The photo captures a vibrant display of various nail polish bottles neatly arranged on a shelf in a nail salon, enticing customers with a multitude of colors and finishes.

Do Nail Salons Sell Nail Polish? A Detailed Look

With over 17,000 nail salons in the United States, nail care has become a booming industry. If you’re wondering whether these nail spas and salons sell the nail polishes they use, this comprehensive guide has the answers you’re looking for.

The quick answer is: most nail salons do sell retail nail polish and supplies, but selection and prices can vary widely between salons.

Nail Salon Services and Retail Products

Manicures and Pedicures

Nail salons offer a wide variety of manicure and pedicure services to tend to customers’ nail care needs. From basic trim and polishes to luxurious paraffin wax treatments, techs pamper hands and feet while grooming nails and cuticles.

Popular options like gel manicures, acrylics or dip powder applications provide longer-lasting polish. With costs ranging from $15 for an express mani up to $65+ for enhancement sets, services suit various budgets.

Nail Enhancement Services

For those seeking to strengthen nails or get lengthy extensions, nail salons offer sculpted tips, gels, acrylics and dip powders. These services involve applying overlays to extend and reinforce the nails. Fill-ins every 2-3 weeks maintain the enhancements.

Removal when tired of the sets avoids damage when overgrown. Costs typically start around $45 for full sets, while fill-ins average $30. With proper application and care, enhancements allow customers to sport fashionable nails for special events or everyday wear.

Retail Nail Polish and Supplies

In addition to professional services, most nail salons sell retail nail products so customers can continue care at home. Brand name polish lines like OPI and Essie offer the latest colors and finishes. Top coats, base coats, nail treatments and removers supplement the lacquers.

Salon equipment like nail files, buffers and clippers assists with at-home grooming. The product selection provides great convenience for clients to purchase salon-quality items. Retail allows techs to earn commission on sales while providing complete nail care.

With prices similar to drugstores, the offerings make caring for nails easy between appointments.

Customers visit nail salons seeking professional expertise for nail grooming and enhancements. While techs focus on providing exceptional service, most salons also sell retail polish and supplies for at-home care.

The combination allows clients to keep nails looking great before returning for more pampering.

Factors That Determine Nail Polish Availability

Salon Size and Location

The size and location of a nail salon are key factors that impact whether they sell nail polish on site. Larger salons in busy city areas are more likely to have the space and customer demand to justify carrying an inventory of nail polishes.

Smaller neighborhood salons may opt not to sell polish since their customers are mainly coming for services rather than retail purchases. Surveys indicate that over 60% of nail salons in urban areas with more than 5 technicians offer nail polishes for sale, while only around 35% of solo technician salons in suburban areas sell polish.

Target Customer Base

Salons that cater to high-end clientele are far more likely to sell premium brand nail polishes compared to discount salons. The expectation and buying power of upscale customers make carrying a variety of luxury polish brands like OPI and Essie an important part of enhancing the salon’s image and profitability.

Conversely, lower-priced salons may think that stocking expensive polishes does not match their brand identity and customer needs. Their focus is more on providing affordable services than retail. About 80% of high-end salons carry at least 10 premium polish lines while only 45% of value-priced salons offer any polish for sale.

Partnerships With Nail Polish Brands

Many nail polish companies actively seek partnerships with salons to sell their products. They may provide special promotional packages, discounted wholesale rates, and free samples to entice salons to stock their latest colors.

These partnerships can benefit both parties through increased distribution and cross-promotional opportunities. Salons endorsed as official retailers of leading nail polish brands can enhance their reputation and credibility with customers.

In a recent survey, over 90% of salon owners said special offers from polish brands are influential in their decisions to sell particular products in-store. Displaying logos of partnered brands is also a subtle marketing tactic.

Pricing and Promotions on Salon Nail Polish

How Pricing Compares to Drugstores

Nail salon nail polish is often perceived as more expensive than drugstore brands like OPI and Essie. However, when you look at the details, salon polish prices are quite competitive.

Most salons sell premium nail polish lines like OPI, Essie, and Gelish. These polishes typically retail for $9-15 in drugstores. At salons, they are usually priced from $8-12 per bottle. Salon prices are lower because salons buy in bulk directly from distributors instead of going through a retailer.

Many salons also run regular promotions on nail polish like “buy one get one half off.”

In addition, salons offer professional nail polish not available in drugstores. Brands like CND Shellac, OPI GelColor, and Bio Sculpture Gel provide long-lasting color with a glossy finish. These unique polishes are priced around $20-25 in salons.

Considering the professional quality and durability, this is very reasonable. Going to a salon allows you to access exclusive polishes you can’t buy elsewhere.

Salons also provide value-added services that enhance the polish experience. With a salon manicure, you get professional polish application, lasting results, and a relaxing experience. This provides greater value than simply buying a bottle of polish at a drugstore.

Loyalty Programs and Sales

Savvy shoppers can save even more on salon nail polish through loyalty programs, promotional sales, and nail polish deals.

Many salons offer loyalty programs that provide discounts on products and services. Programs like OPI Rewards give members exclusive offers on OPI polish. Other salons have VIP programs with perks like free products and monthly specials.

Salons also regularly run promotions like seasonal sales, holiday sales, and student/senior discounts. Around major holidays like Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and Halloween, it’s common to see sales on nail polish and nail services.

Signing up for email newsletters is a great way to learn about upcoming promotions.

Some additional ways to save on salon nail polish:

  • Check for coupons and discount codes online or in mailers
  • Buy multiple polishes to qualify for multi-bottle discounts
  • Purchase polish as an add-on to a manicure
  • Opt for mini/travel sizes which are more affordable

With the right promotions and deals, high-end salon nail polish can be very budget-friendly. Savvy shoppers can build a collection without breaking the bank.

Tips for Buying Nail Polish from Salons

Ask About Their Retail Selection

Many nail salons sell the polishes they use right in their retail area. Before your appointment, ask if they have a retail selection and what brands they carry. Popular salon brands include OPI, Essie, China Glaze, and Gelish.

The advantage of buying in-salon is you can test colors during your manicure and buy polishes you know you love.

Salons want to make those impulse purchases easy! Just keep in mind that salon retail prices are often a dollar or two more than drugstore prices. But the convenience of getting that perfect pink right after they paint your nails with it? 😍 Priceless!

Compare Prices

If the salon doesn’t have a great retail selection or you want to price shop, look up swatches online and jot down the colors and brands you like. Here are average prices per bottle at popular nail polish retailers:

  • Drugstores like CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid – $7-$9
  • Ulta – $8-$10
  • Sally Beauty Supply – $6-$8
  • Amazon – $5-$10

Amazon wins on price, especially if you can catch a polish on a Lightning Deal. But drugstores often run BOGO 50% off specials on nail polish. At those sale prices, you can get two bottles for the price of one! πŸ‘

Look for Sales and Bundled Offers

Speaking of sales, always keep an eye out for promotions on nail polish:

  • Sign up for brand emails – OPI, Essie, and China Glaze regularly run 20% off sales.
  • Check the weekly ads at drugstores and beauty retailers.
  • Buy gift sets – these bundled mini polishes equal more product for less money.
  • Shop holiday sales – polish gift sets galore! Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day are perfect times to stock up.

With strategic shopping, you can build a pretty polish collection on a budget. Some salon quality polishes for drugstore prices? Yes please! πŸ’…


While practices vary between nail salons, most offer retail nail polish and supplies for customers to purchase. By asking about their selection and comparing prices, you can often find great deals on salon-quality lacquers and accessories.

Doing your research helps you shop smart while supporting small businesses in the nail industry.

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