Etude Play Nail Review: How does it compare with Innisfree Nail Polish?

During Etude’s closing-down sale at Wisma, I couldn’t help grabbing a few Etude Play Nail as the price of the already affordable nail polish was further slashed by half.

Having been mostly an Innisfree Nail Polish user prior to the purchase, I found myself instinctively comparing Etude with Innisfree. Hence, in this review, I’ll point out the key differences between this two leading Korean beauty brands.

Want to make a guess which nail polish works better? Which chips first? Read on to find out.

Etude Play Nail Polish
Etude Play Nail (3 layers of Color RD021)


Etude Play Nail vs Innisfree Nail Polish

Etude carries three types of nail polish – 1) Etude Play Nail, 2) Etude Play Long Shine and 3) Enamelting Gel Nail. The one we are reviewing today is the first one (in bold), which happens to be the cheapest among the range. 

In this review, we will compare Etude Play Nail with Innisfree Real Nail Color, as both are the cheapest within their brand.

1. Colours & Selections

Both brands of nail polish are available in a wide range of colours, and they come in different finishes such as glossy, shimmery and glittery. Seasonal factor plays a role in the colour options on offer. The selections would also vary depending on where you stay and the platform that you shop at. 

All in all, there is no clear winner in this category – both Etude and Innisfree offer a good range of colours and options at any one time.

To have a more equitable comparison, we will compare the glossy version of each brand in this review.  

> MUST-READ: Review of Innisfree Nail Polish

Etude Play Nail
Wide range of colours available (Etude Play Nail)

2. Price of Etude Play Nail

Both Etude Play Nail and Innisfree Real Color are affordably priced at around S$4. However, do note that Etude contains 25% more quantity than Innisfree, i.e. 8ml vs 6ml. 

This doesn’t necessary mean Etude offers better value as its nail polish has a thinner consistency than Innisfree. I’ll elaborate more on that later.

3. Etude vs Innisfree Nail Polish: Which is easier to apply?

Innisfree used to have a wide brush, that was great in covering large surface but challenging in maneuvering around smaller nails. This has changed as its’ current brush size is about the same as Etude or the industry average.

Hence, both brands now offer similar experience in terms of the ease of use of their brush applicators.

Etude Play Nail Polish
Etude Play Nail’s brush applicator

However, Innisfree may be the winner in this category – overall ease of use – as it requires fewer layers and dries faster. If I need a manicure on short notice (like within 5 minutes from leaving home), I would reach out instinctively for Innisfree Real Colour.

But, do note that the unused portion of Innisfree tends to thicken quickly within the jar, and hence may lead to a shorter shelf-life than an average nail polish. This doesn’t bother me as the product isn’t expensive, and the quick expiry gives me an excuse to update my collections.

Innisfree Nail Polish Color 61 & 21
Innisfree dries faster

4. Texture & Finish: Etude Play Nail vs Innisfree

Comparing the glossy version of both brands, I find that Etude Play Nail offers a softer finish that reminds me of candy. I like how its lighter consistency allows me to adjust the layers to achieve the effect that I like.

So far, 2 layers give a jelly-like finish while 4 layers offer full coverage though the effect will still not be a creamy one (check out first photo in this review).

Etude Play Nail Polish
2 layers of Etude Play Nail

Innisfree Real Color on the other hand is creamier-looking, which is great if you prefer a milky, full opacity effect.

Innisfree Nail Polish Color 23 & 3258
2 layers of Innisfree Real Color

In the photo below, you’ll see a side by side comparison of Etude vs Innisfree. Pardon the uneven finish of Innisfree as the polish has thickened overtime even though the bottle was only half-used. That why I covered the nails with only 1 layer of (thickened) Innisfree vs 2 layers of Etude.

Etude vs Innisfree Nail Polish
Side by Side Comparison – Innisfree vs Etude Play Nails (Day 1)

5. Which chips first: Etude or Innisfree Nail Polish?

Etude chipped off mildly on the second day, while Innisfree chipped off a day later. Day 5 was the maximum period I could live with the nail imperfections. 

As you can see from the photo below, Innisfree seems to chip off in chunkier fashion than Etude.

Etude vs Innisfree Nail Polish
Side by Side Comparison: Innisfree vs Etude Play Nail (Day 5)

6. Which is easier to remove? 

Innisfree has always been easier to remove than other nail polish I’ve tried. Therefore, it comes as no surprise to see Innisfree win this category. But to be clear, Etude Play Nail isn’t hard to remove either. :)


Summary: Pros Vs Cons of Etude Play Nail

What’s Good?

  1. It’s as cheap as Innisfree
  2. Comes with 25% more quantity than Innisfree, though still less than industry average
  3. Can adjust layers to achieve soft to full coverage
  4. Unused portion may not thicken as quickly as Innisfree Real Color
  5. May remain presentable (mild chipping) for up to 5 days

What’s Bad? 

  1. Takes a bit longer to dry than Innisfree
  2. May require more layers to achieve full opacity coverage
  3. Slightly less easy to remove than Innisfree


Recommendation: Should you buy Etude Play Nail Polish?

Etude Play Nail Polish is cheap. Therefore, I think there’s no harm buying a few especially if you see the colours that you like.

As compared to Innisfree, I think Etude would appeal more to those who prefer a softer finish than a creamy one. But we do have to bear in mind that formula can change from time to time. All in all, just buy it if you happen to come across a good colour or promo. Rating: 4/5


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Etude Play Nail Polish Review

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