Retail polish ingredients
Someone told me that the nail polish you buy in a retail store contains polymers in a solvent and when you paint the polish on your nails, the solvent evaporates, leaving the hard finish, whereas the nail polish used in professional nail salons contains monomers with polymerization inhibitors (e.g., antioxidants), and that when you paint the polish on your nails, the exposure to oxygen or light causes the inhibitors to be used up or overcome, and that the monomers then polymerize to form the hard finish. Is this correct? How can I learn more about this? Thanks for your help.
No nail polish that I am acquainted with, employs polymerization. All nail polish, as far as I know, works exactly the same way: the solvents evaporate, leaving a hard coat of polymers and pigments behind. The difference between retail and professional polish lies in the choice and quality of ingredients, not the method of hardening.
Many other nail products, such as powder/liquid acrylics and UV gels, do cure by polymerizing. Some, such as heat-cure and many UV-cure topcoats, combine both polymerization and solvent evaporation. But nail polish, including most clear topcoats, and basecoats, works by evaporation only.
CoDirector of R&D, O.P.I.