Skincare Skills

by Lydia

Skincare blogger

May 28, 2021

One of the biggest pet peeves of regular polish is chipping and how long it lasts. That's why most people are now opting for gel nail polish, and brands have also realized that people are looking for at-home options. Hence, the best gel nail polish brands are creating products with similar traits to regular polish in that it's easy to remove and apply but with the popular benefits of gel polish.

The best gel nail polish will deliver a professional/salon-like manicure. It's free of toxins and will last for at least a week or two without chipping. Some are long-wear, thus allowing you to wear the nail color for weeks on end. The gel nail polish can also feature a formula with a built-in base coat making the application process more manageable.

What makes them have that salon-like/professional effect is the topcoat which can either have a super shiny or glossy finish. The best part is that brands have found ways to create formulas that don't require UV/Led lamps. Keep reading to find your best gel nail polish brand.

Does Gel Nail Polish Brand Really Matter?

While pretty much any brand of gel can be used, there are brands that have better products that are more durable and easier to use. A cheaper brand won't necessarily mean a low-quality nail polish. But still, the brand matters. Here are some reasons why the best gel nail polish brands matter;

  • Different brands use different ingredients, so you want to ensure you pick a product from a brand whose ingredients work best for you.
  • The method of application and ease of use also varies across different brands. As a result, you want to pick the best gel nail polish from a brand that involves simpler methods of application.
  • Colors and shade range are another reason why nail polish brands matter. Different brands will have different colors and shades to match different styles and needs.

Whether you've run out of your Gel shine Long wear and are looking for a new brand to stock up on, or you're new to the gel polish world, we've got you covered. We listed the best gel polish brands as well as the best gel nail polishes from the brands. 

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 Best Gel Nail Polish Brands

Best Gel Nail Polish Brands- Reviews

1. Sally Hansen

Sally Hansen is not only a budget brand but is also a type of brand that everyone should try. As one of the best gel nail polish brands, this brand was developed by a woman called Sally Hansen and her husband. The brand offers one of the best gel nail polishes that everyone should try.

Their gel nail polishes are designed for ease of application and durability. Furthermore, most of their formulas are infused with argan oil for improved moisture.

The Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish is the perfect choice if you're looking for professional gel polish for your mani-pedis at home. It's the best gel nail polish as you don't need a UV light or LED lamp to cure it.

The Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish can last up to 8 days when paired with the Sally Hansen shiny topcoat. As one of the best professional gel nail companies, this product is formulated to be an impressive and ultimate chip-resistant nail polish. The miracle gel nail polish is chip-resistant and is available in over 70 shades.

It features a quick precision brush for smooth application. The Sally Hansen Miracle Gel application and removal process is similar to regular nail polish with just two steps. It's also easy to apply and lasts longer than traditional nail polish. Looking to achieve professional and salon quality at the comfort of your home, try out the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish.

2. DND

Daisy's DND is a famous brand that you might find in many salons all around the world. The company was established in the USA in 2011 and started as a nail varnish company, then shifted to gel nail polish. The company is dedicated to continuously innovating great products that please nail techs and customers.

The DNDDuo Gel (Gel & Matching Polish) Fall Set 447 features a soak-off gel polish and a matching bottle of regular nail polish. The colors of both polishes are the same because you can easily use you can always use the nail lacquer to touch up on the gel nail polish or simply wear one instead of the other.

However, the gel polish needs to be cured under a nail lamp. Luckily, it will only take 30 seconds to dry it under a convenient LED nail lamp. In addition, you still need to remember that the gel nail polish will require a good base coat and top coat.

3. Revlon

Revlon is another economical brand widely known for its foundation, but unlike some affordable brands, this one is salon-quality. They provide everything you need for a fierce and chip-free mani at home include a nail file, cuticle stick, and any nail polish. Revlon products are sold in over 100 countries across the world. The brand has revitalized the industry with iconic shades with breakthrough technology.

The Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy Longwear Nail Polish will have you feeling like you just got a salon gel manicure as it lasts as long. However, it's similar to regular polish in that it comes off just as easily and doesn't require a UV light to be cured. The gel polish is available in 46 vibrant shades.

The Revlon Colorstay gel envy longwear nail polish is formulated with shea butter and oils to condition strong nails. In addition, it features a wide-angle brush that creates smooth, bubble-free coats.

The application process of this Revlon Colorstay gel envy requires two steps, including the long-wear nail polish and ultra-tough topcoat, to deliver brilliant and infinite shine lasting for about a week.

This nail polish features a built-in base coat making your manicure experience much easier. 

4. Seche

As one of the best professional gel nail polish brands that lead the way in natural nail care, Seche produces products that are trusted by professional nail technicians and other users.

Women who are looking for superior quality products to create strong and beautiful nails can now rely on this brand. This brand has been in operation since 1991, and since then, they have managed to produce the best gel nail polish that can last for a long time.

Top coats are really important because they protect the nail color and provide the extra shine needed to make your manicure pop. This top coat protects your nail colors from fading, thus making them last longer. Its fast-drying and does not need UV light or LED light to cure.

The formula is vegan-friendly, toxin-free, and animal cruelty-free. When applied, it delivers a glossy and shiny finish. In addition, the Seche top coat is designed to be chip-resistant.

It produces a plumping effect of a gel in a high gloss or high shine finish without the use of LED OR UV LIGHT. The durable salon-quality finish brings your manicure to life, and the quick-drying formula ensures it dries faster so that you can go about your business.

5. Aimeili

Aimeili is another amazing brand that was first established in 2012 in Hong Kong. Their main objective is to provide products that offer fade-free and chip-free wear for up to three weeks. In addition, they promise up to three weeks of glossy nails and a mirror shine finish.

It aims to make everyone who uses their products feel good about themselves as well as achieve vibrant nails.

They have the best shade range with more than eight gel nail polish ranges that include solid color range, temperature color changing range, cat eye collection, paranoid collection, diamond range, candy range, and sun play collection.

What is interesting about the AIMEILI Temperature Color Changing Soak Off Gel Polish Set is that the colors will change based on your body temperature, creating an ombre effect.

However, for best results, it is important to roll the gel bottle between your hands, shake it well, or warm it up using warm water before starting to apply. Then, apply a base coat and proceed to cure it for about 60 seconds under a UV light or 30 seconds under an LED nail lamp.

Once the base coat has well set, apply the colored polish on the nail, cure it again before adding another second coat of the same colored polish. Lastly, use a no wipe top coat that has no sticky residue to create a great finish and chip-free wear. Remember also to cure the top coat and ensure the gel nail polish is well dried. 

6. Kiara Sky

The Kiara Sky gel nail polish brand was named after a little girl. Her parents, who are professional nail artists, started this company in California over 15 years ago.

Currently, their products are all over the world and are being sold in over 85 countries. Showcasing a collection of nail lacquers, gel polishes, Pedi packs, dip powder, and color collections, Kiara sky is made for people who have a passion for colors that pop and top products.

The Kiara Sky Gel Polish Duo with Top and Base Coat is a great way to start your gel nail polish collection. Both the top and base coat are easily cured in 30 seconds under an LED nail lamp.

The result of the polish is a gloss and fade-free finish that can last up to three weeks. Furthermore, this product is easier to remove as they soak off in just a few minutes whenever you want to renew your manicure.

The formula of these two products doesn't contain harsh ingredients and is cruelty-free. Moreover, it contains important vitamins that come in handy to nourish your nails. 

7. Essie

Essie is an American brand that is well known in the beauty industry as they make products for both professionals as well as home users. This company was started in 1981 by Essie Weingarten, and ever since, they have come up with over 1000 colors, 250 of them being in their current catalog.

