Which Nail Polish Lasts Longest? Turns Out, It's Not The Expensive Stuff

What’s more frustrating than finishing an at-home manicure and noticing the next morning that it’s already chipped? Okay, fine. Probably a lot of things, but it’s still super frustrating to have wasted hours of your life waiting on it to dry only for your efforts to be wasted. Luckily for all of us frustrated DIY nail artists, Consumer Reports just published a study revealing which of seven polish brands last the longest without chipping.

CR tested the durability of the following polishes: Sinful Colors Professional, $2, Target; CND Vinylux Weekly Polish, $10, CDN; Revlon Colorstay Longwear, $5, Target; Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure, $8, Ulta; CoverGirl Outlast Stay Brilliant, $4, Target; Chanel Le Vernis, $28, Chanel; Nutra Nail Gel Perfect, $5, Pharmapacks

Many of these lacquers can be found at your local drugstore, and a few are crammed into the nail polish bag in my room. I’m the kind of person who will spend three hours doing my nails. Not because I’m necessarily dedicated to the perfect manicure, but because as soon as I get up with slightly wet nails I suddenly have to open a can, button a shirt or generally bang my hands against a table. My nails are always smudged, if they aren’t seriously chipped.

Needless to say, I was thrilled to see this study. A review of popular nail polish brands without my personal investment? Reassurance that I wasn’t the only person who chipped their Sally Hansen nails within the first 24 hours? Awesome. And the results were pretty surprising. The cheapest brand, Sinful Colors, came out on top. And the most expensive, Chanel, was a total loser in the world of chip-resistant polish.

CR used the corresponding base and top coat with each polish that had a set. I’ll admit, this is something that I, myself, am not always consistent in doing. Some formulas, however, came with built in case and top coats and were advertised as all-in-one formulas. Though I haven’t always had the best luck with those, they still beat the Chanel variety. Not only is Chanel’s color pricey, but the base and top coat come in at a combined $52 dollars. Not exactly in my budget.

Though this polish test is helpful, It’s a wonder how normal nail polish will hold up to the gel-manicure craze that is sweeping the shelves. Beginning in nail salons, more and more companies are advertising “gel” polishes without the need for a potentially harmful UV light. Some brands are selling products that act as another layer to turn ordinary polish into a thick, shiny, gel-like manicure. Others are marketed as colors that include the formula to produce a thick and shiny look. CoverGirl XL Nail Gel is just one of these polishes, and rumor has it that Sally Hansen will have a similar gel polish soon.

Image: Tumblr; Consumer Reports