Nail Polish Reviewed

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Canstar Blue’s inaugural nail polish review has seen Sally Hansen, OPI, Revlon, Maybelline and Rimmel London compared and rated on their ease of application, drying speed, longevity, variety of colours, packaging design, value for money and overall satisfaction.

See our Ratings Methodology.

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Most Satisfied Customers | Sally Hansen

Sally Hansen was rated best brand for nail polish, earning five-star reviews for ease of application, drying speed, value for money and overall satisfaction.

Sally Hansen nails it in nail polish ratings

Flashy bling is one thing, but nicely manicured nails? Now you’re talking! From standard nail polish, to gel and shellac, there are so many ways to express yourself by just adding a pop of colour to the tips of your fingers. Our survey found that just over half of respondents (51%) have tried multiple brands of nail polish, before finding a product that nailed their expectations. So, which nail varnishes are worth a try and which are not?

To find out, we surveyed more than 600 Australians on the nail polish they’ve purchased and used at home in the last six months. Respondents rated brands on their ease of application, drying speed, durability, colour variety, packaging design, value for money and overall satisfaction. Those which met the minimum required survey sample size of 30 responses are included in our results.

Sally Hansen painted a bright picture in our first ever nail polish review, being the only brand to achieve five stars for overall satisfaction as well as for ease of application and drying speed. It also earned full marks for value for money.

Best Nail Polish

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Here are the best nail polish brands in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s 2020 review:

  1. Sally Hansen
  2. OPI
  3. Revlon
  4. Maybelline
  5. Rimmel London

Sally Hansen was hands down rated as the number one pick for nail polish, earning five-star reviews for ease of application, drying speed, value for money and overall satisfaction. Aussies were also tickled pink with OPI, Revlon and Maybelline, which all landed on four stars in the majority of categories. Rimmel London rounded up the scores with three stars for overall satisfaction.

Notably, OPI managed to get the edge over our rating’s winner when it came to durability, packaging design and colour variety. Maybelline similarly notched up top marks for value for money, alongside Sally Hansen.

Nail Polish Brands

Sally Hansen

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Sally Hansen is synonymous with everything nail art and nail care, offering a wide variety of products to choose from. One of its latest releases includes a plant-based, 100% vegan range which comes in 12 different shades. It’s also claimed to be ‘10-free’, which means it’s free from chemical-based ingredients typically found in most nail polishes. When it comes to nail colour, Sally Hansen offers a variety of finishes such as gel, metallic, crème, pearl, glitter and quick-dry.

  • Sally Hansen rated best for ease of application, drying speed, value for money and overall satisfaction. It also achieved four stars everywhere else.

OPI 

Another big-name brand to hit the market is OPI, one of the leaders in the professional nail care industry. It sells a large selection of nail treatments, finishing products, lotions, manicure and pedicure products, files, tools and acrylics. OPI describes its entire collection as ‘heavily pigmented lacquers’ that are ‘super rich, long-lasting and chip-resistant ─ offering an affordable luxury to consumers’.

  • OPI earned five-star ratings for durability, variety of colours and packaging design. It ultimately landed on four stars in most of the remaining categories, including overall satisfaction. The only exception was value for money, where it received three stars.

Revlon

Revlon nail polish

Revlon continues to be a serious firecracker in the beauty industry, selling a colourful mix of trendy make-up, beauty tools and hair essentials. When it comes to nail colour, the manufacturer offers three lines: Revlon Nail Enamel, Revlon Transforming Effects Top Coats and Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy. There’s also a small selection of nail care essentials, including cuticle oils, and top and base coats.

  • Revlon scored a clean four-star sweep across all research categories, including value for money and overall satisfaction.

Maybelline

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Maybe it’s Maybelline, or perhaps it’s the brand’s Color Show collection or Super Stay range that’s got people talking. For something long-wearing and chip-free, the Super Stay line is said to survive a whole week. Meanwhile, Color Show shades are designed to quickly dry within a minute.

  • Maybelline achieved a five-star rating for value for money and ended on four stars everywhere else, including for overall satisfaction.

Rimmel London

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Bringing global trends Down Under, Rimmel London has a popular selection of nail colour and nail care products. This includes quick-drying options such as the 60 Seconds Super Shine and the Super Gel ranges. The brand also serves up a few top coats, including the 5-in-1 Nail Base & Top Coat.

  • Rimmel London rounded out the results with three stars in most categories, including overall satisfaction. It still impressed when it came to value for money and ease of application, where it took out four stars.

Nail polish facts

Prefer to get your nails done at your own at-home salon? It turns out 48% of Aussies do, too. A small number of our survey respondents also paint other people’s nails, including friends and family (13%). Although it doesn’t always go smoothly, with one in four (25%) admitting they have been disappointed by their nail polish purchases in the past. It’s no wonder our research revealed 51% of consumers have tried multiple brands, while 30% of people similarly picked up different finishes or colours from the same brand.

Getting down to the nitty gritty ─ Aussies spend an average of $17 per month on nail polish. Nearly two-fifths (38%) use a top coat and/or a base coat, and a handful of respondents say they need to re-do their manicure once a nail chips (16%).

About the author of this page

This report was written by Canstar Blue’s home & lifestyle journalist, Tahnee-Jae Lopez-Vito. She’s an expert on household appliances, grooming products and all things grocery and shopping. In addition to translating our expert research into consumer-friendly ratings reports, Tahnee spends her time helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services, while highlighting the best deals and anything you need to be aware of.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Canstar Blue surveyed more than 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased and used nail polish at home (i.e. not from a salon) in the last six months ─ in this case, 603 people.

Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.

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