Best Nail Polish [Review] in 2021
written by nail expert Jess Rowley
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Are you looking to enter the world of nail design, but not sure where to begin?
Whether you’re looking for a polish to perfect your home manicures or whether you’re thinking of going down a professional route, these polishes will give you that ‘just walked out of the nail salon’ look.
I’ve spent hours searching through the web looking at 37 different polishes, to find the very top, factoring out all the confusing features and getting to the best bits.
With so many manufacturers cutting corners in order to save an extra buck, selling polishes that take too long to dry and even the slightest touch can cause it to smudge or chip by the next day, there’s no wonder we turn to salon-quality polish with a whopping price tag.
But wait, let me tell you something…
I’ve made things much easier for you by listing the top nail polishes that are both affordable and last much longer than the next polish, from the gel to an original paint polish.
Here’s a tip: nail polishes with ingredients like biotin, keratin, or vitamin E are said to help strengthen and nourish your nails while also extending the life of your polish.
Long-lasting nail polishes are hard to find but my top choice was almost way too easy.
We’ve spent the time so you don’t have to:
The Best Nail Polish Brands For Salon Finish
CND Vinylux Long Wear Nail Polish
Now if you’re looking for a popular nail brand that won’t start chipping after the first couple of days while also being healthy for your nails. This product will always seal the number one spot on my list.
There’s nothing worse than a chipped polish then finding damaged nails underneath.
Lucky for you, this polish is excellently formulated with keratin, jojoba oil, and vitamin E for healthier, stronger nails staying on for 5 days with no issues.
This polish is an all-in-one polish and base coat meaning they are perfectly mixed to give the longest wear and if you put a top coat on top you will be shocked by the results even after one coat of nail polish.
You won’t even need a UV lamp with these babies.
CND not only will give you that perfect, salon, gel-like finish but it also comes in a range of different colors to choose from, from natural nails to everyday looks to even the most vibrant reds.
This product is true to its name it dries super quick and leaves nails a sleek and professional nail polish look for longer.
- Lasts up to 7 days
- Nourishing ingredients
- Gel-like finish
- Super easy application
- Can begin to clump over time
Latest deal: CND Vinylux Nail Polish
Butter LONDON Patent Shine Nail Lacquer
This product is renowned for its protective ingredients while also giving full coverage color to your nails. With the range of colors, you will never be stuck for choice.
Not only does this polish have protective ingredients it is also free from the ingredients such as formaldehyde, DBP, toluene, camphor, ethyl tosylamide, xylene, and TPHP which are all damaging to your health- so win-win really.
This product is free from all the harmful ingredients that can be damaging to you and your nails.
But if that wasn’t enough it also has UV protective ingredients so your nails will stay brighter for up to as long as 10 days! With the non-fading technology everyone will be complimenting you.
Butter also offers a massive range of colors that will fit every occasion, from flattering reds to sexy nude colors to even the sleekest of black colors.
With the glowing reviews and people raving about this product everywhere you can’t go wrong.
- Free from any harmful ingredients
- UV protective
- High impact color that you can count on
- Wide color selection
- Slightly pricey
Latest deal: Vitus Mach 3 VR Urban Bike
OPI Nail Lacquer
I have always loved OPI for its consistently reliable, long-lasting, vibrant, and wide selection of colors.
The color range is breathtaking while all being at drugstores’ affordable prices.
The nail polish formula itself feels really luxurious and has a super-shiny finish, and the teeny tiny brush is perfect for painting your own nails.
OPI has revolutionized the nail industry with iconic bottles, superior product quality all with unique names for each that you’ll never forget. You’ll love collecting all the colors knowing you will have an outstanding finish every time.
But wait, let’s not stop there.
The formula screams luxury, leaving a shiny, daring salon quality finish that will receive all the compliments.
Buying this product along with OPI’s base and topcoat your nails will look flawless for days all with super easy application!
- Shiny salon-quality finish
- Reliable and long-lasting
- Drugstore affordable
- Wide range of colors
- None so far
Latest deal: OPI Nail Lacquer
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Red Eye
Nothing is more daring and sexy than a flattering red nail polish that matches your outfit perfectly. Say goodbye to chipped nails and hello to flawless and nourished nails.
Sally Hansen may be the answer to your prayers, with the two easy step process color and topcoat which dries in a matter of minutes you’ll have that confidence for that nervous first date or to wow your friends.
Plus you’ll never have to worry about your nails fading in the harsh UV light, this baby can last up to 14 days without any problem.
This high potency nail lacquer will perfectly match and complement and mood. Not only is it brilliant for rebuilding nails after acrylics or just nails that won’t grow but it will last super long without chipping.
For the price, this product is a complete steal you’ll have to check it out.
