Opi vs Essie – Which Polish Should You Buy?


A manicure, when done correctly, can make you look really good and well put together regardless of the occasion. However, today’s market has a variety of nail polishes, and deciding which one to choose can be overwhelming. That’s why the Opi vs Essie debate is common these days. It’s an attempt to find which of the two brands has the best products. There’s no doubt that OPI nail polish and Essie nail polish both have unique qualities—the kind that can deliver excellent manicures and give your nails the desired look. However, most people want to know whether Essie nail polish is better than OPI nail polish or vice versa. If that’s the answer you seek, then you have come to the right place as we will be looking into some key factors that will help us decide the best brand between these two.

Remember that both OPI and Essie are modern-day nails polish manufacturers, but nail polish has been around for many years—about 3000 B.C. to be precise. Modern nail polish, which we know it to be today, did not come into existence before the 1930s. The formulations of what our ancestors used as nail polish are different from what we have today. History has shown that the polish they used in those times seemed faultless—though made through what we can call an archaic method—they lasted longer and have qualities that made them great as nail polish. Today, we have advanced nail polish—the kind Opi and Essie produce—however, we will base the Opi vs Essie debate here on these qualities and draw our conclusion afterward.

  • Top 4 Qualities of a Good Nail Polish
  • Opi vs Essie—Durability
  • Shining Appearance—Opi vs Essie
  • Opi vs Essie—Quick to Dry
  • Opi vs Essie—Price Difference
  • How Do I Make Nail Polish Last Longer?

Top 4 Qualities of a Good Nail Polish

Manicures and pedicures are some of the brilliant ways to enhance self-care. But, the process is incomplete without good nail polish. Only a high-quality nail polish will give you the desired result. It will make sure your nails and hands look neat and beautiful. However, with so many nail polish brands in today’s market, how would you determine a good one? It’s pretty simple. A good polish will have these qualities;


How long does the nail polish last? When one of the nail polish ingredients is a plasticizer with enough quantity, the polish will last a little longer than the regular varnish polish with a small amount of this substance. This quality is not negotiable. To find a polish that lasts long, be on the lookout for products with enough plasticizers in them. 

The plasticizer also ensures the flexibility of the polish and prevents it from chipping and cracking. Also, ensure that the nail polish you choose has ultraviolet filters. That way, it will not get damaged when your hands are exposed to the sun.

Though durability and how long a polish can last seem to be the primary deciding factor for most people, it’s not the only factor. You also have to consider other factors such as;

Lasting Shiny Appearance

What’s the point of using polish on your nails if it will not have a radiant appearance? Yes, you may choose to go for a matte finish; however, if that’s not your intention, you need a polish that makes your nail shine. Resin is one of the components in nail polish that causes glossiness. Be on the lookout for this ingredient in the nail polish you plan to use.

Some nail polishes cause the nail to shine only for a while and thereafter lose glossiness quickly. Such products are low-quality, therefore, be careful of these. Pigments such as micas, pearl essence, etc., can also add shine to a nail polish’s appearance. Products that have such stains are a plus.

Quick to Dry

Imagine you’ve spent so much time creating a nail design, but the polish won’t dry in time, and the moment you stand up, the design gets ruined. It can be frustrating! That’s what happens when you choose a nail polish void of the “quick to dry” feature. Good nail polish will dry instantaneously. It also will dry equally and at the fastest possible time. So, when choosing a nail polish, be on the lookout for nitrocellulose. That’s the ingredient that makes nail polish dry evenly and quickly. Check the product label and ensure it’s listed as one of the ingredients.

Not Reactive to Heat and Water

There’s no practical way to avoid getting wet or water getting to your hands after applying nail polish. That’s why the nail polish you use must not react to moisture. That’s one way you can be sure you haven’t wasted your money and that the polish will last as long as it should. It also protects your health since you won’t have to worry about nail polish getting into your food and contaminating it with chemicals. It should also be inflammable to eliminate the possibility of getting into a fire accident.

Opi vs Essie—Durability

According to some manicurists, the average nail polish would last two days without flaking or chipping. At the same time, there are some nail polishes with long-wearing formulas. Those, on average, would last up to two weeks. The longer they will last depends on your daily activities; however, they rely more on the polish’s ingredients.

