The 6 Best Gel Nail Polishes For A Salon-Quality Manicure At Home

Thousands of Amazon shoppers swear by them.

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Best Gel Nail Polishes
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Once upon a time I believed that gel manicures were the exclusive jurisdiction of professional nail technicians. Some poking around on Amazon later, I was proven wrong: Everyone can do a gel manicure at home! The best gel nail polishes will give you salon-quality results at home — all for less time and cash than you’d need for a professional gel manicure — and they should last at least two weeks without chipping. All you need is a UV or LED lamp (not as scary as it sounds) and a gel base coat and top coat (if the polish calls for it and doesn’t come with it).

How To Get The Best Gel Manicure At Home

You’ll get the best results from your at-home gel manicure if you follow a professional protocol. “Always prep the nail first,” Hannah Lee, Sally Hansen Brand Ambassador, tells Bustle. “Shape, lightly buff, and push the cuticles back. Also, make sure to remove any excess oil and debris from the nail using a cotton ball and polish remover. This will make sure you get the best hold on your nail.” Lee also suggests painting each coat in a thin layer, which ensures a longer-lasting manicure, and capping the edge of your nail to prevent chipping.

How To Remove Gel Polish At Home

Equally important as gel polish application is proper gel polish removal. For that, Lee recommends soaking your nails in cuticle oil first, then placing an acetone-soaked cotton ball onto each nail, wrapping them in aluminum foil, and waiting 15 minutes. If the polish is peeling, you’re good to go; otherwise, wait another five minutes and check again. To mitigate damage, Lee says, “[You] don't want to peel the gel off since it can remove part of your nail with it. It's important to wait until the polish is flaking off well.” She also recommends rehydrating your nails (with a cuticle oil or nail cream) after gently pushing the gel off, “since the acetone is super drying.”

Gel Nail Polish Without A UV Light

But if you’re not sold on the idea of a DIY gel manicure, you can opt for a gel-inspired nail polish, instead. You’ll get the cushiony, chip-resistant effects of a true gel polish, but you don’t need a UV light to cure them. They remove like normal polishes, too, so no need to do the whole soaking-and-scraping thing.

Either way, I’ve got you covered. Ahead, find four of the best gel nail polishes you can get on Amazon, plus two gel-effect options. There’s also a non-intimidating UV lamp so you can get salon results at home — no nail tech training required.

Shop The Best Gel Nail Polishes

In a hurry? Here are the top picks for gel nail polishes, both with or without a UV lamp.

  1. The Fan-Favorite Brand: Beetles Classic Gel Nail Polish Set In Bridesmaid
  2. The Best Gel-Effect Polish Set: Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat & Polish
  3. Another Popular Set In Pinks, Neutrals & More: Gellen Soak Off Gel Nail Polish Set in Pink Nudes
  4. A Popular Option With Sparkle Finishes: BORN PRETTY Pink Gel Nail Polish Set
  5. A Big Set Of Brights — & The Best Value: Beetles Gel Polish Kit in Unicorn
  6. The Best Gel-Effect Individual Polish: CND Vinylux Weekly Nail Polish


The Fan-Favorite Brand

Granted, this Beetles gel nail polish set has an overall 4.5-star rating, more than 70,000 reviews, and 35 different color sets to choose from, it’s pretty much impossible to ignore. The bottles are about 7 milliliters each, and you get six different colors in each set. These classic, subtle shades are from the Bridesmaid collection, but with sets like Candy Cane, Sand Storm, Crystal Balls, and Splish Slash, you’ve got enough options for every season and event. In terms of application and longevity, reviewers report that they’re extremely easy to use and last up to three weeks if nails are prepped properly.

One reviewer wrote: “I am in LOVE with this brand of nail polish!! every single color is exactly as described and the polish DOES NOT CHIP!! I am a nail tech and I have tried plenty of other big-name brands and this is the best I’ve used.”


The Best Gel-Effect Polish Set

If you don’t have a UV or LED lamp, go for a gel-inspired polish, like this one from Sally Hansen — it dries like a normal polish, though it’ll cure faster when it’s exposed to sunlight. Along with Get Mod, an opaque, creamy white polish, this bundle comes with both a matte and a glossy top coat for a “choose your own finish” adventure. Note that you don’t need to use a base coat with this polish.

One reviewer wrote: “Looks like gel from salon. Doesn’t last as long but darn close. Easy to get off with store acetone. Strong polish, nice colors, and doesn’t destroy my nail like real gel.”