This brand is a favorite for icons like Meghan Markle and Quen Elizabeth. Most fans of this professional gel nail polish brand are impressed by the coral nail polish that ensures attractive nails and durability.

Essie Gel Couture 2-Step Longwear Nail Polish comes in a range of shades with 42 colors to choose from. It is perfect for an at-home gel manicure as the application process only requires two steps. All you need is the Essie gel couture nail color and topcoat to achieve your desired gel manicure.

No base coat is needed; only two coats of Essie Gel Couture 2-Step Longwear Nail Polish are topped by the gel top coat for a flawless shine. The removal process is similar to regular polish, and you don't need to soak your nails. All you need is cotton pads and nail polish remover. No UV lamp is required to cure your nails with this Essie gel couture polish, and it's super easy to apply. 

8. Deborah Lippmann

Deborah Lippmann is a celebrity manicurist that is well known in renowned fashion houses and fashion magazines. With her years of experience in the nail care industry, she came up with an eponymous line of nail lacquers and treatments for feet, hands, and nails.

Deborah Lippmann boasts a formula that has no harmful ingredients making it safe for use by everyone. It features a patented seven-free formula that is definitely worth your coins, especially if you're sensitive to chemicals or pregnant. In addition, it comes with exotic ingredients that help improve the health of your own nails or your customer's nails.

The Deborah Lippmann gel lab pro formula is infused with beneficial ingredients for your nails, like green tea extract, biotin, and omega-6 fatty acids. The gel formula has a smooth application and dries quickly. It lasts long and is chip-resistant.

It doesn't require a lamp to cure and easily comes. In addition, the Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro top coat and base coat deliver a high shine or high gloss as well as extended wear.

The Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro base coat and the corresponding top coat add a cushiony plumped look to any nail polish without any nail damage or the use of UV light. This is a healthy and amazing alternative to gel manicures as it delivers better results. You can never go wrong with the Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro coats.

9. Nails Inc

Unlike other best gel nail polish companies that provide thin layers, which means you need to apply several coats, the Nails Inc brands provide products that are highly pigmented. So if you're looking to achieve exceptional coverage, consider this nail polish brand. 

The gel nail polish has a high shine finish that doesn't require UV/LED light to cure it. You also don't need to soak off your gel nails hence making the removal process easy. It features a wide brush that ensures easy application.

The gel polish is highly pigmented, thus providing exceptional coverage. In addition, the polish glides on smoothly, making your at-home manicure much more enjoyable. When these nail polishes are correctly applied, the manicure can last for about two weeks.

They are easily cured under an LED light where the base coat will require 30 seconds, and every other coat needs to be cured for about 60 seconds. Unlike other gel polishes, this one doesn't have much odor, but it may require a few more layers to get an opaque finish as the polish is a bit runny and thin,

10. Dior

Nothing beats the stylish and fashionable look of Dior gel polishes. This professional gel nail polish is known to do great, and they provide a wide shade range or color range from natural and sophisticated colors to a more whimsical color.

If you want to get a glossy and vibrant finish, then consider this nail polish. Users are intrigued by the wide brush that provides a streak-free application. The formula goes on very smoothly and feels creamy and rich while it is also fast drying.

One of the best things about this Dior Vernis Gel Shine & Long Wear Nail Lacquer is that the colors are very classic, well pigmented, versatile and wearable.

11. OPI

Surprisingly, OPI started as a dental supply company and was commonly called Odontorium Products Inc. However, in the eighties, they began developing and selling acrylic nail systems exclusively to professionals and salons.

In the year 2007, they reformulated their products to remove any harmful chemicals like DBP, toluene, and formaldehyde. They offer an impressive range of colors, including some hard-to-find shades. Additionally, every gel polish bottle will include a skinny brush that ensures accurate application.

If you're a big fan of the clean and classic manicure, this is the best gel nail polish for you. The OPI infinite shine long-wear nail lacquer has a range of nude/neutrals and light and sheer pinks that will make your classic mani pop.

