What is Nail Lacquer and How is it Different from Nail Polish?

Last Updated on January 20, 2022 by Olivia Herlihy RN

What is nail lacquer? This post tells you everything you need to know about the difference between nail polish and nail lacquer.

What is Nail Lacquer and How is it Different from Nail Polish?

What is Nail Lacquer?

Like nail polish, nail lacquer adds colour to the nails, however it tends to be thicker in consistency and leave a more shiny finish on the nail. Since lacquers are thicker, they are good at strengthening the nails and protecting them. They tend to be more durable than regular polishes and more resistant to chips.

The word “laquer” is derived from the French word “lacre” which means “a sealing wax”. Laquers are often used to add shimmer or texture to the nails and are usually chosen over regular polishes in high-end salons.

If you suffer from brittle nails, nail lacquers are useful for making the nails stronger and harder whilst giving them a lustrous look. The only down side of lacquers compared with regular polishes is that they usually come in fewer shades.

Although the general view in the cosmetic industry is that nail lacquers tend to be thicker than polishes, many brands still use the terms nail polish, nail lacquer, nail varnish, and nail enamel interchangeably.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you. You can read my full the disclosure here.

Recommended Nail Lacquers

Nails Inc Lacquer Lock Top Coat

Creates Gloss and Shine

What is Nail Lacquer

Nails Inc produce high quality nail lacquers. Their top coat can be applied over any kind of polish to create a glossy finish that’s resistant to breakage and chipping. The product using sunlight curing technology and dries with natural UV rays. This ensures your colour is locked in and lasts for up to 14 days.

Just as your gel manicure is cured by UV light, this revolutionary top coat features sunlight curing technology, using natural UV rays to lock in your colour for extended wear for up to 14 days.

Nails Inc Lacquer Lock Top Coat
  • The result - blinding shine and gloss. Wear over any polish to create a long wear result that is...
  • Wear over any polish to create a long wear result that is resistant to breakage and chipping.
  • 14 ml bottle

Last update on 2022-01-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

BORN PRETTY Holographic Silver Mirror Effect Nail Lacquer

What is Nail Lacquer

If you like nail products that create special effects, this lacquer contains a blend of high-quality holographic pigment! It’s quick drying and chip resistant creates a beautiful sparkling effect over the surface of the nail. This nail varnish leaves a glossy finish and comes with a brush that makes creating nail art easier. When used together with a base coat and top coat it lasts for seven days of wear.

BORN PRETTY Holo Nail Polish Glitter Silver Mirror Effect Nail Lacquer Holo Glitter Super Shine Nail...
  • 100% PURE HOLO NAIL POLISH-Each bottle of MEGA is jam-packed with a blend of high-quality holo...
  • HOLO LASER EFFECT-Delicately balanced with a precise touch of holo sparkle for some extra...
  • CHIP RESISTANT, EASY TO REMOVE - Our nail polishes wear like iron! Enjoy long-lasting coverage with...
  • QUICK DRYING-Quick dry nail polish formula which dries in a minute so you can seize the moment and...
  • SATISFACTION GUARANTEE-If for any reason you are not satisfied with your purchase, we will happily...

Last update on 2022-01-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

OPI Nail Lacquer Pink Shades

What is Nail Lacquer

The OPI Nail Lacquer is available in a number of different colors including a selection of beautiful pink shades. OPI is a cosmetic brand well known for producing high quality nail products. The lacquer leaves a thick coating over each nail which has a shiny effect when dry.

For the best results use the OPI base coat before applying this lacquer. My favourite from the OPI range is their opaque pink polish which gives a beautiful, trendy look.

OPI Nail Lacquer Softshades Collection, 15 ml - Sweet Heart
  • OPI Sweet Heart Nail Lacquer contain no DBP, Toluene, or Formaldehyde
  • This nail lacquer contains OPI’s ProWide brush for ideal application
  • OPI is one of the world's leading brand in professional nail care

Last update on 2022-01-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Nailberry L’Oxygene Oxygenated Nail Lacquer

The Nailberry L’Oxygene Nail Lacquer is a luxury breathable and oxygenated nail varnish. It’s free from formaldehyde, toluene, camphor, dpb and formaldehyde resin chemicals. This lacquer comes in a wide range of colors but the rich mulberry red is one of the most popular. The colour is bold and flattering on any skin tone.

This breathable nail varnish has won awards for being toxin free and allowing a healthier manicure. It uses patented technology to ensure your home manicure leaves you with healthy nails.

Nailberry L'Oxygene Oxygenated Nail Lacquer, Le Temps Des Cerises, 15 ml
  • Luxury breathable and Oxygenated nail polish
  • Rich mulberry red is pure colour perfection
  • Pair it with your favourite little black dress for some truly grown-up glamour
  • Provides long lasting, salon quality finish without compromise
  • Free from formaldehyde, toluene, camphor, dpb and formaldehyde resin chemicals

Last update on 2022-01-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Sally Hansen Salon Manicure Nail Lacquer

Sally Hansen makes good quality nail lacquers and is one of the most trusts nail polish brands. The products come in small bottles but still provide full coverage. This set provides lacquers in a range of vibrant colors including options that leave either a shiny coating or a matte topcoat.

If you are looking for a lacquer for the purpose of nail protection, this is a great range to try. Sally Hansen also makes nail hardeners, and other nail care products to promote a healthy nail plate, nail bed and cuticles.

Lot of 10 Sally Hansen Salon Manicure Finger Nail Polish Color Lacquer All Different Colors No...
  • 10 Sally Hansen Salon Manicure Assorted Nail Polish
  • All Different 10 shades No Repeats
  • This product will not come in gift packing.

Last update on 2022-01-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


This post explains what is Nail Lacquer

Thank you for reading my post about nail lacquer. Since lacquers are thicker than polishes the drying process tends to take longer. They have lots of benefits however including protecting the nails and adding shine and gloss. If you have tried any of the lacquers recommended in this post please leave me a comment below and let me know how you got on. I’ll be regularly updating this post with recommended products including a transparent nail polish and some more metallic shades.

Olivia Herlihy RN

Olivia is a hair and skincare enthusiast with over 10 years experience working in healthcare and over 5 years as a Registered Nurse. She gained an online following after creating a natural haircare routine which completely transformed her hair. Olivia has since written an eBook on Ayurvedic hair care to help others use the same formula to improve their own hair.

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