To be asked the question, “What’s the best nail polish?” is to be faced with an impossible task. Because we all have different preferences when it comes to consistency, colors, and ingredients (or lack thereof), “best” means different things to different people. Formulas vary greatly from brand to brand, and even within some brands, there can be a huge variety of polish types: traditional, quick-drying, gel, peel-off, sheer, opaque — the options are endless, and “best” is subjective.
But one thing is for sure: Some nail polish brands are going above and beyond to make it even harder to choose our favorite nail polishes because they keep cranking out such chic colors, such long-lasting lacquers, and such ingredient-aware formulations. Whether your priority is a virtually indestructible chip-free finish, shade-shifting optical illusions, application ease, or something that will dry before you can spell “formaldehyde-free,” these brands won’t let you down.
Sure, lots of beauty brands make nail colors, but some (like the ones you’ll find below) really prioritize polish. Here are the best nail polish brands — the ones that will inspire you to hang bottle racks on your bathroom wall and fill them with entire shade ranges, to post a borderline excessive amount of hand selfies to your Instagram Stories, to never go a day without a manicure. Many of these brands are available at salons, but they’re all are available to fulfill your at-home mani needs.
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