The OPI gel shine long-wear nail polish comes in more than 60 shades. It has a 3 step application process and is designed to give you a chip-resistant manicure for up to 11 days. For extra shine, apply the OPI Infinite Shine Gloss Top Coat.

12. Butter London

Butter London products feature an innovative patent shine 10X formula that is loaded with ingredients to promote stronger, healthier, and brighter nails. Also, the patented shock resisting polymer technology provides iconic shades and infinite shine for up to two weeks.

The formula is free from parabens, gluten, DBP, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde resin, ethyl tosylamide, Toluene, and TPHP. Their products are also cruelty-free and vegan-friendly.

The butter London gel nail polish comes in a range of super-pigmented, high-shine shades that last for up to days. It features the best shade range and long-wearing shades that have been proven to give stronger, brighter, and healthier nails. The vitamin formula ensures the nail is strengthened while still providing consistent coverage because of its high pigmentation.

The gel polish is chip-resistant and fade-resistant. You only have to apply two coats and let it dry, after which you'll be ready to rock your gel nails. The gel polish is free of toxins and comes in a range of vibrant, rich shades. Paired with the Hardwear Shine UV Topcoat, your gel nails get a glossy finish.

13. Gellen

Gellen is a sister company to Gelish, and both companies are under Gelpolish. Although it might be a bit difficult to find their products and also information about them, their products are continuously growing in popularity. Although it is one of the best gel nail polish brands in the market today, most of its products are not made for professionals but instead home users.

The Gellen brand offers generously sized kits like the Gellen Gel Nail Polish Kit With Top Base Coat that contains traditional shades and other options like magnetic and holographic polish, making it a perfect choice for nail art. Although the sizes of the colored polish are smaller, the base and top coat are full sizes. Every bottle of polish can last up to three years before it expires.

14. HNM

The HNM brand boasts harmless and non-toxic ingredients that provide a good tenacity and low smell. Their products are perfect for both home personal DIY use and professional salon use. Their main aim is to ensure no smudges, chips, or nicks for up to two weeks after application.

This gel nail polish will have people wondering if your nails are playing tricks on their minds. The gel formula is designed to change every time there's a temperature change, and it has 3 in 1 temperature colors. The gel polish requires to be cured with a UV/LED/CCFL lamp. Once applied, it can last for at least two to3 weeks. The colors are super rich and vibrant. It's a fantastic choice for those who love changing up their colors. 

15. Wet n Wild

The Wet n Wild is widely known for producing the first gel formula that cures without a UV light or LED light lamp and doesn't require a top coat. In addition, their products are very easy to use with only a few steps, providing up to two weeks of professional nail color.

Wet n wild nail polishes have been in the market since 1979. Their classic Wild Shine nail colors provide a beautiful accent to any look. From long-lasting gel nail polish to top coats and base coats, you get a wide range of products. So many of them are metallic, shiny, cream, and glitter nail colors for versatility. 

All you need is two coats, and your gel manicure is good to go. The gel polish does not require a top coat or base coat and cures without a lamp. You can simply dry your nails using natural light before going about your day.

The nail polish features a wide brush, and it's super long-lasting. Once applied, you can experience days without any chipping. It's an affordable drug store option.

What Do You Consider When Looking For The Best Gel Nail Polish Brands?

1. Damage To Nails

Gel polishes can cause dehydration and damage to your natural nails, mostly because of the harsh removal techniques and non-permeable formulations. Hence, it's essential to look for one that focuses on your nail health and well-being when choosing the best gel nail polish. Some gel nail polish brands are designed without primers or bonders; hence they protect the natural nail.

2. Ingredients

The ingredients in your gel nail polish matter. When considering the best gel polishes, you want to avoid toxic ingredients like formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resin, and camphor. Poor quality gel polishes will tend to have these ingredients, harming both you and the technician. Some of these ingredients have been found to cause inflammation and also cause other adverse side effects like liver and thyroid issues.

