best Nail polishes

10 Best Nail Polishes for Salon-Worthy Manicures

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As a nail polish fanatic, I’m always on the hunt for long-lasting, ultra-pigmented polishes that elevate my at-home manicures. After endless swatching and experimenting, these are my top 12 nail lacquers for achieving salon-quality, chip-free nails that turn heads.

Below I’ve highlighted the key pros and cons of each of my favorite polishes:

OPI Nail LacquerWide color selection, Glossy finish, Chip-resistantCan get thick over timeCheck on Amazon
Essie Nail PolishTrendy shades, Quick dry, AffordableCan chip quicklyCheck on Amazon
Zoya Nail PolishHealthy formula, Durable, Vibrant colorsLimited color selectionCheck on Amazon
ORLY Breathable TreatmentContains calcium, Strengthening, Quick drySheer coverageCheck on Amazon
Cirque ColorsHand-poured glitters, Long-wearing, VeganLimited color selectionCheck on Amazon
Dior VernisPrestige brand, Gel-like shine, Unique colorsPricey for drugstore qualityCheck on Amazon
China GlazeFun unique shades, Affordable, Easy applicationCan chip quicklyCheck on Amazon
Sally Hansen Miracle GelGel-like finish, Durable wear, Accessible priceLimited color selectionCheck on Amazon
Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab ProTrue gel-like wear, UV-activated, Wide brushTime-consuming systemCheck on Amazon
butter LONDON Patent Shine 10XExtremely glossy finish, Up to 10 days of wear, VeganLong dry timeCheck on Amazon
Ella + Mila7-free non-toxic formula, Rich pigment, Trendy colorsCan be streakyCheck on Amazon
CND Shellac14+ day wear, Zero dry time, Gel-like finishRequires UV lightCheck on Amazon

OPI Nail Lacquer

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With an enormous color selection and flawless application, OPI Nail Lacquer is my overall top choice. The ultra-pigmented formula offers full coverage in just one coat. OPI polishes also have a gorgeous glossy finish that feels plush and smooth. While they can get a bit thick over time, the chip-resistant wear is excellent.

Essie Nail Polish

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For a wide range of on-trend colors at drugstore prices, Essie Nail Polish is a winner. Essie’s classic glass-like bottle and cute name shades keep me coming back again and again. The brush and quick dry formula make application a breeze. While the wear time is just average, the affordable price point makes Essie a staple.

Zoya Nail Polish

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If you love healthy nail lacquer, Zoya Nail Polish is fantastic. The formula is 5-free, containing no toxic chemicals. The color payoff is amazing, with opaque coverage in 1-2 coats. And the shine lasts for days without chipping. The main downside is Zoya has a smaller color selection than some brands.

ORLY Breathable Treatment

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If you’re looking for a nourishing nail polish that actually cares for nails, check out ORLY Breathable Treatment. This formula contains calcium to strengthen nails and pro-vitamin B5 to condition. It applies sheer but builds to full coverage with 2-3 coats. While it’s not the most long-wearing, it’s perfect for giving nails some TLC.

Cirque Colors

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For mind-blowing glitters and effects, Cirque Colors is unparalleled. Each luxurious polish is hand-poured for stunning, smooth application. From holographic to color shifting to textured, Cirque offers captivating finishes that last. The only downside is the smaller collection compared to mainstream brands.

Dior Vernis

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With its upscale boutique vibe, Dior Vernis nail lacquer offers trendy colors with a gel-like finish. The slightly wide, rounded brush makes application easy. But for the expensive price tag, the formula doesn’t out-perform quality drugstore polishes in wear time or color selection. Still, the fashionable Dior style is unmatched.

China Glaze

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For fun, unique shades on a budget, China Glaze is a go-to. Their whimsical color names and trend-forward hues always inspire my manicures. The formula applies smoothly and offers great color payoff. China Glaze also has innovative textures and effects beyond creams. The only bummer is the average wear time.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel

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If you love the look of a gel mani with zero UV light needed, reach for Sally Hansen Miracle Gel. The gel-like high shine finish lasts for days without major chips or dents. And the one-step application is quick and easy. Just know the color selection is not as robust as traditional polishes.

Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro

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For ultra long-wear with a true gel-like finish, Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro nails it. You apply two steps then cure under a UV or LED lamp. I get a flawless, cushiony manicure that lasts over a week without chips or tip wear. But the process is time-consuming compared to regular polishes.

butter LONDON Patent Shine 10X

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If you’re obsessed with mega-glossy shine, butter LONDON Patent Shine 10X brings it. The plumping agents create an insanely glassy finish that mirrors the look of a salon gel mani. The extensive wear time of up to 10 days is also impressive. Just plan for longer dry time between coats.

Ella + Mila

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For the most natural lacquer, Ella + Mila 7-free polishes are ideal. The formula leaves out harsh chemicals and additives. The application is incredibly smooth and pigmented. With on-trend colors, Ella + Mila makes it easy to get a clean, vegan mani without sacrificing vibrancy.

CND Vinylux

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The original powerhouse gel polish, CND Vinylux remains untouchable. With zero dry time and 14+ days of flawless wear, Vinylux Longwear’s performance is unmatched. The vast color selection and gel-like cushiony finish keep my nails pristine. Just plan to maintain it with professional removal and reapplication.

No matter your nail needs and preferences – trendy hues, salon-like wear, conditioning care, or simply a glossy pop of color – there’s a perfect nail polish on this list to help you achieve stunning DIY manicures. Happy polishing!

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