OPI's Malaga Wine Is a Classic Red With Staying Power

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4.5

OPI Nail Lacquer in Malaga Wine

The author holds a bottle of OPI's Malaga Wine nail lacquer, with her nails painted

Lisa Patulny

What We Like
  • Glossy finish

  • Opaque, streak-free color

  • Wide brush for easy application

  • Affordable

  • Fairly good wear with a topcoat

What We Don't Like
  • Not Byrdie Clean

OPI’s Nail Lacquer in Malaga Wine was a treat for my usually neglected nails. Testing it reminded me of why I used to sport red polish all the time—it makes every outfit look infinitely chicer. 

4.5

OPI Nail Lacquer in Malaga Wine

The author holds a bottle of OPI's Malaga Wine nail lacquer, with her nails painted

Lisa Patulny

We put OPI's Nail Lacquer in Malaga Wine to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review.

A rich opaque burgundy, OPI's Nail Lacquer in the shade Malaga Wine is a pretty perfect interpretation of dark red polish. Wearing it took me back to the DIY manis of my younger years. (These days I’m all about a natural nail unless I have an event.) After using it I remembered why I used to go through all that trouble—it made me feel a lot more put together.

So what did I think of the shade? The formula? The wear? The chip factor? Keep reading for my full review.

OPI Nail Lacquer in Malaga Wine

Best for: Leveling up your manicure

Byrdie Clean?: No, contains formaldehyde

Price: $11

About the brand: A nail brand with a penchant for punny shade names, OPI has more than 200 colors in its collection. The brand makes professional-quality lacquers and nail care products, releasing fun, themed lines each season.

About My Nails: Normally nude

Once upon a time, I would paint my nails weekly. I liked having a fresh manicure (no chips) and found the process—cut, file, buff, paint—relaxing. These days, I’m a lot busier. (Read: I have a kid.) So while I continue to cut, file, and buff my natural nails in order to keep them neat, it’s not often I dig out my collection of polishes. When I do bother, I use brands like OPI and CND with a wide, flat brush to make things as easy as possible.

How To Apply: However you’d like

I’d hazard a guess that most of us are pretty familiar with painting our nails. If not, I guess the main point to make here is that your polish will only last and look its best if you put in the prep. I always start by trimming my nails, filing the sides and tips until rounded, then buffing with a finely grained nail block for a smooth finish.

Next—and this part is important—I drench cotton balls in polish remover and wipe my nails clean. (When I’ve forgotten to do this it has had an adverse impact on how long the polish lasts, so now it’s non-negotiable.) Then it’s just a matter of applying a base coat, followed by two thin coats of color. I wait about 10 minutes until the polish is somewhere between tacky and touch-dry, then finish up with a glossy, protective topcoat.

You could, of course, do all sorts of wonderful nail art with this polish, but that's not my speed. You could also treat yourself to a glass of Malaga, a Spanish fortified wine, while you work—that I can do.

The Results: Two thumbs up

OPI Malaga Wine manicure close-up

Lisa Patulny

As I’ve said, I love OPI for at-home manicures because the polish brush is flat and wide. Those features make it a lot easier to apply (especially on the non-dominant hand which, let’s be honest, always comes out wonky). The color is as the brand describes it, “a rich, intoxicating wine red.” I’m here for it. It’s not too vampy and not too bright—I’d definitely place it in classic red territory.

The formula is opaque and super glossy, and dries down pretty quickly for a regular lacquer. OPI nail polishes are considered durable, but I never get more than a few days out of any polish without chips. With Malaga Wine, I went four days before I noticed chipping. I basically type for a living so for me, that’s good.

It’s not too vampy and not too bright—I’d definitely place it in classic red territory.

The Value: Solid

For a professional-quality product, I think the price is completely acceptable. It’s on par with other similar nail brands, so I’d say the value is solid. I tried to figure out the cost per wear but I don’t really know how many manicures you’re meant to get out of one OPI bottle. (Siri, help?) I can say I’ve never finished one.

Similar Products: You’ve got options

Essie Nail Color in Bordeaux: Essie's Bordeaux ($7) is very similar in color (and also similarly wine-themed—very cute.) Essie polishes have a finer brush, which can be useful if you have narrow nail beds. The polishes are pretty much on par in terms of finish, price, and opacity.

Revlon Super Lustrous Nail Enamel in Vixen: Though it's more brown-meets-plum than straight-up burgundy, Revlon's Super Lustrous Nail Enamel in Vixen ($4) is not far off from Malaga Wine. The quality of the polish is really good for the low price, but again, the brush is on the longer and thinner side. 

Final Verdict

If you’re into deep red nails you can do yourself, I think you’ll be impressed with OPI’s Malaga Wine. Using it to create a DIY manicure with a glass of its namesake beverage for company is optional, but highly recommended.

Specs

  • Product Name Nail Lacquer in Malaga Wine
  • Product Brand OPI
  • Price $11
  • Color Malaga Wine
  • Full Ingredient List Ethyl Acetate, Butyl Acetate, Nitrocellulose, Propyl Acetate, Tosylamide Formaldehyde Resin, Isopropyl Alcohol, Trimethyl Pentanyl Diisobutyrate, Triphenyl Phosphate, Ethyl Tosylamide, Camphor, Stearalkonium Bentonite, Diacetone Alcohol, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Benzophenone 1, Citric Acid, Dimethicone, CI 77120, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), CI 77499, FD&C Yellow 5 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Red 6.

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