OPI Nail Lacquer 101: Where to Find the Polishes You Want

OPI is slowly taking over the world of nail lacquers (and my personal stash)—with three lines of nail polishes available everywhere from salons to drugstores. Here’s the breakdown of where to find what you're looking for. OPI: Available at salons and certain beauty retail stores, they typically sell for about $9 a bottle. OPI releases seasonal lines, based off a common theme (from “France” to “Alice in Wonderland”), but also keeps their most popular colors in their permanent line. What I like about OPI are the brushes. They are wide, soft and perfectly sized to cover a whole nail in two or three swipes, and you never have the problem of too much polish on the brush. OPI polish is (for the most part) richly colored and not very streaky or bubbly. My one gripe is that many colors, especially metallic or shimmer, take a long time to dry, leaving room for nicks or smudges.

Nicole by OPI: This is OPI’s drugstore nail polish line, selling for anywhere from $4 to $6 a bottle. In my opinion, the coloring and texture of this polish is about the same as the main OPI line. It tends to have a slightly unpleasant plastic smell, but it’s not overwhelming. The selection of colors is more conservative (as it mostly sticks to the typical pinks, reds and nudes, with a few random blues and purples thrown in) and it lacks the nice wide brushes of the main OPI line. However, the smooth, streak-free texture of the polish makes up for it. Nicole by OPI also tends to dry faster, especially the cream colors.

Sephora by OPI: Available only at (you guessed it) Sephora, these go for $9 a bottle like the main line. Personally, I feel the only differences between Sephora by OPI and Nicole by OPI are the color selection and price. The quality of the polish and brush are basically the same (though Sephora by OPI brushes are a bit more narrow). Sephora by OPI releases some great bold colors and lines. Some, like their attempt at matte nail polish may end up as flops. Others, like their best-selling Metro Chic, a seemingly unappealing gray/taupe polish, are instant hits. This is the line to look through when you’re looking for strange, bright and rare nail polish colors, like neon orange or gold glitter.

Photo: sephora.com