nail polish and nail lacquer

The Real Truth About Nail Polish and Nail Lacquer

Most people don’t know the difference between nail polish and nail lacquer. Beauty lovers can go their entire lives using nail polish and nail lacquer interchangeably and never realize it. They’re missing out. These two products may be similar, but your nail care regimen will be healthier and more precise if you use the separate items wisely. You can maintain your nails better with a routine that combines the two solutions but highlights each one’s strengths and weaknesses. It will improve the color, gloss, and durability of your nails and your look. Here are gritty facts to help you decide when to use each one.

nail polish and nail lacquer
Image by RD


When you want a quick nail look, go for nail polish. Polish was designed to be decorative. Since the early days of nail art, nail polish was favored due to its thin consistency. Since the product was light, beauticians could draw ornate designs and correct mistakes more efficiently than they could using lacquer. It was also easier to remove. If you are trying on multiple nail polish samples in search of the perfect match for your skin, nail polish will make the process less tedious. Due to its thin, malleable consistency, polish can be difficult to maintain. Most brands chip and scratch far more often than nail lacquers. Even though there are dozens more nail polish colors available than nail lacquer shades, you’re choosing variety over durability. In simple terms, think of nail polish as the product of choice for a manicure artist. It’s playful, more flexible, and less permanent. 

nail polish and nail lacquer
Image by Opi


Nail lacquer is a more recent invention than polish. Like its name suggests, lacquer is designed to give your nails an extra glossy finish. This gleam is a versatile addition to any outfit. It can lend a sophisticated air to your festive, semi-formal outfit or add sparkle and surprise to a simple Friday night get-up. Lacquer also bonds with the human fingernail. These products contain chemicals that help evenly distribute color pigment on your nail. This helps the lacquer stick to your nails, giving them a darker, more vivid color than most nail polishes. Though these qualities are definitely positive, the chief benefit of nail lacquer is its durability. If you spend a work-heavy week in nail polish, your look may not last until Friday. Nail lacquer’s chemical makeup and thick consistency make it much better suited to endure your busy schedule.


Due to its carefully-chosen ingredients, nail lacquer is the nail product most recommended by stylists and cosmetologists. It may not come in a vast selection of shades like nail polish, but most brands manufacture a good amount of colors. If there’s a nail polish color you can’t do without, combine nail polish and nail lacquer to craft a durable look.  Once you’ve applied your nail polish coat, cover it with a layer of clear lacquer to seal in the color and keep it from chipping. This is why it pays to know the subtle difference between these two products. With detailed knowledge, you can use both to transform your fragile nail art creation into an enduring, eye-catching look. 

The differences between nail polish and nail lacquer are small, but they can change your nail regimen for the better. Apply these nail art tips and your nails will finally stand out from the crowd. 


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