Best Nail Polish for 2023: Top 5 Brands Recommended By Experts

Choosing the best nail polish is no easy feat. There are new brands popping up every day with the latest colors and trends, claiming to be long-lasting, vegan, or toxin-free. Investing in the wrong polishes can lead to unhealthy nails in the long run or wasting money on bottles of polish that chip in a couple of days when you apply. If you’re on the search for the best nail polish on the market, StudyFinds is here to help.

With inflation rising and a recession looming on the horizon, self-care is more important that ever. A poll conducted by OnePoll found that Americans only feel relaxed for 40 minutes a day. The poll asked 2,000 Americans about their self-care habits and shows that while the average respondent only feels relaxed for less than an hour, 47 percent feel even less relaxed than that.

How do we balance taking care of ourselves while keeping it affordable? Data from Statista shows that traditional or hard gels at a nail salon cost an average of $51.29 in the United States. A full set of acrylics cost $46.01, and gel polish costs $30.96 on average. (This figure varies by location.) The average cost of a bottle of nail polish? Anywhere from $2 to $30, depending on the brand. One bottle can last up to 20 uses or more.

It seems like the answer is DIY, with more and more women opting to take their self-care into their own hands. StudyFinds has scoured the web for the best nail polish brands ranging from drugstore affordable prices to designer luxury splurges. We visited ten of the leading beauty websites to see which products were rated the highest. Our list is ranked based on the most-recommended nail polish brands across these sites.

The List: Best Nail Polish, According To Experts

1. Essie

With their signature sleek white tops, Essie is one of the most well-known and loved brands of polish. The quality of the formula and color selection is unmatched for the price point. 

“We’ll make a bet that nearly every salon you’ve ever been to has had Essie nail polishes on hand. The quality is consistent, the price is great, the brush creates long, smooth strokes, and the color options are a plenty,” writes More.

Essie’s brushes were re-designed to be wider and flatter, to efficiently coat your nail in one stroke without worrying about messy polish all over your skin.

“In our tests, Essie was the clear winner: It received top scores from testers, experts, and consumers in a whopping six categories,” writes Good Housekeeping. “Testers raved about its high gloss, saying they loved how shiny the polish remained throughout its entire wear-time.”

2. OPI

OPI is another shelf staple in every salon or home collection. The brand is known for delivering consistent quality at affordable prices with an endless selection of colors.

“The color range is stunning. It has everything from classic reds to harder-to-find slime greens and dusty pastel nail colors, all at drugstore prices. The formula itself feels really luxurious and has a super-shiny finish, and the teeny, tiny brush is perfect for painting your own nails.” writes Glamour.

OPI also releases limited collections and colors for holidays that sell out quickly, while still maintaining amazing staple colors.

“You’ve likely purchased OPI polishes yourself or selected a shade at your local nail shop—that goes to show how relevant the heritage brand is,” writes Elle. The color opacity is fantastic, and the dry time is great with only two coats.

3. Deborah Lippman

Deborah Lippman is a favorite of celebrities and magazine editorial nail artists for their selection of unique colors and long-lasting coverage.

“A unique combo of 10 active ingredients works to create the look and feel of a gel manicure without any curing light or extensive (and potentially damaging) removal required. The brush is also noteworthy, boasting 320 bristles plus a rounded tip to help you seamlessly coat your entire nail,” writes Byrdie.

This brand’s polish is formulated to give you the look of a gel manicure without needing to deal with the hassle of a UV light or the removal process. With 3 coats it can last up to 10 days with no chipping!

“Deborah Lippman nail polishes are sought after by celebrities and nail pros alike, and with good reason. If you’re already a fan of its long-wear nail polishes, the brand’s Galaxy collection is sure to inspire your next sparkly mani, “ writes Self.

4. Chanel Le Vernis

Chanel’s name is synonymous with classic luxury, and their nail polishes are no different. They’re a bit of an investment at $28 per bottle, but you’ll feel the difference in the quality of your manicure.

“It seems like everyone in the beauty world loves Chanel, and while these bottles are definitely an investment, the colors are rich, buttery, and beautifully smooth as you apply,” writes Who What Wear.

This polish is known for producing classic red shades, like “Vamp” which was worn by Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction.

“Save your time and make your hard work last with long-wear nail polish by Chanel. Yes, it’s expensive, and that’s because it’s filled with bioceramics and ceramides that nourish and strengthen your nails over time,” writes More. “This product will bond to your nails like no other, just two thin, even coats, a glossy top coat, and you’re done!”

