Johnstone’s Oil-Based Eggshell Review

Updated May 26, 2024 | Posted May 7, 2020 | Product Reviews, Paints | 23 comments

Johnstone’s oil-based eggshell is a full bodied solvent based eggshell paint. When you first open the tin, you could stand a stick upright in the paint, that tells me it has guts, and boy it certainly does. This eggshell must be one of the best products of its type on the market! Much better than its Crown and Dulux rivals.

You can buy this paint from any Johnstone’s Decorating Centre, but unless you have a trade account, it will almost certainly be cheaper to buy this it online. Click here to see current online prices.


The Application of Johnstone’s Eggshell


Applied by brush and roller, you can’t really go wrong with this product. Johnstone’s eggshell is so forgiving and flows away lovely, leaving a very even finish with hardly any effort. Even using a mini roller foam or fibre, it flows nicely without having to lay off. The opacity of this paint is awesome, so if you need to, you can dilute it slightly with white spirit. You can’t really spray products like this though.


How long Does Johnstone’s Oil-Based Eggshell Take to Dry?


Overnight is the rule of thumb for me. Well, recoat time is 16 hours and there’s no point trying to rush things, otherwise you compromise the finish and the second coat can drag a little. Tinted colours tend to take a little bit longer to dry. Again, there is no point in rushing things.

I suppose drying time is one argument to switch to one of the water-based alternatives. As a decorator, I can use oil-based paint without issue in an empty house, but it becomes a problem when I’m working in a house around a family. People often brush against the paint before it is dry and ruin the finish.


What’s the Finish of Johnstones Eggshell like Once Dry?


Johnstone’s oil-based eggshell has quite a sheen level to begin with, but it calms down after around 2 weeks. Once the molecular science takes over (just guessing that part) it flattens right off, to leave a very classic subtle flat finish with a slight sheen. On period or modern properties, it’s a perfect product.


Can Johnstone’s Oil-Based Eggshell be Tinted?


Yes, it can be tinted into any colour from Johnstone’s vast colour range. The will even match colours from other paint brands if you go into store. Eggshell can look amazing once tinted!! Just give the paint a little bit longer in between coats.


Can Johnstone’s Eggshell be used Outside?


Johnstone’s oil-based eggshell is an internal product only. They do a product called Stormshield for exteriors which are brilliant. If you do use Johnstone’s eggshell outside, any colour will bleach out in a short period because it can’t stand up to UV rays. It won’t flex either, so can’t cope with expanding and contracting timber as the weather changes.


Does Johnstone’s Eggshell Yellow?


Now this a contentious issue with most oil-based paints nowadays. Personally, I have found Johnstone’s oil-based eggshell to hold its colour very well. I’ve been back to lots of jobs done 2 or 3 years past and it still looks spot on. There may be a slight discoloration, but nothing that would shout out at you. Eggshell only contains a small amount of oil, which is why it takes longer for it to discolour than gloss or satinwood. If you’re worried then you could try the Johnstone’s Aqua range with is water-based and keeps its colour for a lot longer.


How hard wearing is Johnstone’s Eggshell?


It’s a good wipeable finish. A scuff mark from a shoe or similar leaving a black mark can generally be rubbed of once paint is cured. One of the overwhelming positives of choosing oil-based over water is the durability and this eggshell is no different.


Is Johnstone’s Oil-Base Eggshell Expensive?


The price will vary from place to place. If you have a trade account with preferable rates, you may be better going directly to Johnstone’s Decorating Centre. If you don’t have a trade account, then you’ll almost certainly be able to buy Johnstone’s oil-based eggshell online from a website like the Decorating Centre Online.



Johnstone’s Oil-Based Eggshell Review - Decorator's forum UK

An oil-based paint used to coat interior woodwork such as doors, skirting board, and other trim. Available in Brilliant White, or any colour from Johnstone’s extensive range.

Product Brand: Johnstone's Trade

Editor's Rating:


  • Easy to use.
  • Comes condensed.
  • Good opacity.
  • Fantastic finish.


  • People seem to be moving away from oil-based now.
  • It looks shiny when first applied.
  • Takes several days to cure and harden up.

Final Thoughts


Johnstone’s eggshell is a fantastic product, and one I use almost every day as a professional decorator. You’ll find it easy to use, easy to achieve a good finish and will last for years. I’d recommend it to anyone.

Updated May 26, 2024 | Posted May 7, 2020 | 23 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Cupit has been in the decorating industry since 2002 and has mostly worked as a Trade Decorator in the domestic sector (peoples’ homes). Self-proclaimed “product geek”, Mike has a passion for paint and decorating tools. Mike now spends most of his time testing paint products and tools, comparing them to similar products on the market, and blogging about the industry in general.
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  1. Tony Waring

    I have to agree, this is a great product. I’m a big fan of Johnstone’s eggshell, I much prefer it to their Satin finish as that tends to go yellow very quickly.

  2. Nicola Waller

    Good Evening

    We have used Johnstone’s oil based eggshell on woodwork today and I’m concerned about how shiny it is. I read the review here that says it calms down in a couple of weeks but I have another 5 litres for the stairs etc and don’t have time to wait to see if it does!
    I usually go for water based eggshell but was advised to use oil as it’s harder wearing.
    Can anyone re-assure me that the glossy finish will turn more matt?!
    Many thanks

    • David

      Has it flattened down cos my mate has the same issue?

      • Azeem Arshad

        I’m also having this issue having done a bannister. Did it go less shiny over 2 weeks?

