The Best Nail Polishes for Long-Lasting DIY Manicures, Including Chrissy Teigen's Go-To Brand, Start at $6 (2024)

I’ve been obsessed with nail polish and at-home manicures since I was introduced to the coveted Klutz Nail Art Book as a kid in the 90s.

Since then, I’ve tried dozens of formulas, interviewed nail artists, and even created my own nail art designs. I could probably start a small amateur nail salon from my bathroom, thanks to my ever-growing collection of lacquers. Several factors such as staying power, color pigmentation, and formula consistency make for high-quality nail polishes.

Whether you’re taking a break from gel manicures and want a similar high-gloss finish, or are looking for a nontoxic formula that doesn’t skimp on staying power, consider our list of the absolute best nail polishes.

Olive & June makes some of the best nail polishes that are nontoxic and 7-free. Essentially, they're made without common toxins found in nail lacquers, a trait shared by most high quality formulas, according to celebrity nail artist Sarah Chue (who works with clients like Tate McRae, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Ava Max). The brand has many colors available, but if you have decision fatigue, this Bright & Bold set comes with a curated collection of six quick-dry formulas in stunning spring and summer hues.

Colors: 6 | Opacity: Opaque | Finish: Glossy

For a salon-worthy manicure — with hundreds of color options — consider O.P.I. Nail Lacquer. You can find this polish on Amazon Prime, making it a good choice for last-minute manis. And, the long-wear formula can last up to seven days, which is impressive considering most nail polish manicures only last between three and five days.

Colors: 250 | Opacity: Depends on color choice | Finish: Depends on color choice

If you’re looking for the best gel nail polish that doesn’t require a UV lamp, Essie Gel Couture Longwear Nail Polish is one of my tried-and-true picks. While it’s not as durable as traditional gel manicures, you can still achieve a high-quality and long-lasting manicure with a gel look thanks to its two-part polish and top coat system. The polish is also super easy to remove (no soaking required!), so you can swap out shades without much hassle.

Colors: 18 | Opacity: Opaque | Finish: Gel gloss

If you’re someone who can never have enough nail polish options, Lights Lacquer makes over 140 hues to choose from — including the most adorable Polly Pocket pink. You can find the perfect shade to pair with everyday looks or special occasion ensembles; the brand makes some of my all-time favorite nail polish colors. The formulas are also 12-free, so they’re an excellent nontoxic choice, too.

Colors: 141 | Opacity: Depends on color choice | Finish: Glossy

Kylie Jenner, Jennifer Lopez, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Selena Gomez have all rocked manicures with PLA nail polish. The 10-free brand is unique in that most of its colors come in both gel and regular nail lacquer formulas, so you aren’t limited based on your manicure preferences. If you’re new to the brand, I recommend trying one of their sets, like this Spring Mini Nail Collection. This one features seven stunning hues that correspond, so you can mix and match or use them to create fun DIY nail art creations.

Colors: 7 | Opacity: Opaque | Finish: Creamy gloss

Côte nail polish is a must-have in any DIY nail polish collection. The brand offers dozens of hues — including sheers, metallics, and glitters — and carries one of the best white nail polishes I’ve ever tried. All Côte polishes are nontoxic and cruelty-free, and they don’t chip as easily (especially if you use a good top coat like the Orly Shining Armor Long Wear Topcoat).

Colors: 1 | Opacity: Opaque | Finish: Cream

When shopping for a quick-drying nail polish, the Insta-Dri line from Sally Hansen will always be my first choice. If you’re in a pinch, you can find this polish at most drugstores, Target, and ULTA. Its gel-like formula makes it one of the best one-coat nail polishes for last-minute applications. The polish is great to have on hand (pun-intended) to maintain your manicure while on vacation or spruce up your nails before an event.

Colors: 38 | Opacity: Depends on color choice | Finish: Depends on color choice

Deborah Lippmann offers multiple opacities in its lineup, so whether you prefer a shimmering sheer or creamy opaque finish, you’ll find what you’re looking for. This luxe nail polish brand also has some of the best neutral tones, so it’s a great choice for nude nails. The formulas are also 21-free and made with only ten ingredients — including nail-strengthening keratin and biotin — so it’s one of the safest nail polish options out there.

