These Chip-Resistant Nail Polishes Will Keep Up With Your Hard-Working Hands

Bustle / Amazon

Whether your nails take a beating on the job or for a hobby, the best nail polishes for working hands will extend the life of your manicure with chip-free wear. Depending on the type of work that you do — as well as your personal preference — that could mean a drugstore lacquer or a long-wearing gel. Below you'll find the pros and cons to each.

Regular Nail Polish Vs. Gel Polish

A traditional brush-on nail polish is less of a hassle to apply and doesn’t require sanding down or soaking in acetone to remove. That said, you will have to touch it up more often. If your hands are constantly getting banged up and you can’t stand chips, or you don’t have the patience for a drawn-out gel application, you might want to look specifically for a long-wearing version of regular polish. Today you can find formulas that are all-in-one or quick-drying.

Gel manicures last far longer and provide an additional layer of protection that lets you keep your nails at a longer length than you might with a traditional polish. However, they require a lamp for setting and are notoriously hard on nails. Side effects range from brittleness to peeling — even UV damage. If you spring for a gel polish, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends applying waterproof SPF 30 to protect your hands during gel manicures, as well as taking a “nail polish holiday” every few weeks and moisturizing heavily to rehydrate your nails. For that reason, I've also included an ultra-nourishing hand cream on the list below.

Whatever type of polish you prefer, below you'll find the five best nail polishes on Amazon to keep your tips in top shape. No matter what activity you get up to, these polishes are up for the job.

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This Salon-Quality Polish That Stays Chip-Free For An Entire Week

This bestselling, long-lasting nail polish promises to look flawless for a full week — or even longer according to the glowing reviews on Amazon — and the base coat is blended into the formula. This nail polish's durability actually has some science behind it: A patent-pending technology forms a polymer bond latticework and actually gets harder over time with exposure to natural light. "Best polish I have found," raved one shopper who was on their tenth day. "This has survived multiple hand washing and hand sanitizer while working 10 hours shifts at the hospital." Use it paired with Vinylux's Long Wear Top Coat for true chip-free wear. The two-step system goes on fast, and removes easily with nail polish remover.

  • Available colors: 69


A High-Quality Nontoxic Nail Polish For Natural Nails

This high-quality nail polish delivers luscious color in an "eight-free" formula that's notably without harsh chemicals. The shock-resistant vegan polish wears beautifully for up to 10 days and promotes strong, healthy nails with the inclusion of UV absorbers and bamboo extract to protect and care. The all-in-one formula is a regular polish but delivers a gel-like finish. "I have thin nails prone to breaking, and most nail polish doesn't last well for me," a reviewer explained, adding, "This product has such good shine and wear. I am not great at manicure stuff by any means, but the polish goes on so evenly, lasts well, and looks so good that my friends think that I go to a salon."

  • Available colors: 28


This Complete Gel Nail Polish Set In Coordinated Colors

Unlike most collections, this set of gel nail polishes includes a base coat and top coat. The colors are expertly coordinated to pair well with each other so you can mix and match without clashing or pick up a season’s worth of shades in one swoop — plus each application promises to last up to two weeks or more. "Love the colors. The polish and top coat is very thick, but cured just fine. The only thing I think could be better is that there is no name or color swatch on the bottles," one review noted. Pick up this bestselling gel manicure lamp and you've got years of flawless manicures in front of you.

  • Available options: 7


A One-Coat Drugstore Nail Polish That Dries In 60 Seconds For Easy Touch-Ups

This budget-friendly drugstore nail polish has a built-in base coat and top coat, and dries in a minute flat to get you on your way. The all-in-one formula and quick-drying capabilities make it ideal for tossing in your bag for touch-ups on the go, although a few shoppers said certain shades required multiple coats for their desired level coverage. "Goes on smooth! Dries fast! Stays on pretty good especially considering how fast it dries. It won't last more than just a few days but I'm usually ready to change it by then anyway," one fan shared.

  • Available colors: 17


The OG Clear Top Coat With A Cult Following

You’ve probably spotted this bestselling top coat at many a nail salon: the quick-drying formula is beloved for its shine and hard-wearing dry-down. The glossy cruelty-free formula spreads quickly across the nail for a streak-free finish that protects against color fade. It has been known to shrink polish, which can be prevented by applying to damp nails and wrapping the tips. One reviewer painted her nails and an hour later assembled a bed frame. "Rock solid! It gives me hope that I can maintain pretty nails for more than a few hours even though I work with my hands a lot in the lab and in the field."

  • Available options: 4 bottle sizes


Also Nice: A Soothing Hand Cream With Deeply Nourishing Natural Ingredients

A moisturizing hand cream with 98% natural ingredients helps repair tired hands and brittle nails. A blend of seven different plant oils soaks deep into dry skin to moisturize from the inside out, while botanical extracts calm and soothe. "One of the very most effective lotions for my overworked hands," a review declared. "I often forget to put on gloves when working in the garden or doing dishes, but this product repairs the damage quickly." It comes in six natural scents, including clean-smelling aloe and calming lavender, and is Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free. Keep a tube on your nightstand and another one tucked in your bag so you're always covered.

  • Available options: 6