The 12 Best Gel Nail Polishes You Need for a Professional, Chip-Free Manicure at Home This Spring


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Updated March 20: This article on the best gel nail polishes was updated with new releases and gel nail polish picks for spring after a round of product testing, as well as new trends and tips on how to remove gel nail polish at home. Our editors are currently testing gel nail polishes from brands like OPI for consideration in this guide.

At this point, gel nail polish needs no introduction. Many of the mani-obsessed have moved away from regular old polish in favor of this durable alternative, as the best gel nail polish lasts longer, rarely chips, and offers a brilliant shine.

That said, an in-salon gel manicure can get expensive (as much as $50 in major cities), but now it’s super easy to DIY a gel manicure at home. While it’s simple enough to buy a bottom and top coat, along with the best nail polish colors, some brands offer nail polish sets with everything you need. Many offerings from Amazon’s beauty lineup include LED lamps at affordable price points, so you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank, too.

All the top beauty retailers offer gel nail polishes to amp up your at-home salon, including Ulta, Nordstrom, Sephora, and Amazon. Innovative new formulas from brands like Sally Hansen and Essie also cut out the need for a UV lamp, so you can apply and remove long-lasting gel nail polish without any special equipment necessary.

Now that spring is officially here, it’s time to move on from dull winter shades and embrace bright, mood-boosting hues. Neutrals are always in, like soft ballet pinks, muted “stone” grays — a current TikTok obsession of Alix Earle’s — and crisp whites, however there’s no better time of year to add a pop of color into your nail rotation. For spring 2024 nail trends, think: buttery yellows, peachy pinks, and pearlescent finishes. Plus, last summer’s “blueberry milk” nails, made popular by Sofia Richie, are still going strong (in step with sky blue accessory trends), while the timeless red-hot color trend will continue to feel classic through the end of the year.

We’ve rounded up the best gel nail polishes on the market to add high shine and opaque color to your claws, without the hefty price tag of a salon appointment.

Top Gel Nail Polishes of 2024

Editor’s Choice: Top Gel Nail Polishes of 2024

Not all at-home gel nail polishes are made the same, as some are better for beginners, while others require more learned expertise. The right gel nail polish will you will depend on your intended results, whether you’re looking for a polish that can last you through the month or is easy to remove when you’re ready to change up your shade. There are also options that present more shine, color payoff, as well as others that don’t require a UV nail lamp at all. Rather than selecting one all-around gel nail polish on the market, we’ve selected out top three, editor-tested picks that range in price point, finish, and application method.

  • Gelish Lace is More Spring Collection: Gelish is beloved by nail novices and professionals alike, as it’s easy to apply and dries with a high-shine. This polish’s application only requires a quick coat and a 30-second cure, and easily soaks off when you’re ready for a new color. Our testers were impressed by how long the formula lasts — up to three weeks.
  • Essie Gel Couture Longwear Nail Polish: Essie’s regular formula nail polishes are beloved for their extensive color selection and seasonal collection. The gel version is no different, and poses as the best DIY gel option that functions exactly like a regular polish — all the long-lasting shine without the long-term commitment or the need for a UV nail lamp.
  • Le Mini Macaron DIY Gel Manicure Kit: We love this beginner-friendly kit because it comes with everything you need to nail your at-home mani in just 15 minutes. With 10 kit color options, it includes an adorable macaron-shaped mini LED lamp that charges with a USB cord, one gel polish, cuticle pushes, nail file, and gel polish remover wraps.

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blue nailpolish and swatch

Editor’s Choice

Gelish Lace is More Spring Collection

Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars

Gelish is a salon staple, and they sell their polishes online as well. This spring collection features fresh and poppy hues, like this “Sweet Morning Breeze” color that’s perfect for the “blueberry milk nails” trend, or the grassy “Freshly Cut” shade that looks just as energizing as a matcha latte. Each of the colors will last up to three weeks, just like they do in the salon.

Editor testing review notes: “Gelish nail polishes outperform others I’ve tried in their long-lasting finish — I’ve worn this polish for three weeks sans chips, and I’m hard on my hands. I love that the tapered brush allows me to detail the edges and tips of my nails, even when I’m using my non-dominant. As for the shades, you won’t be left wanting; the brand has extensive classic and trendy colors to choose from.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $16.95

pink nail polish and swatch

Editor’s Choice

Essie Gel Couture Longwear Nail Polish

Ulta Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars

$8.42

$13

35% off

$13

If you love Essie nail polishes, try out their Gel Couture polishes that don’t require a UV light. This gel color goes on with easy application thanks to its wide brush. It comes in over 40 rich color options, like this orchid “Bodice Goddess” shade, and dries super shiny in a matter of minutes.

