A WISE woman once said: 'If you're a fly gal, get your nails done', and to be honest, she really was giving some solid advice.
The thing is though; when you're taking tips from Missy Elliott but not able to book in at the salon, an at-home mani is the only option—and dare we say it, can be even more satisfying. Ever patiently applied three coats of polish and stared down at your nails all day like they're literal works of art? Yep, us too.
Long-lasting, good coverage and fast drying are all qualities the best nail polish should possess. After all, no-one wants to waste their precious time painting on coat after coat of too-thin polish, only for it to still look wishy-washy and instantly chip.
Luckily, the best nail polishes don't necessarily have to break the bank: some of the most durable, easiest-applying formulas we've tried have come straight from the high street and rival any expensive, high-end lacquer.
If you're on a mission to find the elusive perfect nail polish, we've analyzed the reviews, comparing everything from coverage to chip-resistant wear, to bring you the best buys for 2021.
Below, you'll find some of the top-rated nail polishes whatever your colour preference: from natural hues to eye-popping shades and dark colourways. There's something for all budgets too, plus we've found the best top coat to ensure your application is as long-lasting as possible.
This article and featured products have been independently chosen by Sun journalists. It contains links which are ads, and if you click a link and buy a product we will earn revenue.
1. Best glossy finish: Nails Inc's 45 Second Speedy Gloss Kings Cross Keeps Cool
- (AD) Nails Inc 45 Second Speedy Gloss Kings Cross Keeps Cool 14ml, £8 from Amazon – buy here
London-based nail bar chain, Nails Inc, is a favourite for its salon-quality, award-winning nail polish range: not only is it highly pigmented, but it's vegan and cruelty-free.
If you're looking for a glossy high-shine finish, you'll love the 45 Second Speedy Gloss formula. Nails Inc recommends applying two coats on top of your base coat and then finishing with a final top coat for best results.
Reviewers do note that it takes a little longer than 45 seconds realistically before it's completely dry—but they're super impressed with its coverage and finish.
'I love the applicator on these nail polishes. They are perfect for polish application. Not to mention the colour is the nicest nude' comments one reviewer, with another saying: 'Brush is amazing, you only need one coat.'
2. Best recommended by beauty professionals: CND Vinylux's Long Wear Nail Polish
- (AD) CND Vinylux Long Wear Nail Polish (No Lamp Required) 15 ml in Red Shades, £9.60 from Amazon – buy here
CND Vinylux is a popular alternative to Shellac, providing week-long durability without needing a lamp to cure it. In fact, its unique formula actually hardens with wear and exposure to daylight!
Enriched with keratin, jojoba oil and vitamin E, it nourishes and protects nails too, so it's no wonder beauty therapists rate it so highly.
We think it's best to go bold with this polish for full impact: and what could be better than classic pillarbox red?
Fans are seriously impressed too, with one reviewer saying: 'CND Vinylux is a revolution! It truly does last for at least a week.'
3. Best on a budget: Maybelline's SuperStay 7 Days Gel Nail Polish
- Maybelline SuperStay 7 Days Gel Nail Polish, £4.50 from Boots – buy here
Maybelline's Super Stay polish makes a big claim with its promise of long-lasting, up to seven-day wear—and we're happy to say that it lives up to its word according to happy customers.
'Put on last night. Today I have sanded and painted a gate, dug a pumpkin patch, gardened for the afternoon, and not a single chip' says one reviwer—who quite frankly deserves a medal for all that work.
We've picked out Divine Wine, a gloriously rich statement hue that will brighten up winter hands.
4. Best top coat: Seche Vite's Dry Fast Top Coat
- Seche Vite Dry Fast top coat, £9 from Boots – buy here
The secret to long-lasting chip-resistant nails, as any mani obsessive will tell you, is more than just a one-step process: in fact, to skip on top coat is to truly sin in this game.
Nail technicians all over the world love Seche Vite's Dry Fast Top Coat, which proudly positions itself as 'the world’s finest top coat.'
With a formula that penetrates through your nail polish to form a single solid coating, this is a must if you want a durable finish on your beautiful, just-painted nails.
5. Best designer polish: Christian Louboutin's Pop Nail Colour
- Christian Louboutin Pop Nail Colour 13ml, £39.50 from Selfridges – buy here
For those who can't resist a little designer luxury with their home mani, Christian Louboutin's 'Pop' nail polish is an essential treat.
Presented in a striking high-top pointy bottle that will look elegant on any dressing table, it's been custom-designed using a patented triangular brush to make coverage easier than ever.
Promising a flawlessly glossy finish in just two coats, we've opted for the bright and beautiful pluminette pink hue which can be teamed with the coordinating lipstick for a double dose of Louboutin goodness.
Enjoyed our guide for the best nail polish? Why not check out the best hairdressing scissors?
We've also reviewed three digital foundation finders here.
And check out our dedicated Sun Selects fashion section for more style tips, trends and products.
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