A Guide to Different Brands of Nail Polish

Being familiar with different brands of nail polish can make the shopping and finding your favorites easier. It can give you a great starting point in your search for something new, and help you discover things you may not have thought to try. You’ll also be able to identify which brands to avoid if they don’t meet your particular needs.

In our post about the greatest nail polish brands we went over a few of the top nail polishes on the market. In this post we’ll go more in depth about what’s out there so you can make more informed decisions while buying new bottles. It’s not possible to list everything in the world, but this guide will be a great start for the brands of nail polish you should be on the look out for.

Essie

essie-nail-polish

Pros:

  • Ridiculously large selection of  nail colors.
  • Some of the best light tones and pastels on the market.
  • Colors for any occasion, whether you’re feeling chic, elegant, or casual.
  • Matte, glitter, shimmer, shiny. Anything you want is available.
  • The brushes are great. They’re the perfect length for complete coverage.
  • Good pigmentation. Two coats is all it takes for a full manicure.

Cons:

  • The selection of colors may actually be TOO large. It may become overwhelming and difficult to differentiate between similar colors.
  • Not the longest lasting nail polish around.
  • Good luck finding these for under $8.

OPI

OPI-Minnie-Couture-7929

Pros:

  • One of the most popular, well-known nail polish brands around. It’s a favorite to many.
  • Great range of colors and some really unique collections. OPI is a great source of polish for funky styles.
  • Wide brush, perfect for precise polish application.
  • Great formula that applies smoothly and lasts a fairly long time.

Cons:

  • The formula can be inconsistent at times. Sometimes it’s perfect, sometimes it’s streaky, and at worst, it’s goopy.
  • New users may have expectations that are too high after all the hype that surrounds the brand. After all, this is still just a nail polish. It isn’t exactly going to change lives.

ORLY

orly

Pros:

  • Beautiful, Bright vibrant colors
  • Great coverage, with a glossy finish. One coat may be all you need.
  • Polish won’t become goopy even after owning a bottle for years.
  • Cute packaging. The rubbery caps make them less difficult to open since they’re not slippery.

Cons:

  • The formula is kind of thick, so it may be difficult to apply if you’ve never used it before.
  • It may take a while to dry. That means there’s more chances to ruin your nails before the day is even over.

China Glaze

chinaglaze

Pros:

  • Comparable to OPI’s quality at a lower price.
  • Another brand with a fantastic selection of colors to suit every personality.
  • Great selection of funky brights, neons, and glittery colors.
  • Easy to find everywhere.

Cons:

  • There’s a lot of debate on whether or not this polish is long lasting. Some complain that it chips right away, while others rave about it lasting a week. It may depend on the color, or maybe some sort of chemistry with your own nails.
  • Several coats may be necessary to get it to show opaque.
  • Thin brush makes it difficult to apply polish precisely.

Formula X by Sephora

formulax

Pros:

  • You can go to Sephora and try it out. You’ll be able to paint your nails with the entire system. Pro Tip: Sephora is the perfect spot to test out tons of polishes, and get free manicures, and buy the polish elsewhere. The internet is often the best place to find cheaper prices on the same brands.
  • Gorgeous, extensive shades of colors, but not so much that you’re overwhelmed with too many choices.
  • Quick drying.

Cons:

  • Only available at Sephora.
  • Incredibly sheer. Tons of coats needed to get it opaque.
  • Chips really easily. Some say they can’t seem to get it to last longer than a day.

Deborah Lippmann

deborah-lippmann

Pros:

  • Great pigmentation.
  • A beautiful array of sheer colors.
  • Long lasting polish that really does stay put.
  • Works great even if you skip out on a top and a base coat.

Cons:

  • Really expensive. It might be a good idea to only treat yourself to a bottle here and there if your budget is really low.
  • Not the largest collection of colors.

Nails Inc

nailsinc

Pros:

  • Good formula that goes on smooth and creamy. It’s very easy to work with.
  • Offers a great selection of lampless gel polishes.

Cons:

  • Applying their glitter polish can be difficult.
  • Lasting power isn’t so great. Tip wear can occurs quickly.
  • Price is high for the quality.

Julep

julep

Pros:

  • Long lasting without a base or a top coat.
  • Cute chic slim packaging makes storing these away easy.
  • Large selection of different colors and textures.

Cons:

  • Thin, runny formula.
  • Glitters can be clumpy and peel off easily.
  • Price is high for the quality.

Zoya

zoya

Pros:

  • Most of the colors go on opaque after the first coat.
  • It’s vegan.
  • Some of the most beautiful colors around.
  • Long lasting, great wear.
  • The color that appears on the nails often precisely matches what it looks like in the bottle.

Cons:

  • Takes a really long time to dry.

Butter London

butterlondon

Pros:

  • Dries very quickly.
  • Great selection of dense glitters.
  • Goes on nice and smooth without any streakiness.
  • One coat will often give you full coverage.

Cons:

  • Colors on nails may not always match what the color looks like in the bottle.
  • Chipping may occur by the end of the day, so a good top coat is essential.

Sally Hansen

sallyhansen

Pros:

  • So many different collections, formulas and varieties. Everything from quick drying polishes to gel polishes.
  • Some of the greatest top coats around.
  • Great quality, especially at such great price points.

Cons:

  • Not all polishes are created equal, so you may have to test out a few polishes from each of the lines to decide on which suits you the best. We love the insta-dri line.

Ciate

ciate

Pros:

  • Offers some really unique nail polish styles, such as nail polish toppers that can be applied to wet polish, creating interesting effects.
  • Smooth, bubble and streak free formula.
  • Long lasting, hardly any chipping for a few days.

Cons:

  • There may be a bit of a learning curve with some of the manicure toppers. For example, learning to properly pour on beads can be a hassle, and a mess, but it’s worth it once you master the technique.

Jinsoon

jin-soon-polish

Pros:

  • Smooth application.
  • Lasts forever when paired with their base and top coat.
  • Quick drying.
  • Chip resistant.

Cons:

  • While the lasting power is great, the polish can be difficult to remove, which is a definite problem when you’re ready to switch things up, or the wear begins to show.

Marc Jacobs

Marc-Jacobs-Nail-Polish

Pros:

  • Very long lasting. Put on a base coat and it will last for a week.
  • Rich, beautiful colors.
  • Goes on opaque with only one coat.
  • Fast drying.

Cons:

  • Small collection of colors, but the ones that are offered are very beautiful.
  • Pretty pricey at $18 a bottle.

CND

CND

Pros:

  • Really smooth finish every time.
  • Eye catching, gorgeous colors available.
  • If you can make it through the drying time, the polish should last quite a while.

Cons:

  • The drying time is pretty awful. Your hands may be out of use for several hours, and it’s definitely not a good idea to do a manicure using this polish before bed. Try one of our quick drying tips.

Seche Vite

seche

Pros:

  • Maker of the top coat that many claim to be the best top coat in the world.
  • Only two coats will give you a smooth, shiny, opaque color.
  • The quality of the color polishes is just as good as the top coat.

Cons:

  • Pretty small selection of colors.

Wet n Wild

Wet-n-Wild-Nail-Polish

Pros:

  • One of the best budget brands of nail polish. You can easily pick these up at the drug store for under $2.
  • Their mega-last line really does last for a long time.
  • Quick drying.
  • Some of their collections have a nice big brush that makes application a quick and easy process.

Cons:

  • There’s a lot of unfortunate colors, but when you find a good one, the quality is great. At the price point, it’s not a huge investment to try out lots of the colors until you find your favorites.