Editor testing and review notes: “On days when I don’t feel like whipping out my UV nail lamp but I need a long-lasting, high-shine manicure, Essie’s Gel Couture collection saves the day. These function like plain polishes but dry quickly, remove easily, and last about five days longer than non-gel formulas.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $8.42

12 Best Gel Nail Polishes from Top Brands

Editor’s Choice

Le Mini Macaron DIY Gel Manicure Kit

Nordstrom Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars

This little kit has everything you need in the most adorable miniature form. The best part is that the polish that’s included is a three-in-one formula, which means that you won’t have to layer on multiple coats. The kit comes with an LED lamp that’s the shape and size of a macaroon (how cute), a nail color, a file, stick and alcohol wipes. Take your pick of 10 confectionary color options, thought we’re partial to the “Praline” color that reminds us of the “Peach Fuzz” Pantone Color of The Year.

Editor testing and review notes: “If you’re new to gel nail manicures at home, then I recommend Le Mini Macaron’s Kit as the best gel mani kit for beginners. The tiny LED nail lamp allows you to cure each nail as you go, ensuring you don’t smudge your varnish while you’re painting an entire hand at once. It’s also great for travel, should you need touch-ups on-the-go.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $37.99

12 Best Gel Nail Polishes from Top Brands

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish

Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars
Ulta Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars

$12.99

Believe it or not, you can achieve the same shiny finish and durable wear power without a UV light. Sally Hansen’s innovative Miracle Gel formula lasts up to eight days with just a coat of color and top coat. Plus, it removes just like a typical polish, so it’s quick and easy to swap out your color.

What testers say: “I actually liked this a lot! I didn’t think it would last as long as it did because I’m constantly washing my hands, but it really did last six days before chipping! I purchased the white polish combo and followed the directions exactly. I did my toes as well and they haven’t chipped at all and still look great nine days later!”

Price upon publish date of this article: $8.32

12 Best Gel Nail Polishes from Top Brands

Best Gel Nail Polish Kit

Beetles Gel Nail Polish Set

Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars

These nail polishes always come in a set of gorgeous colors that will last you from spring to fall. This set from Beetles includes six colors, from sparkly silver, earthy greens, rosy nudes, and muted blue. The formula has also maintained a near-perfect star rating, with over 30,000 Amazon shoppers that love its opaque color payoff and super long-wearing formula; they rival some of the best press-on nails on Amazon with their gorgeous results.

What testers say: “For all you DIY nail ladies, Beetles has been the best polish products I’ve used! The colors are amazing and easy to use. Each box comes with easy directions, too. Make sure you have the UV light for these. I have purchased multiple color sets and I have been happy with ALL of them!”

Price upon publish date of this article: $9.99

12 Best Gel Nail Polishes from Top Brands

Jodsone 23-Piece Gel Polish Kit

Amazon’s Choice
Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars

Jodsone’s Gel Polish Kit will keep your at-home salon equipped with every color you could ever need. It includes over 20 colors that’ll cling to your claws for 21 days, along with a base coat, glossy top coat, and a matte top coat — so, you actually have the option to achieve over 40 different nail looks in this on-sale assortment. What a bargain.

What testers say: “I was tired of spending $50+ every few weeks to get my nails done so I decided I wanted to try gel at home. This set delivered on everything I was looking for! I love being able to try out different colors I wouldn’t normally try, and I’ve been able to change the colors up every one to two weeks. So far each color I’ve tried out has lasted at least 8 days without a single chip! As a mom of 3 young boys, I am not easy on my nails, so I’m super impressed with this set. I highly recommend you give it a try! You won’t be disappointed.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $8.99

12 Best Gel Nail Polishes from Top Brands

Larvall Beautpal Nude Gel Polish 10-Piece

Amazon’s Choice
Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars

There’s no such thing as boring neutrals in the Larvall Beautpal Nude Gel Polish kit. The formula applies rich and creamy, and comes in an array of 10 shades that range from opaque mauves, rosy browns, and sugary whites. After curing a coat under a UV nail lamp, they’re expected to last a full month with no chips — making for an essential evergreen collection you can lean on in-between vibrant sets.

