7 things you should know about cheap vs expensive nail polish... (2023)



7 things you should know about cheap vs expensive nail polish... (2)

If you've ever wondered about the differences between cheap and expensive nail polish, you're not alone. Sometimes I wonder why someone would pay so much for a bottle of nail polish and then complain about how the cheap stuff chips and fades so fast. A girl just can't win. However, once she understands the main things that separate cheap from expensive, she can make the best decision for you. So, let's go. The best ways to tell the difference between cheap and expensive nail polish.

1brush quality

Just like when you shop for makeup brushes, you want quality bristles when it comes to your nail polish bottles. This is one of the main differences between cheap and expensive nail polish. The better the brush, the better the nail polish application will be, resulting in a better manicure, one that looks good and lasts. Great news, right?

(Video) Cheap vs Expensive nail polish #shorts #nailpolish

2dry season

In many cases, cheap nail polish can be applied thicker than the more expensive version, which means it will take longer to dry. This doesn't necessarily make the most expensive the best, but if you go for the cheapest bottle of nail polish, keep in mind that you may need to wait a little longer to make sure it's completely dry before moving on to something else.

3ink quality

I bought cheap bottles of nail polish which surprised me because they last for many days. On the other hand, I bought the more expensive ones and was quite upset when the nail polish chipped off the next day. In general, though, the higher-priced bottles contain higher-quality ink, which should make them last a few days longer than the cheaper alternative. If you change your nail polish frequently, cheap is probably fine, but if you want your manicure to last longer, you're better off spending the extra money.

4cheap can cost more

Spending a lot on nail polish can be boring, right? It's better to get a new color for a few bucks. However, many nail experts say that if you choose the cheapest bottle, you could end up spending more. This is because it usually doesn't last that long, which means constant reapplication. Before you know it, the nail polish is gone and you need to buy a new bottle. With more expensive and longer lasting versions, you don't have to repeat the manicure very often, allowing the nail polish to last much longer.


When you buy the same beauty product over and over again, it makes sense to want it to work the same way every time. When it comes to nail polish, the ingredients and recipe aren't always the same for some of the cheaper versions. High-end brands don't typically change things from bottle to bottle, though, which means you can usually count on it to be the same with each new color you add to your collection.

6depends on the technique

Nail care experts recommend starting with a base coat, applying two coats of the color of your choice, and finishing with a top coat. If you skip a must-have step, even expensive nail polish may not last as long. On the other hand, using good technique with an inexpensive polish can help prolong life.

7possibly imperceptible

Despite the differences between cheap and expensive nail polish, some women say they just can't tell the difference. Like I said before, I have had great results with dollar store nail polishes and less than desirable results with salon jars. The bottom line is choosing the nail polish that works for you. So it doesn't matter what you spent on it.

What is your favorite nail polish brand? Why is it working so well for you?

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  • CristalSinfully sinful sinful...the nail polish is so good, it dries fast and you can literally get away with a coat of almost any color they sell. I have 3 colors. I need a few coats to get the color that is in the bottle but it dries quickly and doesn't cake or peel...the trick is to make sure the nail is prepped for the polish ie no oils Nail before the application. I'm just an ordinary woman who paints and does all my nails by herself. I apply the design myself (self-taught from Pinterest of course). I'm not a professional on paper... I always get compliments.
  • DorfI'm a sinful fan. She used to be an OPI girl, but then I learned that she is not cruelty free. Neither does Revlon. So now I buy from independent breeders. In addition to being cruelty free, they use cleaner ingredients and support small businesses. Generally owned by women. Another plus for me.
  • ytt89I gave it a try, opi didn't last long either! I love sinful hairspray! I want to try essie but I find it ridiculous that you have to pay $8 for this little bottle!
  • paigeI LOVE sinful! I also love Maybeline. Both super cheap. Zoya is also amazing! I only indulge in expensive nail polishes like Julep and Butter London from time to time. Essie has a great primer, she prevents smudges.
  • elíssiaI love nail polishes, all brands, but I especially like Avon for the colors and the price, as well as Essie and OPI.
  • StephanieI love Seche Vite for my top coat, but I'm still looking for a good base coat. I really like the new nail polishes from Maybelline and Revlon that are supposed to last like gels, but I didn't like Sally.
    • julia@Stephanie OPI's foundation and top coats are AMAZING!
  • aidaNice post, but girls please learn the difference between there and they are! Educate yourself a bit!
    • eloi@Aida: There was a way to support women and tell them that without sounding like a $$ while doing AIDA!
  • GigiI live in sinful. Very cheap, most are $1.99, they last a long time and look shiny :) that's great!!!
  • CiciI love the ones by Sally, Sinful, Revlon and Essie all amazing and I love the way the brush glides over fingernails and toenails.
  • lectorI think Revlon lasts much longer than everyone else, closely followed by OPI, which has a wider range of colors.
  • JenI love this column! Thanks for the input :-) My nails are always red or pink
  • JanelleSinful colors are amazing. Essie is expensive, but I love the colors and the good quality. Sally Hansen is gaining weight very fast
  • in shadeI tried Essie and it wasn't all. Sally Hansen and Sinful are much better in my opinion.
  • I'm_partnerI swear by Sinful nail polish. It's $2 a bottle and it grows beautifully, doesn't flake, and stays bright. Even my nail salon uses her nail polish!



