A Nail Polish Monopoly: Essie Versus OPI

In girl world (yes, that was a Mean Girls reference), a manicure is the one thing in life that can make a woman feel put together. Even when she’s in shambles, finding the time to get a quick manicure (and pedicure?) is pertinent. The sheer importance of this monumental monthly errand requires the perfect polish pick. Before she can even think about which color to get, she must address the brand she wants. Avoiding the sketchy, unrecognizable bottles near the edge of the polish shelf is the first step at weeding out the bad brands; that stuff will peel off within a day. The most popular and well-known brands are Essie and OPI, and most people claim one or ther other as their go-to. While OPI is more famous by a long shot, Essie has recently become increasingly popular, especially with young adults. Which one is the best you ask? Let’s take a look.

Essie was founded in 1980 by Essie Weingarten.

Screen Shot 2014-12-20 at 4.16.54 PM
Via Essie

Essie’s image is centered around the idea of glamour, ballerina slippers, and Fifth Avenue. The tiny square bottles with the word ‘Essie’ (neatly lettered in that instantly recognizable sans-serif font), scream, “Pick me up, aren’t I cute?” And women do pick them up and buy three of four at a time, because Essie seems new and modern and cute. Women over 65 use OPI, so Essie is obviously the better choice. Or is it? It sure doesn’t chip like that cheap CVS brand, but is it really a better product, or is it just portraying a newer and more attractive image?

Surprisingly, OPI was founded after Essie in 1981 (okay just one year after, but still) by George Shaeffer, who has been with the company ever since.

Screen Shot 2014-12-20 at 4.16.26 PM

OPI’s image is more classy, and the brand itself is usually couples with the idea of high fashion. Women pick it because it continues to provide perfect (chip-less) results. Gwen Stefani (your sh*t is bananas) promotes OPI, and has a new winter collection of new colors out. OPI is known for it’s quality, and while Essie’s pretty bottle and good results attract many people, nothing (and no one) can seem to out-do OPI. Maybe the reason your grandma uses it is because it’s classic quality has never failed her—the old are known to be wise you know. Either way, while Essie can try to compete with OPI, nothing can top a brand with high-end quality and a classy image.

Now that you’ve figured out your brand, it’s finally time to choose the color for that manicure. Maroon is very in this winter.


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