When you do your nails, what's on your mind? Maybe you dread the drying time. Or perhaps you know you'll chip one of your nails within the hour. That's where the best gel nail polish comes in.
Gel nail polish can seem intimidating, but it solves a lot of problems that come from regular polish. From a quick drying time to more durable nails, the best gel nail polish runs circles around the competition.
Doing your nails can be an excellent self-care activity, and it can add a bit of color to your nails. You can do your nails at home or at a salon. Of course, you can use a regular nail polish, but other types of polish have grown in popularity.
Gel nail polish is one of those types of polish. And like nail polish in general, not all gel nail polish is the same. There are a few things that you'll find in the best gel nail polish.
What is gel nail polish?
Gel nail polish is actually a misnomer because most nail polish uses some sort of gel. When someone refers to a gel nail polish, they're probably talking about hard gel.
This type of polish uses UV or LED lights to heat the gel. Once the gel sets, the top layer is sticky and you can remove it with a lint-free cloth.
What does it do?
The best gel nail polish does the job of adding some color to your nails. While there's nothing wrong with bare nails, nail polish is a simple way to add a little something to your look.
And if your nails have ever chipped soon after you painted them, you'll love how long lasting gel nail polish can be.
How does it work?
You apply gel nail polish in the same way as a varnish style nail polish. However, you'll need a UV or LED light to heat the polish. Heating the polish will help it set and thus stay in place.
The best gel nail polish should set evenly, and it should last longer than your typical nail polish.
Why should you choose it over regular polish?
We've already mentioned that gel nail polish lasts longer than normal polish. And if you're going to spend the time it takes to do your nails, you want them to last. If you're more of a salon person, you'll also save money.
The best gel nail polish also takes less time to dry than your typical nail polish. If you don't want to sit around doing nothing for 20 minutes, then a gel manicure might be for you.
Where can you buy gel nail polish?
You can buy the best gel nail polish wherever you buy regular nail polish. That includes cosmetic stores as well as pharmacies and department stores. If you don't like shopping in person, you can even buy gel nail polish online.
Online stores like Amazon carry plenty of options, and you can also buy the best gel nail polish directly from a brand's website.
How much does it cost?
Gel nail polish varies in price based on the brand, bottle size, and similar factors. Some options are very affordable at $ to $$ for a bottle. But some other gel nail polishes cost $ to $$.
However, even the most expensive gel polish on our list is still pretty affordable.
The best gel nail polish isn't always the most expensive. We recommend that you consider other factors, like the formula.
To find the best gel nail polish, we started with the experts. We found a couple of expert reviews that helped guide our search.
However, we couldn't ignore customer reviews. Some of the expert recommendations had low customer ratings. At the end of the day, you want nail polish that works. The best gel nail polish should be more than just a good color.
We wanted to know how the various polishes work for customers. And that's why we stuck to polishes with excellent customer ratings.
The Best Gel Nail Polish
There are tons of gel nail polishes on the market, but they can't all be the same. The best gel nail polish should have good coverage on your nails, and it should be easy to apply.
It should also fulfill the goal of lasting longer than regular nail polish. The best gel nail polish should be affordable, but it doesn't have to be dirt cheap.
So, what is the best gel nail polish?
Gelish Soak Off Gel Nail Polish
- No chipping or peeling, and soaks completely off in only 10-15 minutes
- Applies like polish and cures in a led lamp in 30 seconds
- Gelish stays on nails for up to 3 weeks
The Soak Off Gel Nail Polish from Gelish is an excellent option for anyone who is new to gel nail polish. You can apply the polish just like nail polish. The polish will cure, or set, in 30 seconds under an LED lamp.
Once you apply the polish, it will stay on your nails for up to three weeks, and it won't chip or peel. When you do choose to remove it, it will soak off in 10 to 15 minutes. All you need is normal nail polish remover.
The Gelish polish is an excellent choice if you don't wear fake nails. You will want to use a base coat and a top coat with the gel polish.
This particular bottle of polish is black, but it also comes in a few other colors.
The Gelish Soak Off Gel Nail Polish costs $ to $$ for a 0.5-ounce bottle. Amazon customers give the polish an average rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars.
Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro
Deborah Lippmann's Gel Lab Pro nail polish is another great choice for gel nail polish. The nail polish gives you full coverage, and it can last for about two weeks.
You will probably want to use a base coat and top coat. However, an LED or UV lamp isn't necessary. Once you're ready to remove the polish, you can do so with regular nail polish remover.
The Gel Lab Pro polish gives you a sleek, professional finish. Deborah Lippmann won an award for best nail polish formula.
You can choose from over 50 colors including purple, pink, and blue.
A 0.5-ounce bottle of the Gel Lab Pro polish costs $ to $$. The average customer rating is 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
The CND Shellac gel nail polish is part of their multi-step system for achieving gel nails. You can apply the polish like regular nail polish, and it goes on smoothly and evenly.
After you apply the polish, you'll have to cure it under a special lamp. Like with other gel nail polishes, you should consider using the polish with a base coat and a top coat.