What testers say: “I am obsessed with these shades! They are vibrant, bright, and opaque. They’re perfect for spring and summer. I self tan and my tanned feet and these polishes are a match made in heaven!”

Price upon publish date of this article: $12.99

12 Best Gel Nail Polishes from Top Brands

Best Nude Gel Nail Polish

Gaoy Nude Gel Nail Polish Set

Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars

Gaoy’s nail set features six colors, all of which are super wearable year-round. It has white and off-white shades, three nude options, and a deep chocolate color. This brand is also non-toxic and low-odor, which makes them even better to use regularly. Reviewers love the colors and say that they’re super long-lasting.

What testers say: “Just what I was looking for. These are so beautiful and they can be sheer as well as built up to a more opaque color. My favorite one is 1004 since it is a more nude color. If you’re thinking about them, just do it and you won’t regret it.” 

Price upon publish date of this article: $9.99

12 Best Gel Nail Polishes from Top Brands

Gelish Summer Clueless Mini Gel Nail Polish

Amazon’s Choice
Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars

Gelish is one of the most beloved gel polish brands around, and this little bottle inspired by the ’90s flick “Clueless” has us totally trippin’. It comes in the perfect sky blue color in a small size, so you can use it for a season before switching it up. This collection is the go-to option if you want different colors that go well together for your pedi and mani.

What testers say: “Excellent opacity and stayed unchipped on my nails for two weeks.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $15.99

12 Best Gel Nail Polishes from Top Brands

Rosalind Gel Nail Polish Set

Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars

Rosalind‘s set is fab if you love to add a little sparkle to your tips. With three glitter colors, including white, creamy pink, and black, you’ll have plenty of evergreen choices to wear for all kinds of dressy or casually glamorous occasions.

What testers say: “I absolutely love this set of gel polish. I have pricey gel polishes that won’t stay on or would chip. I’ve had these for over a week now and they still look great. No chips or peeling. Not going to lie, I was worried because it’s so affordable but they work great and the colors are beautiful. I definitely recommend these for first timers or if you’re not willing to spend a lot. They’re worth the price.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $9.99

12 Best Gel Nail Polishes from Top Brands

Best Gel Nail Polish for UV Light

Gelish Dynamic Duo Essentials

Amazon’s Choice
Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars

Gelish is a trusted gel polish line that professionals love, and this duo is a great choice if you’re looking for a next-level shiny base and top coat. Not too thick and not too thin either, this base coat will work to protect your nail while the top coat will leave it perfectly glossy. You can use these with other brands of polish as well. Reviewers love that the top coat helps any gel polish last much longer.

What testers say: “After looking at what the basics kit contained, I decided I would get more bang for my buck by buying this set. The Foundation (Base Coat) and Top it Off (Top Coat) are absolutely essential in applying gelish polish. I highly recommend this set and the Gelish nail system as a whole.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $32.80

12 Best Gel Nail Polishes from Top Brands

Modelones Gel Nail Kit

Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars

If you are new to the DIY gel nail polish game, this is hands-down the best at-home gel nail polish set. This kit from Modelones includes both matte and glossy polishes (some of the best UV gel nail polish out there, by the way), shaping tools, an LED lamp, and even glitter and gemstones for accessorizing your manis.

What testers say: “The quality is really great for the price. It’s super easy to use and I love how quickly and smoothly it cures out all the streaks.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $17.99

The Best Gel Nail Polish Brands

If you’re used to hitting the salon for a coat of color, you may be scrolling beauty retailers and wondering, “which gel nail polish is best?” You can always lean on customer reviews for honest accounts of different polish brands and order gel colors with the highest reviews. Brands such as Gelish, Beetles, and Gaoy are widely available on Amazon. Other nail care brands that are best known for their normal polish formulas and extensive color options, like Essie and Sally Hansen, also provide gel polishes that apply just like their familiar formulas. When in doubt, take cues from the professionals who swear by brands like Rosalind, Modelones, OPI, or Deborah Lippmann. The best gel nail polish brands will vary in price, so if you’re new to gel application, try out a more affordable gel polish brand first and then experiment with prestige products after plenty of practice.

What Are the Benefits of Gel Nail Polish?

