How do you determine which is the best gel polish brand?
Is it the nail polish that lasts the longest? Or the one with the broadest range of colors?
Should you stick to professional gel polish brands? How about a gel-like polish that doesn’t require UV light to cure?
As you can see, there are many questions to consider whether you’re doing a home manicure or visiting a salon.
Let’s begin with the advantages of gel polish over traditional nail lacquer.
Table of Contents
- The pros of gel polish versus regular nail lacquer
- How to choose the best gel nail polish brand
- Expert tips for a healthy, long-lasting manicure every time
- Best Gel Polish Brand in 2021
- Kiara Sky
- Modelones Gel Nail Polish Set
- AIMEILI Temperature Color-Changing Chameleon Gel Nail Polish Set Of 4
- Beetles Color-Changing Gel Polish Set
- Gellen Gel Nail Polish Set – Nude Grays 6 Colors
- Sally Hansen
- Smith & Cult Nail Polish, Metallics
- DEBORAH LIPPMANN Top and Base Coat, Gel Lab Pro
The pros of gel polish versus regular nail lacquer
Traditional nail polish tends to chip off after a few days. But gel polish is durable enough to last for three weeks without peeling or chipping. It can strengthen weak and thin nails.
What’s the price that you pay for this durability? Gels require multiple coats plus a nail lamp to dry, so there’s more upfront expense compared to nail lacquer. They are also harder to remove as they require soaking.
However, gel manicures allow for creative nail art. You can get stunning results from nail stamping, holographic chrome powder, and color-changing polishes.
Gel polish retains its vibrant color and shine for weeks, too. You won’t be tempted to bite your nails when they look this good and nothing is peeling.
How to choose the best gel nail polish brand
As you shop for gel polish, it’s just like anything else. You’ll likely pay more for the brand name. But in many cases, it’s worth it.
Well-established brands like essie, OPI, and Sally Hansen offer a wide variety of shades, including seasonal colors. It’s possible to purchase individual polishes instead of having to get an entire set.
Moreover, the name brand gels settle smoothly into place, filling in ridges and requiring fewer coats than cheap polishes.
While you look for your new favorite gel polish, consider the following:
- Is it a professional brand used in salons?
- Can the polish cure under LED lamps, or does it require old school UV light?
- Does the brand offer the colors you want?
- Are there additional specialty polishes like temperature-changing colors?
- Is this brand’s top coat, colored polish, or base coat compatible with other brands?
- Does the price fit into your budget?
We hope to answer many of these questions in the reviews below. But before we move on, here are some essential tips from the experts.
Expert tips for a healthy, long-lasting manicure every time
Gel polishes are long-lasting and protective of thin nails. But they don’t allow the nails to breathe. It’s smart to give your nails a break every so often. Take a vacation from gel manicures and try a gel-like polish instead. (You’ll find some of these gel-look options below).
Next, since you’ll be exposing your skin to UV light to cure the gel polish, invest in a pair of protective gloves, or at least apply sunscreen to your hands. Repeated exposure can lead to age spots, among other problems.
Also, gels last for weeks at a time. Be sure to examine your nails each time you remove the polish for any signs of infection.
Speaking of polish removal, if you’re doing your own manicures, learn how to remove gels safely to avoid stripping layers of the natural nail. Remember to moisturize as acetone can be quite drying.
Finally, soaking in hot water can wreck a gel manicure. Remember to put on gloves when washing the dishes and keep your hands out of the water if you take a hot bath.
Best Gel Polish Brand in 2021
Now, let’s take a look at the best brands of gel polish.
American brand essie gets high marks from professionals throughout the profession and beauty industries as well as home users. You’ll see models wearing their colors around the world.
The business was started in 1981 by Essie Weingarten. In the decades since then, they’ve developed nearly 1000 colors, with 250 in the current catalog. This polish brand is a favorite of icons like Queen Elizabeth and Meghan Markle.
Fans of essie Gel Couture point out that the mirror-finish topcoat ensures maximum wear time.
essie Gel Couture Longwear Nail Polish + Top Coat Kit
To get you started with essie, we recommend this kit with one bottle of colored polish and one of clear glossy top coat. It’s everything you need since there’s no base coat required.
Choose from various iconic shades like Rock the Runway red or Turn ‘N’ Pose purple. Each bottle comes with a patented swirl stem applicator brush.
You can expect at least two weeks of chip-free color with this polish.
Did you know that OPI used to be a dental supply company? It was called Odontorium Products Inc (1). In the eighties, they developed and sold an acrylic nail system exclusively to salons.
In 2007, they reformulated to eliminate harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP. As of 2010, they are part of Coty.
Fans love the incredible range of stunning colors, including hard-to-find shades. Furthermore, each bottle comes with a signature skinny brush for precision application.
OPI GelColor Gel Clear Base and Top Coats for Gel Nail Polish
If you have an Amazon Business account with a beauty license, you can purchase authentic OPI gel polish.
Take for example this pack with base and top coat, both of which cure in 30 seconds. The top coat is available in high gloss or matte finishes.
There are over 140 shades of colored gel polish currently available.
A manicure done with these products should last up to 3 weeks.
Daisy DND is a brand that you’ll see in salons all around the world. It was established in 2011 in the USA. The company began with nail varnish then shifted to gels.