Colors: 26 | Opacity: Depends on color choice | Finish: Depends on color choice

Experts Say

“Purchasing high-quality nail polish is important so that you can protect the health and integrity of the nail plate and surrounding skin."Mazz Hanna, celebrity manicurist for Emma Roberts, Julia Roberts, and Greta Gerwig

Painting your own nails takes some skill and can get a little messy. If at-home manicures stress you out and you don’t like the look of press-ons, ManiMe makes the ultimate hack: gel nail polish stickers. These stickers are made to look like a gel manicure and come in a range of solid colors and nail art designs. I love the Serenity Spots style because it features a gorgeous neutral green hue with more minimalistic nail art that goes with virtually anything.

Colors: 1 | Opacity: Opaque | Finish: Glossy

If you’re searching for the best top coat nail polish, you’ll find it in this formula from Orly. After years of gel manicures, I switched to traditional nail lacquer and found that this high-gloss top coat was the only formula that gave me that same long-lasting and shiny finish without needing a UV lamp. In addition to using it on top of regular polish, you can also apply it to weeks-old gel manicures to revive that glossy finish between salon visits.

Colors: 1 | Opacity: Clear | Finish: High gloss

Celeb Callout

Chrissy Teigen recently told PEOPLE that she loves the Orly First Kiss Gel Nail Polish, calling it "the perfect sheer [color] for summer."

I’ve been using the Seche Vite Clear Base Coat for years and find that it’s one of the best base coat nail polishes for all kinds of manicures. The clear base coat helps prep nails for polish by creating a smoother surface. It also helps hide imperfections, which is especially helpful when switching from acrylics or gel to regular polish.

Colors: 1 | Opacity: Clear | Finish: N/A

You’ll Also Need

Pronto Pure Acetone Nail Polish Remover

The Best Nail Polishes for Long-Lasting DIY Manicures, Including Chrissy Teigen's Go-To Brand, Start at $6 (12)

Orig.$10$9 at Amazon

It goes without saying that nail polish remover is a must-have for at-home manicures. I prefer 100-percent pure acetone because it makes removal super easy, and it's what most salons use for a more efficient cleanse. You can also pour a little bit of acetone into the bottle cap or a small cup and use a brush to clean up your finished manicure and fix any mistakes.

This budget-friendly acetone from Amazon comes in several size options, including 4-, 8-, and 16-ounces. A little goes a long way — even if you switch out your polish color every week — so it’s an excellent value. Since it’s pure acetone, you can use it to remove gel polish and acrylics from home, too.

Boxgrove Cuticle Cutter and Manicure Tools

The Best Nail Polishes for Long-Lasting DIY Manicures, Including Chrissy Teigen's Go-To Brand, Start at $6 (13)

Manicure tools also come in handy, especially small cuticle pushers and cutters. I personally prefer to use cuticle cutters to cut my nails because I find it allows me to achieve more precise shaping. They’re also essential for removing dead skin around the nail for a more refreshed look. This set from Amazon costs under $8 for both tools. They’re made from surgical-grade steel, so you don’t have to worry about them rusting while sterilizing, either.

Revlon Nail Buffer

The Best Nail Polishes for Long-Lasting DIY Manicures, Including Chrissy Teigen's Go-To Brand, Start at $6 (14)

No at-home manicure is complete without filing. This multi-purpose nail file and buffer combination allows you to file and shape your nails. It also features buffing and smoothing sides, giving you an ideal canvas for your polish. I love that it has step-by-step instructions written on the file itself, too, making it a more beginner-friendly tool. At $4, the file is a little more expensive than cheap drugstore options, but its quality and multi-use design make it a better value than other nail file options.

What to Know About Nail Polish

Color Opacity

Beyond choosing a color, Chue says the opacity of a nail polish formula can make or break your manicure. While color opacity is a personal preference, Chue says to choose one that fits your vision. “You may be looking for something opaque, but it turns out the color is more sheer than you thought it would be,” she remarks.

When shopping in person, consider the nail polish sample and ask to test the formula on a sheet of paper (or your own nail) if you aren’t sure. For online purchases, look at images of the nail polish on the model’s hands and refer to the product description for more insight. It also helps to consider the product reviews as these will provide more details from fellow customers.

Brush Design

The brush design is also a vital feature, especially if you’re a beginner or not as confident when painting your dominant hand at home. “A wider end brush creates so much more ease and gets close to the corners of the cuticles,” says Chue. She adds that brush handles that are too big or thick are not practical to hold while brushing. Instead, look for a more petite handle — such as the Côte No. 2 Pure White Nail Polish — for better ease of use.

Base and Top Coats

To complete your at-home manicure, Hanna says not to skip the base and top coats. “A base coat has several functions: It protects the nail, smooths the nail plate for even application, and also extends the life of your manicure,” she explains. Top things off with a top coat to seal in the manicure, add shine, and make your manicure last even longer.