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Does cheap nail polish chip faster? ›

Using poor quality nail polishes can ruin your nail game and make your polish chip faster. Therefore, it's always best to check your polish bottle to see if the formula has not dried up or is not too runny. Invest in chip-proof and long-lasting polishes that also provide a smooth finishing.

What is a good price for nail polish? ›

An average price for nail polish is about $10, but at ORLY, you get your nail polish for even cheaper, with some products starting at just $9.

Why are OPI nail polish expensive? ›

OPI is so expensive because of the brand's marketing tactics causing it to become a highly-sought after brand. Essentially, they can charge more due to demand, as far as drugstore prices go. There are high-end nail polishes that are more expensive.

Are luxury nail polishes worth it? ›

We've found in many cases that higher end nail polishes, though in some cases as expensive as a salon manicure, far outlast and nourish your nails than drugstore ones. That's because the formulas are more pigmented for fewer coats.

Why does my nail polish peel off after one day? ›

If your nails have too much moisture or oil on them, the polish peels off much sooner than it should. To prevent this, you can try cleaning your nails with alcohol pads or nail polish remover before applying the polish. You can also try applying a base coat or buffing your nails first.

How long does cheap nail polish last? ›

Nail Polish

Opened bottles should be tossed after about two years. Unopened, they can last indefinitely, says Annette Soboleski, a nail technician for polish maker OPI. Once a bottle has been opened, some ingredients will evaporate, causing the polish to thicken and separate.

How do you know if nail polish is good? ›

Usually, the pigments will have dropped towards the bottom of the polish bottle and a clearer liquid will be present towards the top. Try shaking the bottle slightly, or rolling it in your palms, to see if it will mix. If it doesn't mix easily, then your nail polish has been compromised and has most likely expired.

How much is expensive nail polish? ›

Before Azature came out with its mind-blowing nail polish, Models Own's” Gold Rush Couture Nail Polish” had the title of most expensive nail polish. It costs $130,000 and is popular among the celebrities. It comes in a bottle with a diamond-encrusted cap totaling 1,118 diamonds.

Does OPI last longer than Essie? ›

Should you get OPI or Essie nail polish? Both brands have many colors to choose from, but Essie promises a longer wear time with fewer chips. This is particularly true when you're considering their gel application, advertised to get three extra days of wear compared with the OPI Infinite Shine.

Why is Essie so popular? ›

Almost four decades later, Essie is one of the most recognized nail polish brands in the country. Beloved for its massive and always current shade range, matchless staying power, chip resistance, and unforgettably whimsical color names, Essie has won over the hearts of nail painters everywhere.

Does the price of nail polish matter? ›

In general, however, the higher priced bottles contain a higher quality of paint, which means it should last a few days longer than the cheaper alternative. If you switch up nail polish often, cheap is probably fine, but it you want your manicure to last longer, it might be better to spend the extra cash.

What nail polish is classy? ›

Whether you're wearing it as a nude or a neutral, brown nail polish is an elegant and classic shade that goes with anything, regardless of the time of year.

