What You Need to Know About Nail Lacquer

Are you also confused between nail lacquer and nail polish? Many people confuse these two products with each other as they use them interchangeably. Although nail lacquer is a nail polish, they are both different because their composition is not the same. Nail lacquer offers a more durable finish than nail polish.

To better understand the difference between the two, we will define nail lacquer in detail and compare it with traditional nail polish in this article. We will also give you other important information about nail lacquer to help you determine if the product is what you need or ideal for you. Let’s now learn what this nail polish is below!

What Is Nail Lacquer?

Learning what nail lacquer is starts with knowing its components and distinctive characteristics. “Lacquer” comes from “lacquering” that means applying a finish to materials, resulting in a hard and protective layer. With nail lacquer, it also provides a hard and strong finish that doesn’t peel or chip as easily as regular nail polish.

The product is formulated with nitrocellulose that’s dissolved in plasticizers, pigments for colour and a solvent. This formulation provides a high-shine finish, which nail lacquer is popular for.

Note, however, that nail lacquer is not the same as nail varnish as it has a different finish and formulation. Nail varnish gives a subtler shine and has a thinner texture than nail lacquer.

All nail lacquer products are considered nail polish, but not all nail polish products are nail lacquer. Traditional nail polish doesn’t provide the level of durability that nail lacquer does, which has high resistance to chipping or peeling.

Think about nail lacquer as a product that sits between traditional nail polish and gel polish, more durable than the former but not as strong as the latter. The product also comes in base and top coats.

How Did Nail Lacquer Start?

The history of nail lacquer started in the 1920s, where the inspiration for creating the product came from car paint. Nitrocellulose was then introduced and became the main ingredient for the product. The popularity of nail lacquer began in the mid-20th century as people acknowledged the ability of the product to offer a glossy finish and long-lasting polish.

Over time, nail lacquer evolved in formulations as different brands started to create their own products. It’s now the best option for nail polish enthusiasts who want lasting nails than traditional polish but don’t want to go through the process of curing with gel nail polish.

How Do You Apply Nail Lacquer?

The application process of nail lacquer is the same as traditional nail polish.

  • First, you will need to prepare your natural nails by trimming and buffing them and pushing back the cuticles. This step is doing the basic manicure.
  • Then, you need to apply a lacquer base cost to protect the natural nails and let the top layers of the polish stick together strongly.
  • Once the base coat is dry, you will then apply the first layer of your lacquer nail polish. Let it dry first before applying the second layer. You can add another layer if you want to, depending on the outcome you want.
  • The last layer of application is your lacquer top coat. This seals all the layers and protects the manicure from external stress that may damage the polish.
  • Once your nails are dry after an hour or two, apply cuticle oil to provide hydration to the manicure.

During application, make sure to never shake the bottle of the polish to prevent air bubbles, which don’t give you a smooth finish. Instead, roll the product slowly between your palms to gently mix the lacquer. Don’t apply thick layers of the polish as well as this promotes smudging.

To maintain the manicure, re-apply the top coat every few days and apply cuticle oil every day. This keeps the manicure looking shiny and prevents chipping due to dryness. Your nails can last up to 10 days if you follow the right aftercare activities.

Tips to Dry a Lacquer Manicure Fast

You don’t need to wait for hours to let your lacquer manicure dry. You can follow these helpful tips to quickly dry your polish and enjoy your new nails:

Apply Thin Layers

Aside from the fact that applying thick layers can make your nails prone to smudging, you will need more time to wait for your nails to dry. Also, you can have good control over the amount of layers of polish you want to apply depending on your desired result.

Increase the Waiting Time Between Applying Layers

You can also increase the waiting time between applying layers to help speed up drying time. This ensures that every layer dries completely before you apply the next. For example, you wait 2-3 minutes after applying the base coat. Then increase the time to 5 minutes after the first layer application. Continue increasing the time until you reach the top coat.

Use a Quick-Drying Top Coat

There are nail products designed to help you dry your manicure fast, such as a quick-drying top coat. This product is created to help you save time drying your nails.

Choose Light or Metallic Colours

Light or metallic shades are quicker to dry than darker colours because they have low levels of pigment. There are a lot of light or metallic shades you can choose from that fit any occasion.

Dip Nails in Ice Water

This is probably the simplest method for drying your nails quickly on our list. The concept is to dip your nails in icy water after you finish painting them to help quicken the drying process. What you need for this is a bowl of ice-cold water, and submerge your nails for 1-2 minutes.

Blow Dry Your Nails

Your blow-dryer can also be of use for your nails. You just need to set it to cool, so it releases the right air temperature to help harden your nails fast. Position the blow dryer a few inches away from your hand. Also, make sure the air is not that strong to prevent smudging.

Use Hairspray

You might have heard about using hairspray to harden nail polish, which you can try. The spray works on hardening the top layer of your manicure in just seconds or a few minutes. If your bottom layers have dried completely, you won’t have problems using this method.

How Do You Remove Lacquer Nail Polish?

There are a few ways you can remove lacquer polish at home. The most popular method is using acetone, and with this procedure, you need to remove the product from your natural nails similar to removing gel nail polish using acetone.

  • You need to file the top layer off to help acetone penetrate better into the bottom polish layers. You can trim your nails if they are long to help speed up the process.
  • Dip 10 cotton balls in acetone and place each on each nail. Then, wrap each nail with a foil and wait for 10 minutes to give time for the acetone to soak into the manicure.
  • After 10 minutes, remove the foil and then the cotton balls from your nails. As you remove each cotton ball, rub it away to remove the polish. You might need to redo this step for the residue on your nails, or you can push the residue off with a cuticle stick.
  • Wash your hands clean with soap and water and then moisturise them with hand lotion. Apply cuticle oil to your nails for extra hydration.

If you don’t want to use acetone because it dries out your skin, you can use a nail polish remover. The process is the same as above, only you need to replace acetone with a nail polish remover.

Choosing the Best Lacquer Nail Polish

Now that you have a better idea of what nail lacquer is and how it works, you might be wondering at this point how you are going to choose the best product for you.

Colour is the biggest consideration when picking the best polish for you. You may choose shades based on the occasions you’ll attend or your mood. For your everyday look, you might want to apply colours that complement your skin tone. If you have a light skin tone, blue or pink pastels are ideal. Dark skin tones are great with deep shades like dark red, mocha or maroon. But there are other factors you also need to take note of, such as if it’s long lasting, quick drying and cruelty free.

If your nails are brittle and tend to dry most of the time, getting strengthening polish helps. You also need to buy your base and top coats as these are essential to your manicure. There are all-in-one polish products, but we won’t recommend them as they are not as great as having separate items. As much as possible, buy a top coat, nail polish and base coat of the same brand. Using different brands may not give you a desirable result as these brands may not work well together.

Above all, enjoy experimenting with different colours and see which are best for your every life event. Just remember to get high-quality nail lacquer products to ensure you achieve the best results. Go with brands that already have built a reputation in the industry as they formulate their products based on their customers’ needs. Check customer reviews and ratings to know if the brand you’re interested in offers great quality and is loved by many.

Final Verdict

Is nail lacquer what you need for your nails? You clearly have the answer to this question at this point. But whether you want it occasionally or for your everyday look, this nail product is perfect. It lasts longer than traditional nail polish and gives you a wide variety of colours. Start picking your shade of nail lacquer now!