Nail Polish Guide


As a long-time nail polish junkie, I can say that I've experimented with a lot of brands. Here is a quick and dirty guide discussing several that I think are either worth/not worth your money.

OPI: Probably my favorite brand of nail polish. The only con: the structure of the brush. It's pretty wide-- wider than the average brush. But it's not too bad. It's also pricey, but the quality of the polish is well worth the $8. The formula lasts, dries extremely quickly, and most of the colors are really opaque after one coat.

Sephora by OPI: This formula is a little waterier and the brush is thinner than regular OPI. Everything else is the same. However, if I were to splurge on nail polish, I would get the regular OPI.

China Glaze: My second favorite nail polish brand. The formula is fantastic. It lasts a long time while on your nails, and the brush is nice and narrow. The price also isn't too bad. If you have a Sally Beauty Supply near you, sometimes they'll have a sale; 2 for $10, or something like that. My friend E, and I usually split that deal, and each get one for $5. The only reason why it falls short of OPI is because it takes a little longer to dry.

Revlon: My favorite drugstore nail polish. It's cheap and dries fast, but may need up to 3 coats for opacity. If you're looking for a cheap and good nail polish, check this one out. The only bad thing about it is that it's kind of watery.

Forever 21: All the colors that I've tried didn't last longer than 1-2 days. If you are dying to try F21's nail polish, if anything-- I would suggest checking out any of the glitter colors. Although they're hard to take off (as all other glitter polishes are), they don't look too bad. Overall, I would not recommend this brand.

Sally Hansen: Umm... where do I even start? They have a wide selection of colors at really affordable prices, which I love. However, the thing that overpowers those pros is the fact that their formula takes decades to dry! I would not recommend this brand.

Sinful Colors: I have mixed feelings about this brand. The metallic colors, I'm not a big fan of. I bought 'Fiji', a metallic purple, last year, and have only used it once because I needed to use 5 coats to make it look like the color in the bottle. The non-metallic colors are OK, though. They last a bit longer than the F21 polishes, and are worth the $2 they are sold for. If you're looking for a fun color to wear for Halloween, or a one-night event, I would recommend this brand.

Essie: I've never used Essie, but have heard mixed opinions about it. A lot of people like it because they have a large color selection. But then again, a lot of other people hate it because supposedly, it's too "watery". I'll let you guys know if I ever try it.


In all, the best advice I can give you is to spend a few more dollars on a better brand, especially if the color is a classic one that you'd use all the time (red, nude, dark blue, any shade of pink). That way, you can have it in your collection for a while. For more trendier/fun shades that are only worn during a certain time of year or for one night, go for the cheaper brands (ex: Revlon and Sinful Colors).


KristiMcMurry said...

This is a great guide! I'm glad to see the two brands that I usually go for are two that you recommend (OPI and Revlon). I love how fast Revlon dries...I always end up using it because I'm in a hurry! haha

genevieve said...

Best guide ever; totally something I needed to see! I'm addicted to painting my toes, but I always struggle to figure out which of the 1,000 brands to get. I'll totally have to try OPI.

As for Essie, I actually have it on my toes right now. I like the colors, and the polish lasts forever. However, I would say it's a bit watery, and two coats is ideal. On the plus side, it dries quickly!

Turtles and Pearls said...

I love Essie. The brush is great for amateur (aka me) painting! And the colors are really cute. But OPI is definitely a favorite and always great quality!!

Justine said...

I love Essie. My favorite color is the Island Hoppy. I also like OPI. I hardly ever paint my finger nails since I ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS smudge it some how. Yes, even when I go out and get a mani. Last time, the lady told me I am very manly!! So I usually just stick to my toes.

Meggan of Lila Grace said...

love your guide!! OPI is my favorite followed by Essie!

Cortnie Elizabeth said...

I've been disappointed with OPI lately. It chips way too quickly. So I started buying Essie and I must's great! The coverage is perfect after about 2 even coats.

Stop by some time at!

lrnshelby said...

What a great guide! I have been a fan of OPI but I got my first Essie nail polish about a month ago. I don't know if it was just a special week for me but that nail polish lasted for a little over a week! There were a few small nicks here and there but overall pretty amazing. The following week I went back to OPI and it chipped the very next day?! It could be just a fluke but I am definitely going to get myself a couple more by Essie :)

Stephanie said...

I bought my first Sally Hansen nail color in Mudslide yesterday and I really like it so far. It doesn't take too long to dry (and I follow it up with the Essie quick dry top coat.

I've never tried OPI or China Glaze and have mostly stuck with Essie. Essie polishes chip easily, but the colors are keepers. My favorites are Chubby Cheeks and Mink Muffs.

Thanks for the guide! I'll definitely be trying China Glaze soon. I think ULTA is having a sale that ends today!