If you’ve ever painted your own nails, you know that nail polish quality matters. Some nail polishes go on smooth with rich color and a flawless drying finish, while others smudge, streak, or take hours to dry completely. That’s why having a cache of the best nail polish brands can help you achieve manicures that are truly Instagram worthy. 

But with all the nail polish brands out there, how can you know which are the best? Just like choosing the best nail shapes and lengths for your lifestyle, choosing the best nail polish can be a matter of trial and error.

Fortunately, we’re here to take some of the mystery out of the equation. Take a look at our list of the top 13 nail polish brands you need to add to your collection.

#1 Jin Soon

Established in 2021 by industry icon Jin Soon Choi, Jin Soon nail polishes are among the best in the business. Known for elegance and simplicity, the Jin Soon nail collection was built on the founder’s experiences as the go-to manicurist of top photographers, editors, designers, and celebrities. 

The collection features a range of shades named by the models she caters to and uses high-tech polymers and resins for long wear and a crystal-shine finish. Her double-patented, quick-dry formula offers: 

  • A smooth application
  • Long-lasting results 
  • Brilliant color 
  • A chip-proof finish

Plus, Jin Soon nail polishes are formulated without animal testing and are vegan friendly, so you can feel good about choosing this brand.  

Average Cost: $18

#2 OPI

As a world leader in the nail industry, OPI has been around since 1981. In all likelihood, you’ve used OPI nail polish yourself or have chosen an OPI color when visiting professional nail salons. OPI’s heavily pigmented lacquers are rich, durable, and chip-resistant for a flawless finish at an affordable price. 

The nail brand is known for long-lasting formulas and trendy shades with cheeky names, such as: 

  • I’m Not Really a Waitress
  • Tickle My France-y
  • Good Girls Gone Plaid

In addition to regular nail polish, OPI offers professional nail care tools, finishing products, nail treatments, and lotions. And, if you are on the fence between using dip versus acrylic, OPI also offers products to achieve each of these manicure types. 

Average Cost: $10.50

#3 Essie

Founded by Essie Weingarten in 1981, Essie is a legacy in the nail industry. In fact, celebrities and royalty often wear Essie colors. Did you know that Queen Elizabeth II’s signature shade is “Ballet Slippers?” 

The brand isn’t just for the rich and famous, however. Essie is a go-to nail brand for beauty professionals, industry insiders, and beauty junkies all over the world.

Essie features a range of collections to suit different styles and personalities, from the originals like “blanc,” “baby’s breath,” and “bordeaux” to the contemporary “TREAT, LOVE & COLOR” shades in the advanced care collection. Their original polishes are popular, but the Essie Gel Couture line takes long-lasting shine to the next level.

Average Cost: $9

#4 Deborah Lippmann

Created by top celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippman, the Deborah Lippmann nail collection has been a staple in fashion houses, such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, Elle, Versace, and Donna Karan. During her work with celebrities, fashion designers, and models, Lippmann recognized a need for a diverse range of nail colors and luxury care products to fill the market void, leading to the creation of her own line of nail lacquers and treatments.

Now, Deborah Lippmann nail polishes are featured in top magazines, fashion shows, and on A-list celebrities like Kate Winslet, Penelope Cruz, and Reese Witherspoon. The eponymous line features both timeless neutral shades and hot nail colors alike, as well as high-quality glitter polishes. In addition to nail lacquer, the brand also offers nail care tools, cuticle care products, and a full line of beauty and personal care products that can be used by both consumers at home and beauty technicians that specialize in professional settings.

Average Cost: $20

#5 Zoya

Part of the Art of Beauty brand founded in 1986, Zoya was created from the shared vision of Zoya and Michael Reyzis. Together, they evolved their small nail salon into a spa promoting natural skin and nail care. Part of their creation was the innovative Zoya nail collection. Often found in the world’s best salons, spas, and resorts, the Zoya nail collection is featured in top fashion magazines year after year. 

Zoya polishes are formulated without toxic chemicals including formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, camphor, TPHP, parabens, xylene, and lead for a more breathable, less chemical-heavy formula. Colors are organized by palette and feature rich, coordinated shades with chip-free finishes, high shine, and rich luster. 

Average Cost: $12

#6 ORLY

The original name in French manicures, ORLY is a fashionable brand that’s always on trend. The Breathable collection is among its best and offers ingredients that nourish and hydrate nails, such as: 

  • Pro-vitamin B5
  • Vitamin C
  • Argan oil

ORLY is also known for signature, innovative collections with curated shades, like Birthstone Color Edits, Lisa Frank, and Momentary Wonders. Celebrity collaborations elevate the brand further, such as the Kelli Marissa X ORLY collection of versatile green shades. Finally, customers can create their own signature hue with custom colors from ORLY Color Labs Mixologists.

Average Cost: $9.50

#7 People of Color 

People of Color is another top nail polish brand that was founded by Jacqueline Carrington to address the lack of representation in the industry. While the polishes are designed for everyone, they cater to those with darker skin tones as a “first thought.” 

