FASHION

Is the Best Luxury Nail Polish Actually Worth the Price?

What are the best luxury nail polish brands for a home manicure or pedicure right now?

Summer is upon us, and you know what that means: open-toe shoe season is here.  Many of us are still living under COVID-19 restrictions, and we’re still on the DIY program when it comes to nail care.  Is the best luxury nail polish worth the price? Our correspondent Jillian Tangen has done the research, and she has recommendations on the best luxury nail polish brands for a home manicure or pedicure right now. ‘Cause this might last for a while – so you might as well upgrade your DIY mani-pedi supplies right now.

Is the Best Luxury Nail Polish Actually Worth the Price?

In case you missed the memo – it’s open-toe shoe season!  And you know what that means, right?  You’ve acquired more nail real estate for painting – urgently in some cases, since The Great Lockdown is still keeping the doors of some of our favorite nail salons closed. 

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Now more than ever, it’s time to take matters into your own hands when it comes to nail care and adding a dash of color to your fingers and toes.

What are the best luxury nail polish brands for a home manicure or pedicure right now?

What are the best luxury nail polish brands for a home manicure or pedicure right now?

While you could head over to the local drugstore for a fun new shade, we think it might be time to reconsider.  Through the years we’ve learned that not all nail polish brands boast equal stature when it comes to quality. 

While every nail polish will eventually chip, it’s the ones made with the right ingredients that can last longer than others. In addition to containing a host of other benefits, too, including shine, easy application and formula makeup.

We’ve found in many cases that higher end nail polishes, though in some cases as expensive as a salon manicure, far outlast and nourish your nails than drugstore ones.  That’s because the formulas are more pigmented for fewer coats. There is less chipping and they’re often infused with conditioning ingredients to help strengthen nails.  Not to mention many are free of harmful and toxic ingredients too.

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So to get you started on your next long-lasting DIY mani-pedi, we’ve rounded up 12 luxury nail polish brands, including some old standbys, a few indie darlings and even a couple cult faves, to help you update your bathroom polish collection. 

What are the best luxury nail polish brands for a home manicure or pedicure right now?

What are the best luxury nail polish brands for a home manicure or pedicure right now?

So get that #nailsofinstragram queued up! Here are our picks:

The best luxury nail polish brands right now

1. deborah lippman 

If you want a great nail polish that won’t chip immediately but dries fast and lasts a long time, you can’t beat Deborah Lippmann.  In fact, we haven’t met a manicurist who doesn’t mention her classic formulas as one of the all time best in the nail industry.  The brand’s gel lab pro polish is even blended with 10 active ingredients to promote nail health.

What are the best luxury nail polish brands for a home manicure or pedicure right now?

 

Not to mention, they have a wonderful selection of colors like the summer ready I Like It Like That ($20).  And in case you didn’t notice all the polishes are named after songs. Lippmann is not just a nail guru but also a singer too.

2. butter london

Butter London makes its nail polish with a mix of nourishing and fortifying ingredients. It actually enhances your nails, while giving full coverage color.  This polish protects, smoothes and strengthens nails with bamboo extract and brightens with diamond powder. It is also fade resistant thanks to its UV absorbers.

 

Butter London’s Patent Shine 10X Nail Lacquer has an innovative 10-in-1 formula that delivers a gel-like cushion and shine.  And best of all it’s eight-free, so it doesn’t contain formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, DBP, toluene, camphor, ethyl tosylamide, xylene, or ​TPHP.  The brand also stays true to its Anglophile roots with fun Brit names, like Ta-Ta! ($20)  and Smashing ($18).

3. smith & cult

Known for her ’90s era boundary breaking polish company Hard Candy, Dineh Mohajer followed up with the fun and beautifully packaged Smith & Cult.  In addition to featuring long lasting and striking colors, these polished are free of dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor, ethyl tosylamide, xylene and triphenyl phosphate.

What are the best luxury nail polish brands for a home manicure or pedicure right now?

 

And of course we can’t help but also love the delightfully acerbic shade names, like Shattered Souls ($18) and bestselling Stockholm Syndrome ($18).

4. christian louboutin The Pops Nail Colour

Almost as iconic as the brand’s signature red bottomed shoes are the calligraphy inspired nail polish bottles from Christian Louboutin.  Even more important than giving the always fun Instagram photo opp, the polish itself is enriched with UV protection to keep its colors from fading.

