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5 Best Nail Polishes of 2019

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Whether you tend to gravitate towards trendy nail art or stick to a traditional solid manicure, a recent survey revealed that more than 70% of Good Housekeeping readers paint their nails at home — and you want that DIY mani to last as long as possible. There are hundreds of formulas on the market, and consequently, some are better than others.

That’s why the Good Housekeeping Institute tested nail polishes to find the best nail polishes on the market. For the study, nail polishes were subjected to performance tests, where our team conducted consumer, lab, and expert tests to analyze dry time, longevity, shine, chip score, coverage, and the polish’s ability to not stain nails. We also scored on whether the brush was ease to use, if the polish easy to apply evenly, and whether it was easy to remove. Finally, the Lab considered consumer satisfaction to find the best nail polishes of 2019:

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1

Best Overall Nail Polish

essie Nail Polish

Essie was clearly the winner in the lab’s final evaluation and the best of the test. It received top scores from testers, experts, and consumers, and testers also raved about its high gloss value and commented on how shiny the polish remained throughout its entire wear-time.

2

Best Value Nail Polish

Maybelline New York Color Show Nail Lacquer

We found that on average this budget-friendly polish lasted the longest of any polish we tested, with a wear of almost six and a half days without a base or top coat. One tester exclaimed: “I am very hard on my hands…planting, sports, pot scrubbing with my nails…The polish has stayed perfectly on my hands as if it were the first day.”

3

Best At-Home Gel Nail Polish

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel

Get results that rival the salon’s with this innovative polish/top coat duo, which doesn’t require the usual light to cure. A separate lab test showed that this lacquer dried fast, chipped less, and lasted longer than regular nail polish. 

4

Best Quick-Drying Nail Polish

OPI Nail Lacquer

This OPI polish outshone the competition when it came to dry time. Its average dry time was almost a minute and half faster than the next runner up, and our nail technician gave OPI a perfect 5 for coverage. 

5

Best Chip-Resistant Nail Polish

CoverGirl Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss

This CoverGirl polish received by far the highest scores for chip-resistance, and lasted more than 6 days without issue. On average, testers reported getting their first chip on day 4, and the polish lasted for an average of six and1/4 days.

Pia Velasco
Pia Velasco is the Associate Beauty Editor at Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day, and Prevention magazine.

Birnur Aral, Ph.D., Good Housekeeping Institute
Director, Health, Beauty & Environmental Sciences Lab
Birnur Aral is the director of the Health, Beauty & Environmental Sciences Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute, where she oversees all Lab tests and applications for the Good Housekeeping Seal, the Green Good Housekeeping Seal and the GH Innovation emblem.

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