What is the most professional nail polish color? ›

Pearly pink marks you as a professional

Light pink is the ultimate neutral of the nail polish world. The colour is perfect for any office environment, season, or occasion, and always looks clean and appropriate. Wearing a pearly shade indicates that you value professionalism and always strive to look put together.

How many coats of nail polish is best? ›

Nail polish application typically involves 1 coat of base coat, 2 coats of color application to ensure full coverage, and 1 coat of top coat for long-lasting wear and shine.

What happens if you leave nail polish on too long? ›

The danger with keeping your nail polish on too long is that the pigment in the nail polish can soak into the top few layers of the nail and dry it out, Dr. Rowland says. When that happens, fungus, yeast, bacteria, mold and mildew can develop underneath the nail plate, which can lead to long-term problems.

How often should you give your nails a break from polish? ›

The average time for your natural nail to grow out completely from the cuticle to the tip of the nail can take anywhere from four to six months. This is a long time to refrain from manicures or using polish, so we recommend taking a three to four week break between nail appointments.

How many days can you leave nail polish on? ›

Remove polish every two weeks and give your nails a breather for a day or so. Or switch to light polish, which doesn't need to be changed as often since there's a lower risk of it staining your nails.

What do nail salons use to make polish stay on longer? ›

There's a reason nail salons often add a drop of acetone to a bottle of nail polish: it makes polish easier to apply and (counter-intuitively) helps manicures to last longer.

Can nail polish last 20 years? ›

The rule of thumb is that an unopened and securely stored varnish can last for 18 to 24 months, whereas gel nail polish can last for 24 to 36 months. Some say that you can keep the nail lacquer for a tiny bit longer after that 2 year mark, but only if you have kept the polish stored in a cool, dark spot.

What nail polish do salons use? ›

Gelish is widely used at nail salons, and it's available in every gorgeous shade you can think of. BTW, in case you're wondering, it's called “soak off” polish because, in order to remove the polish, you typically soak your nails in acetone.

Should you shake nail polish? ›

Nail artist Simcha Whitehill told Allure that shaking your nail polish bottle can lead to chipping. Shaking the bottle creates tiny pockets of air. These air bubbles can sometimes pop, leaving holes in your manicure. Whitehill suggests rolling the nail polish bottle between your hands instead.

Should I keep nail polish in the fridge? ›

Keeping nail polish in a fridge slows down the normal possible discoloration and solvent evaporation of the polish, which happens as the polish gets older,” says Hariharan. In short, “the sooner you put the product in the fridge, the longer the color stays true.”

Should you throw away old nail polish? ›

Like we mentioned earlier, do not toss out your dried-up nail polish with your usual garbage haul or pour it down the sink—nail polish and remover are considered hazardous waste because they're flammable and contain toxic chemicals.

How long is nail polish good for once opened? ›

"The shelf life of an unopened polish can last up to 5-8 years, and after opening the polishes last up to two years," Ling Lin says. Forgetting to screw on the top tightly or exposing your bottles to veritable temperatures can also speed up the expiration process.

How long does nail polish last without chipping? ›

Traditional nail polish can last a few days without any chipping. However, if you opt for long-wear formulas such as no-chip options or gel polish, your manicure may last for up to two weeks before you see any chipping.

What is the best nail polish color to wear? ›

10 Timeless Nail Colours That Go With Everything
  • Beige or Nude Nails.
  • Blush Nails.
  • Lilac Nails.
  • Classic Red Nails.
  • Bordeaux Nails.
  • Chocolate Brown Nails.
  • Navy Blue Nails.
  • Short Black Nails.

Is it cheaper to bring your own nail polish? ›

Save your salon money

More than ever, salons want to find a way to save some money. If you do bring in your own polish, this will help them out because you are not using their products. You are using your own nail polish color. Bringing in your own polish is one way of helping them save some money during this time.

Why are white nails more expensive? ›

The reason: Pink-and-whites take more skill, and they require more work and additional product. Highlight the selling point: “We charge more for pink-and-white nails because they require both a higher level of skill and more time. What is the difference between French manicure and pink and white?

Does cheap nail polish ruin your nails? ›

For the most part, nail polish isn't bad for your nails. However, there are some instances where nail polish can damage your nails. It all comes down to the ingredients in the nail polish that you're using. Non-toxic nail polish won't cause any damage to your nails.

