Difference between Nail Polish and Enamel

Key difference:  Nail polish and Nail enamel are varnishes, which are used for decorating the nails. Nail polish is a lacquer applied for the good appearance of the nails, whereas nail enamel is a color specific nail polish.

The origin of nail polishes was found to be in China around some 3000 BC. They were previously made up of a mixture including beeswax, egg whites, gelatin, vegetable dyes, and gum (Arabic). Afterwards, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the people started using a polished look by massaging tinted powders and creams into their nails, then buffing them shiny.

Nail polish is a varnish which is applied to the fingers to make them shiny and colorful. They add beauty to the nails by representing them with a better look. In the market, there are various varieties of nail polishes available in different shades and colors. They give a presentable look to the hand. Nail arts and nail designs are done with the help of nail polishes. Nail polishes beautify the hand and fingers with colors and shine.

BYS Colour Change Nail Enamel in Bright PinkEnamel basically is 'a (nail polish) cosmetic lacquer that dries quickly, when applied to the nails it adds color and makes them shiny'.

It is another form of nail varnish, which is commonly known as nail polish. Nail enamels is generally applied with the help of a brush. It basically adds color to the nails. They dry off easily after applying, and thickens the color on the nails.

There is a pattern while applying the nail polish, that is, they are applied in coats (layers) forms such as the first layer is the base coat, second is the polish coat and third is the top coat. The nail enamel is applied before the polish coat, that is, it acts as a base coat.

Comparison between Nail Polish and Enamel:


Nail Polish


Short description

Nail polish is a varnish applied to the fingernails or toenails to color them or make them shiny.

Nail enamel are generally known as nail polish, they are cosmetic lacquer that dries quickly and that is applied to the nails to color them or make them shiny.


It adds beauty and decorates the nails with a look.

It covers the nail imperfections such as dents, chips or discoloration, which can look unsightly and cause embarrassment or self-consciousness.


They add a presentable effect on the nails.

It adds color and a shiny effect on the nails.


There are varieties of shades available, and they add an effect to the nails.

There is a huge variety of colors, ranging from clear to bright neon. Some even glow in the dark.


The composition of the ingredients in a nail polish includes of nitrocellulose dissolved in a solvent (e.g. butyl acetate or ethyl acetate) along with various colors and pigments. The basic components in them include the film forming agents (like silver halide), resins and plasticizers, solvents, and coloring agents.

The four major ingredients in nail enamel are filming agents, solvents, coloring agents, and resins and plasticizers.

Image Courtesy: overstuffed.co.uk, nihrida.com

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This is a poor article. Enamel and lacquer are 2 different things and often incompatible (you cant reliably over paint enamel with lacquer). So I would take the rest of the article with a grain of salt.

This doesn't tell you squat. It's just ramblings.

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