Essie Nail Polish vs. OPI Nail Lacquer

Image                               vs. Image

I have to admit that I consider myself an Essie girl, but started to wonder if there are actually any real reasons why? Most obviously, Essie has been known for a tremendous assortment of conservative office friendly shades, which is my cup of tea, but are there other differences as well? (Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good deep bordeaux or even dark plum.)

Polish vs. Lacquer

First off, Essie is a “nail polish” verses OPI, which is a “nail lacquer”. Although I could not find an ingredient list for OPI to compare to that of Essie, both are “3-free” (free of dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene and formaldehyde). According to, “Nail lacquer… is a quick drying liquid formation containing pigments to leave a coating on the nail that is not only protective in nature but also provides a sheen and the shade that makes nails look extremely beautiful. The main ingredient that acts like a thin film on the nails after drying is nitrocellulose. Resins and plasticizers are added to this nitrocellulose to make it resistant to water and soap. Color or pigments are added to this mixture to come up with the nail lacquer.” What I’ve found this to mean is that it often takes more coats of Essie for the color to develop, and each coat seems to dry faster, but that it actually takes longer to chip. I have very flakey nails so if the polish is heavier than a layer of my nail, it chips very easily.

The Brush:

OPI has a thick, wide brush that covers more of the nail with one stroke. Appealing for those seeking efficiency, but can make it more difficult to paint within the lines, particularly if you have small nails. Small nails require smaller brushes for easier application. Essie has a smaller brush, which I find easier to maneuver, and to control the amount of polish on the brush.

The Colors:

There is no doubt that OPI color collections are full of celebrity endorsements or even movie themes (James Bond, The Muppets), or even catchy names. They also seem to be easy to find whether at the front of the nail salon, or in a special display at your local drugstore or Target, though you can often find better prices online. If looking for a dark, moody shade, something with sparkle, or the latest trend, OPI is usually sure to have something to suit your fancy, and often more readily available in stores. Essie, on the other hand, tends to release more season related collections with a more classic appeal. Perhaps this, addition to the more elegant packaging, is why I gravitate toward Essie, but they have also ventured into brighter territory lately with my favorite from last summer, “Sure Shot”, which is a bright, bold, highly pigmented fuchsia.

Which do you prefer? Are you and Essie girl or an OPI loyalist?

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