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There's nothing quite like the experience of getting a fresh, glossy manicure at the salon. Unfortunately, when you try to polish your own nails at home, they never seem to last as long. If you're sick of endless chipping and want to get a little bit more life out of your mani, you're in luck.
Shop TODAY spoke to top manicurists to get their picks for the best long-lasting nail polishes (both regular and gel), and a few top coats to help your mani last even longer. Now have fun polishing, pretties!
Long-lasting nail polishes
1. ZOYA — "Lola"
The key to finding a long-lasting nail polish? A chip-resistant formula! This vegan-friendly, cruelty-free line resists chips for days on end and is clear of nasty ingredients like formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate (DBP).
"During times like this, if you want to brighten up your day with a brighter color, I recommend this fuchsia chrome shimmer. Depending on how many coats you apply, you can create a sheer look or a more pigmented effect," celebrity manicurist Eri Ishizu said.
This polish's patented ergonomic brush contours nails so you need fewer strokes to get full coverage and a flawless finish. "I’ve had people get a solid week-long mani using these polishes. They have an amazing selection of on-trend colors in addition to your regular classics," manicurist Alicia Torello said.
Want to make your manicure last even longer? Try wearing gloves while doing housework or washing dishes
Aside from being long lasting, chip resistant and quick drying, this nail polish line is also certified by PETA and is "seven-free," meaning it's free of major common toxins like formaldehyde and toluene.
"If you love nudes, then this is a go-to long-lasting shade! It is a clean 'naked' flesh tone that goes well with many complexions," celebrity manicurist Sara Chue said.
Whenever possible, it's best to find long-lasting nail polishes with nourishing ingredients and a strengthening formula. This brand is chock-full of sustainable and restorative ingredients, like peptides, ceramides, and vitamins B3, B5 and B7
"Warmer days are ahead and my all-time favorite color for spring is white! I recommend this particular brand because it is plant-based, cruelty-free and is infused with a strengthening formula designed to repair damaged nails," Chue said.
Craving shiny, long-lasting color that won't damage your nails? This line is infused with a blend of vitamins and botanicals that are meant to heal and nourish nails.
"This is one of my all-time favorite polish brands. Their nine-free formula is completely vegan and offers beautiful coverage that dries to a gel-like finish. A manicure with this polish lasts up to seven days with barely any chipping," celebrity manicurist Gerry Holford said.
Long-lasting gel nail polishes
In general, gel nail polish lasts a little bit longer than your typical manicure and has enviable shine to boot. This cult-favorite brand has a chip-resistant, all-in-one formula that combines a base coat, color and top coat in one polish. "It also acts as a nail strengthener and treatment. The brush makes it easy to apply yourself and this color in particular provides great coverage," celebrity manicurist Natalie Pavloski said.
Some gel nail polishes require the use of an LED light system to help lock in their longevity. This chip-resistant, high-shine formula has an easy-to-use brush for streak-free application, packs plenty of pigment and can last for up to 21 days.
"For those at home using gel polishes with LED light-curing systems, the trick to a long-lasting manicure is making sure you clean your cuticles properly and wipe off any excess polish that may be on the skin before curing under LED light," Pavloski said.
This two-step gel system (polish and top coat) offers highly-pigmented color for up to two weeks and comes complete with a patented swirl stem brush. The best part? You don't need a base coat or an LED lamp.
"This line is chip resistant, fade resistant and provides even coverage with an easy-to-use brush. All you need is two coats of color and the accompanying top coat for a long-lasting at-home manicure," Pavloski said. "I love that this color in particular is sheer and light so that when it does grow out at the cuticle it isn't obvious."
Just don't forget the top coat to help extend the life of your color! "It can be applied every few days to help maintain the color even longer. A great tip after applying the top coat is to spend a couple of minutes out in the sun. It will harden the top coat and make your manicure last even longer," Fisher said.
If this is your first time trying gel nail polish and you really want to make your manicure last, try an all-in-one kit that has everything you need to DIY. This kit includes a mini LED lamp, USB cord and adapter, and much more. It also works with any brand of gel nail polish.
"This is the easiest at-home gel polish kit on the market. Simply prep your nails with the included kit and then carefully paint two coats of color. That’s it! Plus, removal is a snap," Holford said.
Want all the benefits of a gel manicure without the hefty price tag? This affordable line gives salon results from the comfort of your home. As an added bonus, you can remove it the same way you would take off a regular nail polish! "I’m a huge fan of this line. It's great and long lasting without the trauma of a traditional gel mani, plus they have a good range of color options," Torello said.
Base coats, top coats and cuticle oils
Even the best long-lasting nail polishes need a top coat to seal in their power — and some strengthening ingredients along the way never hurt! Ishizu swears by this Nails Inc. base coat that's filled with plenty of nutrients: "It's made with kale to nourish your nails and keratin to strengthen them and prevent splitting and breaking. You can even use it as solo product. It's like a smoothie for your nails!"
One coat of this top coat creates a strong bond with nail polish and leaves behind an enviable shine. "This stuff is legendary! It’s in every manicurist's kit. Just float it on top of your manicure and you’re guaranteed a long-lasting salon finish," Holford said. "An added bonus is that it dries in minutes. I’d apply it every third day to extend the life of your manicure as long as possible."
Much like top coats, oils can strengthen your nails and protect cuticles, all the while encouraging a long-lasting manicure. The honey and lactic acid in this cuticle oil moisturizes and softens nails with ease. "Use cuticle oil twice a day to help all future growth come in strong and healthful," Fisher said.
After applying a base coat and taking your time to paint on two coats of a long-lasting nail polish, this top coat works to extend the life of your manicure even more. "It's hands down the quickest to dry (in under a minute!) and has a nice shiny effect. It's perfect for at-home manicures," Ishizu said.
Infused with a patented formula that uses natural light to harden and strengthen your manicure, this vegan top coat offers high shine and long-lasting power without damaging your nails.
"This top coat offers a shiny, long-lasting finish. By the time you're done applying it, it will look like you got a salon gel manicure. You can get a good six whole days of showering, self-grooming, cooking and texting with its help," manicurist Arlene Hinckson said.
For more stories like this, check out:
- How to remove acrylic nails at home
- This affordable gel nail polish kit helps me get a salon-worthy manicure at home
- How to paint your nails: At-home manicure tips that really work