Another Popular Set In Pinks, Neutrals & More

According to thousands of enthusiastic Amazon reviewers and their flawless manicure selfies, these Gellen nail polish sets deliver truly salon-caliber results that remain opaque and chip-free for weeks. (Some professional nail techs favor this brand, as well.) Considering the quality here, its low price point is pretty incredible — it’s about $20 less than a salon gel manicure. The bottles are about half the size of a standard polish bottle, but considering their longevity, you’re still getting your run for the money. You can choose from over a dozen color sets, where you’ll find everything from the rosy neutrals pictured above, to matte pastels and dark glitters.

One reviewer wrote: “I've bought multiple sets of colors from Gellen because I love the color variety they have. The polish itself is not too thick nor is it really sheer so you can add more coats if you want the color to be more opaque. I use it with the base and top coat and also the nail lamp and my nails last around 2-3 weeks before starting to chip or peel off. They're super easy to use and apply and I've had no problems with them at all.”


A Popular Option With Sparkle Finishes

Another top-seller on Amazon, Born Pretty’s nail polish sets are especially beloved for their smooth application, quick curing time, and vivid color ranges, like the candy-colored pinks and glittery purples found in the set pictured here. Similarly to the Gellen sets, reviewers confirm salon-worthy results that stay on for about two to three weeks. While the price point is slightly higher, the bottles are also bigger.

One reviewer wrote: “The colors are just as pictured! Very shiny and pretty! Easy to apply and great brush! It's a good value for price! Especially if you're trying to build a collection of gel polish but don't want to break the bank!”


A Big Set Of Brights — & The Best Value

The candy-bright shades in this Beetles Gel Polish Kit in Unicorn are the stuff of my Lisa Frank-obsessed youth, and reviewers confirm that the pigments are every bit as vivid in reality as they are in pictures. The polishes will retain their hard, glossy finish for about two weeks. Heads up: At 5 milliliters (about 10 milliliters less than a standard nail polish bottle), these bottles are very mini — but since you get 20 colors, a no-wipe base, a matte top coat, and a glossy top coat, it’s an incredible value. (If you love the selection but not the colors, Beetles offers this 23-piece set in five other color variations.)

One reviewer wrote: "This is an amazing value! I thought I was buying a set of gel colors, but this kit came with everything you need to do a gel mani except for the lamp. Base coat, top coat, and matte top coat are all included as well as a collection of colors that coordinate so well together. There are enough colors to get you through an entire year of seasons and trends! I’m super pleased with this purchase!”


The Best Gel-Effect Individual Polish

These CND Vinylux Weekly Nail Polishes give you similar results to a salon CND gel manicure, for almost a third of the price. There’s a huge shade range available on Amazon, from honeyed gold to suede brown to Red Baroness, the iridescent berry red pictured here. Top it off with the brand's Vinylux Long Wear Top Coat, which bonds to the polish to protect the color from cracking, denting, and yellowing. The top coat is also formulated to become more durable over time, so your polish will stay fresh and even for up to a week of heavy wear — not as long as a true gel, but much longer than a typical polish. No need for a base coat here, either.

One reviewer wrote: “Amazing! I just can't commit to gel nail polish--don't want to have to go get my nails soaked to remove or have to peel it off and ruin my nails. This stuff does what it promises--lasts a LONGtime for a regular polish. I get 7 days from a dark color and have gotten up to 11 days with a light/natural color that doesn't show the wear as much.”


You'll Also Need: An At-Home UV Lamp

If you’re going the true gel polish route, get this at-home nail lamp that uses both UV and LED lights to quickly cure any kind of gel polish or gel top coat. The plug-and-play model and one-button operation is super simple to set up and use (you can choose between 30 seconds of 60 seconds), and its compact design makes it easy to stash away, even if you’re running dangerously low on storage space.

One reviewer wrote: “Absolutely love this lamp! I’m a newbie to doing my own nails and this has exceeded my expectations honestly. Super easy to use and works great especially for the price!”


You'll Also Need: A Gel Base Coat & Top Coat

For most of the true gel polishes on this list (and in general), you’ll need a gel base coat and a top coat. When nails are prepped correctly, this Beetles set aims to lock in your DIY gel manicure for up to 21 days. The 15-milliliter bottles are easy to apply and don’t require any wiping afterward, plus the formula supposedly skips any harsh ingredients and overwhelming odors. According to its overall 4.6-star rating from an incredible 80,000 reviews, it offers the best bang for your buck and has been called a “must-have” for at-home gel manicures.

One reviewer wrote: “If you are looking to save money by doing your own nails, this brand is worth every penny. I have tried many different gel base/top coats and this by far is now my favorite. It’s not runny so it’s easier to control while putting on your nails. The shine actually stayed for two weeks but was also easy to remove and didn’t damage my natural nail.”

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