I absolutely HATE when people test out a polish in the store, especially when they don’t buy that polish. When I see it happening, I want to smack the person, and then ask them what compels them to live, and what else they’ve used without buying it so that I can avoid that section of the store.
Firstly, it is never okay to use something in a store and then not buy it. Sure, I’ve opened a soda bottle and drank it while I shopped. And I’ve gotten a box of Kleenex’s so I could blow my nose. But I put those things in my basket, took them to the line with me and paid for them. Yes, I got weird looks from the cashiers, and when they asked if I wanted a product that hadn’t been used, I said no, because I was the one that used it. You don’t just use things in the store and then put them back! That is not why stores put items on their shelves for purchase. If you must try nail polish before you buy it, there are stores that are designed that way (see my third point).
Secondly, would you want something that someone else had used? Would you want a product whose integrity has been compromised because someone opened it, or used it? When you swatch a bottle of nail polish in the store, you do a couple things to it. One, you break the seal which keeps air out of it, and probably don’t close it as tightly as the machine did when it was produced, meaning air could be getting in and thickening or ruining the polish. Two, you take some of the polish on your nail with your swatch, and you can’t put it back (not that you should try), meaning the person who ultimately buys that bottle is getting less. And three, you probably get polish on the mouth of the bottle, and in the threads of the cap, making a general mess of the bottle and further destroying the integrity of the seal which, again, keeps the air out. None of that is okay! And if a person feels that they have to check every bottle of polish before they buy it, then that means they’re opening bottles, and doing the same thing!
Thirdly, there are stores that have tester bottles of polish (and lots of other things) for this reason! Lots of beauty-specific stores, like Sephora or Ulta, set up tester products in their displays so that their consumers can test things before buying them without destroying products that people will buy. If you must test things, go to these stores! Sure, it’s a hassle, and sometimes they’re more expensive. That doesn’t give you the right to destroy products at a store where people are not expecting that someone has tested it before they bought it. And often, these stores have membership programs that can save you money, and have knowledgeable staff that help you in deciding what you want to buy, so they can guide you in testing your products.
Fourthly, many MANY bloggers swatch polish for you. Scrangie.com is a fantastic example. While it’s not exactly an in-person, on-your-person swatch, they describe the polishes, give opinions on the consistency, formula, wear, etc., and provide great photos of the polish. If you must know what a polish is like before you buy it, do your research! Look up the polish, see if it’s been swatched, consider different opinions, look for dupes. These resources are excellent for helping you not ruin polish by swatching it in a store.
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is not to test polish in stores. It’s wrong; it’s rude; it’s just plain gross. There are other options, and I encourage all nail polish users to utilize them.