Drug store nail polish: Which is the best?

Lauren Alison, Copy Editor

Procedure: For each of the different nail polishes, I first cleaned off each nail with nail polish remover to make sure that there was no excess oil that would prevent that nail polish from sticking to the nails. I then made sure to use only two coats of nail polish with each brand so that no one nail polish would have a better wearability. I also used two coats so that the nail polishes would be more comparable.


Nail Polish Brand: NYC Long Wearing Nail Enamel

Name of Color: Skyline Blue

Price: $0.99

Thoughts: The first thing I noticed about this brand was how cheap it was. At $0.99, NYC Long Wearing Nail Enamel is the cheapest of all the drugstore nail polishes that I tried. Though the price was a huge pro, the application of the nail polish left much to be desired. The first coat of the nail polish was  streaky and not opaque at all. The nail polish was also not self-leveling, which means that the polish didn’t spread itself out evenly and somewhat gathered. Overall, the application was pretty poor and did not look clean. Another thing that is not in favor of this brand is its wearability. On the second day of wearing this polish, I started to see it chip around the edges. On the third day of wearing it, the nail polish was chipping a fair amount. Lastly, on the fourth day, after the chipping nail polish caught on multiple things, I finally decided to cut my losses and take it off. Overall, the color was really nice, but that application and wearability left much to be desired. As a side not on the brand itself, there weren’t many color choices to choose from.


Nail Polish Brand: OPI

Name of Color: You’re Such as Budapest

Price: $10.00

Thoughts: OPI is a brand that I am very familiar with, being that I am the owner of several bottles. One of my favorite things about OPI is its ability to self-level. You could glob the nail polish on and it would still spread out evenly. Another thing that I found that I loved about OPI was its smooth application. The formula is not goopy at all, and dries smoothly and quickly. There are some nail polishes that can take forever to dry and dent easily, but OPI dried fairly quickly and didn’t indent at all when I went to sleep 3 hours after the application. After the first day of wear, the nail polish remained completely intact. On the second day of wear, the nail polish only had slightly started to chip on one of my nails. On the third day, the nail polish was still only chipping on one of my nails, the same one as the day before. After five days of wear, the nail polish had only slightly wore out around the tips, but other than that, the wear was pretty good. Overall, this test helped to prove, once again, why OPI is one of my favorite nail polish brands.

Nail Polish Brand: Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear

Name of Color: Babe Blue

Price: $2.99

Thoughts: Growing up, Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear was my go-to nail polish brand. With its cheap price and wide variety of colors, my 12-year-old self couldn’t ask for anything more. The first thing that I noted was its application. To say that I was disappointed in its application would be an understatement. The polish was streaky and kind of goopy. Also, when applying a second coat, it seemed to not want to self level with the first coat and would grab at places on the nail. It was so bad that I wanted to take all of the nail polish off just because it looked so sloppy. Once the nail polish dried, it actually looked much better, but after the second coat, it still wasn’t completely opaque. The first day of wear was completely fine, with no chips at all. It was on the second day that the nail polish had started chipping a fair amount, especially after I had taken a shower. By the beginning of the fourth day, the nail polish was completely deteriorating, and was not really wearable any more. Overall, the nail polish was okay. It lasted longer than the NYC nail polish, but still didn’t apply well.


Nail Polish Brand: Essie

Name of Color: Lilacism

Price: $9.00

Thoughts: Being the owner of multiple nail polish bottles of Essie, I went into this with a sense of knowing based on past experiences. The application actually went fairly smooth. With only 2 coats, the nail polish was pretty opaque. Though the application was pretty good, there are still a couple of things a couple of things that I would complain about. One is that I wish the brush was a little wider, and the other is that it didn’t dry as quickly as I would have liked, causing many imperfections in the finished product. Having always loved the variety of colors that Essie produced, it was never the application or the color that I had a problem with, it was the wearability. My past experiences have proven for Essie to only last for 4 days max. The wear went okay. It started to chip on the second day and of course went downhill from there. On the fourth day, I finally decided to remove it. Overall, Essie is a good product. Is it my favorite? No. But I’m never opposed to using it.

Final Thoughts: Having had many past experiences with most of these nail polish brands, and at least one prior experience with each brand, I had gone into this with a pretty good idea which nail polish I would find worked the best. Of all of the polishes, I would have to say that NYC was the worst of all the nail polishes I had tried. With its poor application and how quick it was to chip, there wasn’t really anything great that made up for that. The best nail polish brand had to be OPI. With its ultra-smooth application and long lasting wear, OPI was by far the best. Though it is a little expensive at $10.00, the payoff is totally worth the price. Though the Sally Hansen nail polish had its problems, at $2.99, it would definitely get the job done. At the end of the day, what worked for me may not work as well for others. Nail polish can be affected in many different ways and is not something that will always come out the same for everybody.