What is Nail Varnish?

Beauty is love, beauty is pleasure, beauty is pain, but beauty is also interesting. Have you ever wondered what these beauty products you use are?

Have you ever paid a thought to their components? How did they come about? Their functions asides making you look stunning? 

Well, I don’t want to bore you, so I’m going straight to the point. I’ll be explaining a little about one of the most important tools used in the beauty industry: nail varnish.

What is Nail Varnish?

Nail Varnish
Chanel Nail Varnish

Nail varnish is almost any kind of paint applied to the fingernails or toenails to make them look presentable and stunning.

You may know it by its other names which include nail polish, nail lacquer, nail enamel, and fingernail polish.

Most times, it comes in a small bottle with an applicator brush for easy use.

Background of Nail Varnish

Nail varnish was first popular in the early 20th century when it was used as a way to protect nails from damage.

Originally, it was only produced in red, but it is now available in a range of colors. Today, it is still worn for its protective value, but majorly because of its decorative aspect.

The cosmetic practice of decorating nails did not start with the invention of nail varnish. Stuff like henna has been applied by ladies of high status in different cultures for years.

With the coming out of nail varnish, nail decoration became affordable for anyone who desired it.

Components of Nail Varnish

Pink Nail Varnish

Nail varnish generally consists of three main components: polymer molecules, dyes, and solvents.

1. Polymer Molecules

The polymer molecules from the film that the varnish creates when deposited on your nails. The primary polymer in nail varnish is nitrocellulose.

This molecule is needed to ensure that the nail polish has a hard outer layer.

2. Dyes or Coloring Agents

They provide the color in the nail varnish. There are different chemicals used to create a particular color. 

For example, chromium oxide is the chemical used to create a green color in a green nail varnish. 

3. Solvent

Acetone was once used as a solvent for nail varnish, but it has since been replaced with ethyl acetate or butyl acetate.

The solvent must be able to mix with all the other chemicals used in making the nail varnish and evaporate quickly upon application.

Some nail varnishes have some glitter or shimmer. This shiny stuff is often chips of mica or aluminum powder.

Types of Nail Varnish

There are so many different types of nail varnish available in the market, ranging from simple clear liquids to thick glittery polishes and others.

I bring to you a list of the main types of nail polish to help ease some confusion when choosing the next time you go to the salon for your next manicure.

1. Creme

Creme is the basic, standard nail varnish we are used to applying. It doesn’t have a lot of additives, so it lasts longer. 

It is relatively low maintenance and comes in lots of colors now. 

2. Metallic

This nail varnish resembles a metal in its finish which can easily be deduced from the name. It doesn’t have a coarse texture from large particles of sparkle like glitter polish.

It is smooth to the touch and has a certain luster. Some of the colors I know are gold, silver, bronze, and copper.

3. Gel

Gel nail varnish is a more recent production. It looks like creme polish, but it is more long-lasting and quite expensive.

4. Chrome

There are many nails varnishes out there marketed as chrome (which is more of a manicure type), but to get that mirror-like characteristic, you’ll need more than just this nail paint.

5. Pearl

This nail varnish contains fine particles which give it a unique delicate sheen. It has a soft luster and is a great alternative to getting a plain manicure.

6. Glitter

Glitter nail varnish is more or less visible particles of the glitter of different shapes and sizes suspended in a clear liquid. 

I advise you to apply this on top of a main color or use plenty of layers to create drama.

7. Matte

Matte nail varnish takes the shine out of the equation, giving the manicure a high-quality and sophisticated look. 

This varnish type gives a kind of depth to any nail color and makes it look smooth and modern.

FAQs on Nail Varnish

Is there a difference between nail varnish and nail polish?

Both terms can be used to refer to the other but some people describe nail varnish as a clear, tinted lacquer applied to the nails for protection, then refer to nail polish as the colored one used for decoration. 

Is nail varnish the same as a top coat?

No, they are two different items. The clear type of nail varnish is used for regular manicure purposes. The top coat works as a protective sealant to keep your nails from peeling, chipping, and damage.

How long does nail varnish last on nails?

Regular nail polish can last a few days without chipping. 

How long does nail varnish last?

After opening, a bottle of nail varnish can last for 18 to 24 months on average. 

Nail polishes only start to expire after they are opened, so do not open a bottle if you’re not going to use it immediately.

Is nail varnish good for your nails?

Wearing regular nail varnish isn’t going to harm your natural nails although it is advisable to give your nails periodic breaks.

How long does nail varnish take to dry?

Most nail polishes should fully dry before an hour is up. Some nail varnishes take as little as fifteen minutes to get dry.