- High potency lacquer that will repair nails
- UV protected
- Dries in a matter of minutes
- Drugstore prices
- People have struggled to return
Latest deal: Sally Hansen Miracle Gel
Shade Shifter Multichrome Nail Polish
If you love standing out from the crowd then why not try this multi-chrome shade that depending on the angle of light what color is shown. Whether you’re looking for a firey red and orange to classic purple or even cyan.
For best results, I would recommend 1 coat over a black base coat or 3 coats in total. This color will catch everyone’s eye with jaw-dropping changing colors.
But wait let me tell you something this product is completely cruelty-free.
So not only will your nails shine in the lights but also without the guilt, for what you get this product is a steal and definitely should be next on your list.
This is the finest nail polish on amazon.
- Outstanding multi-chrome colors
- Easy application
- No Prime delivery
Latest deal: Shade Shifter Multichrome
Orly Gel FX Nail Polish
best salon nail polish
If there’s anything I’ve learned when buying nail polish is that your nails will never be the same as that ‘fresh out of the salon look’ but lucky for you I’ve got the next best hit.
To save you some money let’s bring salon-quality gel polish to you this will be a brilliant polish for acrylic nails.
Not only is Orly’s gel nail polish is high quality but also long-lasting, it also has antioxidant vitamins A and E and vitamins B5 to prolong and nourish the natural nail.
The kind formula and LED light curing technology means this polish dries in half the time without chipping.
It even lasts up to 2 weeks, cool right?
After a lot of trial and error, you’ll find that painting your nails in the comfort of your own home is not only cheaper it can also be therapeutic, and what a better way to start.
With a wide range of colors, you’ll never be stuck for choice as I discovered this gel while searching through Amazon one day and now I’m completely hooked.
Side note: We have also put together a guide on gel nail polishes in case you’re looking for a gel nail polish that suits you.
- Gel-like look
- LED light curing technology
- Lasts up to 2 weeks
- Salon quality but affordable
- None so far
Latest deal: Orly Gel FX Nail Polish,
Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour
If you wanna show off your top-quality nail polish without having to spend hundreds unlike other Chanel products then I would recommend this classy number.
You’ll have luxury at your fingertips at a fairly affordable price.
The colors are vibrant and rich and certainly elegant like the rest of Chanel’s products, but nothing will scream this more than the iconic red mani.
You won’t believe the price for the quality and longevity of the product, you’ll wanna add this one to your basket.
- Luxury at an affordable price
- Vibrant and rich colors
Latest deal: Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour
Smith & Cult Nail Polish
I love this product so much for giving beautiful and glossy finishes that look as good as it does in the bottle. Smith and Cult’s will give you that salon finished look, at only a fraction of the price.
You won’t even need to worry about it chipping for days!
So many nail polishes I’ve tried over the year, especially the deeper colors, have either chipped straight away or stained my nails after use, lucky for you this one does none of the above.
In my own opinion, I feel that this polish is brilliant!
With so many colors to choose from you’ll receive compliments on every look, whether it’s night-time indigo, vibrant red, or weekend pink you’ll have a top salon finish each time.
- Chip free
- Vibrant and deep colors without stained cuticals
- The brush is a little bit heavy
Latest deal: Smith & Cult Nail Polish
Cote Toxin Free Nail Polish
If you’re looking for a nail polish that will not only compliment your nails but be guilt-free with completely cruelty-free and vegan ingredients.
It is also super easy to apply and will remain visible whether you apply a thin layer or thick layer- even in the white color. White nail polish can be a bit of hit and miss sometimes but you won’t have to worry again.
In case you might be asking yourself this applies to all their colors.
You definitely won’t be stuck for choice and after this polish is finished your nails will look both fetching and elegant and won’t chip after the second day. For what you pay and this polish is a steal.
If you want that guilt-free polished look then I cannot recommend this product enough.
- Completely cruelty-free and vegan
- Full coverage even after a thin layer
- Wide range of colors
- Polish may not last long
Latest deal: Cote Toxin Free Nail Polish
Essie Nail Polish, Glossy Shine Finish
I know I shouldn’t have made you wait for this long for this product but I promise you, you won’t regret it. Essie is renowned for its high-quality, glossy, and shiny finish and flawless coverage that won’t chip away easily.
The brush will fit every nail size for streak-free and easy application. With an extensive range to choose from, every look will give you that fresh off the runway feel.
Essie’s salon-quality polishes are all you need to lift your mood at home nails and make you feel great again, whether you’re in a classic mood or looking to stand out from the crowd, Essie has you covered.
With 35 years of experience, you can’t go wrong.
All along with Essie’s base coat and top coat, this polish will last you for days. For affordable quality why not try this one out.
- Long-lasting with Essie’s top coat and base coat
- Glossy and shiny finish
- Flawless coverage
- Colors are slightly different in person
Latest deal: Essie Nail Polish
Bonita Colors Salon 6-piece Nail Polish Color Set
From vibrant colors and a huge variety of styles for any part of your wardrobe, this 6 sets is a must-have for your collection.
