Let’s be honest: there’s something about a salon gel nail paint manicure that just screams chef’s kiss. It’s quite long-lasting! Resistant to chips! Shinier! I mean, do I really need to say anything else? It sounds great, obviously, but there’s a catch: the removal procedure can be a pain, and once the polish is off, your nails may feel dry and brittle, in desperate need of a nail strengthener and cuticle oil. So I discovered something new: at-home gel nail paint. It’s basically the stronger, shinier, longer-lasting version of regular nail paint, but without the inconvenience and expense that salon-level gel manicures might entail.
Furthermore, because the polishes are “weaker” than professional formulas, they may be removed at home with normal nail polish remover or gel polish remover. Sounds like a winner, doesn’t it? Right. So here’s a list of our top picks to get you excited for what’s to come.
Our top picks for the best gel nail polishes in 2022:
BEST ONE-STEP NAIL POLISH
Wet n Wild 1 Step Wonder Gel Nail Color in Taupe As A Joke
This one-step gel nail paint saves you so much time. The three-in-one product cures without the use of a lamp and combines your base coat, colour coat, and top coat into a one container. But the best part? The lovely taupe hue lasts for up to two weeks without chipping.
BEST SHEER GEL NAIL POLISH
Essie Gel Couture in Sheer Fantasy
I love for a sheer neutral nail paint, which is why I’m completely obsessed with this Essie gel polish. The barely-there pink tint (similar to Ballet Slippers) instantly polishes my hands, fits any clothing I’m wearing, and lasts for a good 10 days. On bare nails, I apply two coats of the polish, followed by a layer of the Gel Couture top coat.
BEST BLUE GEL NAIL POLISH
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Swim Upstream
Let’s start with the color—the it’s nicest, most wearable blue. Here’s the formula: Apply two applications of colour to clean nails (no base coat required), then top with the Miracle Gel top coat, which comes in matte or shine finishes. The end result? Chip-free nails for a whole week.
BEST DARK-COLORED GEL NAIL POLISH
OPI Infinite Shine Gel-Lacquer in Lincoln Park After Dark
Lincoln Park After Dark by OPI is the ideal dark-colored gel nail polish shade. It’s edgy but not overpowering, and it lasts up to 11 days. It’s a three-step procedure, so start with the OPI Infinite Shine Primer, then apply two coats of colour, and finish with the Infinite Shine Gloss Top Coat for the greatest effects.
BEST FAST-DRYING GEL TOP COAT
Seche Vive Gel Effect Top Coat
With this gel top coat, you can transform any nail polish into a fast-drying, long-lasting varnish. Simply apply your usual manicure, then paint this bb over top—it dries in five minutes to a firm, glossy finish that resists chips and nicks.
BEST PINK GEL NAIL POLISH
CND Vinylux Long Wear Nail Polish in Hot Pop Pink
CND at home Vinylux is, in fact, just as lustrous as CND Shellac, which you can obtain at a salon. Apply two thin applications of the lovely pink polish, followed by one layer of Vinylux top coat. The result is shiny, gel-like nails that last a full week.