Best fingernail polish

By Katie Dyal

The origins of nail polish style can be traced from the early use of Henna in India to China where the more elaborate your nail art was, the more royal or wealthy you probably were. Today fingernail polish crosses age, gender, ethnicity and even socio-economic barriers.   

With all of the colors, techniques and enamel products available, there literally is something for everyone. Start by cleansing with an antibacterial hand soap and then create a changeable fingernail or toenail palate that reflects the occasion, your mood, or even matches your outfit. Here are the best fingernail polishes.

The best fingernail polish

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Beetles Gel Nail Polish Kit

Best DIY gel

Glossy and matte options 

Get the longevity and shine of gel with the DIY removal capabilities of lacquer. 

Skip the expense and time investment of traditional gel nail polish with this at-home option. The 20 mini polish bottles also come with a base starter polish, a glossy top-coat polish and a matte top-coat polish. The nine product ingredients are non-toxic and have low odor.  You’ll need your own UV light to cure each coat and nail remover wraps to soak-off the color

Why we love it:

  • Non-toxic
  • Low odor
  • Gel polish components included
OPI Nail Lacquer

Best name recognition

Iconic and trendsetting

When you need the security of a name you know and trust, this is the choice in fingernail polish.

This option has led the industry now in top quality and sensational color selection with high shine, for years running. Available in traditional lacquer polish colors that last a full 7 days and gel polish that can be worn for closer to three weeks. Clear base coats and topcoat products are purchased separately and should be applied before adding the color coasts. 

Why we love it: 

  • Expert reputation
  • Durable and shiny
  • Trendy color options
Gellen Gel Nail Polish Kit

Best color and designs

Cooling and conforming

A DIY gel set that offers color and patterned design options. 

This preference comes in three palette choices and each palette kit contains sparkle, glitter and regular color. Top-coat and base coat products are also included but the UV light to cure and set the polish must be purchased separately. Lasting up to three weeks, this non-toxic option resists fading and dulling and boasts a flexible application. 

Why we love it: 

  • Design options
  • Non-toxic
  • Long-lasting 
Gelish Fantastic Four Essentials

Best adaptable system 

Protecting and nourishing

If you’re worried about how harsh gel fingernail polish can be for your nails, this 4-step process will eliminate your worries and give you fabulous nails. 

Treat yourself to an at-home manicure that hydrates, nourishes, protects and creates an ultimate shine finish. Start with the pH Bond base to remove surface oils and balance the pH of the nail before adding the foundation coat to protect the nail while bonding to the polish. Apply any gel polish brand and color you like, then use the Top It Off coat to seal a shiny, chip-proof service. Follow up your topcoat with the Nourish bottle on the nail bed to hydrate and resort the cuticle and surrounding skin.

Why we love it:

  • Nourishing
  • Adaptable
  • 200 color choices
Sally Hansen Color Therapy

Best gel shine in a lacquer 

Healthy and durable

If you’re searching for the look of gel without the hassle or damage to your nails, this option may be the product for you.

Available in 40 color choices, this selection is created with a strengthening, patented Argan oil formula that also infuses acai and primrose to leave your nails in better condition than it found them. Without requiring a UV light, this preference seals in color and shine that is chip-resistant and fade-resistant for up to ten days.  

Why we love it:

  • Strengthening
  • No soak removal
  • No UV light curing
Ownest Holographic Polish

Best halo effect

Shifting and changing color

Give your nails that next century, futuristic look with the holographic effect of this polish. 

This product is a non-gel color that shifts shades as you look at it from different angles—like a halo appears across your nails. If you’re still seeking gel longevity, you’ll need to use this choice with a gel kit, as the color step of the process. This option is vegan, not tested on animals, non-toxic and comes in seven shades. 

Why we love it:

  • Halo effect
  • Vegan and nontoxic
  • High shine

How to find the best fingernail polish

Throw out those manicure appointments and stash some cash away with DIY face masks and fingernail polish. Whether you’re a quick-change artist and you like to have your nails match your outfit, or you’re a connoisseur of gel treatments that boast high shine and longevity, there is a fingernail polish that will make you happy. Look for function, variety, ingredients and durability when choosing the product that’s right for you

Function: Think about how often you’ll want to change your nail color and how long you need the shine to last. Lacquer can provide great shine if you use a topcoat but only for up to 10 days. Gel is the way to go if you need 12 to 21 days of perfection.

Variety: Let’s face it. A great manicure actually does come down to the color. Even if the shine and durability are there, without great color options it really doesn’t matter. Look for products that offer lots of options or work in tandem with other brands that offer additional color selections. 

Ingredients: Lacquer nail polishes are often gentler to the nail and require less aggressive chemicals for removal. Gel fingernail products can have more harsh and toxic chemicals. Consider options that are vegan or at a minimum, nontoxic to help protect you, your nails and the environment. 

Durability: There is no denying that gel options last longer than regular lacquer. If you find your polish must withstand cleaners, lots of washing or is subject to chipping, go for the longevity and durability of gel. 


With these kinds of details on the best fingernail polish DIY opportunities, you can achieve the nail art statement that you’re looking for every time you apply your color. We hope you’ve found your perfect brand and type of fingernail polish from our list of suggestions or can use our “how-to tips” to discover one of your own. 

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