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With the right technique and one of the best long-lasting nail polishes, your DIY manicure can last beyond the first few days. Though the best nail polish for you will depend on your preferred color, finish (e.g. shiny versus matte), and budget, all of the options ahead offer impressive longevity. That said, it’s important to note that how long your manicure lasts has a lot more to do with the way you prep and care for your nails, rather than the type of polish you use.
Serene Gillick, a nail technician at Spa Mirbeau in Albany, New York, tells The Zoe Report that you should always start with clean, dry nails. “Use a nail brush and soap to scrub the palette clean. Also, a mild buffing with a fine-grit buffing block will also help to create a little grip,” she says. Use a base coat, then, “start your layers by capping the ends with each coat to seal the polish around the free edge. This will help it last much longer.”
Gillick also recommends reapplying your top coat every few days instead of every day so that your layers don’t get too thick. Lastly, she suggests wearing gloves while doing any household cleaning or washing the dishes to help your manicure last longer. Using cuticle creams and lotions will keep your nails healthy and strong, though Gillick hasn’t found that this makes much of a difference in terms of how long your manicure lasts.
To discover some of the best long-lasting nail polishes, including two picks from the expert, scroll on.
1. The Expert’s Pick
“In my experience, Dazzle Dry is the longest-lasting polish,” Gillick says. The brand, which was founded by a bio-organic chemist, doesn’t use formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, DBP, camphor, or other questionable ingredients in their formulas, so you can trust that these polishes won’t be damaging to your nails. Choose from a variety shades in both bold and neutral colors, several of which are listed below.
- Available colors: Anticipation, Blue Blood, Breathe Free, Cashmere Taupe, Cotton Candy, Faith, Flair, Forbidden Passion, Foxy, Galactic Fire, Lotion, Please!, Livin’ La Vida Yoga, Not Quite Nude, Peacefully Me, Prima Ballerina, Starry Eyed, Taupe of the Morning, The Duchess, Truth, Watermelon Slice, Yin Yang
2. Another Expert-Approved Polish
Gillick also likes Zoya nail polishes, which come in almost too many shades to count, though you can find several pages brimming with options here, here, and here. Zoya was the first brand to stop using toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, and DBP in their formulas, though since then, they’ve extended the list of ingredients that they don’t use. The consensus among Amazon reviewers seems to be that Zoya polishes last a week or two without chipping on your finger nails, and much longer on your toes.
3. The Best Gel-Effect Nail Polish
Unlike a traditional gel polish, which requires placing your nails under a UV or LED light to be “cured”, Sally Hansen’s best-selling Miracle Gel Nail Polish — a gel effect polish — provides the same, glossy look, as well as impressive longevity. This popular polish comes in dozens of shades and should last up to eight days without chipping, though several Amazon reviewers reported that it lasted them two weeks. Don’t forget the high-shine top coat, though you can also buy a matte top coat if you prefer a more toned-down look.
4. The Best Gel Nail Polish
There’s no doubt that the longest-lasting polishes out there are true gel nail polishes, like the ones found in this 20-piece kit from Beetles. In this set, you’ll get 20 mini-sized bottles of gel polish, as well as a base coat and two top coats — one glossy, one matte. This kit, plus a nail lamp, is all you need to achieve a salon-level gel manicure in the comfort of your own home. With proper care, your manicure should last you weeks without chipping or losing its shine. Choose from over 10 nail polish collections in fun themes like autumn and mermaid.
- Available collections: Modern Muse, Neon City, Unicorn, Pastel Paradise, Fall Harvest, Shouju Manga, Bare, Cozy Campfire, Rainbow, Mermaid, Midnight Euphoria, Lizzie Girl, Animal Print
5. The Best Long-Lasting Top Coat
Mineral Fusion’s top coat is one of the most popular top coats on Amazon, with over 40,000 five-star reviews and an overall rating of 4.8 stars. It gives nails a glossy finish à la a gel manicure (no curing lamp required) and protects them from chipping over time. The formula is vegan and cruelty-free, and contains no formaldehyde, toluene, or camphor.
Serene Gillick, a nail technician at Spa Mirbeau in Albany, New York