What is the Difference Between Nail Polish and Nail Paint?

If you love using different types of nail polish and appreciate all of the ranges available on the market, then you’ve probably come across both nail polish and nail paint.

But what is the difference between nail polish and nail paint? If you’re not a nail expert, then you might not know. That’s where we come in.

So if you’re looking to learn about the differences between nail polish and nail paint, read on. In this article, we’ll be exploring exactly that. 

What This Article Covers:

Nail Polish Versus Paint

Nail polish and nail paint are two different nail accessories. Nail polish is a varnish that you apply to your nails to make them shiny. A nail paint, on the other hand, is a lacquer which is a fast-drying paint. 

Most people tend you use the term nail lacquer interchangeably with nail polish and this may also confuse you. But, most nail polishes today in the market are lacquers. This is the key difference between nail polish and lacquer

Lacquer nail polish is a fast-drying paint for the nails. It is mainly acrylic and used to make your nails look great without a glossy finish. Lacquer or nail paint are used as a base for designs and are more durable than the average nail polish used only for color and gloss. 

nail polish vs paint

Both the lacquer nail paints and nail polishes do prevent your nails from cracking and flaking. But the nail paint is more chip-resistant than nail polishes. 

Nail paint contains alcohol, which is dissolved in a solvent that is added to the nitrocellulose. The nail polish is made up of acrylic colors, that are suspended in some solution, such as butyl acetate solvent. Also, some colors and pigments are added to it. 

Key Differences Between Nail Polish And Nail Paint

  • Nail paint gives protection by providing a thick coating for the nails. This prevents your nails from breaking easily. 
  • In contrast, nail polish gives your nails an attractive, and decorative look. More colors are available in nail polish than nail paint. The latter is available in specific tones. 
  • Nail paints require more time to dry than nail polish even though a nail lacquer is a quick-drying paint.
  • Both nail lacquers and nail polish are not the same as gel nails. The difference between gel vs nail polish lies in the application and removal of these different nail polish types. Gel nail polish bonds when placed under a UV light.
  • Can you use acrylic paint as nail polish? nail lacquers made mainly from acrylic are also similar to regular acrylic paint

What's the Difference Between Nail Polish and Nail Paint


Both nail paint and nail polish are fun to use and they make your hands look really attractive. There are also many types of nail polish finishes in the market that you can experiment with, to give your nails a specific look that will stand out uniquely. 

The days of mediocrity are over when it comes to your nails, and OrlyBeauty has a range that offers many fun hours of painting.  

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