The Best Nail Polishes and Products of 2018
For our 23rd annual Best Beauty Buys, we surveyed leading dermatologists, makeup artists, hairstylists, and manicurists to find out which products they can’t get enough of. The votes are in: You’ll want to clear a shelf for these 165 beauty game-changers.
Stand in front of the nail polish wall at your favorite salon and you'll quickly get overwhelmed by all of your options.
However, in this product category it's the actual formula and not the shade that counts. Using a quality polish is the major difference between a salon-level manicure and a rushed, DIY paint job.
For this year's Best Beauty Buys we turned to our panel of experts to determine the top nail polishes, along with the nail-care products you need for a shiny, chip-free manicure—whether or not you have a salon appointment.
Keep scrolling for this year's winning polishes and the products that will keep your nails strong and healthy.
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Best Red Nail Polish: OPI Big Apple Red
When you can't decide on what color polish to paint your nails, you can't go wrong with a classic red. OPI's worldwide best-selling shade gets its flattering richness from the hint of blue added to its formula.
Best Neutral Nail Polish: OPI Samoan Sand
Not too pink, not too taupe, this year's winning neutral nail polish is just right. One coat of this barely-there color gives you a sheer look, while two layers leave a creamy opaque finish.
Best Base Coat: CND Stickey
Usually when a nail polish gets goopy and tacky, it's time to throw the bottle out. But when it comes to this year's Best Base Coat, "sticky" is a good thing. The formula acts like double-sided tape by bonding to your nail and the polish you layer on top so that your manicure lasts so much longer.
Best Top Coat: Seche Vite
You may have given yourself a rushed DIY manicure, but your nails don't have to show it. Applying a topcoat seals in polish so that your nails look just-painted fresh. This year's top-prize formula leaves nails super shiny for up to a week.
Best Cuticle Oil: Essie Apricot Oil
Especially during the winter, cuticle oil is the one product you need more than lip balm. Essie's Apricot Oil nourishes dry, flaky cuticles without any greasy, heavy residue. Bonus: We've even used it to polish our split ends.
Best Nail Polish Remover: Zoya Remove Plus
A glitter nail polish seems like a good idea until you try to take it off. That's where the industry's favorite nail polish remover comes in. Zoya's formula wipes away the most sparkly and dark polish shades without drying out your fingers.
Best Hand Cream: Chanel La Crème Main
If you want super soft hands, you have to crack open Chanel's egg-shaped hand cream. Spotted in the handbags of beauty editors and It girls everywhere, the sheer lotion is spiked with nourishing rose wax and brightening iris pallida extract.
Best Dark Nail Polish: OPI Lincoln Park After Dark
With most dark polishes, you need to layer multiple coats to get a rich, opaque finish. That's what makes OPI's cult-favorite deep aubergine polish this year's clear winner. A single coat is really all you need.
Each of these products is voted on by a panel of pros or selected by our editors. If you purchase through our links, InStyle may earn a commission.