Byline: Laura Klepacki

NEW YORK — Women know that if they put it on, they also have to take it off — nail polish, that is.
Aside from chipping at it, a cotton ball and an acetone-based liquid (or non-acetone for artificial nails) have been the standard method of removal. Until recently. In the past several months, at least three manufacturers have introduced new nail-polish removers, giving women other options for the first time in years.
Cutex was the first manufacturer out of the box with Cutex Simple Gel last spring. It contains a formula similar to its regular remover, but adds thickeners. It is packaged in a pump dispenser and a 4-oz. bottle for $2.99.
“It offers no spills and no mess,” said Diane Manwaring, vice president of marketing at Medtech, which markets Cutex. It also treats nails with aloe and vitamin E.
So far, sales have been good, she said. “But because of the price point, we are not going to convert every liquid user.” Liquids typically retail for less than $1.50 a bottle.
Cutex is also rolling out Cutex Simple Pad, a felt nail-polish remover pad designed to take color off all 10 nails. It, too, is available in acetone and non-acetone versions. A box of six pads is $2.99. “There really hadn’t been any innovation, and we wanted to bring some news to the category,” commented Manwaring.
Another gel formula was introduced last July by Scherer Inc. under its Pretty Nails brand. The formula is acetone-based and contains vitamin E and aloe. A 2-oz. squeeze bottle is $1.39. “We didn’t want price to be a factor, so we went with the 2-oz.,” noted Alan Smith, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Scherer.
Manufacturers of the gels recognize that the products have their drawbacks — they are not as fast-acting as the liquids because the formulas are diluted. But, Smith said, “It is much more efficient than a normal liquid because there is no spillage and no waste, and it is good for travel. We don’t expect it to be a big volume item, but a nice size item for us.”
A startup firm, SMS Labs Inc. is bringing an entirely different remover to market. Once Removed, described as remover and treatment in one, has the consistency of a thick nail treatment and is brushed on like polish. After 15 seconds, it is to be wiped off. Priced at $4.99 for a 1-oz. bottle, it stretches the price of the category.
Sydra Miller, president of SMS, said the formula is unlike any other. “The ingredients have nothing to do with acetone or butyl acetate. It is just so completely different.” The main ingredient is butyrolactone, which removes polish easily and has “highly moisturizing properties,” said Miller. It also contains vitamin E, calcium and aloe. She said while the price was high, a 1-oz. size removes as much polish as a 7-oz. liquid bottle.
As a result of the drop in nail color use, nail polish remover sales have slid in the past year. The category was down 3.4 percent to $79.6 million for the year ended Jan. 30, according to Information Resources Inc. However, manufacturers hope the new higher-priced items will add some dollars to the category.

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