Best nail polishes to give your fingers a winter lift with a pop of colour

If dreary grey days are bringing you down, why not bring some colour to your life with a DIY manicure. Nothing beats a session of filing, buffing and painting, but sometimes all that hard work is short-lived, with shoddy formulas that contribute to dry, brittle nails or colours that become chipped within hours of application. Worry not! We’ve done all the hard work for you to bring you the essential buying guide for the best nail polishes on the market, so you can find a formula that does everything you want it to without compromising on the results.


If you love a particularly glossy finish then treat yourself to this little luxury from Dior. The depth of colour is excellent – so good, in fact, that with some deeper shades you’ll only need to apply a single coat – and it dries to a super-shiny, dare we say, sexy finish.

However, it’s the brush that makes this polish a dream to use. It’s wide, with just the right number of brush fibres to ensure it’s never overloaded with polish; it can pretty much cover a whole fingernail in one sweep, making for a neat, quick application. When you take all of that into account, the fact that it dries in minutes is the cherry on top that you’ll be grateful for as you’re rushing out of the door. And, with a little help from its corresponding top coat, you won’t be crying over chipped corners either. It’s worth every penny.


This iconic nail-care brand is proving it with a breakthrough new line that makes getting an ingredient-conscious manicure at home easier and more affordable than ever.

Sally Hansen has just launched Good. Kind. Pure., a collection of plant-based, 100-percent vegan nail polishes. (Even the brush is plant-based!) 


This is my personal favourite. It is one for the nature lovers among us. This relatively new London-based brand of nail polish is vegan and cruelty-free. The L’Oxygene lacquers are described as “breathable”, meaning that they’re formulated without toxic ingredients and allow air and water vapour to pass through. In short, it’s the healthy option for your nails. The formula is deliciously creamy – no sign of gloopiness here – and although you might expect such a lesser-known brand to offer limited shade options, the L’Oxygene range comprises of 60-odd shades of colour. It dries satisfyingly quickly and the glossy results last for days – as many as 6 if you re-apply the top coat gloss every other day.


For a high-street brand – and oh-so cheap bottle of nail varnish – this is super-impressive. Although the “one stroke application” on the label might be a little ambitious (multiple strokes to cover the nail and get a strong pigment is more accurate), it does actually dry in 60 seconds and its promise of “long-lasting colour” is pretty precise. Anything up to a week is what we’d refer to as long-lasting, and this nail varnish shows no sign of chipping within that time – as long as you’ve applied a decent top coat to help it along. The shade options aren’t the most exciting – “Let’s Get Nude” looks more like foundation in a nail polish bottle – and we recommend you buy it in the shop rather than online, as some of the shade representations are slightly off. But once you’ve found your shade, for that price you won’t be disappointed. 


If you’re short on time, this gel-effect polish has a built-in base coat so will save you a few precious minutes. Gel-effect means it’s chip-free and longer-lasting than a standard polish and this one benefits from the brand’s “Pro-light Technology”, which hardens when it’s exposed to natural light. Two thin coats is plenty – but you’ll need to use the brand’s corresponding top coat for the product to fulfil its promise of a week’s worth of perfect nails. It comes in a wide range of colours, although not as extensive as some, but we can only hope that CND is working on this to make it the perfect all-rounder.

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