The 8 best nail polishes for an at-home manicure
On that pro level ish
By Briar Clark
Beauty Crew Beauty Editor / October 05 2023
We’re the first to admit that our nail polish application skills could use a bit of (ironically) polishing up.
And we don’t know about you, but there's no greater incentive for bringing your A-game to the proverbial manicurist’s table than a fresh set of pretty polishes.
We’ve collated a few of our favourite nail polish brands and respective shades so you can finally start moonlighting as your nail tech's arch nemesis.
Funky Aussie nail colour company Hanami boasts a varnish formula that’s made from 82 per cent naturally sourced ingredients (think: Sugarcane, cotton, corn and cassava), is free from 10 different toxic chemicals traditionally found in nail polish, and is vegan-friendly and cruelty-free to boot. The quick dry time and colour opacity doesn’t hurt either.
$19.95 at Flora & Fauna
If you haven’t heard of Essie nail polish then you need to get out more – sorry not sorry. The iconic brand has given us Queen Elizabeth-worthy nudes like Ballet Slippers for crying out loud, not to mention they’re renowned for a formula that rivals any in-salon manicure; we’re talking high shine, long-lasting, chip-free wear, sis. Invest in yourself and snag a few shades.
$14.95 at Adore Beauty
After nail polish shades that look like they came out of an editorial fashion spread? Then look no further than JINsoon. The rich, high-coverage and double-patented formula delivers a smooth finish and high shine in as little as one to two coats. Plus, with the addition of high-tech polymers and resin, you can count on this nail polish to last on your nails and in your kit (no weird separated varnish formulas here please).
Our favourite shades: Ube, Dandy and Abyss
$26 at MECCA
gloss & Co
Aussie brand gloss & Co delivers on a number of points: Cruelty-free, vegan-friendly, chip-resistant, long-wearing and free from eight common toxic chemicals traditionally used in varnish formulation. And can we talk about the extensive (not to mention exciting) shade range?! To die for.
$26 at gloss & Co
Smith & Cult
Smith & Cult are like the sophisticated older sister of the nail polish family. She lives somewhere cool like London or New York, knows all the best places to thrift and somehow always manages to pull off wearing glitter without looking like a four-year-old. Get a taste of the good life Smith & Cult have to offer with a few coats of the high shine, chip-resistantpolish, that’s also 8-free, vegan, and cruelty-free.
$32 at Adore Beauty
The OG of nail polish. You know that OPI is legit because we don’t know a manicurist who doesn’t stock hoards of the silver-necked bottles. And it’s not hard to see why our nail techs keep reaching for the stuff either;the Infinite Shine formula is the closest you’re going to get to a gel finish without the rigamarole of UV-processing your manicure, promising up to 11 days of high-shine, chip-free wear.
$22.95 at Adore Beauty
Sienna Byron Bay
Byron Bay natives Sienna have worked hard to formulate their cleanest possible formula. It’s free from 12 common toxins, water permeable, breathable, cruelty-free, vegan and housed in sustainably-made packaging using environmentally-friendly materials. The range of earthy hues is just the icing on the cake TBH.
$28 at Flora & Fauna
Desperately want to have your nails effortlessly done at all times? But you can’t quite master the quick coat of polish (without waiting what feels like 3 business days for it to dry). Don’t worry, Selfie Nails has you sorted! With this at home kit, you’re going to become a bonafide nail tech. With 45 different colours to choose from, the ultimate mani is just a sticker away!
$6 at Selfie Nails
Briar is the Beauty Editor at BEAUTYcrew. Her 'down for anything' attitude has resulted in more than a handful of hair transformations, and she doesn't mind being used as a guinea pig for the industry's most unusual products and treatments. Her work has also appeared on Refinery29, Girlfriend and beautyheaven.