Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Comprehensive Guide On How To Spot A Fake OPI Polish

I have decided to sell a couple of OPI nail polishes through eBay just to see how they do, and I was surprised to find out how many fakes there are out there, so cue my next post.

I have done quite a lot of research on this as I wanted to be as comprehensive as possible, so here are the many ways to spot a fake:

The Front Of The Bottle

Letter "L" of "mL" is upper case and "Fl" is lower case. The font of the number "5" is also very important.

The base of the bottle should also be smooth and even. This is often the quickest way of spotting a fake, as OPI is all about quality, especially on their packaging.

The Back Of The Bottle

Apart from the clear printing of all the information, the order of the 4 lines is also a clear indication of a fake. If the order of the lines is different to the one's shown in the genuine picture below, or the safety icons or font is small then stay well clear.

Embossed Logo on Brush

The real OPI brush has an embossed logo on the top of the brush. It is quite hard to see it and I couldn't get a very decent picture. My advice is to push the paint downwards against the bottle head repeatedly. Because the logo is embossed, you can feel the rough texture.

The Brush Itself

As you can see from the picture above, the brushes are thick, with many bristles and flatten down to produce great coverage. Many copies will have a thinner brush and the poor quality is clear.

Inside The Cap

The inside of the cap isn't smooth it has gear-like ridges all around.

Code Numbers

Original OPI has some code number at the top of each bottle. It is quite hard to see it, but it is there if you take a look properly at the bottle.

There is also a more visible code number at the bottom of each bottle, and this is printed in black.

Double Layered Sticker On The Base

You can see the same code on the sticker at the bottom of the bottle and this is also where you will find the colour code. Make sure the color code matches the name of the color. You will have to refer to the OPI website for the correct code.

There is a "peel here" sign on the sticker and there should be no way of sticking that sticker back on. If you can then be wary! When you have peeled off the sticker, you will see a list of ingredients. 

Ribbed Bottle Base 

OPI bottles have a finely ribbed base. Many fakes can be spotted as there is either no ribbed base or the ribbed texture is chunkier.

Steel Balls

If you put the bottle on it's side and let it rest for a minute, you can see there are two little steel balls in the bottle. If there is only one or none then it's probably a fake. I gave up on trying to take a picture of this as I couldn't get the focus right, however it is very clear to see then when you have an authentic bottle.

Mini Bottles

The usual rules don't always apply to the mini bottles, so there are a few differences to consider.

OPI have lots of mini bottle collections, and these mini bottles don't have the sticker on the bottom of the bottle. There is however a colour code printed on the base. They also don't have the steel balls like the standard sized bottles, but they do have the OPI logo stamped into the brush arm.

Cap Seals

Not all OPI polish comes with a cap seal so if it doesn't have one then it certainly doesn't indicate that it's a fake or that it has been used. The bottles that have this seal on indicate that it has a pro-wide brush as opposed to the standard brush (which is still fabulous by the way!).

Don't Get Fooled By Good Fakes

Good fakes seem to have an embossed logo on the brush, codes printed on the top and bottom of the bottle, however the name of the colour is often incorrect and/or the code doesn't match to the name. Often the sticker looks totally wrong too.

If buying from eBay then be careful to use sellers that specify that their OPI products are genuine. Excellent feedback is not an indication that they sell genuine OPI


Essentially there are many ways to spot a fake, and using these warning signs will reduce the likeliness of buying a fake, however OPI claim that the only true way to tell a fake is to test the contents of product.

I hope that you have found this post useful and if you have any other methods for spotting a fake then please feel free to post below.


  1. Is it possible that ULTA is selling "knock-off" O.P.I. nail polish? Many of mine from there fit the description of "fake." Or, could they just be older; before they made the bottom label green and added the I.D. number to the lower part of their bottles?

  2. Hi, thanks for your question. I carried out this research using many different sources including some from the USA so I would have thought that the guidance would cover all areas, however I obviously can't confirm this. I have however just looked at the ULTA website and searched for OPI and I couldn't find any products on their at all. I don't know whether they questioned the authenticity of their OPI products or whether they have just stopped supplying OPI, however I would have thought that in any case they would purchase directly from OPI??? If you are ever in doubt, I would buy directly from OPI or an approved distributor and then keep this as a reference bottle. x