First and foremost: gel nail polish can last up to three weeks at a time with no chipping or dulling of the color. Unlike false tips or press-on nails, gel polish is applied directly onto your natural nail. It’s super resilient and will even make your own nails stronger (just make sure not to peel it off, which can damage the nail). Finally, one of the best aspects of a gel mani is that they dry immediately. That’s right, as soon as you pull your hand out of the LED lamp, you’re good to go.

How Does Gel Nail Polish Work?

There are three different gel types you’ll need to master the perfect at-home gel mani. First, a gel manicure requires a bottom coat, followed by the actual colored polish and then the top coat. Each coat needs to be cured under a UV light in order to polymerize — aka harden and dry the polish. This polymerization process is often called “curing,” typically takes about 30 seconds under the nail lamp.

Celebrity nail artist Julie Kandalec explains that there is some risk if the gel polish gets on the cuticle or bordering skin. “it’s hard for people to polish inside the lines. I get it,” she says. “If you’re under curing the gel, the layer underneath that’s touching your nail or if the skin is not cured all the way, that uncured gel is going to cause an allergy.” So make sure you’re cleaning up cuticles and applying with precision, particularly if you have sensitive skin.

How to Dry Nail Polish Without a UV Light

The truth? You really can’t. Now, there are some gel-adjacent polishes that claim to be super long-lasting, however, if there is no UV lamp or your bottles of polish aren’t marked as a gel formula, the polish won’t actually harden and they may not be as long-lasting.

The Best Way to Remove Gel Nail Polish

Gel nail polish is beloved for its super durable wear that lasts up to two weeks without pesky chipping. While this is a total plus, it could also be a curse if you love to rotate your nail colors based on your outfit, the seasons, or your mood. It’s important to carefully remove gel nail polish to prevent long-term damage to the nail bed. The best gel nail polish remover is simple acetone, however it won’t wipe away gel color quite as easy as it would a regular nail polish formula.

Kandalec recommends start by filing off the top coat and then wrapping each nail in pure acetone, “not acetone remover,” she says, “because it’ll just make your nails gummy. It has to be a hundred percent pure acetone, and that’s a safe way to do it because the foil will hold the heat in of the acetone and it’ll come off faster.”

Follow these steps to remove gel nail polish with acetone:

  1. Cut a cotton pad or cotton ball in 10 small pieces to fit the size of each nail.
  2. Saturate each piece of cotton in acetone.
  3. Place the wet cotton on top of each nail that is wearing gel polish.
  4. Wrap each finger with plastic wrap to secure to cotton to the nail bed and let sit for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the plastic wrap and cotton and wash your hands with soap and water. If any color remains, wipe away the excess with a washcloth soaked in warm water.

How We Chose the Best Gel Nail Polish

Since 1910, WWD — often referred to as “the fashion bible” — has been the leading industry voice of authority for senior executives in the global women’s and men’s fashion, retail and beauty communities, while also informing the consumer media that cover the market. Today, WWD’s breaking news and trend coverage continues to be a trustworthy resource for both fashion insiders and consumers alike. Our shopping editors continue to uphold WWD’s editorial standards and values with quality, expert-backed product selections.

To curate this guide for the best gel polish for nails and DIY manicures, we browsed the best beauty retailers for top-rated brands, high-value kits, and inspiring seasonal collections. We paid special attention to user-friendly UV lamps, professional-quality formulas and tools, price points, and functional versatility to suit all kinds of home salon set-ups. We sifted through customer reviews to select the most satisfactory products and considered key factors such as wear time, finish, easy of application, dry time, and color pay off. Learn more about us here.

Meet the Expert

celebrity nail expert Julie Kandalec

Courtesy

Julie Kandalec is a celebrity nail artist and educator. To Julie, nail care is far beyond just polish. Always the artist, she is also trained in painting, drawing, color, and dance. Known for her gentle touch, calm demeanor, and precise attention to detail, Julie’s specialties vary from a clean, natural nail to elaborate, custom-designed nails. Julie’s work can now be seen in major publications, beauty campaigns, and regularly on the fingertips of Jessica Chastain, Emily Blunt, Rose Byrne, and many more.

Meet the Author

Olivia Cigliano is a Commerce Writer & Producer at Footwear News and WWD where she writes shopping content across fashion, beauty, footwear, TikTok style trends, and more. Cigliano received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Emerson College, and her byline can be found in publications including Elite Daily and CR Fashion Book. She is currently based in New York City. Cigliano updated this story for the best gel nail polish in March with new colors for spring and additional expert insight on trends and application tips.





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