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Whether you go gaga for nail art, prefer a classic nude, or something in between—we’re talking everything from pale pinks to bold reds, holographic shimmers or basic glitter—it all comes down to the formula. It should be long-lasting for a chip-free, glossy manicure that looks like it was done by a pro. After all, nothing is more annoying than a mani that chips moments after the polish is dry. Get a perfect 10 with these top nail polishes for every need.
Best Overall: Essie Nail Polish
There’s a reason practically every nail salon has row after row of this brand, in nearly every hue imaginable. Essie has won awards for their formula that is chip-resistant, durable, and goes on smooth to provide flawless sheen and coverage. And is there any nail polish color more iconic than their Ballet Slippers? Even the British royal family are fans. Plus, every polish in the line is free of DBP, toluene, and formaldehyde.
Best Budget: OPI Classic Nail Lacquer
There are plenty of reasons to love OPI, starting with the cute, clever polish names—take Let Me Bayou A Drink (blush pink), Tickle My France-y (dusty rose), and Taupe-less Beach (taupe), to name a few. But there’s also the polish itself: a formaldehyde-free formula that goes on smooth and stays that way. The beloved brand has an impressively wide range of shades, plus comes in textures and special effects.
Best Splurge: Smith & Cult
Smith & Cult has some of the best shades in the biz with major payoff. The polish goes on smooth and stays super shiny. The five-free formula is nail-friendly, too: It’s free of dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor, ethyl tosylamide, xylene, and triphenyl phosphate.
Best Long-Lasting: Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish
There’s no need to go to the salon to get a manicure with major staying power. Even better, this polish doesn’t require a UV/LED light. It only requires two steps: First, apply two coats of Miracle Gel Color to clean, dry nails. Once it’s dry, apply one coat of Miracle Gel Top Coat. The patented system delivers professional-looking results that last for up to 14 days. And unlike salon gel, it’s not a hassle to take it off—it comes off easily with regular nail polish remover.
Best Non-Toxic: Butter London Patent Shine 10x Nail Lacquer
This polish makes your nails look and feel good. It protects, smooth, and strengthens nails with bamboo extract, brightens with diamond powder, and is fade-resistant thanks to its UV absorbers. Butter London's Patent Shine 10X Nail Lacquer has an innovative 10-in-1 formula that delivers a gel-like cushion and shine. The chip- and shock-resistant formula offers up to 10-day wear, thanks to polymer technology. And best of all it’s eight-free, so it doesn’t contain formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, DBP, toluene, camphor, ethyl tosylamide, xylene, or TPHP.
Best for Nail Growth: Morgan Taylor Go Ahead And Grow
This twofer does double duty as a nail treatment and a basecoat. Apply it before colored polish to help your nails grow, courtesy of vitamin E and keratin. The powerful duo leads to longer, harder, and stronger nails, making this support in a bottle ideal for damaged and weak nails.
Best No Chip: Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro Nail Polish
You don’t have to worry about getting frustrating chips right away with this gel-like polish. Get the sheen and lasting look of a gel manicure sans the salon or the UV/LED light with this patented formula. It boasts 10 active ingredients to get the look and feel of a gel mani without the damage. The ingenious contour brush has a whopping 320 bristles to evenly coat each nail for a smooth application, plus the brush has a rounded tip to make the process fool-proof. Even better, the formula is vegan and seven-free, so there’s no formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, DBP (dibutyl phthlate), camphor, xylene, or diethylhexyl adipate.
Best for Color Selection: JINsoon Nail Lacquer
Jin Soon earned a solid reputation for being one of the best manicurists in the beauty biz, with A-list celeb and editorial clients, before she launched her eponymous line of nail lacquers. Ever since then, they’ve been beloved by everyone in the industry and beyond. Her silky smooth formulas are famed for their easy application, sheen, and for being free of formaldehyde, toluene, DPB, formaldehyde resin,and camphor. But it’s the shade range that fans really go wild for. From the most classic hues to the trendiest editorial shades, JINSoon nails it every time.
Our writers spent 3 hours researching the most popular nail polish on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 25 different nail polishes overall, screened options from 15 different brands and manufacturers, read over 20 user reviews (both positive and negative) and tested 8 of the nail polishes themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.