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        Best Nail Polish for Medium-Dark Skin 2016

        Butter London in Mum’s the Word

        Best Nail Polish for Medium-Dark Skin 2016
        WINNER 2016

        Butter London in Mum’s the Word

        Equal parts taupe and mauve, this polish looks positively rich.

        Butter London | $18
        Hall of Fame
        Best Nail Polish for Fair Skin 2016

        OPI in Bubble Bath

        Best Nail Polish for Fair Skin 2016
        WINNER 2016

        OPI in Bubble Bath

        The slightly taupe undertones make this neutral less saccharin and more chic.

        OPI | $10
        Best Nail Polish for Dark Skin 2016

        JINsoon in Doux

        Best Nail Polish for Dark Skin 2016
        WINNER 2016

        JINsoon in Doux

        The milky powder pink produces a devastatingly cool contrast against dark skin.

        Jin Soon | $18
        Best Nail Polish for Fair-Medium Skin 2016

        Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Bare Dare

        Best Nail Polish for Fair-Medium Skin 2016
        WINNER 2016

        Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Bare Dare

        The creamy hue looks clean and polished, not chalky and lifeless.

        Sally Hansen | $10
        Best Special Effects Nail Polish 2016

        ColorClub Holographic Nail Polish

        Best Special Effects Nail Polish 2016
        WINNER 2016

        ColorClub Holographic Nail Polish

        Somewhere between rainbow sparkle and stardust falls this unusual metallic that coats your nails in finely milled, multi-colored iridescence. “It’s like a foiled effect in a bottle,” says manicurist Ami Vega, who notes the application is amazingly easy. “Just two coats” and you’re party-ready.

        ColorClub | $10
        Best At Home Gel Polish Kit 2016

        Red Carpet Manicure Pro Kit 

        Best At Home Gel Polish Kit 2016
        WINNER 2016

        Red Carpet Manicure Pro Kit 

        Manicurist true confession: On her way to see a client, celebrity manicurist Dawn Sterling realized (too late) she’d forgotten all of her gel options. So she ran to Duane Reade and picked up our winner. “It worked beautifully! It was easy to apply, easy to carry, and not too expensive. My client had no idea I was using an at-home kit!” You’ll love the line’s color range (with “great reds, perfect nudes and beautiful brights”) and its swift removal process. 

        Red Carpet | $80
        Best Nail Strengthener 2016

        Duri Rejuvacote

        Best Nail Strengthener 2016
        WINNER 2016, 2015

        Duri Rejuvacote

        Nails brittle and weak after a string of punishing gel treatments? Brush on this base packed with calcium and keratin proteins to ward off cracking and snapping. Vega, who works with Kelly Ripa, also likes that it strikes the perfect balance, toughening tips "without leaving them extremely rigid."

        Duri | $14
        Best Overall Bright 2016

        China Glaze Sun of a Peach

        Best Overall Bright 2016
        WINNER 2016

        China Glaze Sun of a Peach

        Just as a shimmering, Orgasmic blush or juicy tangerine gloss can do, this lacquer breathes life into your complexion, says Dunbar. It offers plenty of energy and pop but doesn't feel so trendy that you run the risk of shade fatigue as you might with a neon orange or a Minion-esque yellow.

        China Glaze | $8
        Best Overall Neutral 2016

        Deborah Lippmann Naked

        Best Overall Neutral 2016
        WINNER 2016, 2015, 2014

        Deborah Lippmann Naked

        You've heard of no-makeup makeup, right? Well, this hue creates the same effortlessly chic effecton your hands. "I can use this on someone with Lupita Nyong'o's skin tone or on someone as fair as Nicole Kidman," says McCormick. Adding just the right creamy trace of color, she says, this semi-sheer formula never skews too white. Is that why it's usually plucked first from the rack at our local salon?

        Deborah Lippmann | $18
        Best Overall Red 2016

        Dior Rouge

        Best Overall Red 2016
        WINNER 2016

        Dior Rouge

        It's more than just a pretty bottle. "This shade is like a drug," says Lamar of the hugely addictive and popular classic crimson that complements every skin tone— albeit in different ways. "On darker complexions it becomes brighter, more fiery; on lighter ones it looks deeper, and you more easily notice its blue base."

