How is nail polish made? Step inside Zoya’s factory

Step 1: Create the color

Isa plays with colors in her office or in the lab, choosing from many liquid pigments and micas (fine powders made up from ground metals or shell particles), which Isa calls “special effects.” She adds them to a base, and once she’s satisfied with the color and it goes through testing, it’s re-created in a larger batch.

Many of the polishes are named after powerful women in history and the arts — others come from customer or employee suggestions.

 Around and around it goes! TODAY

Step 2: Mix the ingredients

The larger batch goes through testing, too (to make sure it’s the same polish in a sweltering climate as it is in Alaska, for example) and then it’s poured into a tank, which swirls the polish around and around, preparing it for bottling.

The company is known for making “healthy” nail polish, and it’s 10-free, meaning it doesn’t include potentially harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, parabens or lead.

 Zoya makes about 170,000 bottles of nail polish a day. TODAY

Step 3: Bottling

Before the polish goes in, a ball bearing is dropped into each bottle — that’s the tiny metal ball one might hear rattling around while shaking the bottle. It helps mix up the polish.

A machine pumps the color into glass bottles. One machine can fill up to 170 bottles in a minute! Typically, Zoya produces about 170,000 bottles of polish each day.

Step 4: Brushes and Caps

The same machine applies brushes and caps. As each bottle continues down the assembly line, employees make sure they’re in perfect condition before arranging them in a box.

 After the brushes, the machine drops the caps onto each bottle. TODAY

Step 5: Packaging

The polishes are brought to a packaging station, where they get bar codes and serial numbers, and are put in individual boxes.

A computer sorts the polishes into orders before they’re boxed up and shipped to salons and homes around the world!

TODAY has affiliate relationships, so we may get a small share of the revenue from your purchases. Items are sold by the retailer, not by TODAY. All prices are subject to change and items could sell out based on the merchant’s inventory.

This story is part of a TODAY series called “The Follow,” where we investigate how one product is created from start to finish. We’ve gone inside the factories of LUSH, Burt’s Bees, Crayola and more. Take a look at how Yankee Candles are made in the video below!

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