Home » $1 and Free, Fashion, Headline, Reviews, supplies

Dollar Store Nail Polish vs. Name Brand?

24 October 2011 16,453 views 20 Comments

by heather

dollar store nail polish review

How do dollar store nail polishes compare to salon brands? Our beauty contributor Megan is an expert on salon brand nail polishes such as OPI and China Glaze, so I sent her to Dollar Tree in search of some nail polish so she could compare them to her favorite name brands. Her results were surprising, even to her! Read on for Megan's dollar store nail polish review.

How Do My Dollar Store Nail Polish Finds Compare to Name Brand Nail Polishes?

by Megan, Razberriez

Have you ever thought that dollar store nail polishes could be just as good as the salon brand? I recently went to the dollar store to find some new colors, and even some that I thought looked similar to the ones I already owned.  I happened to be very surprised with the results, and actually loved some of the colors. Switch it up, go check out to dollar store instead of the your normal store. You be will amazed at what you find!

dollar store nail polish, LA colors

L.A Colors Color Craze - Sea Siren

This first polish I chose, was actually the one that caught my eye first. It made it say " Wow, that is such a pretty color". All it is, is a medium toned-blue with a slight sheen to it. I feel like it is in between a matte and high-shine finish. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the formula was to work with, similar to OPI's. The blue polish glided on with ease and left me with a nice even finish. The only con I found, was the drying time. It took forever to finish drying and I ended up getting a few ding marks. This definitely was a great buy, for only $1 and I would recommend checking them out. Rating: A-

dollar store nail polish dawn

Simply Irresistible -Dawn

This raspberry pink color definitely struck me as one perfect for the toes. It has a jelly-like formula and I found it went on a little thick. I needed 3 generous coats for it to become fully opaque, but looked great after it was done. This is not necessarily the easiest polish to work with, but I wouldn't give it a total thumbs-down. Rating: B

dollar store nail polish

LA Colors Color Craze- Aqua Crystals

Blue glittery nail polishes tend to always catch my eye. When I caught sight of this little guy (or girl I guess?), it reminded me of one of my new China Glaze polishes. Aqua Crystals is a beautiful teal glitter with a sheer blue base, perfect for layering over any shade of blue. Again, drying time was an issue, but if you use thin coats, it isn't that bad. Rating: A-

dollar store nail polish covergirl

Covergirl - Fireworks & Crushed Ice

This glittery duo is an amazing deal, when you consider you are getting 2 versatile nail polishes for $1. Let's start off with the clear polish that has the silver, hexagonal glitter and a hint of red shimmer  in it. I would use this over top on another nail polish, either on one finger as an accent, or on all 10. The second one, a sheer silver polish would be great for designs. I find it is too thin to use alone, ( 5-6 coats ), yet too opaque to use on another color. Rating: Polish #1: A Polish #2: B+

dollar store nail polish art deco

LA Colors Art Deco - Silver

I was so happy to see these thin tip polishes at the dollar store! They had so many different colors, textures, and basic glitters to choose from. I chose the silver one, mainly because I figured it was one of the most versatile shades, next to white and black. You can use this to make flowers, stripes, dots, whatever you want! This may become my new place to buy them, as I am currently paying $5 for 3 of these at a local store. Rating: A+

Overall, I would say that this was a success! I was very impressed at some of the little gems I found hidden in the dollar store! I would definitely check out the L.A Colors brand, as I want to go back and try out some more of their colors.

Follow Me on Pinterest

Disclosure: this article may contain affiliate links or other forms of sponsored content. Opinions are 100% the author's. Full disclosure policy.


  • katecake said:

    Ooh…I had been wondering about this, especially the ART DECO line. THanks!

  • Metis said:

    Lead/cadmium content would be the major difference.

  • Laura said:

    I love the LA Colors line! They wear very well for me. I just wish there were a wider selection of colors, but the ones I have I love.

  • Melanie said:

    I LOVE the L.A. Colors Color Craze!
    The drying time isn’t bad,though I do use thin coats.The best parts for me are the vivid colors and lasting times..if I don’t have to do a lot of dish washing the color will stay on for 5-6 days before it starts to wear/chip at the edges.

  • Michelle L. said:

    What a great post! I would love more like this – so useful, and I’m sure they would only reconfirm my love of all things Dollar Store!

  • sarah said:

    I seriously have every color of the art deco ones :)\


  • Andrea said:

    I’ve always wondered about Dollar Store nail polish! Thanks!

  • Sarah said:

    I had no idea they had the nail polish with the thin tips!!! Very excited about that :-)

  • Kat said:

    This was review was great! The colors ARE fabulous. I’ve been using their clear nail polish to ‘finish’ my painted beads for many, many long years with out a chip or ding or wear. I’ve also used it on my painted and Mod Podged Altoid tins, and have found it’s very hard to remove except with sand paper. The glitters come in handy for small Christmas and Halloween projects, too! Thanks for sharing!

