I’ll admit it—I hoard nail polish. I have a closet shelf solely dedicated to my collection. As much as I love nail polish, I don’t love the hefty prices of some of the high-end brands. I mean, $20 for a bottle of polish? I don’t know about that. Instead of allowing my habit to bankrupt my family, I decided to find inexpensive (but still high quality) dupes for some popular nail polishes.

Instead of: Lincoln Park After Dark by OPI for $9

Use: Deliciously Dark by Rimmel for $3

“Lincoln Park After Dark” is a popular nail color by OPI. Its deep, berry purple color is creamy without a hint of a shimmer. As with many OPI nail lacquers, two coats of the polish apply easily and smoothly without streaking. But you don’t have to spend $9! “Deliciously Dark” by Rimmel is an almost exact dupe for a third of the price. As with OPI’s polish, “Deliciously Dark” takes two coats to reach a dark purple color. The application is fast and smooth and dries after just a few minutes. Both polishes last about a week on the nails before chipping.

Instead of: That’s Hot! Pink by OPI for $9

Use: Whitney by Zoya for $6.50

OPI’s “That’s Hot! Pink” is a vibrant, fuchsia color that requires three coats to get it to really pop on the nails. Get the same color and quality (maybe even better) with Zoya’s” Whitney.” “Whitney” requires only two coats to reach a bright, opaque shade. Both go on smoothly, are awesome quality, and last around 6 days—but Zoya’s version costs significantly less.

Instead of: You Don’t Know Jacques by OPI for $8

Use: Chocolate Taupe by NYX for $3.50

“You Don’t Know Jacques” is another popular OPI polish. It is a neutral, rich, grey shade with plum undertones that compliments almost any skin tone. “Chocolate Taupe” by NYX is virtually identical in color but costs less than half the price! Both polishes are a bit streaky and take about three coats before they are completely opaque.

Instead of: Happy Birthday by Deborah Lippmann for $19

Use: Gems by Milani for $5

Deborah Lippmann’s “Happy Birthday” is the nail polish Khloe Kardashian wore on her wedding day! It is an amazing multi-colored polish with hexagon glitters in it. It’s a beautiful sparkly polish, but holy cow, it’s expensive! Milani’s “Gems” is only $5 and is almost identical in color. It takes about four coats to get the glitter to stick (for both polishes) but I actually liked Milani’s little brush better than Deborah Lippmann’s because it didn’t clump the glitter all in one spot. “Gems” lasts about the same time as “Happy Birthday”—a week or so.

Instead of: Mermaid’s Dream by Deborah Lippmann for $19

Use: Light Mint by Charlotte Russe for $3.50

“Mermaid’s Dream” by Deborah Lippmann is an amazing blue/green/gold shade with medium-sized blue glitter throughout. It definitely resembles fish scales. “Mermaid’s Dream” is a matte polish, so it dries rough and bumpy. “Light Mint” by Charlotte Russe is a wonderful dupe for a fraction of the price. It looks the same and has the same gritty texture when dry. Both polishes take two to three coats before you get full coverage.

Instead of: Stairway to Heaven by Deborah Lippmann for $19

Use: Heavenly by Revlon for $4

“Stairway to Heaven” is another amazing Deborah Lippmann polish. It is a milky, translucent color with hexagon and square iridescent glitter. It almost resembles an icicle. Although this polish is amazing, the glitter comes out a bit chunky, which makes for a difficult application. “Heavenly” by Revlon is identical in color but costs only $4! The application of “Heavenly” is actually a little smoother, but both polishes require three layers before you get the full effect. Unfortunately, both start flaking off after only about two days, so be sure to use a good top coat to prevent this.

Instead of: Merino Cool by Essie for $7.79

Use: Moonstruck by Confetti for $4.90

Essie is another popular brand of polish and the shade “Merino Cool” doesn’t disappoint! It is a mix of purple and dark grey with just a hint of cool brown undertones. “Moonstruck” by Confetti is about $3 cheaper and gets you the same color payoff. Both brands are slightly streaky and require three applications before the color is smooth and opaque. Neither polish chips easily. Mine lasted longer than a week without a top coat.

Instead of: Tart Deco by Essie for $7.79

Use: Peachy by Revlon for $4.54

“Tart Deco” by Essie is a gorgeous coral color with orange overtones and bright pink undertones. Revlon’s “Peachy” is a terrific dupe for almost half the price. In fact, I might even like “Peachy” better because it went on a bit smoother and took only two coats. Essie took me three to reach opaque. Both polishes last around a week, but I found that “Peachy” lasted a week and a half before it started chipping around the edges.

Leave a Reply

12 thoughts on “Splurge vs. Steal: 8 Inexpensive Dupes for High-End Nail Polish”

  1. Kenya says:

    What color of polish can be compared to the color shay by zoya

  2. courtney hennagir says:

    what a great article!thanks for the awesome tips!

  3. Ruby Ragar says:

    Im addicted to polish too! Anyone that reads my blog or follows me on Instagram knows that lol. Everyone says I have an addiction.

  4. bromanik says:

    An even cheaper dupe for Happy Birthday by Deborah Lippman is Wet ‘N Wild’s Fast Dry color Party of Five Glitters—only $2! (The multicolored bits of glitter are suspended in a clear polish, so it also takes several coats of this polish on its own, but it works great over a solid color.)

    And for a slighter lighter version of Essie’s Merino Cool, Steel Grey by Rimmel and Park Ave by New York Color are identical purplish medium-gray colors. The NYC one is thinner and takes more coats, but it looks cool left sheer also. And they’re both super cheap!

  5. Liz says:

    great way to get a deal. Go to Ulta. They often have buy 2 get 1 free on OPI. Combine that with a a $5 off $15 coupon and you’re looking at $11 for three bottles…$3.67 each. High quality product at a low low price. I wouldnt waste my time with the lesser quality products.

    • bromanik says:

      Great tip, Liz! Sally Beauty Supply often has deals like this, too.

      • Liz says:

        Thanks! Those cheapo nail polishes have some nasty chemicals, so i’d rather wait for a sale on the good stuff. I’ll have to check out Sally Beauty Supply too!

  6. leyialenn says:

    I have heard the Salley Hansen Nail Effects Polish Strips last over a week. Has anyone tried these yet? Are they easy to apply?

    • Angela says:

      I use them whenever I have good coupons. They last longer than regular nail polish for me, last time i wore them about 9 days, without any chips! They were very easy to put on and I loved not waiting for them to dry!

      • leyialenn says:

        Thanks Angela. I love all the patterns that they have out. I will definitely look into it when I find a good sale.

  7. Shay New says:

    I’m so hard on my hands i have to do touch ups after 3 days usually, so knowing the cheaper versions is awesome. thanks!

  8. Kelly Taylor says:

    Zoya last about a week with me. I found this out after going to a nail salon that only carries the Zoya line. I can’t wear anything else because I type so much.

  9. Steph S. says:

    I like these types of posts – kudos!
    Unfortunately, I have never have luck with nail polish lasting more than 2-3 day without chipping (top coat or without).