The polishes reflect this sentiment with rich undertones and names like “Abuela,” “Bronzed Beauty,” and “Comida Frita.” Along with polishes, the brand offers nail files, polish bundles, nail polish remover, and other products that serve as some of the best at-home nail tools

Average Cost: $12

#8 Christian Louboutin

One of the fashion industry legends is that Christian Louboutin was inspired to create his signature red soles from red nail polish. So, when he created his nail polish line, the bottles were inspired by a stiletto heel. 

Available in rich, luxurious shades, Christian Louboutin nail polishes come in shine or matte variety and feature smooth application. Plus, all of his shades are inspired by best-selling heels, like the “Ballerina Ultima.” 

Average Cost: $50

#9 Chanel

The iconic fashion house also makes some of the best nail polish colors, which tend to debut in the hotly anticipated runway shows. Chanel nail polishes come in timeless colors, such as: 

  • Rouge Puissant – An intense red
  • Daydream – A classic nude
  • Ballerina – A soft pink

But you can also find trendier shades, such as purple and bronze. 

Chanel polishes are pricey, but worth the investment for classic colors and the signature Chanel presentation. Plus, all of their polishes are enriched with bioceramics and ceramides to strengthen and improve the quality of nails over time. 

Average Cost: $28

#10 Sundays

Sundays is an alternative nail brand that focuses on wellness. After working in salons, the founder wanted to create a brand that offers self-care and an element of “treating yourself.” After working with chemists, the founder was able to create a nontoxic nail polish formula that’s vegan and cruelty-free, but delivers long-lasting color with high shine.

All of their polishes are free from standard, yet harmful, chemicals like formaldehyde, camphor, ethyl tosylamide, and xylene. Neither the polishes nor the raw materials are tested on animals, ever. With so much that goes into creating high-performance nail polish with ethical considerations, the brand focuses on a limited color palette in timeless colors instead of chasing nail polish trends. 

Average Cost: $18

#11 Smith & Cult

As the name indicates, Smith & Cult has a cult-like following for its popular polishes. All nail color formulas are free of camphor, xylene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, dibutyl phthalate, and ethyl tosylamide. They’re also gluten-free and vegan. 

This doesn’t compromise performance, however, since all Smith & Cult polishes have long-lasting formulas that offer:

  • Full coverage
  • High shine
  • Highly pigmented color

The cylindrical bottles and attractive package design make these vegan nail polish colors suitable for display, and the colors range from timeless neutrals to bold and trendy colors, like neon orange and royal blue. Smith & Cult also creates base coats, topcoats, and other nail care products.

Average Cost: $18

#12 Olive & June

Founded in 2013 by Sarah Gibson Tuttle, Olive & June is a California-based nail brand intended to elevate the salon experience. By offering luxury nail polishes at an approachable price, Olive & June creates professional-quality products for the perfect DIY nails at home

For the ultimate in usability, the polishes are arranged by:

  • Level (beginner, intermediate, and advanced)
  • Season
  • Color palette 

The brand also offers nail care products and tools, nail art, and press-on nail kits. 

Average Cost: $8

#13 LaPierre Cosmetics

Touted as an eco-chic beauty brand, LaPierre Cosmetics was inspired by the founder’s mother, Jacquelyn Marie LaPierre. At-home manicures were always a bonding experience between mother and daughter, but after LaPierrer got a lung cancer diagnosis, she was limited in what brands of nail polish she could use. So her daughter created a “10 FREE” nail polish brand to give her mother a range of safe, beautiful, high-performance nail polishes.

Each color is free from the following ten ingredients: toluene, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, ethyl tosylamide, xylene, camphor, parabens, animal by-products, and fragrance. 

The brand has a wide range of colors to choose from, including the “Shrek-ish” line of polishes inspired by the hit film. Shades like “Ba Donkey Donk” and “Dragons in Duloc” are available for individual purchase or as part of the eight-shade “Shrek-ish” set. 

Average Cost: $15

Leave Your Nails to the Pros with StyleSeat

At-home manicures can be challenging, even for the most nail-savvy among us. Having top quality nail polish brands can help elevate your at-home manicure, but why not put your trust (and your nails) in the hands of professionally-trained nail technicians? Whether you are searching for top-tier nail technicians in Charlotte or highly recommended nail salons in Detroit, we have you covered!

With StyleSeat, finding top rated salons in your area has never been easier. By searching your location, you can view salon services, read reviews, and book an appointment. So whether you purchase a top nail polish brand and bring it to the salon with you or choose from their own quality collection, by booking through StyleSeat, you can guarantee that Instagram-worthy manicure. 

Sources: 

Jin Soon. https://jinsoon.com/ 

Essie. https://www.essie.com/ 

Deborah Lippmann. https://deborahlippmann.com/ 

People of Color Beauty. https://www.peopleofcolorbeauty.com/ 

Sundays. https://dearsundays.com/ 

LaPierre Cosmetics. https://lapierrecosmetics.com/