    • Leeanne

      Did it end up turning more Matt with time? I’ve just applied some today and am concerned that it has too much shine at the moment. I’m now in two minds as whether to start my project again with a water based product

  3. Robert Mchattie

    A question for you Scott, I’m painting some door panels with this at the moment and have noticed that there’s particles in the finish, which leaves the surface covered in tiny nibs once dry.
    I have stirred the c**p out of it before use, but this hasn’t made any difference to the finish, so I’m wondering now whether to try and filter it.
    Just wonder if you have had anything like this and i there is a solution?

  4. Nicola Smith

    Hi had the same problem with grity bits painted my kitchen units in johnsons eggshell eq to little green French grey dark looked great then I had a knock on one of the doors had to sand a d repaint the same thing over 3 times I had to bin the paint and go out and buy a new tin once opened over a period of time I would not use again.

  5. Chris

    I have just applied a coat of this to a step prepared with primer/undercoat and it has gone on like high gloss varnish. Awful.

    • Mike Cupit

      Because it hasn’t cured yet. Once it has settled down, the Sheen level will be around 20%

  6. Robert

    I have used Johnstone`s Eggshell many times but I suspect the formulation has changed. It has always resulted in a somewhat shiny finish but this changed to an acceptable sheen after a few days. But the latest purchase is far shinier than before and looks awful showing every little speck of dust. Also I had it tinted at a Johnstone1s paint centre to match a Farrow and Ball colour which it does not match. I paid £47.93 for 2.5L. Not worth it for a poor,glossy non-matching finish. I overpainted with acrylic for a proper matt finish in a shade which matched perfectly

  7. Gareth Pearce Architect

    Johnstones eggshell used to be great, it matted back quickly and was a very good rival to Farrow and Ball oil based eggshell, but F&B went water based and its now terrible stuff I can no longer use, so Johnstones Eggshell is one of the few alternatives… but they’ve messed with the formula and it no longer matts to “Matt” it remains semi gloss so calling it eggshell is now somewhat misleading. I used it once for a repaint of a F&B scheme painted in F&B origional oil based formula but I will be looking for a replacement as I consider Johnstones eggshell second rate. Water based paints are so inferior I dont know why people get sucked in to even try them!

    • Kieran

      Hi mate, what did you find as a replacement in the end? I can’t sing Johnstone’s Vinyl Matt praises loud enough but their eggshell seems to be more controversial.

  8. Ruth ward

    This paint is terrible it’s too glossy and looks awful, I wish I had paid more for the property F & B paint !

    • Mike Cupit

      It isn’t Ruth. It’s only glossy before the paint has cured, but over the following weeks, it clams down and settles are around 20% sheen

    • Kieran

      Hi Ruth, did it settle down and become more matt over time as others are suggesting it would?

  9. Richard S

    Hi, i’ve applied the same Johnstone’s oil eggshell made up to F&B paint colour but the first coat is far more glossy than I would have expected.
    What would the advice be for completing the job, apply a second coat and hope it goes to a more softer matt/sheen effect or ditch the paint and go for the F&B eggshell paint?
    Second question would be if I switched to the F&B eggshell paint, can I apply straight onto the Johnstone’s paint or do I have to go through the whole process of sanding down and re-undercoat, nether of which I really want to do as I have spent hours preparing the surfaces already.
    Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Mike Cupit

      Johnstone’s Eggshell doesn’t stay glossy. As it cures, the sheen level drops and it settles around 20%. If you switch to any water-based paint now, you will need to leave your Johnstone’s Eggshell 30 days to cure anyway. Otherwise you’ll have adhesion issues

      • Kieran

        Mike, are you 100% sure on this? Apparently their formula has changed recently and it’s shinier than people seem to like.

        • Paint123

          Did anyone confirm this recently with the newer tins?

          • Andy

            I gave one side of a door two coats – made up in f&b colours – over week old white Wickes oil eggshell (the brilliant white didn’t suit the room). Went on very glossy but the sheen level has dropped over two weeks. Trouble is, I can mark it with a fingernail, while the Wickes on the other side is rock solid. I’m hoping it’ll cure some more over the month. Don’t have a problem with other Johnstones paints. Their Perfect Matt is great stuff.

  10. MarS

    Hi, looking at the comments I could do with some advice. I bought 2 tins of Johnstones eggshell to redo my kitchen cupboards, on a decorators advice and did a few spot tests with the colours. They’re both lighter than I expected and super glossy, exactly like gloss paint. Advice says they’ll darken when dry and gloss will subside but 12hrs later they’re nowhere near dry. Still super sticky (& glossy). Will it dry or have I faulty products??? Looking at alternatives now as we have dogs so can’t have cuoboards this sticky for this length of time. They’ll be full of dog hair in no time. Any recommendations for kitchen cupboard paint that dries in a few hours appreciated!!! Ps I bought this paint 10 months ago, never opened it, even to check colour, (I know, stupid, but life got in the way) so wondering if it has a short shelf life ??

  11. Jack Wardley

    Johnstones eggshell is brill to apply but does yellow quite fast I know cause ive had some in the garage for around a year no uv and its gone a off white on the tin Albany oil satin on the other hand has been garage for around 5 years no uv and is still white. johnstones have just improved their oil gloss formula which according to paint shed is anti yellowing so if so jono’s need to do same with their oil eggshell and satin

  12. Jack Wardley

    Its a good Eggshell plenty of open time but won’t stay as white as crown trade satin or Albany satin. Johnstones just improved their oil gloss formula and apparently is anti yellowing if so they need to do the same with the eggshell and satin


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