remover Pot. At first glance, I assumed it was filled with an acetone-free liquid nail polish remover, but when I opened that puppy up and discovered the sponge inside, my world was shaken. Gone were the days of spilling remover onto little cotton balls, only to have them stink up your bathroom later. With this bad boy, all you had to do was stick your nail into the pot between the sponge, twist it around, and the polish was gone. No mess. No hassle. No horrific smell. So simple, yet such a revelation.

The pot also also worked nicely with the Clean-up brush; a quick dip in and the brush was coated with remover, making it easy to perfect my nails.

I had a feeling I’d enjoy the Olive & June box, but I couldn’t predict the carefree signature-summer feeling I’d get just from nail polish. With six other colors still left to try, and a pot that makes removal super easy, I’ll be living out the warm weather through my nails all summer long.