Which OPI nail polish is best?

A good manicure can make you feel like you’ve had a total makeover, but going to the nail salon can be expensive. Instead, you can save money and still get a great manicure at home when you invest in a few bottles of OPI nail polish. 

Although OPI is one of the leading drugstore nail polish brands, its color-rich formulas are a mainstay in nail salons. If you’d like to try OPI’s best-selling classic polish, the OPI Holiday 2021 Celebration Collection Gift Set includes two full-size varieties featuring classic shades.

What to know before you buy OPI nail polish

What is OPI nail polish?

OPI is a popular nail polish brand known for its highly pigmented formulas and extensive shade collection. The brand offers three main varieties: classic Nail Lacquer, Infinite Shine 2 and Nature Strong.

Although OPI nail polish is sold at drugstores, it is the preferred polish of many salons — some of which offer all 200 shades to their clientele. That’s not all OPI has to offer, either. The brand also has some of the top-rated base and top coats on the market. 

What you need for an OPI nail polish manicure

You can give yourself a simple manicure with a couple coats of OPI nail polish, but for a salon-quality manicure, you’ll need to invest a little more time and money.

  • A basic manicure kit has essential tools to shape nails and trim cuticles, such as clippers, cuticle pushers and nail lifters.
  • Sanitize all manicure tools after each use, ideally with rubbing alcohol or an ultraviolet sanitizer box.  
  • Glass nail files are gentler on nails than abrasive emery boards, and may prevent nail splitting and peeling. 
  • Top and base coats may prolong the polish’s wear time. There are even quick-drying formulas available to speed up application time.
  • Moisturizing products, including rich hand creams and cuticle oils, help soften and protect hands from everyday stresses, such as dry heat exposure or windburn. 

What to look for in a quality OPI nail polish

Ingredients

OPI Nail Lacquer and Infinite Shine 2 formulas often contain acetate, alcohol, camphor, titanium dioxide and artificial dyes. The Nature Strong collection, on the other hand, features cleaner formulas with plant-based ingredients. Nature Strong is also a “9-free” nail polish, which means it’s made without nine harsh and potentially harmful ingredients often present in other formulas.

Finish

All OPI nail polish have shiny finishes, but there are slight differences among collections and formulas. Solid shades have the glassiest finishes, with other varieties available in pearl, cream or shimmer finishes. However, the polish bottles won’t always list the finish. As a result, you may need to look up the shade on the OPI website or contact OPI directly.

Bottle size

OPI nail polish is available in two bottle sizes: minis that are an eighth of a fluid ounce and full-size varieties that are half a fluid ounce. It’s much easier to find full-size bottles than minis, as the smaller size is typically reserved for limited-edition sampler boxes or seasonal gift sets. 

How much you can expect to spend on OPI nail polish

OPI’s classic Nail Lacquer usually costs about $11 per bottle and the Nature Strong collection typically costs about $12. OPI occasionally releases gift sets or value packs featuring mini or full-size bottles, most of which run between $16-$65.

OPI Nail Polish FAQ

What is the shelf life of OPI nail polish?

A. Once you open a bottle of nail polish, you have about 2 years to use it before the formula and color begin to deteriorate. If you’ve stocked up on OPI nail polish, including your favorite shade, it may last up to 5 years if it’s stored in a cool, dark place. 

What is OPI GelColor nail polish?

A. OPI GelColor is a professional line of gel polish that features well over 100 shades. Like other gel polish, the application process involves curing under a UV nail lamp. It’s only sold to licensed salons and professionals, so you won’t be able to buy it for at-home manicures.

What’s the best OPI nail polish to buy?

Top OPI Nail Polish

OPI Holiday 2021 Celebration Collection

OPI Holiday 2021 Celebration Collection

What you need to know: This polish duo features two best-selling shades, both of which are suitable for daytime or nighttime wear.

What you’ll love: The classic formula offers up to 7 days of wear time without chipping. Because the color is saturated, it doesn’t take more than two coats to achieve opaque coverage. The assortment comes in a gift-ready box. 

What you should consider: The light pink shade, Bubble Bath, has more prominent peach undertones than expected. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top OPI nail polish for the money

OPI Nail Lacquer

OPI Nail Lacquer

What you need to know: If you want a signature color, OPI Nail Lacquer comes in over 200 shades. 

What you’ll love: The shade range includes dozens of high-shine finishes as well as several glitter, metallic and shimmer finishes. OPI offers one of the most diverse red and pink collections on the market. The brush applicator has flexible bristles for flawless application. 

What you should consider: Deeper shades may stain nails when you remove polish, so you may need to soak them to remove all traces of color. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Ulta Beauty

Worth checking out

OPI Nature Strong Vegan Nail Polish

OPI Nature Strong Vegan Nail Polish

What you need to know: OPI’s newest addition, a vegan formula, is now available in over 30 shades. 

What you’ll love: The clean formula is free of nine harsh additives often seen in other polish formulas. Each shade has a glossy, high-shine finish and saturated color. The collection includes several earth-inspired shades, including Simply Radishing and A Great Fig World. 

What you should consider: Unlike with other OPI formulas, a few people felt they needed to apply three or more coats. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Ulta Beauty

 

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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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