Product Type: OPI makeup
Newest Review: ... any other varnish, and this really lets it down. Overall I'm not really impressed with OPI nail polish, for the price I would expect so m... more
OPI Nail Varnish
Member Name: Dryad
OPI Nail Varnish
Advantages: Great selection of colours and finishes, long wearing, colours true to bottle. Don't test on animals
Disadvantages: A bit pricey at full cost.
This year even though I rarely use coloured polish on my nails I was seduced by the gorgeous colours in a set I purchased as a gift for a relative and bought another set which I shared with my daughters (using several as stocking fillers). The set was a pack of 10 3.75ml mini 'bestsellers' varnishes comprising a wide selection of the colour range, I've listed the colours at the end of the review, but you can get full size and mini sets in all sorts of colour and finish combinations as well as individual bottles.
I also own a full size 15ml bottle in a light shimmery pink, shot through with golden iridescence which is a lovely summer colour on fingers and toes. The iridescent shimmer effect is one OPI does particularly well, you cannot see any particles of glitter or reflectors but the effect is quite magical. The set cost £27 plus just over £3.95 postage from QVC. Full sizes vary in price, cheapest on the internet sites such as ebay and Amazon, and about £10.50 from places such as John Lewis and salons. QVC often have some great offers on this brand.
With the little bottles everything is of course smaller than the full size including the brush. The bottles are exactly the same shape and proportions as the full size. Despite being so dinky they are easy to handle as the lid is quite fat and easy to grip. Although the brushes are smaller than the full size they work very well. I find the brush delivers best when you apply straight from the bottle without wiping any product off the brush on the lip of the bottle as you might do with a larger size, larger/longer nails may take more than one dip though. The full size bottle I own sits beautifully both in the hand and on a flat surface and application is a breeze. I even manage my right hand nails easily (I'm right handed) with other brands I have had slight problems getting a good finish using my left hand. Not with OPI though.
The brush delivers the product smoothly and the combination of the brush and formula mean that this varnish doesn't run down the plastic 'stalk' of the brush threatening drips, or a mini flood onto the nail. For my nails I would prefer a thicker brush, but I can see how the fairly slim brush is better for small or narrow nails giving precise application.
I have had the larger bottle (sorry the name has worn off) for 5 years! As mentioned I don't use coloured varnish very often, and the product is only now just starting to get a little gloopy but is still perfectly usable and still gives a good finish. I think that is brilliant.
I've tried all the mini colours on different nails for the sake of the review and one thing they all have in common is the silky smooth application, and the way that it almost 'self levels'. If I smear the first coat a little applying a second coat, or apply the product a bit too thickly it seems to find its own level and give a pretty smooth look despite my less than perfect technique. These varnishes along with Nails inc are the least streaky I have tried, though not being a big varnish wearer I haven't tried that many brands.
I feel a characteristic of OPI polishes is that they dry fairly quickly, they are not sold as quick dry and OPI sells its own brand of quick drying spray. However one coat is touch dry in a couple of minutes and I'm comfortable going out within about 15 minutes of a two coat application, though a hard knock might still damage the finish.
I would say that the paler colours benefit from a second coat to bring out the fullness of the shade. Some of the paler pinks and neutrals would look nice with a French manicure. My daughter likes the colour 'Bubble Bath' I would say that is my least favourite; to me it looks sort of anaemic, colour choice is only ever a matter of personal taste though.
My favourite colour is Lincoln Park after Dark, a gorgeous rich very deep purple that looks almost black in most lights. This colour is beautifully opaque with a high gloss creamy wet look (I believe you can also get this and other colours in matt and 'suede' finish). The coverage is so good with this and other OPI opaque varnishes that it doesn't really need a second coat, though I do often apply one. The glossy finish remains good during the wear of the polish. Alpine snow is quite matt and personally I would only use this to create a French manicure. You can of course wear it however you chose, a clear top coat would give it a glossier finish if you prefer. As I prefer my nails bare I wouldn't risk staining by using the dark colours without a base coat so can't say for sure whether the darkest colours do in fact stain or not.
I'm a devil for chipping polish and although OPI isn't a miracle solution to this I have found them to be the best for my nails in comparison to other brands. I can manage 3 days without obvious signs of wear, which for me is about three times as long as other varnishes. My Auntie who is a life long almost daily polish wearer gets about 6-8 days wear out of hers, and then the wear doesn't usually involve chipping but simply thinning and wearing away slowly along the tip. The colour doesn't fade or lose vibrancy during wear. On my toes the varnish stays looking good without touch up for quite a while, weeks actually, and the colour remains excellent.
All varnishes dry my nails out and make them brittle, another reason why I don't wear it often, however again OPI is the best of the bunch. I've never had any allergic reaction to the product either.
OPI varnishes come off easily with any nail varnish remover; glitter varnishes in any brand will need extra work to get off.
Despite this being quite expensive I think the massive rage of colours; effects, choice of nail strengtheners which can be used as base and or top coats and the sheer quality of the varnish make it a real stand out product. If I used polish every day this brand would be well out of my price range, but as an occasional tart up it's affordable. Because you only need one or two coats and the longevity is good even if you use nail lacquer regularly it's more economical than perhaps it first seems. I would have no hesitation recommending OPI nail polish to anyone looking for a reliable brand.
* Colours in my bestsellers kit:
Alpine Snow (white)
Tickle my France (nude)
Strawberry margarita (bright pink)
I'm not really a waitress (red)
Cajun shrimp (coral)
Big apple red
You don't know Jacques (taupe)
Russian navy (navy/indigo)
Lincoln park after dark (midnight blue/purple)
Bubble bath (pale pink)
Summary: An excellent product range, with good ethical background. Something for everyone