Many of the employees around the world have been salon owners. Therefore, the company is continuously innovating to please nail techs and customers alike.
DNDDuo Gel (Gel & Matching Polish) Fall Set
Speaking of innovation, it doesn’t get much better than this. This set comes with soak-off gel polish and a matching bottle of regular nail polish. The colors are the same because you can use the nail lacquer to touch up the gel or simply wear the one instead of the other.
The gel polish must be cured under a nail lamp, but it only takes 30 seconds under an LED light. Remember that you’ll still need a base coat and top coat for it.
Here’s a brand named after a cute little girl. Her parents are nail artists who started their company in California over 15 years ago. Now, their products are sold in more than 85 countries.
Kiara Sky Gel Polish Duo, Top and Base Coat
Start your collection with the base and top coats you need for Kiara Sky gels. Both will cure in 30 seconds under an LED nail lamp. The finish will stay fade-free and glossy for two to three weeks.
What’s more, they soak off in a few minutes when you want to renew your manicure.
The formula is cruelty-free and lacks many of the typical harsh ingredients. Plus, it’s fortified with vitamins to nourish the nails.
Modelones Gel Nail Polish Set
Modelones is a brand from China with US headquarters in California. They offer different sets of six shimmery gel polishes that can last up to two weeks.
These are true gels – you’ll need a UV nail dryer to cure them. Don’t forget the base coat and top coat, too.
Choose between matte or glossy finishes depending on which top coat you use.
AIMEILI Temperature Color-Changing Chameleon Gel Nail Polish Set Of 4
AIMEILI was established in Hong Kong in 2012. They anticipate three fade-free and chip-free weeks with their gel polish.
What’s interesting is that the colors change according to your body temperature just like a mood ring. It creates an ombre effect.
For best results, roll the bottle between your hands before applying it. Apply base coat and cure for one minute under a UV lamp (or half that time under LED). Paint on the colored polish and cure again before adding a second coat.
Lastly, the no-wipe top coat cures without a sticky residue. But you’ll need to purchase it and the base coat separately.
Beetles Color-Changing Gel Polish Set
Beetles began in New Jersey. They source their ingredients from the USA, the UK, and the European Union. But the polishes are manufactured in China to keep the cost low.
Beetles has chameleon polish that changes color according to the temperature. Happily, it’s 9-free and has virtually no odor.
What’s more, the polish is produced in a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) factory, and it’s checked for heavy metals and toxins. You can even request an SDS (safety data sheet).
If you prepare your nails properly and follow the directions, the manicure can last at least three weeks. You’ll probably want to redo it because your nails have grown, not because they’ve chipped.
It’s easy to remove once you buff the shine off the surface and soak the nails for 15 minutes. You can push the sudden remnants of the polish right off with a cuticle stick.
Gellen Gel Nail Polish Set – Nude Grays 6 Colors
Gellen appears to be a sister company to Gelish, and both are under the umbrella of Gelpolish. It was challenging to find more information other than they might be a trademark registered by a Chinese business. But although their founding story may be murky, their gel polishes are growing in popularity.
The polish can last for two weeks or longer, and there are 300 shades available. What’s handy is that the colors are compatible with other brands of base coat and top coat.
People call this a budget brand, but this is the kind of polish everyone should try. It’s formulated for durability and ease of application. The formulas are infused with argan oil for extra moisture. Plus, the unique style of brush simplifies painting on the polish.
The real Sally Hansen lived in New York City in the 1950s. She and her husband developed nail formulas together, including the famous Hard as Nails.
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish
We’re going to cheat a little bit here and include a gel polish that doesn’t require UV light to cure. The Miracle Gel lasts up to two weeks without chipping. Moreover, you’ll still need the colored polish and the top coat to finish the manicure. But there’s no need for a base coat.
Yes, you can get a salon-quality finish with it. Trust the numbers – this is the number 1 gel-like polish in the USA.
When it’s time to switch shades, nail polish remover does all the heavy lifting. There’s no need for a nail drill.
Smith & Cult Nail Polish, Metallics
We couldn’t resist including this gorgeous metallic polish. No, it doesn’t require UV light, so it’s not a real gel polish. It’s gel-like, which is handy if you want to take a break and let your nails breathe.
Not only is the shade eye-catching, the formula is vegan and 8-free. The finish is shiny like glass, and the color won’t stain your nails.
You’ll need base coat, color, and top coat for weeks of wear.
DEBORAH LIPPMANN Top and Base Coat, Gel Lab Pro
Some call this an “at-home gel nail polish.” It’s an award-winning product recommended by manicurists, beauty magazines, and Instagram celebrities. Use it when you want to give your nails a break from gel manicures.
Part of its allure comes from the nourishing ingredients and non-toxic formula. It strengthens the natural nails while you wear it with biotin, green tea, and evening primrose.
Furthermore, the contour brush is thoughtfully designed and easy to use.
It’s durable enough for two weeks of wear, then soaks off in a few minutes.
If you’re excited to do your own gel manicures, there are gel polish brands to fit every budget with vibrant colors that suit everyone.
You don’t even have to have a nail lamp as you can get nearly the same performance level out of gel-look polishes.
We hope we helped you find your new favorite nail polish today. If so, come back and tell us about your experience with it.
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OPI_Products accessed November 25, 2020