The Bonita Colors range has the perfect shimmer, showing a rather glittery style of nail polish rather than some of the other solid color coats that are available.
The polish actually dries extremely fast; no longer than a minute from when I applied it.
The colors range from deep burgundy to an elegant teal. Each has a metallic finish which really catches people’s eye.
I find myself getting far more compliments from this polish over any of the others in my go-to set.
This polish covers the entire nail in 1 coat, however, I usually apply 2 for getting a little extra depth to the colors.
I find that this nail polish lasts up to a week with no chips making it one of the longer-lasting polishes I have worn.
- Only requires a single coats
- Lasts up to a week
- Metallic look
- Plastic cap falls off when shaking
Best Nail Polish Brands Buyers Guide
A little practice will go a long way when it comes to nail design, whether you’re starting at home on the weekend to go out with friends, we’re all off to a rocky start you’ll find one hand is always better than the other.
But no one wants to deal with clumpy and old nail varnish that doesn’t mix well with your nails. We all know which one I’m going on about, whether it’s shoved to the back of the cupboard or to the bottom of the box and forgotten about.
So, let’s treat yourself to a new, fresh paint that won’t break the bank off my list. Today we have looked at the top nail polish brands that’ll give you a long-lasting, glossy, and high-quality finish.
We all want to get better at doing our nails, as the salon is both time-consuming and can take a hard hit on the bank. Therefore it’s my mission to find the top nail polish so you can forget about those salon nails because you have the next hit.
Let’s face it though finding a nail polish that doesn’t streak and stays on longer than a couple of days can be a challenge, they all quickly start to chip or peel off especially with everyday life.
No wonder we turn to professionals.
But after a long string of research I’ve found some high-class polishes that are not only super affordable but will give you that salon finish we all crave.
In this guide I will help break down the features in nail polish so you understand what to look for in order to get the dreamiest finish.
Things to check before clicking buy
Ingredients: If you love constantly having a color on your nails I would recommend going to a polish that doesn’t have all the harmful and damaging chemicals as it will keep your nails and nail beds healthy even after the 4th week running with polish. Nail cells can actually be damaged if exposed to too many chemicals in a prolonged period.
I would consider nail polishes that have ingredients like biotin, keratin, or Vitamin E as they can nourish and make your nails grow faster and healthily.
Furthermore, in general, I would keep gloves on when washing up and cleaning to keep your nails in great condition and prevent exposure to unnecessary chemicals.
Longevity: Nothing’s worse than finding your next favorite color and it ticks all the right boxes then you find out the next day it starts to chip. When buying nail polish this is my top thing to check as painting your nails can be a fun task but will become very boring after adding the third layer in one week.
Durability: Along with longevity it is also good to check in the comments as to how durable this polish can be, your hands take a lot of abuse in everyday life, you need to look after them, nothing better than a polish that both nourishes your nails but can tackle a fair bit of damage without chipping.
Cruelty-free or Vegan: Many nail polish manufacturers have decided nowadays to create products in ways that aren’t harmful to animals. If you’re looking for a top-quality but guilt-free finish then I would suggest going cruelty-free. With a wide range of brands to choose from that are cruelty-free there’s no reason to support brands that use animal testing!
Frequently asked Questions
What’s the best nail polish?
When looking for a nail polish my first on my list and many others has to be OPI for color and longevity. But if you’re looking for super long wear then I would go for CND Vinylux- it’s a perfect blend of polish and shellac.
Can gel polish cure without a UV or LED lamp?
Not very easily, you could cure your gel in the UV rays from the sun but I wouldn’t recommend it. In order for the gel to last longer, I would recommend investing in an LED light or UV lamp, they aren’t expensive and they’ll transform your nails.
Does gel polish ruin your nails?
No, not always unless they have harmful ingredients if they have ingredients like biotin, keratin, and vitamin E actually nourish and strengthen my nail.
In this guide today we have gone through my top ten picks of the best nail polish that will not only give you that flawless finish but also compliment your mood and outfit for longer to give you a list of the top nail polish on the market.
Why fit in when you can stand out?
Whether you’re looking for a natural fix or a stylish glam I’ve got a pick for every occasion or mood. These polishes will not only give you reliable performance every time but at a super affordable price point.
Overall number one spot has to go to CND Vinylux for their consistent quality for long periods of time, and the nourishing ingredients that won’t damage your nails. You won’t even need a base coat with this beauty.
You will find all products above are built to last, with a wide range of colors to choose from and without the harmful ingredients that can be damaging to your nails.
Pick from any of my selections you’ll definitely have the salon finish you’re dreaming of.
Nail Technician Expert
Jess Rowley, a veteran nail tech, has been studying beauty over the last 11 years and has completed the nail technology program in California. Watching the latest trends in beauty, Jess searches for the highest quality products that make your nails feel loved.