While they aren't all on the same listing, there are tons of colors that you can choose from. So don't feel stuck with the red polish that we linked out to.
You can buy a 0.25-ounce bottle of the polish for $ to $$. Customers on Amazon give the polish an average rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars.
LeChat Perfect Match Nail Polish
The LeChat Perfect Match Nail Polish is easy to apply, and it can last for a few weeks. This polish won't run down your nails, and it won't cause your nails to shrink.
You will need to have a lamp to cure your nails, but it can be a UV or LED light. Like with other gel nail polishes, you should also apply a base coat before the polish and end with a top coat.
To remove the polish, you'll want an acetone-based nail polish remover. The polish can take about 10 to 15 minutes to come off of your nails fully.
You can choose from over 150 colors. Certain colors are more opaque than others, so you'll have to experiment with the number of coats based on the color you want.
You can buy a 0.5-ounce bottle of polish for $ to $$ based on your color of choice. The average customer rating is 4.0 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Elite99 Nail Gel
- Brand: Elite99, NON-TOXIC and Harmless Resin, High quality gel with...
- Item Included: 10 x 10ml Color Gel
- Colorful pearl shell effect, bring the ocean beauty to your nails.On...
Elite99's Nail Gel is a non-toxic gel nail polish. You start by applying the polish like a normal one, but you also need to cure it under a UV or LED lamp.
Once you apply and then cure it, the polish can last up to two to three weeks on your nails. You don't have to file or grind your nails to get the polish to stay on.
Like other gel nail polishes, this one dries quickly, so you don't have to sit around with wet nails. This polish is suitable for natural nails and fake nails, and you can remove the polish by soaking it off.
The Elite99 polish is super affordable at $ to $$ for a 0.33-ounce bottle. Amazon customers give it an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Aimeili Gel Nail Polish
- 21 days high-gloss wear , On like polish, Wears like Gel, Off in...
- Mirror shine finish. No Nicks, Chips or Smudges
- Requires drying under UV or LED Lamp (Cure times vary per lighting...
The Aimeili Gel Nail Polish goes on like regular nail polish, but you cure it like other gel nail polishes. You can cure the nail polish with either an LED or a UV light.
You'll also want to use a base and top coat with the gel nail polish.
The polish can last up to three weeks without chips or other damage. It has a shiny, mirror-like finish. When you're ready to remove it, you can soak it off.
You can buy a 0.33-ounce bottle of the polish for $ to $$. The average customer rating is 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
IBD Just Gel Nail Polish
IBD's Just Gel Nail Polish uses a 100 percent pure gel formula so that it wears like a classic gel nail polish. You can apply it like any other polish. Once on, the color will be vibrant and bold.
The durability of the formula can also protect your natural nails while you wear the polish.
Before you apply the polish, you'll want to buff out your nail to make sure it's clean. You should start with a base coat and end with a top layer, and make sure to cure between coats.
When you're ready to remove the polish, you can soak it off.
A 0.5-ounce bottle of the polish costs $ to $$. Amazon customers give it an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Gellen Gel Nail Polish
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The Gel Nail Polish from Gellen comes in a wide selection of colors. Like gel nail polish in general, you do have to cure the polish between coats. However, you can apply it like a typical nail polish.
As long as you apply it properly, the polish can last up to three weeks. You can remove the polish in about five minutes with acrylic remover.
The polish comes in over 20 different colors including purple, red, and brown.
You can buy a 0.33-ounce bottle for $ to $$. The average customer rating on Amazon is 4.1 out of 5 stars.
FairyGlo Gel Nail Polish
- Item Included: 1 x 10ml Color Gel
- FairyGlo: NON-TOXIC and Harmless Resin, High quality gel with low...
- Super Bling to show your Gorgeous and Elegancy. Exclusive Color Chic...
FairyGlo's Gel Nail Polish works with both UV and LED lamps. The formula is non-toxic and has a harmless resin. You can use the polish with natural nails or fake nails.
The polish can last up to three weeks, and you can apply it like normal nail polish. This polish is full coverage, and it shouldn't chip.
You can choose from over 30 colors including blue, pink, and gold.
A 0.33-ounce bottle of polish costs $ to $$. Amazon customers give the polish an average rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars.
The Test Of Time
Every nail polish wearer's biggest fear is a chipped nail. If you're sick of chipping your nail right after they dry, you might be interested in giving gel nail polish a try.
The best gel nail polish can ease your worries of a chipped nail because the gel is usually more durable than regular nail polish.
But it can be hard to shop for the best gel nail polish if you don't know what to look for. Gel nail polish works a little differently than your typical nail polish.
You have to have a UV or LED lamp next to you to set each coat of polish. And it can be a bit tricky for beginners. However, if you get the hang of it, you can reap the benefits of a more durable nail polish.
We think the best gel nail polish is the FairyGlo polish. You can use it with either a UV or LED lamp, and it comes in over 30 colors.
Plus, it's one of two polishes we looked at that specifically said it was non-toxic. When you put something on your nails, you want to make sure it's safe. And you can't beat the price.
Have you ever tried gel nail polish? What did you think? Tell us your story in the comments!