A close-up shot capturing a row of Essie nail polish bottles neatly arranged on a shelf, showcasing their vibrant colors and reflecting the price tags underneath.

How Much Is Essie Nail Polish? A Detailed Look At Prices And Value

With its vast array of fashionable shades and salon-quality formula, Essie nail polish has become a go-to brand for nail art enthusiasts and professional manicurists alike. But is this luxury lacquer worth the price tag? If you’re wondering ‘how much is Essie nail polish?

‘, read on for a comprehensive overview.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: Essie nail polishes typically retail between $9 and $10 per bottle in drugstores and beauty supply stores. Sales, multi-packs, and salon/professional lines impact pricing as well.

Retail Pricing for Essie Nail Polishes

Standard Drugstore Lines

Essie’s classic nail lacquer collections are generally priced between $8-9 at popular drugstores like CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Target. Their core lineup features over 300+ trendy and timeless shades perfect for DIY manicures.

Sales and promotions can drop prices to $5-7 per bottle a few times a year.

Essie also offers a professional quality Gel Couture line at mass retailers with an RRP of $11.99. The long-lasting gel-like formula and curved brush makes home application easier.

Big Box Retailers

Large retailers like Walmart and Amazon stock Essie for very competitive pricing. Walmart offers the classics for under $7 regularly, with some exclusive shade collections priced at $9. Amazon frequently discounts up to 25% and bundles sets for additional savings.

The Essie professional salon lines are mostly unavailable at these stores. But limited edition and seasonal colors often launch here first before expanding to other brands. Their strong negotiating power and vast distribution network allows passing direct cost savings to customers.

Professional Salon Lines

Essie’s popular professional-use only lacquers average $9-12 at high-end salons and spas. These contain additional ingredients to meet the performance demands of manicurists. Shades are more editorial and on-trend compared to drugstore offerings.

New collections debut on runways each fashion season before retail availability 6 months later. Salon exclusives account for 30% of their yearly new releases. Many colors remain permanently restricted to professional channels only, driving demand via influencer marketing.

Factors That Influence Essie’s Pricing

Size of the Bottle

Essie nail polishes come in a variety of bottle sizes, ranging from mini/travel sizes of 0.17 oz. to standard full sizes of 0.5 oz. Generally, the larger the bottle size, the more expensive the nail polish.

For example, the mini sizes retail for around $4-6 while the standard sizes cost $9-10 on average. This equates to ~$24-35 per oz. for mini polishes compared to ~$18-20 per oz. for full sizes. So buyers get more value per ounce with larger Essie bottles.

Limited Edition Shades

Essie regularly releases new limited edition nail polish shades, often tied to seasonal collections or collabs with designers/celebrities. These special polishes typically retail for a slight premium over classic core Essie colors.

Current pricing on the Essie website shows limited editions selling for $10-12 per standard 0.5 oz. bottle, while core shades sell for $9. This works out to ~10-20% higher price per oz. for the limited colors. The novelty and exclusivity allows Essie to command slightly higher prices.

Bundled Sets and Kits

Essie offers various nail care sets and kits that bundle 2-6 mini/full polish bottles together. These bundles provide savings off individually purchasing each item. For example, Essie’s “Color Your World” kit includes 6 full size polishes for $42, working out to $7 per bottle.

Buying singles would cost $9 each, totalling $54. So bundling provides over 20% off retail pricing. Essie sometimes offers even greater value kits during holidays and sales promotions.

Comparing Value to Other Salon Brands


OPI is one of the most popular and reputable nail polish brands in salons. Like Essie, OPI offers a wide selection of fashionable, high-quality nail polishes. However, OPI tends to be more expensive, with an average price of $10-13 per bottle compared to Essie’s $9.

Here’s a detailed comparison of the value between these two salon favorite brands:

  • Range of colors – Both OPI and Essie have enormous color collections with hundreds of shades. Essie may have a slight edge for releasing more on-trend, seasonal colors.
  • Formula and wear – The formulas are remarkably similar. Both offer even application, vibrant color, and average wear of 4-7 days without major chipping or fading.
  • Brushes – OPI has a slightly wider brush, but Essie’s brushes evenly coat the nail in 2-3 strokes.
  • Special effects – OPI has more limited edition collections with special effects like shimmer or shear finishes. Essie brings luxury effects like velvet and leather textures.

Although OPI is marginally ahead in special effects, overall Essie provides nearly identical premium quality and a wider range of on-trend colors at consistently lower prices.

China Glaze

China Glaze is affordably priced between $7-9 per bottle. But does the lower price mean less value compared to Essie? Here’s an overview:

  • Color selection – China Glaze has around 500+ colors compared to Essie’s 800+. China Glaze often dupes expensive polishes from other brands.
  • Formula and wear – The formula ranges from runny to thick. Wear time averages 4-5 days before obvious tip wear or chips.
  • Brushes – The skinny brush makes application more challenging.
  • Special effects – China Glaze has an amazing range of textures like crackle and flakies for creative nail art.

The bottom line is you get what you pay for. Avid nail polish users report Essie as the clear winner for its ease of application, smooth and rounded brush, vibrant colors, and durable wear. For the slight price difference, Essie provides better value.

But China Glaze offers a budget-friendly option for testing unique special effect polishes.

Sally Hansen

At first glance, Sally Hansen provides stiff competition to Essie with prices ranging from $4-9 per bottle. But let’s dig deeper into the comparisons:

  • Color selection – Sally Hansen has around 300 core colors, but less variety in finishes.
  • Formula and wear – The formula tends to be thin and watery requiring 3-4 coats. Longevity averages 3-4 days.
  • Brushes – Brushes tend to be too wide and make application messy.
  • Special effects – Very few textures or effects offered.

While the price seems appealing, Essie still reigns supreme in color selection, formula, brush shape, and wear time. Paying a couple dollars more gives major upgrades in application experience and longevity. Sally Hansen doesn’t justify the discount when Essie consistently outperforms.


With classic colors to on-trend shades in quality formulas, Essie nail lacquers command slightly higher prices but offer fashion-forward hues you can’t find from mainstream brands. Strategic shopping when items go on sale or in multi-packs can help you score Essie polishes for less.

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