Most of the best professional gel nail polishes don't contain these ingredients. However, it's always best to still go through the ingredients to be sure.

3. Eco and Vegan Friendly

There's a growing trend in ethically sourced and sustainable beauty products. If you highly value vegan and animal cruelty-free products, it's best to consider gel nail polish companies that value this.

4. Removal Process

The soaking off process of gel process is dreaded by many who prefer the best gel nail polish. Some methods include soaking in a bowl of acetone, scrapping, and ripping the gel off with metal tools. These tend to leave your natural nails dry, weak, and flaky. Hence when looking for the best gel nail polish, consider the removal process. Some brands don't have primers and bonders; hence the gel easily lifts off. While others use nail wraps hence the gel never touches your nail bed.

5. Uv or Led Lamp

Gel polishes have their own types of lamps. Certain gel nail polish will only work with an LED lamp as they are specifically set to be cured under an LED light. In comparison, UV lamps work with all types of gel nail polish.

Hence, if you have different gel nail polish brands, a UV lamp will cure them. Thus, it's important to consider the type of lamp you have when considering the best gel nail polish. Another consideration is that led lamps are known to cure faster; however, they emit higher UV light intensities than UV lamps.

Gel Polish Vs. Regular Nail Polish

The main difference between regular nail polish and gel polish is that gels require an LED nail lamp to dry as well as multiple coats. They are also much harder to remove because they require soaking with a polish remover.

As a result, the best gel nail polish is durable and can last for about a month without peeling or chipping, helping strengthen thin and weak nails.

Furthermore, gel manicures allow for creativity in nail art, and you can achieve outstanding results from color-changing polishes, holographic chrome powder, and nail stamping.

It can retain its infinite shine and vibrance for up to two weeks. Unlike gel polishes, regular nail lacquer or traditional nail polish tends to chip off after several days.

DIY Gel Manicure At Home

Although a DIY gel manicure will definitely save you some coins, it might not last as a salon manicure. However, the more you practice doing your own manicures, the better you become. Unlike acrylic nails, gel polish is gentler on nails. The application directions might differ according to the brand, but generally, here are the steps you should follow;

  1. Buff of the surface of the nail using a nail file.
  2. Push back the nail cuticles using a cuticle stick or cuticle pusher to prevent the polish from lifting.
  3. Clean your nails thoroughly.
  4. Apply the base coat and proceed to cure it under a nail lamp for about 30-60 seconds.
  5. Apply the colored polish and cure it also.
  6. Apply a second layer and put it also under the nail lamp.
  7. Apply the top coat and ensure it dries properly.

When it comes to removing the gel polish, you will either need a gel polish remover. To remove the polish, file the surface of the nails and soak them for about 20 minutes. The polish will come off faster once this is done. When the manicure starts to lift or chip off, remove the gel polish to avoid fungal infections. Remember to apply cuticle oil after removing the polish to ensure the nails and skin remain healthy.

6 Tips for Keeping Your Natural Nails Healthy

1. Allow Your Natural Nail To Breathe In Between Gel Manicures

The manicure process, in general, can lead to dehydration and thinning of the nail plate.

Whether you prefer salon or at-home manicures, it's important to assess your natural nail conditions at least every two weeks. This allows you to see if there are any infections and be aware of the state of your nails.

Nail polish features a thick armor-like coating that blocks your nails from transferring oxygen. Thus it's advisable to avoid back-to-back gel appointments to prevent lasting damage. This will allow your nails to rehydrate and repair.

2. Try Not To Pick At Peeling Gel Polish

You've probably found yourself doing this at some point. When the color begins to lift, you may be tempted to remove it. However, it's advisable not to, as water can seep into the nail. This can result in the harboring of bacteria and possibly cause fungus.