After testing many base and top coats in my career (and personal life), I swear by the Seche Vite Clear Base Coat for priming nails with an ideal texture and the Orly Shining Armor Long Wear Topcoat for its gel-like texture and long-lasting power. If you want a two-in-one formula, I also love the Deborah Lippmann Hard Rock Nail Strengthening Top and Base Coat.

Take Our Word For It

Jessie Quinn is a contributing commerce writer for PEOPLE and has written for publications such as Byrdie, InStyle, The Spruce, and more. Jessie’s lifelong obsession with nail polish and decade-long career as a beauty writer has led her to collect dozens of formulas from top brands, including essie, Côte, O.P.I., and Orly. When covering the best nail polishes, she leaned on her years of personal testing experience, as well as insights from celebrity manicurists Mazz Hanna and Sarah Chue, to find formulas fit for a long-lasting at-home manicure.

Our Expert Panel

  • Mazz Hanna is a manicurist and CEO of Nailing Hollywood Agency who has worked with celebrity clients, including Emma Roberts, Julia Roberts, and Greta Gerwig.
  • Sarah Chue is a nail artist at Exclusive Artists who has worked with celebrity clients, including Tate McRae, Bryce Dallas Howard, Paula Patton, Ava Max, and Carrie Ann Inaba.
The Best Nail Polishes for Long-Lasting DIY Manicures, Including Chrissy Teigen's Go-To Brand, Start at $6 (2024)


What is the best longest lasting manicure? ›

For the longest-lasting manicure, choose a gel or acrylic style. Gel nail polish is less likely to chip, and acrylic is even stronger than gel.

What nail polish do most salons use? ›

What is the most common gel polish used in salons? OPI GelColor is common in salons. Funny Bunny and Bubble Bath are two of the brand's most popular shades, but there are over 250 colors to choose from.

What do nail salons use to make polish stay on longer? ›

There's a reason nail salons often add a drop of acetone to a bottle of nail polish: it makes polish easier to apply and (counter-intuitively) helps manicures to last longer. That's because the thinner consistency is less likely to clump up and lift off of the nail.

What is in nail polish that makes it last longer? ›

Nail polish usually contains an ingredient called plasticizers, which keeps the resin flexible once it is dry. This is what helps with long-lasting fingernail polish.

What type of polish is best for toenails? ›

Use a non-toxic nail polishes such as Sienna or Dr.'s Remedy products.

What is permanent nail polish called? ›

Shellac is the brand name for a new, patent pending nail product created by Creative Nail Design (CND). It is a hybrid, meaning half nail polish, half gel. The product can be applied similarly to nail polish on your natural nails (no sculpting or filing). It is cured through UV lighting, just like Gels.

What do nail salons use to make nails longer? ›


The manicurist uses a nail form, which is a sticker that goes under the free edge (the tip) of the nail, to extend the length of the nail. The rest of your process will flow like regular gel mani: your color is applied with standard soft gel polish and cured layer by layer.

What is the longest lasting manicure? ›

If you're looking for the most durable option possible, acrylic nails are the way to go. However, if you're looking for an option that is easier to remove, dip nails may be a better choice. Gel nails are a good middle ground between the two.

What nail polish color makes your nails look longer? ›

Certain colors and shades can create the illusion of longer nails. For example, light and neutral colors like beige, nude, pale pink, and light gray can make your nails appear longer. On the other hand, darker colors like black, navy blue, and dark red can make your nails look shorter.

Is dip or gel better for your nails? ›


Individuals with oily nail beds or chip-prone nails, for example, may have trouble getting a gel manicure to last for more than two weeks. If that describes you, dip powder nails are the superior option because they're built up in layers, which enhances nail strength and creates a barrier against chipping.

What type of nails stay on longer? ›

One of the biggest benefits of acrylic nails is that they are very durable. They can last up to six weeks without chipping or peeling, which is much longer than natural nails. Additionally, acrylic nails are less likely to break than natural nails, so they can be a good option for people who have weak or brittle nails.

What type of manicure is the least damaging? ›

Overall, Dip Powder Manicures are a great way to get a healthy manicure that will protect and strengthen your nails without causing any damage. Just like any nail treatment, you do have to make sure you properly remove it to keep your nails safe and healthy – Don't pick at your manicure!

Which French manicure lasts the longest? ›

How long does a French manicure last? If you get a regular French manicure it should last 7–10 days depending on how much use you have on your nails. A gel French manicure should last 14 days or longer.

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