Whether you paint your nails at home or have a standing appointment as your local salon every other week, we know how hard choosing the right color can be. Sometimes, it depends on your mood, other times, it hinges on your outfit for a big event. You might have a signature shade but then recently had an itch to spice things up. No matter what you nail polish situation may be, we’re about to make selecting a shade a little easier. For the 2018 Allure Best of Beauty Awards, our editors tested out hundreds of nail polishes in reds, blues, creams, sheers, neutrals, glitters, you name it, until we found ones that have the shiniest finish, the longest wear, and that make us oooh and ahhh at our fingertips intermittently throughout the day. We even tracked down the best basecoat, topcoat, and cuticle care to help maintain your manicure for as long as possible. And if gels are your thing, you’ll also find the best at-home kit on the list. After scrolling through our must-have nail picks for the year, don't forget to check out all of the winners in this year's Best of Beauty Awards, too.


Sporty. Sexy. Classic. CND Vinylux Long Wear Polish in Rouge Red is that rare cherry that checks all the boxes. And with vitamin E, jojoba oil, and keratin, you can add strengthening to the list, too.

$10 (Shop Now)


Essie Treat Love & Color in Minimally Modest imparts the sheer, rosy glow of a vigorous buffing.

$10 (Shop Now)

NAIL POLISH: Creamy Neutral

A plush beige with a touch of gray, Sally Hansen Color Therapy in Cashmere Calm is “the perfect nude” (said five testers with five different skin tones).

$8 (Available in October 2018)


Givenchy Le Vernis Nail Lacquer in Pourpre Edgy is pretty surreal. A brownish plum with unprecedented depth, the gel-like formula lends nails a rounded silhouette — and hand-talkers a distinct advantage.

$24 (Shop Now)


Sky blue with a latex sheen, OPI Infinite Shine 2 in Tile Art to Warm Your Heart is a superhero suit for your nails.

$13 (Shop Now)


For a more down-to-earth approach, reach for Jinsoon nail polish in Abyss — the hue captures the point in the horizon where a stormy ocean meets a vast gray sky.

$18 (Shop Now)


A mix of copper and rose with the finest shimmer in the game, Smith & Cult Nail Lacquer in Ceremony of Secrets is like brushing on a wash of pure, opaque light.

$18 (Shop Now)


With green tea and evening primrose, the ingredient list for the Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro color range sounds more like a chic night mask than a gel manicure. Two coats deliver the chip-free gleam of our dreams — for a solid week, sometimes even 10 days.

$45 (Shop Now)


Essie Here to Stay Base Coat lays down a glossy barrier that prevents discoloration and, true to its name, extends the life of our manicure.

$10 (Shop Now)


Zoya Armor Topcoat is one serious shield. The flexible finish resists dings; UV filters protect against color-sapping rays.

$10 (Shop Now)

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Butter London QuickFix Moisturizing Cuticle Balm cushions our nails in avocado and coconut oils, while the slanted silicone applicator brings us as close to ambidextrous as we’re ever going to get.

$18 (Shop Now)


The delicate oils in Cutex Nourishing Nail Polish Remover keep nails healthy and shiny, even when the number of polishes you have to test far exceeds your fingers — and toes.

$4 (Shop Now)


An intense moisturizer that dries to a powdery finish, Philosophy Hands of Hope keeps skin soft and screens pristine.

$10 (Shop Now)

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