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You may like to switch up your nail polish hues with the seasons (or—more frequently—with your moods), but one thing that remains constant no matter what is the importance of the right formula. The best polishes are long-lasting for a chip-free, glossy manicure that looks like it was done by a pro. After all, nothing is more annoying than chipped nails moments after the polish dries. So, whether you're fully obsessed with nail art, prefer a classic nude, or something in between—we’re talking everything from bold reds to holographic shimmers—the best nail polish is out there waiting for you.
Read on for the top nail polishes for every manicure (and pedicure!) 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.
Perhaps their most iconic hue is Ballet Slippers, a sheer pink that goes with damn near everything. Rumor has it that it's a favorite amongst the British royal family. If that's not enough to convince you that Essie polishes are the real deal, there's this: 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—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.
See more reviews and shop for the best nude nail polishes available online.
Best Splurge: Smith & Cult Nailed Lacquer
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. This long-lasting polish delivers a professional-looking result that lasts up to two weeks. 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. Unlike salon gel, it’s not a hassle to take it off—it comes off easily with regular nail polish remover.
Speaking of gel, check out our guide to the best at-home gel manicure kits.
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 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 va-va-voom shades, JINSoon nails it every time.
Take a peek at some of the best white nail polishes you can buy today.
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 foolproof. 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.
Interested in reading more reviews? We rounded up the best drugstore nail polishes to try now.