When you pick at your nail, you're also taking some layers of your nail off with it. This type of damage can take over six months to repair. Gel polish, if applied and removed correctly, is safe to wear on an ongoing basis. However, it can strip layers of the natural nail if over buffered before gel application or peeled off the nail.

3. Limit Your Exposure To The UV/LED Lamp

There's been an ongoing debate on whether UV lamps are safe. A recent study from the American Academy of Dermatology revealed that gel manicures might not ideally be safe for highly sensitive UV light people. Though the UV exposure during a gel manicure is brief, it's still considered quite intense, and over time this can add up and cause skin damage.

There's also an additional concern in the rise in popularity of LED nail lamps. They are considered faster in terms of curing and are believed to be safer compared to UV lamps. However, these lamps use higher intensities of UVA wavelengths to achieve shorter curing times. This means that they require less time to harm the skin.

Whenever you require to get your gel mani-pedi, you should always ensure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen. This will protect you against UVA/UVB rays, plus the UVA light from nail lamps is stronger than the normal exposure we get from the sun.

4. Hot Water Can Cause Your Gel Manicure To Lift

When you have gel polish, you'll likely want to avoid hot water. Gel polish and hot water don't do well together; that's why it's the most effective way to get them off.

So if you've been thinking of long baths, showers, you may have to reconsider as this can cause your polish to lift. When doing dishes, always wear rubber gloves.

5. Take Care Of Your Surrounding Skin

Once you remove your gel manicure, it's important to take care of the surrounding skin and cuticle as well as the nail plate itself. You can do this by rehydrating it with a thick emollient. This can be your preferred hand cream as long as it's moisturizing and intensely hydrating. But, again, the key is to rehydrate and repair the surrounding skin, cuticle, and nails.

6. Hydrate and Moisturize Your Nails

The gel removal process can be quite harsh; hence it's essential to take better care of your nails. You can hydrate your nails in between your salon visits or manicures.

This is by applying treatments that will act as base coats and quench your shriveled nail beds. These treatments are packed with oils like coconut, apricot, and avocado and nutrients like Vitamin C.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Gel Nail Polishes

1. Can you use any brand of nail gel polish?

You can use pretty much any brand of nail polish. However, you need to ensure that the brand uses ingredients that are not harmful and provide long-lasting wear. The best gel nail polish should not only be easy to use but provide durability and an attractive finish.

You also need to consider the top coat and the base coat. Preferably, the top coat, base coat, colored polish, and even sealer gel should be from the same brand.

2. Can I mix different brands of nail polish?

While you can mix nail polishes from different brands, it is important to ensure that the polishes are of high quality. With high-quality products, it is highly unlikely that the mixing of products from different brands will cause explosive effects or create damage to your nails.

3. Is a gel top coat and base coat the same?

A gel top coat and a gel base coat are not the same. Ideally, the top coat acts as a bridge between the natural nail surface and the colored gel polish, while the base coat protects the colored nail polish from damage. When it comes to applying gel polish, you need both the top coat and base coat for a long-lasting manicure.

4. Can you use a regular base coat together with gel polish?

A regular base coat will not work effectively with gels, and if used together, it will only diminish the lifespan of your gel manicure. If you use a regular base coat, your nail polish may start to peel and lift prematurely, and you will end up wasting your money. Therefore, it is vital to use a gel base coat with the best gel nail polish to achieve a consistent finish.

5. Why is my gel polish sticky after curing?

There are many reasons why your gel polish may appear sticky after curing, but the most common reason is the nail didn't cure properly. The oxygen in the air and near the upper layer of gel sometimes may not allow the oligomers to link together for proper curing. This results in the sticky layer of uncured gel polish. It is always a matter of oxygen so, when you apply one layer of gel, cure it before proceeding to other thin layers.

About the author 

Lydia

My name is Lydia Adams and I have been a skincare blogger in one way or another for many, many years.

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