  • PurpleMonkey said:

    I tried out the L.A. Colors Color Craze nail polish too! It was a bit bluer than the one pictured there, and the name isn’t on the bottle. But I was surprised by the quality as well!

    I used two coats on my toes and it seemed to wear as long as fancier brands and I don’t really remember it taking longer to dry. I really liked that the color was just a solid, non shimmery, glossy, bright color. Shame they don’t have more colors at Dollar Tree!

  • Fire said:

    I’ve also tried many of the L.A. Colors polishes. I used thin coats and didn’t have any trouble with drying time – it took the same time as my much more expensive polishes. Two things should be noted, however.
    First isn’t a big deal: the image of Aqua Crystals is of it LAYERED over another colour. That, or about a dozen coats of it. It’s a gorgeous polish, but if you put it on your unpainted nail it looks like clear polish with blue glitter on it.
    Second: I wore L.A. Colors polishes for a couple weeks (always 4 days polish/3 days without for me) and my nails began peeling. Not the at-the-tips-you’ve-been-too-rough peeling, but like the middle of my nail had little bits coming up. So at the very least use a very strong base coat and don’t wear it for weeks on end.

  • Jen said:

    I can’t remember if I’ve used LA colors recently to know about the quality of it, but I DO know from experience that Jordana brand nail polishes (another brand commonly found at dollar stores) always start to chip away *really* quickly (like after a day, and in the weird middle-of-painted-nail, crackly kind of way).

  • Pen said:

    I really love NYC brand nail polish. At Target it sells for 94 cents! I actually like it much better than most of the more expensive brands. It covers well,last just as long or longer, dries quickly and comes in lots of wonderful colors. My favorite is 111 Fushia Shock for my toes.

  • Esther said:

    Has anyone tried the relvon nail polish? I tried a brown one and it worked very well, smooth and dries quickly, BUT when I used the colour firey red, and removed it from my nails, I realised that it actually STAINED my nails to an orangy colour!

    Has this happened to anyone else??

  • Caitlyn said:

    I’m with Metis – I’d be worried about heavy metal content in the non-brand name polishes. It’s probably more or less okay for occasional use but I wouldn’t want that on my for any period of time! And of course it’s fine for crafting.

    (Incidentally, you aren’t Metis Black from Tantus, by any chance? The name plus the worries about heavy metal content kinda made me wonder…)

    They often have makeup and polishes from name brands, though, which presumably went to the dollar store because the package got dinged up or the color was discontinued. Those are probably fine.

  • Valerie said:

    I have EVERY color of the L.A. Colors Art Deco line! The thin brushes are perfect to do lots of fun nail art. YouTube has tons of tutorials if you’re so inclined, but I also like to just freestyle a fun pattern on my nails. You’d be surprised how easy it is. And they are a dollar! Gotta love that.

    As far as nail polish in general goes, I have some good old NYC that I bought for 89 cents, and I have a couple of bottles of Butter London polish that retails for $14 a bottle. Most people are not going to be able to tell if your polish is fancy or not. I’d say the key is having a base coat (that keeps the yellowing to a minimum when you wear reds…and Revlon Red is one of my all-time favorites), plus you need a good top coat. My favorite top coat is Seche Vite; you’ll pay about $8 to $10 for it, but it dries your nails in maybe five minutes or less. If you use a fast-dry top coat, it doesn’t really matter if your polish chips because repainting them once a week or so becomes much quicker. Some folks also recommend painting the tips and just under the tips to minimize chipping.

  • Valerai said:

    Omigosh, A Valerie has every color? I just got every color of the Regular LA Color nail polish from my Dollar Tree and I really do love them. I didn’t know they have an art Deco Line. Thanks for the warning about the drying time. I though I was doing something wrong when I got dings 5 min later! These polishes are better than the set of Playboy nail polishes I got last year for much more per bottle! they would peel off after a day or leave stains, the LA Color from the $ store lasts forever and comes off clean.

    I don’t indulge in too many cosmetic things like makeup and stuff but these were a treat for only a dollar each. Each week when I feel I’ve earned it,I open a new color to try out.

    Oh, I got my topcoat there also. Works much better than the $2+ one I got from a regular store!

  • Gesina said:

    Great post I just got a pack of three that has an awesome gunmetal dark gray a dusty gold and a sparkely soft pink great buy for a dollar lol

  • Rebecca C said:

    Just wanted to say that most reds wills stain nails. Use a basecoat on nails before using color to prevent this. then use a topcoat over them so you don’t get red streaks on your walls or bathtub when you accidentally brush them with your fingernails, like is what always happens to me.

  • Gill said:

    This is the gf speaking here… I would like to ask how you can get no streak marks on your nails. I have only used Dior and Chanel colours before, but I really want to cut down on expense so I went to the dollar store to try these polishes out. They caused streaks through the colour. It seems really bad, but when I see your nails (the first and second are not so good but the rest are beautiful!) there are hardly any streaks. I put on base coat as well as 1-3 layers of colour (depending on opacity) and a top coat. But the dollar store ones seens to be very… streaky. Help please? Thank you!