15 Must-Have Gel Polish Brands That You Will Love

Written By Lynda Le
Last updated

Gel nail polish has changed the nail industry for both salons and nail enthusiasts.

One of the main reasons why gel nail polish is so popular is because of its chip-free and long-lasting properties, which help nails look fresh and clean for up to three weeks. 

As a result, many brands have developed their own technology and formula as well as a range of stunning colors. But what are the best gel polish brands?

How Do Gel And Traditional Manicures Differ?

Gel manicures and traditional manicures differ in their application and longevity. Gel manicures use a gel polish that requires a UV or LED lamp to cure and provide long-lasting wear. 

Traditional manicures, on the other hand, use regular nail polish that air-dries and typically lasts for a shorter period of time. 

Gel manicures are known for their chip-resistant and long-wearing properties, making them a popular choice for those who want a manicure that lasts.

How Does Gel Polish Work?

There is a difference between a gel manicure and an acrylic manicure. Acrylic nails are made with a powder dipped in solvent, which hardens over the original nail and can be shaped as desired.

Additionally, acrylic nails are also typically only involve clear or natural tones. On the other hand, gel nail polish contains a chemical, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), which is then hardened or “baked” on with ultraviolet light after the polish is applied. 

Gels also come in an endless number of vibrant shades and colors.

What are the Best Gel Polish Brands?

So which gel polish brands are the best? We have put together a comprehensive list of the best brands that have been reviewed by customers, salons, and nail professionals. 

So before you go for your next manicure, check out these top 15 must-have best gel polish brands.

1. OPI Gelcolor: The Holy Grail of Gel Polish

It shouldn’t come as a shock to see OPI on this list. OPI is known as a high-end and high-quality nail polish brand with an extensive range of colors and funky nail polish names. 

However, most nail tech professionals and customers agree that the quality is well worth the price tag.

Customers can find OPI in almost every salon, department, or beauty supply store or even online. Although OPI’s collection of gel colors isn’t as extensive as its traditional collection, OPI made sure to include customers’ favorites. 

OPI’s gel products require a UV or LED lamp for hardening, or curing and only take 30 seconds to dry.

2. Sally Hansen Miracle Gel: Easy and Affordable 

Sally Hansen is another popular brand name in the nail tech industry. Sally Hansen’s gel nail polish product line is the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel system.

What makes this system different than OPI or other brands is that it does not require a base coat or an LED lamp to harden. After applying the base coat, it can take up to 5 minutes to dry before applying the Miracle Gel top coat.

Sally Hansen’s Miracle Gel line is affordable and comes in over 70 different stunning and fashionable shades.

It is also easy for customers to apply and remove without purchasing additional chemicals, exposing skin to an LED lamp, or even stepping foot into a salon.

3. NSI Gel Polish System: Trusted by Nail Tech Professionals 

The NSI Gel Polish System offers a wide range of products. From an extensive gel polish collection to top and base (gloss or matte) coats to starter kits, nail tech professionals and customers have trusted the NSI brand for years.

The  NSI Gel Polish system requires a UV/LED lamp for curing, and the polish can last up to two weeks without chipping or damage.

4. Harmony Gelish: The OG Gel Polish Brand 

Harmony Gelish was one of the first brands to come out with a gel polish due to its excellent and professional quality. Although Harmony Gelish is typically available to purchase by salons and nail technicians only, consumers can purchase it online.

However, customers should be forewarned that the starter kits come with the salon price tag! Harmony Gelish typically lasts up to 14 days chip-free.

5. CND Shellac: The Salon Favorite

CND Shellac is another well-known, high-quality gel polish brand. Similar to Harmony Gelish, CND Shellac is typically only available for purchase for licensed nail professionals.

The CND Shellac gel system includes a base coat, a prime color, a top coat, and an LED lamp for curing. CND Shellac typically lasts up to 14 days and the removal process only takes approximately 5 minutes.

CND Shellac polishes come in over 100 different colors and shades, providing both salon professionals and customers with endless options for beautiful nails.

6. International Beauty Design (IBD): A Leader in the Industry

International Beauty Design (IBD) has been a long-standing leader in the nail tech and nail care industry for decades.

In addition to being a well-known brand and a quality product, another benefit of IBD Just Gel is that it is compatible with other gel systems, making it easy for nail tech professionals to use various top coats and base coats interchangeably with IBD.

The curing process is done quickly with a UV or LED lamp, and the removal process only takes up to 10 minutes.   IBD Just Gel comes in a wide range of colors and launches new colors each season, giving salons and customers alike something to look forward to for their next mani or pedi!

7. Bio Sculpture Gel:  Strength and Beauty Combined

One of the biggest concerns regarding using gel nail polish is that nails can become weak and brittle over time. 

However, Bio Sculpture Gel came up with a solution: a formula that promotes the strength and health of nails. The odorless gels are used without a base coat, primers or bonders, and minimal buffing, all of which help nails to grow stronger. 