        Dior | $27
        Best Polish Remover 2016

        Zoya Polish Remover

        Best Polish Remover 2016
        WINNER 2016, 2015, 2014

        Zoya Polish Remover

        Talk about high praise: "I wouldn't even mind if someone was removing their nail polish on the train with this stuff," says Lamar. Beyond its appealing floral scent, Zoya's formula lifts off lacquers as well as acetone-based versions. "One swipe and you're good to go," says Lamar. And it leaves nails conditioned, not parched and rough.

        Zoya | $10
        Best Cuticle Oil 2016

        Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Oil

        Best Cuticle Oil 2016
        WINNER 2016

        Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Oil

        With coconut and jojoba oils plus vitamin E, this intense hydrator (housed in a user-friendly dropper bottle) keeps skin supple and hangnails in check. Pros rave about its quick dry time and lack of sticky, film-like residue. They also recommend applying nightly for best results. "Massaging the nail beds with cuticle oil may actually help nails grow in healthier," says N.Y.C. pro Ami Vega.

        Deborah Lippmann | $20
        Best Base Coat 2016

        Orly Bonder Base Coat

        Best Base Coat 2016
        WINNER 2016

        Orly Bonder Base Coat

        There's nothing like a chip to make us lose our minds. Enter this rubberized,resin-based nail foundation, "made to grip the surface of nails and bond to the polish," says N.Y.C. pro Alexaundra McCormick. The sticky solution also helps fill ridges and prevent staining, saysN.Y.C. nail artist Cas Lamar, who works with Jennifer Hudson and Sigourney Weaver.

        Orly | $11
        Hall of Fame
        Best Top Coat 2016

        Seche Vite Top Coat

        Best Top Coat 2016
        WINNER 2016, 2015, 2014

        Seche Vite Top Coat

        Nail pros compare the glossy finish of this winning topcoat (which has appeared on our list 20 times!) to that of gel polish. This shine enhancer dries faster than most other traditional topcoats on the market, and according to Silver Spring, Md., manicurist Maisie Dunbar, it does more than just set the surface: You won't get smears 30 minutes into your wear. The clear formula doesn't streak when applied and will help you hang on to your floating-moon manicure for up to 10 days, says Lamar.

        Seche Vite | $9
        Best Overall Dark 2016

        Essie Wicked

        Best Overall Dark 2016
        WINNER 2016, 2015, 2013

        Essie Wicked

        Among beauty editors, this bordeaux is about as ubiquitous as Louboutin pumps. That's because it gives instant polish (pun totally intended) to whatever you're wearing. Plus, there's warmth in the wine, meaning it won't leave you with dreaded corpse hands, like some cool-toned, deep dark shades can.

        Essie | $9
        Editor’s Pick
        Editor's Pick Best Eco-Friendly Polish 2016

        RMS Beauty in Solar Eco-Friendly Polish

        Editor’s Pick
        WINNER 2016

        RMS Beauty in Solar Eco-Friendly Polish

        “Pro Rose-Marie Swift’s polishes are inspired by hues in her line of natural makeup, like this gleaming bronze, which
        is vegan and cruelty-free.” — SELENE MILANO, SENIOR BEAUTY EDITOR

        20% off at rmsbeauty.com from 4/15 until 5/12; use code INSTYLE20

        RMS Beauty | $15
        Editor’s Pick
        Editor's Pick 2015

        Ciaté Geltox Starter Kit

        Editor’s Pick
        WINNER 2015

        Ciaté Geltox Starter Kit

        Gel color options generally leave much to be desired. But this topcoat ups the ante, lending any polish the longevity of a gel. Paint as usual, sweep on the clear lacquer, then hold under the included LED for a minute. Chip-free tips last up to three weeks.

         

        Ciate | $99
        Best Nail Polish for Dark Skin 2015

        Chanel in Particulière

        Best Nail Polish for Dark Skin 2015
        WINNER 2015

        Chanel in Particulière

        Against the darkest skin, this elegant and creamy brown “elongates” nails. 

        Chanel | $27
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