How do you keep cheap nail polish from chipping? ›

How to Prevent Your Polish from Chipping
  1. Always Start with Clean Nails.
  2. Prep Nails with a Base Coat.
  3. Thin Coats, Not Thick Coats.
  4. Polish Your Nail Tips.
  5. Shimmery Colors Chip Less.
  6. Apply a Clear Top Coat.
  7. Allow Proper Drying Time.
  8. Keep a Top Coat Handy.
May 23, 2019

Why is my nail polish chipping so fast? ›

Don't paint nails in a humid area: This will prevent the polish from drying properly and lead to chipping. Don't shake the bottle: This can cause air bubbles and lead to future cracks and lumps. Don't apply too many thick layers: You need to give each layer the chance to dry before applying the next properly.

Is it OK to use cheap nail polish? ›

In general, however, the higher priced bottles contain a higher quality of paint, which means it should last a few days longer than the cheaper alternative. If you switch up nail polish often, cheap is probably fine, but it you want your manicure to last longer, it might be better to spend the extra cash.

What makes nail polish last longer? ›

"The best way to ensure a long-lasting manicure is to reapply a top coat every couple of days to freshen the manicure and increase durability. On top of that, use a hand mist (or rub with lemon if you don't have one on hand) to help mattify and cleanse the cuticle area."

How long does it take for cheap nail polish to dry? ›

Generally, it takes 1-2 hours before nail polish is completely dry on its own, especially if you've used a base coat, two coats of nail polish and a topcoat. Formaldehyde-free polishes take more time to dry. Many nail polish dryers allow you to use your hands 5 to 15 minutes after polish is applied.

Why does my nail polish smudges hours later? ›

Applying thick coats of color

When we apply color in thick layers, the polish takes much longer to dry, and the longer it takes to dry, the more likely we are to smudge the manicure,” Candido says. Instead, apply thin, even coats and wait two minutes in between. The polish will actually dry faster.

Does Blowing help nail polish dry faster? ›

Blowing cool air from your blow dryer for 2 to 3 minutes will help speed up drying time. Just make sure to hold the blow dryer a good 12 inches away from your nails to avoid damaging your nail polish!

Should you let nail polish dry between coats? ›

Waiting for your nails to dry can feel like forever and we get it, you have things to do. But the good news is, you'll only need a 2-minute drying time between coats. This works perfectly every time. These 120 seconds are crucial for your manicure so that the coats dry perfectly.

Does nail polish get too old to use? ›

Regular nail polish lasts for around 18 to 24 months on average, whereas gel nail polish lasts for around 24 to 36 months, with unopened bottles lasting the longest. Nail polishes only start to expire once they have been opened, so try to avoid opening a bottle if you are not going to use it immediately.

What is the healthiest way to paint your nails? ›

A basic manicure, with the right polishes, is the healthiest for your nails. When we say the 'right polishes' we mean the best nail growth polish or breathable nail polish. The harsh chemicals in many polishes often degrade our nails. Using an organic polish that contains vitamins, is the best way to avoid damage.

How often is it OK to change nail polish? ›

Your best bet is to clean off the old polish after a week and repaint your nails. The one great thing about lacquer is that it's the least damaging to your nails. If you use an acetone-free remover, you can change the polish every week. No break is needed unless you want to.

What nail polish is least damaging to nails? ›

  • Côte Nail Polish (Two-Pack) $30.00. Cote.
  • Base Coat Nail Polish. $20.00.
  • Ella + Mila Nail Polish. $10.50.
  • Sally Hansen's Good. Kind. Pure Nail Polish. $6.72.
  • Pacifica's Plant Magic Polish. $10.00.
  • Nailtopia Plant-Based Nail Lacquer. $10.00.
  • Zoya Nail Polish. $10.00.
  • Sundays Nail Polish (Three-Pack) $56.00.
Apr 7, 2021

Are nails healthier without polish? ›

Nails receive their nutrients and oxygen through your blood. While wearing nail polish all the time won't stop your nails from growing, it does damage your nail integrity. Even with blood supply, nails do still need air to “breathe”. That's why a break from nail polish every few weeks is a must.


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