Affordable Nail Polish Buying Guide

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Affordable Nail Polish Buying Guide

Nail polish allows wearers to express their uniqueness through the styling of their nails. It can be applied to both fingernails and toenails. As well as serving a decorative purpose, nail polish is also worn to protect the wearer's nail plate and can help to hide nail imperfections. Nail polish can strengthen the nail bed and help to prevent the nail from breaking under stress.

Nail polish comes in a wide array of colours and styles. It is also manufactured by various companies: branded nail polish tends to be more expensive. So, if looking for affordable nail polish, buyers should consider less well known brands that offer the same great quality. The quality of the nail polish often determines the length of time that it stays adhered to the nail. When purchasing affordable nail polish, buyers should familiarise themselves with the various nail polish coats, consider the different types available, learn how to distinguish between the various finishes, and recognise how to rejuvenate old nail polish. Affordable nail polish can be found at nail boutiques, chemists, department stores, and online at retailers such as eBay.

Nail Polish Coats

There are several types of nail polish coats available. In order to choose the best type, buyers should familiarise themselves with the available products and learn when each coat should be applied.

Base Coat

The base coat is a common type of nail polish and is usually clear. It is the first coat to be applied to the fingernails and ultimately prepares the nail for coloured nail polish. If applying coloured polish without a base coat, wearer's risk developing discoloured natural nails. The base coat can be worn on its own to protect the nails or in conjunction with a top coat.

Nail Polish

The nail polish itself is usually coloured and comes in various types and finishes. It is typically applied on top of the base coat. To help the nail polish last a long time, a top coat is also often applied.

Top Coat

The top coat is also clear, similarly to the base coat. It is used to harden and protect the nail polish colour from fading and chipping. In addition, the top coat provides a manicured look.

Types of Nail Polish

In addition to providing colour to the fingernail, many nail polishes offer wearers a number of other benefits. When searching for an affordable nail polish, buyers should consider the various types and the features that they offer.

Growth Enhancing Nail Polish

Growth enhancing nail polish is ideal for those with weak or brittle nails as it prevents the nails from splitting or chipping. This type of nail polish uses a formula containing proteins and strengthening fibres that promote healthy nail growth, helping the wearer to grow longer nails. Buyers can choose between a more discreet clear nail polish or a coloured nail polish, both of which offer the same results. For the best results, growth enhancing nail polish should be reapplied to the nails every two to three days. This ensures that the nails receive a constant supply of the strengthening formula.

Long-Lasting Nail Polish

Long-lasting nail polish is often preferred for its durability and ability to withstand the trials of daily wear. Unlike other types of nail polish that begin to chip within a few days, long-lasting nail polish remains intact for longer periods of time. Buyers who have a busy lifestyle or who find themselves constantly battling between the dishes and nail maintenance should invest in a long-lasting nail polish.

Quick Drying Nail Polish

Quick drying nail polish is often preferred for its fast drying time. For the best results, it is recommended that wearers do not participate in any activities for an hour following the application of quick drying nail polish. This allows the polish to dry fully and prevents chips, smudges, and cracks from forming prematurely. However, once dry, quick drying nail polish allows wearers to continue their daily routine in their normal manner, and it is ideal for those who have a tight schedule.

All-in-One Nail Polish

All-in-one nail polish contains both a base and top coat within a single bottle. This diminishes the need for multiple nail polish products. It is a great way to cut costs and tends to be the best option for those looking for an affordable solution. All-in-one nail polish also decreases the likelihood of having discoloured nails as it ensures that the base and top coat are the same colour. Similarly to quick drying nail polish, applying one coat, as opposed to multiple coats, reduces the amount of time spent painting the nails and waiting for the nails to dry in between coats. However, to ensure adequate coverage, it is recommended that multiple coats are applied.

Nail Polish Finishes

There are various types of nail polish finishes. Some are used as a final coat when painting the nails. Each type has a distinctive look. Popular nail polish finishes and their descriptions are given in the table below.

Nail Polish Finish



Most popular nail polish finish

Pure colour with no embellishments

Provides great shine and smoothness to the nail

Ideal for a wide range of occasions

Large colour range


Has no shine

Comes in a wide array of shades

More difficult to apply, so may result in streakiness

Prone to chipping


Bold and sparkly

Does not contain a significant colour base

Colour is achieved through the use of glitter

May be multi-coloured, two-tone, or a single colour

Often worn as a top coat over other polishes

Ideal for night-time wear

Can range from tiny specs to noticeable chunks


Shimmery in appearance

Gives the nail a smooth, luxurious look

Low maintenance

Similar to matte polishes, but with more texture


Offers a great colour base

Shimmer can contrast or complement the colour base


Makes the fingernails appear like metal

Popular colours are copper, gold, and silver

Each type of nail polish finish creates its own unique look. Matte polishes tend to be conservative in appearance, while cream finishes add a subtle amount of shimmer to the nails. For a more elaborate look, buyers may choose shimmer, suede, metallic, or glitter finishes.

Rejuvenating Old Nail Polish

Nail polish tends to dry out over time, even if left sealed tightly in a cool place, as instructed. If trying to save money, it is sometimes possible to restore life into the old bottle. Buyers can try to add a few drops of an acetone-based paint thinner, nail polish remover, or clear nail polish to nail polish that has become sticky or clumped. This is best accomplished with a pipette that can be obtained from a chemist. Once added, buyers should shake the bottle until well mixed. The nail polish should become smooth and runny. If it is still clumpy in appearance, buyers can try adding another drop of thinner.

How to Buy Affordable Nail Polish on eBay

Buyers can search for affordable nail polish at online marketplaces such as eBay, which offer a wide selection of nail polishes at competitive prices. Buyers who wish to purchase affordable nail polish should begin their search on the eBay home page. From here, buyers can input any terms into the keyword search box. Entering "nail polish" is likely to render a large number of results. Those who have a better idea of what they are looking for can enter more specific terms, such as "glitter nail polish". From here, buyers are able to narrow down their search by condition, price, or other features.

Buyers searching for affordable nail polish may choose to limit the search results to pre-owned nail polish. Although this method tends to be cost effective, buyers should ensure that they communicate clearly with the seller regarding the condition of the nail polish. Nail polish tends to dry up over time and can become unusable. Therefore, even if it has never been opened, buyers should use the "Ask a question" link to contact the seller to ask how long the nail polish has remained unused.


Nail polish can vary widely in cost. The cost is often determined by both quality and the name of the brand. Therefore, it is important to keep an open mind and avoid limiting the search to branded products. When searching for nail polish, buyers must first consider the various types. All-in-one nail polish is ideal for those on a budget, as it eliminates the need for separate base and top coat products. Long-lasting nail polish can also help to save money in the long run as the longevity of the polish decreases the need to frequently reapply it.

In addition, buyers should consider the different types of nail polish finishes. Finishes range from the basic cream and matte to the more embellished glitter and metallic. For greater affordability, buyers can limit their search to a specific price range or to used products. eBay offers buyers a large selection of nail polishes, many of which can be purchased for less than their retail value.

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