The Best Gel Nail Polish You Can Buy In 2021

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If there's one thing that people learned during the pandemic, it's that creating the perfect manicure is a true art form. It takes the right colors to bring your favorite styles to life. For the complicated stuff, you need a steady hand and a lot of patience.

Those who stick to a basic, single-color gel manicure may have found they're able to hack it on their own. During those long months away from the salon, you may have gotten good with a nail brush. If that's the case, it's using the right polish for your desired look that's going to step your manicure game up from solid DIY to pro level. Finding colors that won't chip or fade will take your manicure the distance.

Give your nails just what they're looking for, whether it's some TLC, strengthening treatments, or just a fabulous coat of color. These picks will inspire you to get started.

Best overall gel nail polish: Essie Gel Couture Longwear Nail Polish + Top Coat Kit

Essie's Gel Couture Longwear Nail Polish is a winning product from a fan-favorite brand. Available in 18 colors ranging from subtle to show-stopping, this polish is long-lasting and perfect for regular DIY gel manicures. Reviewers love that this two-step system is simple and provides stunning results without damaging nails.

Purchase the Essie Gel Couture Longwear Nail Polish + Top Coat Kit from Amazon starting at $13.06.

Best luxury gel nail polish: Dior Vernis Gel Shine & Long Wear Nail Lacquer

If you're looking to treat your nails to a top-of-the-line gel mani, Dior's Vernis Gel Shine & Long Wear Nail Lacquer is the polish for you. Not only are the seven shades this polish comes in divine, but they also match up nicely with the Dior Couture Color Lipsticks. Fans of this gel nail polish say that it's actually improved their nails instead of damaging them the way other gel nail polishes might.

Purchase Dior's Vernis Gel Shine & Long Wear Nail Lacquer from Nordstrom for $28.

Best value gel nail polish: Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy

If you really love experimenting with your nails and you're a fan of switching colors up, you're probably after a polish that won't break the bank. Enter Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy, the perfect combination of value and quality. It's fast-drying and doesn't require a UV light, making it a quick and easy option.

Purchase Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy from Amazon starting at $5.42.

Best drugstore nail polish: OPI Infinite Shine Long-Wear Lacquer

OPI's Infinite Shine system has become a favorite of those who swear by drugstore-friendly brands. It comes in 18 subtle shades that stand out for their incredible quality and unbeatable price. One reviewer reported that she got her total manicure time down to just 12 minutes with this $12 wonder.

Purchase OPI Infinite Shine Long-Wear Lacquer from Amazon $12.50.

Best UV gel polish: Beetles Pastel Series UV Nail Polish

Beetles Pastel Series UV Nail Polish sets feature beautiful color selections that go on easily. Available in nine different colorways, these polishes are made with non-toxic ingredients that don't damage nails but provide beautiful, bold coverage. Reviewers love how nicely these colors glide on, remaining slightly tacky until the topcoat is applied to guarantee color that lasts.

Purchase the Beetles Pastel Series UV Nail Polish from Amazon starting at $12.99.

Best shiny-finish gel nail polish: Nails Inc Gel Effect Nail Polish

If you love a good shiny, polished look, Gel Effect Nail Polish from Nails Inc could be just what you're looking for. These polishes are just $15 a piece and pack incredibly value with their silky smooth formula that's available in 25 colors. Reviewers love that you can get that really high-gloss look without using a UV lamp.

Purchase the Gel Effect Nail Polish from Nails Inc for $15.

Best mattifying gel top coat: AIMEILI Soak Off UV LED Gel Nail Polish

Lots of manicuristas are loving the matte look these days, and AIMEILI Matte Top Coat can make that look possible with all your favorite polishes, no matter how glossy their original formulas may be. Purchasers do need a UV or LED lamp for this one, but rest assured it's safe and easy to achieve your desired look.

Purchase the AIMEILI Soak Off UV LED Gel Nail Polish from Amazon for $6.99.

Best color-changing gel nail polish: Modelones Soak Off UV LED Gel Nail Polish Set

Color-changing polish brings all the fun of a mood ring to the beauty sphere in a fun and creative way. These heat-sensitive formulas are available in 10 colors, each of which has a six-color range. Reviewers say they get at least 10 days out of this long-lasting formula, making Modelones a popular option.

Purchase Modelones Soak Off UV LED Gel Nail Polish Set from Amazon starting at $9.99.

Best nourishing gel nail polish: Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro Nail Color

Enjoy a salon-grade gel manicure with just two coats of this sleek formula. This beloved polish is available in 21 gorgeous shades, so there's something for everyone to enjoy. It's a safe formula that's easy to swap for your next favorite color no matter how many manicures you give yourself this week.

Purchase Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro Nail Color from Nordstrom for $20.

Best travel gel nail polish: Le Mini Macaron 1-Step Gel Manicure Kit

There are a number of things that can happen to your nails while you're traveling that require a manicure refresh. Le Mini Macaron's 1-Step Gel Manicure Kit is perfect for getting that polished look while you're on the go. It takes just 30-seconds under the LED lamp for your color to be ready.

Purchase Le Mini Macaron 1-Step Gel Manicure Kit from Target $35.

Best sticker gel nail polish: Dashing Diva Imperial Jasper GLOSS Ultra Shine Gel Palette

Not all sticker gel polishes are created equal, as anyone who has tried a few can tell you. Dashing Diva Imperial Jasper GLOSS Ultra Shine Gel Palette is the real deal. They're incredibly long-lasting for a sticker mani, with users saying they usually get 2-3 weeks of wear out of a set.

Purchase Dashing Diva Imperial Jasper GLOSS Ultra Shine Gel Palette from Ulta for $5.00.

Best gel nail polish kit: Sally Hansen Salon Gel Polish Starter Kit

If you're new to the world of DIY gel manicures, the Sally Hansen Salon Gel Polish Starter Kit is a great place to start. Reviewers love that this easy-to-use system delivers great results that can be mistaken for salon quality. Some have even reported being able to perform pedicures with the kit, which adds even more value.

Purchase Sally Hansen Salon Gel Polish Starter Kit from Ulta for $35.99.

Best gel nail polish repair kit: Zoya Gelie-Cure Foundation Pro Kit Pro LED Light

Gelie-Cure offers the best in nail polish that repairs with Foundation Pro Kit Pro LED Light. This kit has everything you need for a manicure that will enrich nails that need a little TLC. It comes with different solutions for your nail's needs, from a hydrating rescue serum to a repair base that smoothes ridges or separations. Get the best "naked manicure" your nails can get while building stronger nails than ever before.

Purchase Gelie-Cure Foundation Pro Kit Pro LED Light from Zoya for $65.

Best vibrant gel nail polish: Beetles Gel Polish 16 Colors Set

Love nails that can't help but catch everyone's eye? Beetles' 16-color set of gel polish is perfect for someone who dares to be different when it comes to their nail art. These vibrant colors are made from toxin-free ingredients and deliver high shine as well as long-lasting results that reviewers can't rave enough about. Thin, pigmented coats build up to a manicure that goes the distance.

Purchase the Gel Polish 16 Colors Set from beetles Gel for $47.99.

Best neutral gel nail polish: Gellen Gel Nail Polish Kit- Nude Grays

Gellen Gel Nail Polish Kit has a few wonderful options when it comes to gel nail colors. Their grays stand out from the rest as an amazing set of neutrals. Reviewers claim the application and formula are incredible, adding that it's just moments from the time you crack the bottle to when you have the neutral manicure of your dreams.

Purchase Gellen Gel Nail Polish Kit- Nude Grays from Amazon starting at $8.99.