Bio Sculpture Gel products come in flexible, medium, and strong finishes, over 180 colors, and can be removed safely with soaking. The removal process generally takes 10 to 20 minutes and can be done in a salon or at home.

8. Bio Seaweed: Natural and Chemical-Free

Similar to Bio Sculpture Gel, Bio Seaweed Gel is another gel nail product option that promotes nail health and strength. Bio Seaweed Gel does not contain any of the potentially hazardous chemicals, such as Formaldehyde, Toluene, DBP, BHA, or Solvents, which are typically seen in some other brands. 

The Bio Seaweed Gel system comes with a base coat, top coat, color, and strengthener all in a single bottle.

9. Red Carpet Manicure:  The At-Home Gel Manicure Kit

Although Red Carpet isn’t a large brand, it does make the list for its affordability. Red Carpet is more of an at-home gel manicure kit, perfect for nail enthusiasts.

Red Carpet also offers over 150 different colors and shades. For starters to professionals, complete kits for all skill levels and purposes can be purchased directly from Amazon.

10. Beetles Gel Polish Nail Art Gel Liner Set: For the Nail Art Enthusiasts

If you love creating intricate nail art designs, the Beetles Gel Polish Nail Art Gel Liner Set is a must-have. This set includes 6 vibrant gel polishes with fine-tipped brushes, perfect for creating detailed nail art designs. 

The highly pigmented formula allows for precise application, and the gel-like consistency ensures long-lasting wear. Whether you’re creating intricate designs or simple accents, the Beetles Gel Polish Nail Art Gel Liner Set has you covered.

11. Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro Nail Color: Salon-Quality at Home

For those who prefer to do their gel manicures at home, Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro Nail Color is the perfect choice. This gel-like polish provides long-lasting wear and a high-shine finish, all without the need for a UV or LED lamp.

The formula is also enriched with biotin and green tea extract to strengthen and nourish the nails. With a range of beautiful shades to choose from, you can achieve salon-quality results from the comfort of your own home.

12. DIOR Vernis Gel Shine & Long Wear Nail Lacquer: Luxury at Your Fingertips

If you’re looking for a luxurious gel nail polish experience, look no further than DIOR Vernis Gel Shine & Long Wear Nail Lacquer. This high-end polish delivers intense color and a long-lasting, gel-like shine. 

The wide brush allows for easy and precise application, and the formula is designed to be chip-resistant and long-wearing. Treat yourself and your clients to the luxury of DIOR Vernis 

13.  Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy Longwear Nail Polish: Easy Removal

Removing gel nail polish can be a hassle, but with Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy Longwear Nail Polish, it’s a breeze. This polish provides long-lasting wear and a gel-like shine, all without the need for a UV or LED lamp. 

The best part? It can be easily removed with regular nail polish remover, saving you time and effort. With a range of beautiful shades to choose from, you can have the convenience of gel nails without the hassle of removal.

14. Nails Inc. Gel Effect: Salon Durability at Home

If you’re after that salon look without the salon price tag, Nails Inc. Gel Effect Nail Polish is the answer. This brand offers a range of gel-like polishes that provide a high-shine finish and long-lasting wear. 

The formula is designed to be chip-resistant and easy to apply. With a wide range of shades to choose from, you’ll be able to create stunning nails for your clients without breaking the bank.

15. Essie Gel: The Perfect Damage-Free Manicure

No gel nail polish brands list would be complete without Essie. Essie Gel Couture involves an easy two-step gel process, ensuring the perfect damage-free and chip-free manicure for up to 14 days.

One of the reasons why this is such a great at-home gel system is because it does not require an LED or UV lamp for curing. Additionally, the unique polish brush swirl design ensures perfect color coverage.

How Long Do Gel Manicures Last?

Gel manicures can last anywhere from two to three weeks, depending on the brand and the individual’s nail care routine. 

Proper application and maintenance, such as avoiding excessive water exposure and using cuticle oil, can help extend the wear time of a gel manicure. 

However, it’s important to note that gel manicures should be removed after a certain period of time to prevent damage to the natural nails.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to the best gel polish, quality matters. These top 15 gel polish brands have been vetted and recommended by professionals and customers alike. 

Whether you’re looking for high-end options, affordable alternatives, or nail-friendly formulas, there’s a brand on this list for you. Invest in the best gel polish brands, and give your clients the long-lasting, chip-free manicures they deserve. Happy polishing!

Did you enjoy this comprehensive list of gel polish brands? Embracing these recommendations will undoubtedly elevate your nail game, ensuring durability and beauty. 

We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. If you found this article helpful, please share it with fellow nail enthusiasts!

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I'm Lynda Le, a licensed nail technician with over 20 years of experience in the nail and beauty industry. Passionate about sharing my knowledge, I took up blogging in 2016 to connect with others who love beauty as much as I do. For the latest tips and insights, follow me on Twitter at @polishperfectt.

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