Nail Varnish vs. Nail Polish

By Inspirationail

Bottle of nail polishWhat do you paint your nails with, nail polish, varnish, lacquer, paint, enamel? We’ve all heard the different terms, but what do they really mean? We decided it was time to end the confusion once and for all.

What is in a Name?

We began this article thinking it was just an American/ UK English thing. For the most part, Americans call it polish and the UK calls it varnish. Interchangeable terms for the same thing. To be sure we were correct, we consulted a dictionary and put our theory to the test.

It turns out that regardless of where you are from, you can call it whatever you want. If it lays a coat of color over your nails it’s nail varnish/ polish/ enamel/ lacquer/ paint.


What the product is called depends entirely on the manufacturer. While it stands to reason that some of the names are based on formula types or ingredients, interchanging the terms isn’t really an issue. There is no definitive industry standard governing them and each different brand has their own formulas, names and marketing practices. Which is probably where all of the confusion comes from in the first place.

Need Some New Varnish/ Polish/ Enamel/ Lacquer/ Paint?

We’ve got a great selection of cruelty-free brands to choose from in our store and we don’t care what you choose to call it! 😉


Nail Porn

Scratch Magazine
Salon Guinea Pig
Advertise here

Looking for something?





Inspirationail 207 Regent Street. London, United Kingdom. W1B 3HH.
This site uses cookies & analytics tools. All Transactions are securely processed by Google Checkout, ApplePay, Spreadshirt or PayPal. All other logos and trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners. ® and ™ denote registered trademarks in their respective countries.
© 2019 Inspirationail. A Vuild product.