Choosing the best nail polish is no easy feat. There are new brands popping up every day with the latest colors and trends, claiming to be long-lasting, vegan, or toxin-free. Investing in the wrong polishes can lead to unhealthy nails in the long run or wasting money on bottles of polish that chip in a couple of days when you apply. If you’re on the search for the best nail polish on the market, StudyFinds is here to help.
With inflation rising and a recession looming on the horizon, self-care is more important than ever. A poll conducted by OnePoll found that Americans only feel relaxed for 40 minutes a day. The poll asked 2,000 Americans about their self-care habits and shows that while the average respondent only feels relaxed for less than an hour, 47 percent feel even less relaxed than that.
How do we balance taking care of ourselves while keeping it affordable? A recent study reveals the average person spends four hours a day trying to enhance their appearance. An easy way to upgrade your look is to apply a quick coat of polish at home. It makes you look more put together but doesn’t cost a fortune like it would at the nail salon.
Ready for an at-home mani-pedi? StudyFinds has scoured the web for the best nail polish brands ranging from drugstore affordable prices to designer luxury splurges. We visited ten of the leading beauty websites to see which products were rated the highest. Our list is ranked based on the most-recommended nail polish brands across these sites.
The List: Best Nail Polish, According to Experts
Essie is one of the most well-known and loved brands of polish. The quality of the formula and color selection is unmatched for the price point. “We’ll make a bet that nearly every salon you’ve ever been to has had Essie nail polishes on hand. The quality is consistent, the price is great, the brush creates long, smooth strokes, and the color options are a plenty,” writes More.
Essie’s brushes were re-designed to be wider and flatter, to efficiently coat your nail in one stroke without worrying about messy polish all over your skin. “In our tests, Essie was the clear winner: It received top scores from testers, experts, and consumers in a whopping six categories,” adds Good Housekeeping. “Testers raved about its high gloss, saying they loved how shiny the polish remained throughout its entire wear-time.”
Glamour mentions how the shade Ballet Slippers was what Megan Markle wore on her wedding day. “If those accolades don’t convince you, the brand’s vast shade range certainly will. In its 35 years, Essie has created more than 900 colors—250 of which are permanent, all of which are gorgeous—that complement the vast range of nail shapes.”
OPI is another shelf staple in every salon or home collection. The brand is known for delivering consistent quality at affordable prices with an endless selection of colors. “The color range is stunning. It has everything from classic reds to harder-to-find slime greens and dusty pastel nail colors, all at drugstore prices. The formula itself feels really luxurious and has a super-shiny finish, and the teeny, tiny brush is perfect for painting your own nails,” writes Glamour.
OPI also releases limited collections and colors for holidays that sell out quickly, while still maintaining amazing staple colors. “You’ve likely purchased OPI polishes yourself or selected a shade at your local nail shop—that goes to show how relevant the heritage brand is,” writes Elle. The color opacity is fantastic, and the dry time is great with only two coats.
According to Good Housekeeping, “Its average dry time was almost a minute and half faster than the next runner up, and our nail technician gave OPI a perfect score for coverage. In fact, this polish was one of the only ones our nail technician gave perfect fives across the board. One tester noted that the finish meant she ‘really didn’t need two coats!’”
3. Deborah Lippman
Deborah Lippman is a favorite of celebrities and magazine editorial nail artists for their selection of unique colors and long-lasting coverage. “A unique combo of 10 active ingredients works to create the look and feel of a gel manicure without any curing light or extensive (and potentially damaging) removal required. The brush is also noteworthy, boasting 320 bristles plus a rounded tip to help you seamlessly coat your entire nail,” writes Byrdie.
This brand’s polish is formulated to give you the look of a gel manicure without needing to deal with the hassle of a UV light or the removal process. With 3 coats it can last up to 10 days with no chipping! “Deborah Lippman nail polishes are sought after by celebrities and nail pros alike, and with good reason. If you’re already a fan of its long-wear nail polishes, the brand’s Galaxy collection is sure to inspire your next sparkly mani,” adds Self.
To sum it all up, Elle says, “You know you’re in the creme de la creme of nail polish brands when your name needs no introduction.”
4. Chanel Le Vernis
Chanel’s name is synonymous with classic luxury, and their nail polishes are no different. They’re a bit of an investment being a tad on the pricier side, but you’ll feel the difference in the quality of your manicure. “It seems like everyone in the beauty world loves Chanel, and while these bottles are definitely an investment, the colors are rich, buttery, and beautifully smooth as you apply,” writes Who What Wear.
This polish is known for producing classic red shades, like “Vamp” which was worn by Uma Thurman in “Pulp Fiction”. “Save your time and make your hard work last with long-wear nail polish by Chanel. Yes, it’s expensive, and that’s because it’s filled with bioceramics and ceramides that nourish and strengthen your nails over time,” says More. “This product will bond to your nails like no other, just two thin, even coats, a glossy top coat, and you’re done!”
Elle explains the brand’s history: “First, Chanel created a legacy of chic, exceptional-quality handbags. Then, the historic brand developed a line of iconic, long-lasting polishes for the hands that would be toting those bags around town.”
5. Olive & June
Olive & June polish is “15-free” – formulated without Formaldehyde, Toulene, DBP, Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor, Ethyl Tosylamide, Xylene, Triphenyl Phosphate (TPHP), Acetone, Animal-Derived Ingredients, Bisphenol-A, Nonylphenol Ethoxylate, Parabens, and Sulfates.
“They are known for having some of the longest-lasting polishes ever,” writes The Cut. “The brand held a ‘Mani Marathon’ contest and one client said her manicure lasted without chips for 21 days.”
Their brushes and colors are beginner-friendly, and when paired with their signature top coat, a manicure done with their polishes can last for up to two weeks. “Olive & June’s formulas come with a wider-than-average brush that lets you coat your entire nail in one or two swipes,” says Allure.
According to a Glamour reviewer, “The coolest nail salon in Los Angeles launched its own line of seven-free polishes in 2019, and it’s not hard to see why people freaked out over it. You can tell a good polish by its shine, and these have a rich gloss. Blame it on the spring weather, but I especially love the Pastels collection. My favorite is JLR. It’s a light, almost creamy yellow that works well alone or as a base for nail art.”
You might also be interested in:
- Best Ways to Paint Your Nails
- Best Skin Care Face Masks
- Best Curling Irons
- Best Lip Gloss
- Best Eyeliner
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.