5. Olive & June

Olive & June polish is “15-free” – formulated without Formaldehyde, Toulene, DBP, Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor, Ethyl Tosylamide, Xylene, Triphenyl Phosphate (TPHP), Acetone, Animal-Derived Ingredients, Bisphenol-A, Nonylphenol Ethoxylate, Parabens, and Sulfates.

“They are known for having some of the longest-lasting polishes ever,” writes The Cut. “The brand held a “Mani Marathon” contest and one client said her manicure lasted without chips for 21 days.”

Their brushes and colors are beginner-friendly, and when paired with their signature top coat, a manicure done with their polishes can last for up to two weeks.

“Olive & June’s formulas come with a wider-than-average brush that lets you coat your entire nail in one or two swipes, writes Allure.

Sources:

More
Elle
The Cut
Allure
Harper’s Bazaar
Self
Glamour
Good Housekeeping
Byrdie
Who What Wear

Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.

Comments

  1. My response is that unfortunately, people DON’T know, and when articles on the topic continue to feature the commercially-dominant brands with little to no mention of all the others, how will the news travel, other than by word of mouth?
    So I DO think readers’ comments are terribly important, and listing alternative, ANIMAL & EARTH FRIENDLY CHOICES is Imperative.

  2. I would never use OPI or Essie! Their polish is full of chemicals and makes nails week. I use the Dazzle Dry system and it is all I will use until they make a better product. Plus in this natural system nails dry in 5 minutes.

  3. I agree that there are so many different brands out there that are better than what was listed. You need tondo indie brands. Holo Taco, ILNP, KBShimmer, Cirque Colors, Cupcake Polish, Bees Knees… They are cruelty free, vegan, long lasting.

  4. Holo Taco should be on this list. Vegan and cruelty free. I guess you can say it’s and Indie brand but made the quality she puts into her products is amazing. Not to mention the customer care. I broke my nail fail . COMPLETELY my fault and they replaced it free of charge after i posted how upset I was over it breaking on Instagram gram. It’s an amazing company and brand. I literally now only buy this product when it come to polishes.

  5. Chanel and Deborah Lippmann, but not the biggest boutique brands like Holo Taco, ILNP, Mooncat, Cirque Colors? No mention of PPU or indies like the other commenters mentioned? Not even ORLY? Whoever these “experts” are, they’re clearly out of touch with the real nail polish fans and community.

  6. No Indie brands on this list? No Bee’s Knees Lacquer? Polished For Days? Cuticula Nail Care? Even Boutique brands like KBShimmer, ILNP, & HoloTaco are far better than the mainstream brands listed . Don’t get me wrong, mainstream brands are alright, but to consider yourself a “nail polish expert” and not list a single Indie brand is kind of silly.
    Disappointing that small pour, Indie, & Boutique brands get ignored in favor of major brands.
    Here’s a list of some amazing Indie brands (besides the ones I gave above):
    Nailed It
    Phoenix Indie Polish
    Vanessa Molina
    M&N Indie Polish
    Emily de Molly
    Swamp Gloss
    Kathleen & Co. New Orleans
    Night Owl Lacquer
    Lumen
    Cadillacquer
    You’re welcome!
    My 2000+ piece nail polish collection (most of which are NOT on this list) is insulted.

  7. These are literally the most toxic brands on the market. They have more chemicals than household cleaners. Where are the less harmful brands working to eliminate known carcinogens from our make up?
    At least 20 free or bust when it comes to nail polish.

  8. Deborah Lippmann polishes are overpriced, streaky, & ridiculously small. I haven’t heard many good things about Olive & June outside of their fan groups.

    Indie brands are far better quality, have interesting finishes that you won’t find at the drug store, & support small businesses. Brands like Polished For Days, KB Shimmer, Cirque, Pahlish, Cuticula, and Emily DE Molly are beautiful & last over a week on my nails when used with a sticky base coat and a quick dry top coat.

    *Most of the brands listed are only available to purchase through their websites

  9. Where are all the indie brands and small pour groups??? It’s articles like this that made me think these were the only choices for years. While there is mention of other polishes, there isn’t a mention that that the majority listed here are mainstream or luxury. There isn’t even a mention of things like subscription boxes or groups like Polish Pickup that give people an easy way to try a few cohesive items from a singular brand or try new brands.
    This was a disappointing read with the same types of brands that are always given recognition.

    1. This!! I don’t know if people don’t know about about indie brands or if they’re ignoring them, but articles like these drive me nuts!

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