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Does ORLY nail polish or Essie nail polish make for lasting manicures?

Having the right manicure can tie an entire outfit together. There are so many brands on the market today that it can be hard to decide which one works best. However, you can get salon-quality nails at home with the right nail polish or lacquer. Should you get ORLY nail polish or Essie nail polish on your next trip to the store?

ORLY nail polish basics

Among the best nail lacquers, ORLY nail polish comes in near the top of the pack. It has been a family-owned business since 1975 when it first introduced the French manicure onto the market. The manicure originally was designed to help actresses switch between scenes and wardrobe changes, but it quickly became a popular style all over the world.

Since then, ORLY has been dedicated to making quality polishes that last without chipping and have decent dry times. Its color lineup has something to offer everyone.

ORLY nail polish pros

Ulta Beauty

One of the main benefits of ORLY nail polish is that it is an affordable name brand that comes in various colors, including bold shades and neutral colors. Compared to some of the more high-end brands, a bottle of this lacquer is a budget-friendly option that comes in under $10 at Ulta Beauty.

In addition to affordability, many consumers worry about the formula and its safety. ORLY boasts an impressive 13-free formula that eliminates harmful ingredients found in many lacquers, including formaldehyde, toluene, camphor, xylene, parabens and phthalates.

ORLY also boasts that its formulas are vegan and made with cruelty-free processes.

ORLY nail polish cons

While the traditional nail lacquers tend to last a while, those with special effects may chip faster. You may want to be cautious about buying this brand online. Some colors may look different in person and when applied to the nail than they appear in photos or even in the bottle.

Best ORLY nail polishes


ORLY has many unique products available, but many people love its Breathable line found at Ulta. The formula is water permeable, which eliminates cracking when exposed to water through handwashing.


Those who have access to an LED light may like the ORLY Gel FX. You must use this with the basecoat and topcoat for the best results. However, it does advertise a three-week manicure with no chipping or peeling.

Essie nail polish basics

Founded in 1981, Essie nail polish has been a staple in the industry for decades. Many people, including Queen Elizabeth II, turn to this polish as their go-to option. It comes in a wide variety of colors that range from metallics to neutrals and bolds. It has won Best of Beauty Awards from Allure magazine and can boast about having the top-selling nail trend color of all time.

Essie nail polish pros

If you are searching for a nail polish that is good for the skin and body, you may not have to look further than Essie. The polishes are 3-free, meaning they do not contain toluene, formaldehyde or DPB. While they do still contain some chemicals, Essie is a fairly safe option.

Gel Couture

Wear is an important factor when considering which nail polish is the best. Essie features a Gel Couture option that can last up to two weeks without chipping. Even for a salon-quality product, this is an impressive accomplishment.

Essie nail polish cons

Unfortunately, not everything is perfect about this brand. Essie is known for becoming a bit lumpy over time, making getting every last drop out of the bottle more challenging. Use this nail polish quickly to minimize these effects.

The other downside is the applicator brush, which tends to be very narrow and thin. While some people may love this feature, it makes the standard three-stroke approach to nail painting more challenging. The brush can be less comfortable to hold, which ultimately influences overall application.

Best Essie nail polishes

Essie Gel Couture

For those who want a long-lasting manicure, you can’t go wrong with the Essie Gel Couture line. This polish functions similarly to gel nail polish, but it does not require LED lights to cure the finish. It boasts an impressive wear time of up to two weeks without chipping.


Sometimes, you are just in a hurry to get your manicure done. Expressie can be a great option when you have a minute or less for dry time. It is a one-step color with remarkably fast dry times that allow you to get back to business.

Should you get ORLY or Essie nail polish?

If you’re torn between ORLY and Essie, consider Essie. Its Gel Couture line does not require the LED lights that ORLY’s gel polish needs for long-term success. While they may not last as long, the polishes are relatively easy to apply and maintain. Essie also has a more impressive color selection.


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

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