According to the Opi website, the average Opi nail polish would last for up to eleven days—depending on the application technique. They recommend using the three-step system for a long-lasting nail polish application. On the other hand, Essie claims the nail polish will last for up to two weeks without experiencing cracks or chips—primarily if you use the two-step application system.

If we take the words of each manufacturer as the truth, we can conclude that Essie wins in the Opi vs Essie—Durability category.

Shining Appearance—Opi vs Essie

According to the ingredients Opi provides, its nail polish contains fil-formers. The film-formers in the Opi shine collection include:

  • Nitrocellulose.
  • Adipic acid/ trimellitic anhydride copolymer/ neopentyl glycol.
  • Acetyl tributyl citrate.
  • Di-HEMA trimethylhexyl carbamate.
  • Styrene/acrylates copolymer.

Those are ingredients that make nail polish harden and shine. 

On the other hand, Essie guarantees that you’ll have an instant high shine if you make it a duty to follow the three-step manicure system. So, you’ll apply the first two coats of any Essie nail polish color, and then you top it off with a final coat to have the fast and beautiful shining finish.

We can conclude that these two assertions tie in this Opi vs Essie—shining appearance category.

Opi vs Essie—Quick to Dry

One coat of polish from Essie takes only about thirty to sixty seconds to dry. That’s about the amount of time it will take you to paint all your fingernails. Meaning by the time you’re done painting all your nails, the first nail you painted would be ready for the second coat. However, after the three-step paint, wait for about fifteen minutes for the nails to dry. The same goes for OPI nail polish such as Lacquer Drip Dry or Rapidry spray; you will have to wait for about fifteen to twenty minutes for it to dry. The thicker the coat, the longer it takes to dry. So, there’s no winner in this Opi vs Essie—quick to dry category.

Opi vs Essie—Price Difference

As far as the price difference is concerned, Opi and Essie have almost identical prices. What seems to differentiate them are the polish types and color. However, if the price varies for the same product of a similar color, the difference would not be too much. Most OPI polishes are valued at $9, and Essie’s nail polish is sold at $8.50 on average. So, there seems to be no winner in this category.

How Do I Make Nail Polish Last Longer?

It’s everyone’s dream to have nail polish that lasts longer than one or two days. However, most people do not understand that the nail polish art to lasting longer goes beyond the type of nail polish you buy. It starts before you paint the nails at all. Therefore, follow these professional tips to ensure your DIY manicure painting turns out beautifully and lasts long;

Prepare the Nail

Before you bring out your nail polish, you have to take some time to prepare your nails properly. Polish doesn’t sit well on nails with ridges on them or covered in remnants of old polish. Run a buffer block over your nail bed, smooth out the ridges, and use nail polish remover to remove any residual polish on the surface nail that can interfere with the new layer.

Base Coat

Base coats are an essential aspect of nail polish. Moreover, they are crucial because they help fill any irregularities left on the nail. They then help create the surface upon which the polish can sit smoothly and evenly. But, because they seem to take time, most people try to skip the step. If you ignore it, the polish won’t hold on properly.

Drying Time Between Coats

If you’ve ever wondered why it takes so long to get a manicure in the salon, here’s why. Depending on the nail polish you choose to use, the longer each coat takes to dry, the longer you’ll have to wait. Professionals ensure each coat dries properly before they apply another. You should do the same even when you’re doing it at home. That’s one sure way to make the polish last longer.

Thickness of Coat

Most nail polish manufacturers recommend more than one coat application. As mentioned in our Opi vs Essie analysis above, OPI recommends a three-step coating system while Essie recommends two steps. However, after the base coat is dry, you need to apply other coats using a thin-coat system and wait for each one to dry before applying the next. To save time, you might be tempted to do one thick coat, but that would make the polish peel off quickly.

Application Technique

Water can easily creep between the nail and polish from the raw edges you buffed or filed. That’s why you need to apply the base coat, nail polish, and topcoat to cover the tips of the nails onto those filed or buffed edges. It will seal the nail and polish and help keep water from creeping in-between.


When picking nail polish, be sure to choose a product made from safe ingredients. Make sure they are also easy to apply, and they last long. While there are many brands from which you can choose in today’s market, Opi and Essie are sure to be the best. Both brands have many color options, and they promise to last longer than most nail polish products out there.

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Opi vs Essie – Which Polish Should You Buy? Have you ever wondered which nail polish is best to use for professional and DIY manicuring? Check out our Opi vs Essie analysis for answers.
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