The Great Debate: Nail Polish vs. Nail Lacquer | The Kewl Blog

The Great Debate: Nail Polish vs. Nail Lacquer

Posted on July 14 2016

Nail Polish vs. Nail Lacquer

In her book Lauren Conrad Style, Lauren Conrad calls nail polish, “the unexpected accessory”. She explains that nail polish adds color to your overall look and in effect - completes your outfit.

Whether you are in a habit of changing nail paints according to the trends or have a favorite color that you reapply regularly depending on your bandage dress; nail polish or nail lacquer is an important fashion accessory that gives your overall look polish, style, and a touch of femininity.

When it comes to nail paints, you are free to experiment with different colors, right from mint green and canary yellow to blood red and midnight blue.

There are so many things to consider when choosing a nail polish or nail lacquer. When you are buying a nail polish or a lacquer, the color is the first thing that appeals to you yet there is so much more to nail polish and paints than simply color. Today, apart from the colors, you have the ability to choose between different variants such as quick dry, artist inspired, chip resistant, and long lasting.

In this article we take an in-depth look at nail paints as a whole and offer insights into some of the most innovative nail polish lines from leading brands. To get longer, strong, natural healthy nails check out our post Goodbye Manicures and Pedicures: Secrets to Natural and Healthy Nails.

History of Nail Polish

The history of nail polish is traced back to 3000 BC in China during the rule of the Zhou dynasty. The very first nail polishes were metallic colors such as silver and gold because they were associated with wealth and power. As time passed the colors black and red became royal favorites and replaced metallic colors as more ingredients were introduced. The Ming dynasty used egg whites, vegetable dyes, beeswax, Arabic gum, and gelatin to create various other colors such as coral and sunshine.

Nail polish was so popular in China that it was used as an accessory to distinguish the ruling class from common citizens. In fact, the general population was not allowed to wear nail polish and several reports indicate those whom did not follow the nail polish hierarchy were executed.

The application of nail paints spread across the globe to the Middle East, Northern Africa, and Egypt. In Egypt, people polished their nails with paints according to their position in society as well. Rulers used henna to paint their nails and obtain a reddish brown color, whereas people in lower classes were inclined to wear pale colors. Surprisingly, it is rumored that mummified pharaohs had their nails painted with henna when buried.

Nail paint application spread to Europe and beyond but was rarely used in Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. It was only after the new trade connection between India and the Middle East was established in the Renaissance period that the aristocracy in Europe gained access to nail paints as a fashion accessory.

Manicures and nail polish became more and more common as time passed in every society around the globe. However, nail polish as well as manicures truly became in popular in the early 20th Century, when several salons and manicure establishments appeared all over Europe and North America. Today, manicures and pedicures are fashion staples and painting one’s nails is as common as drinking a bottle of water.

What is Nail Lacquer?

Nail lacquer is a recent discovery that has been available in the markets for the last couple of years. Usually, when you apply a lacquer to anything, you do it to give the substance a glossy and smooth finish. The same is true in the case of nail lacquers.

Nail lacquers, typically, are nail paints that add thickness to your nails. They are also called varnishes and are renowned for their ability to dry quickly. Not only do nail lacquers give your nails a lustrous look but they also lend a trendy, fashionable style to your hands that is feminine and attractive.

Nail lacquer is available in hundreds of colors so you are easily able to find a color that fits your style. Lacquers generally also come equipped with special effects like shimmer or glitter, which enhances the overall look and also makes it more fun to apply and style.

Many different chemicals need to be mixed together to create nail lacquers. The liquid base for the lacquer is provided by solvents like ethyl acetate, and other ingredients and the varnish is suspended in this base. The thickeners used in nail lacquers ensure that the color particles are evenly distributed throughout the solution, and the resins in the mixture ensure that the lacquer bonds to the nails.

Nail Polish vs. Nail Lacquer

Even though the terms nail lacquers and nail polishes are often used synonymously, there are a few differences between the two. We’ve compiled a list of the most important and relevant differences to note when you choose your nail paint.

  • Nail lacquers are used to protect your nails. Nail polishes are used for decorating and coloring your nails.
  • Nail polish is often much thinner in consistency than nail lacquers. Nail lacquers are renowned for their thickness.
  • Nail polish lends a designer look to your nails. Nail lacquer serve to make your nails look shiny and glossy.
  • One of the advantages of choosing nail lacquers over nail polishes is that the lacquers strengthen your nails by giving them a thick coating.
  • Many stylists and cosmetologist recommend nail lacquers because they are more durable and chip resistant.
  • Nail polish is often available in more colors and shades than nail lacquers.

How to Choose Your Nail Polish

As you decide between nail polish and nail lacquer remember that most major brands offer a variety or line in both finishes. There are numerous brands on the market, therefore, it is necessary to separate the wheat from the chaff. Quality nail paints offers you a spa like finish that lasts for up to two weeks. Poor quality nail paints chip and fade at the first sign of water or sweat. Here are some of the most popular brands on the market today as well as concise information about each brand’s nail paint product lines.

OPI. OPI is a nail polish and nail lacquer brand that is renowned for its wide range of colors as well as finishes. There is a reason why most of the high end salons tend to use these nail lacquers. These nail paints are vibrant in color, last longer than most, and do not easily chip. The brand OPI is synonymous with quality nail paint available in various varieties, finishes, and colors.

The OPI website is extremely useful in helping you choose a particular shade for special events or a going out outfit. If you want to see how one color looks on your nails, all you need to do is try it on virtually by changing the skin tone. With OPI, you have a choice between different collections like Infinite Shine, Retro Summer, Alice in Wonderland, New Orleans, and Hello Kitty. When it comes to nail paint websites, it does not get better than OPI. We found the site to be easy to navigate and is likely to save you time as you choose a color on your terms without being hurried while in a store.

Sally Hansen. Sally Hansen is a nail polish brand in the United State that is known for its variety of shades as well as its nail care products. The various collections of Sally Hansen include Hard as Nails, Miracle Gel, and Insta-Dri. The latest collection Miracle Gel is quite popular because this nail polish is highly resistant to chipping. All the nail lacquers and nail polishes by Sally Hansen are easy to apply, long lasting, fast drying, and have a good applicator brush.

When you visit this brand’s website, you are able to choose between a wide range of colors and collections. The website also provides you with a quiz, which gives you your perfect Miracle Gel shade based on your interests as well as your skin tone.

Essie. Essie is yet another nail polish brand that is well loved by the United States fashionistas. With its diverse collections like Viva Antigua, Shimmer Brights, and Mrs. Always-Right, Essie offers you radiant and vibrant colors as well as beautiful pastel shades.

The website of Essie is very easy to navigate and allows you to browse the brand’s  collections and shades easily. Whether you are looking for metallic effects or shades that blend well together, Essie is solid nail paint manufacture. The website literally gives you a palette of colors, which makes choosing between the different colors very easy.

Some of the other reputed nail polish and nail lacquer brands that we enjoy and often use during our photoshoots include: China Glaze, M.A.C. Studio, and Butter London.

Whether you love glitter on your nails, vibrant colors, or soft pastel shades, make the most of the nail polishes and nail lacquers. Painting your nails gives your look a sexy finish and is one of the most feminine fashion accessories out there.

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