 

It should also come as no surprise that the brand’s most popular shade is a bright cherry that perfectly matches his signature red soles called Rouge Louboutin ($50).

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5. tom ford

While the color range may not be as wide as some of the other brands on our list, Tom Ford Nail Lacquer provides a 10 day wear with full coverage coating and an extremely glossy finish.

What are the best luxury nail polish brands for a home manicure or pedicure right now?

 

The polishes are made from a high performance formula with a bendable coating to deliver a durable, long lasting wear that remains true to color, making it well worth the investment.  Among the well curated collection are fan favorites Mink Brule ($37) and Indian Pink ($37).

6. jinsoon

Jin Soon earned a solid reputation for being one of the best manicurists in the beauty biz, with A-list celeb and editorial clients, before she launched her eponymous line of nail lacquers, JINsoon.  Her silky smooth formulas are famed for their easy application, sheen and for being free of formaldehyde, toluene, DPB, formaldehyde resin ​and camphor.

What are the best luxury nail polish brands for a home manicure or pedicure right now?

 

But it’s the shade range that fans really go wild for. From the most classic shades such as Pixie ($18) to the trendiest blue hues like Aero ($18), JINSoon nails it.

7. chanel

Chanel is synonymous with pure luxury and their nail polishes are no different.  The seasonal rotation of colors are rich, buttery and beautifully smooth while the formula’s pigments guarantee an even application whether you’ve painted on a bold orange like Cruise ($28) or a softer Bleu Pastel ($28).

 

Not to mention it’s always fun when you get to answer with “Chanel” every time you’re asked what nail polish you’re wearing.

8. givenchy Nail Lacquer, Le Vernis Collection

From clothing to their highly pigmented eyeshadows, Givenchy knows how to make the  dramatic wearable and the brand’s Givenchy Le Vernis Intense Color Nail Lacquer is no exception.   You’ll find a range of bold and natural hues to fit any mood or season, be it Pink Perfecto ($24) or Carmin Escarpin ($24).

 

But no matter what color you choose the polish is perfectly pigmented. The high coverage formula has a glossy finish that likens itself to a gel manicure minus the long prep time.

9. côte

Green nail polishes often get a bad rap for not lasting or offering the same color intensity as other formulas. The exception: Côte.

What are the best luxury nail polish brands for a home manicure or pedicure right now?

 

Not only is it vegan, cruelty free and completely free of major toxins, it’s also available in more than 100 shades including universally flattering rose gold called No. 13 ($18).

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10. tenoverten

Only a few years ago the beloved Manhattan nail salon Tenoverten launched their own line of nail polishes that fit perfectly with the salon’s laid back, luxe nature.  All of the formulas are made without formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene, formaldehyde resin, camphor, ethyl tosylamide, xylene and triphenyl phosphate (TPHP), making them 8-free.

 

Among our favorite shades are the midnight blue Commerce ($12) and the bright pink Mott ($12), both named after famous NYC streets.

11. dior

One of our personal favorites is Dior Nail Lacquer when it comes to long lasting shine and strengthening.  The brand’s formula features intensely pure resins together with Techno-Polymer that transform each coat of enamel into a film as smooth and shiny as glass.

What are the best luxury nail polish brands for a home manicure or pedicure right now?

 

It’s also enriched with organic silicon to strengthen the nail surface for extra long wear.  This means no chipping and healthier nails.  Though we love all the color options, you can’t go wrong with Nail Glow ($28) which enhances the nails natural color for the effect of a French Manicure.

12. sundays

Sundays is another chic nail salon in New York City, and its nail polishes are equally glam. The brand’s formula is 10-free, vegan and cruelty free. It has good staying power for a nontoxic nail polish, which makes it one of the best for a home manicure or pedicure.

 

Where the brand really shines is with its wide array of pretty pearlescent pinks, which are universally flattering. Like the peachy No. 08: Flamingo Pink ($18).

The best luxury nail polish brands for a home manicure or pedicure

So dear readers, what do you think?  Are you with us in bidding adieu to cheap nail polishes for healthier nails and ingredients?  Sound off in the comments.

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Jillian Tangen is the Head of Research at Dandelion Chandelier and a former Senior Research Analyst at McKinsey & Co and Analyst at Shearman & Sterling. She is an avid fan of Nordic design, having owned an independent lifestyle store and sales agency focused on emerging Scandinavian design. Jillian lives in New York and is married with three young children. She loves cross-country skiing, the New York Rangers, reading, travel and discovering new brands.

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