Our 14 top nail polish and top coat picks

Our 14 top nail polish and top coat picks

Author: Canadian Living


Our 14 top nail polish and top coat picks

1. N.Y.C. Long Wearing Nail Enamel (Glitzy Grape), $1.79; N.Y.C. Extra Shiny Top Coat, $1.79

Tester says: "I was surprised at how well this product wore. I had always thought I had to pay more for polish and this lasted longer than most of my expensive ones. I loved the colour, a light, sheer pink, and while the top coat didn't seem to make it last any longer, it did add a nice shine that made it worth using – the nails I didn't apply top coat on became quite dull."

Available at drugstores

2. OPI Original Nail Envy Nail Strengthener, $19.95

Tester says: "OPI has always been my favourite brand because of the quality and results, and this product lives up to those standards. The colour is a nice clear shimmer, which suits me as I've always been a natural nail colour lover – less maintenance! Not only does it strengthen your nails, it's a great clear coat when you don't feel like wearing colour. I'd definitely buy again."

Available at professional salons and spas across Canada; 1-800-341-9999 or

3. Sally Hansen No Chip 10 Day Nail Colour (Tenacious Ruby), $5.99

Tester says: "This is a classic bright red colour that I liked for toes but found too bold for fingers. It was very smooth to apply, and went on very well for a dark colour. I liked that the brush is a bit shorter than others – it gave me more control. Two thin coats were all I needed to cover properly, and it dried quickly without smudging."

Available at drugstores
4. Cover Girl Boundless Color (Fuchsia Girl), $5.99

Tester says: "This is a very bright pink – I love it! It matched to the colour in the bottle in one coat and was very easy to apply. It's the best nail polish I've used for longevity – I've had it on my toes for weeks, and there are still no chips! I really like this polish."

Available at drugstores

5. Bobbi Brown Nail Polish (Velvet and Tomato), $12

Tester says: "Velvet is a dark blood red and Tomato a bright fire-engine red – both are among my favourite nail colours. The polish went on my toenails very smoothly and looked good after two thin coats. It lasted about a week before it started chipping – pretty good since I didn't put on a top coat."

Available at Holt Renfrew across Canada

6. OPI Nail Polish (Boris & Natasha), $9.95; OPI Top Coat, $11.95

Tester says: "Boris & Natasha, from OPI's Russian line, is a sexy, dark plum – and how cute is the name? The colour was a very close match to how it looked in the bottle, though it was a bit more matte than I expected. The brush is excellent, nice and wide so you can limit yourself to the three strokes per nail that manicurists use, and it dried quickly. The top coat prevented the polish from chipping and lengthened the longevity of the colour by a couple of days."

Available at professional salons and spas across Canada; 1-800-341-9999 or

7. Essie Polish (Alligator Purse and Decadent Diva), $11; Essie Good to Go! Top Coat, $15

Tester says: "Alligator Purse is a burnt orange-red colour that seems perfect for fall; Decadent Diva is a rich burgundy with a hint of shimmer. I like the square-tipped brush and simple handle. Alligator Purse only took two thin coats, which I loved because it meant it dried quickly – and if you're in a huge hurry, one coat would do the trick. Both colours lasted well over a week without chipping, even on my toes, which is one of my favourite things about this brand. The top coat helped keep my colour looking shiny and new and prevented chipping."

Available at salons and spas across Canada; 1-800-232-1155

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When should you save on makeup, and when should you splurge? Find out here. 8. Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear (Iced Coffee), $2.29

Tester says: "This is a lighter colour, between pink and brown, and looks great, just like in the bottle. I t was very easy to apply, and one thin coat was enough and lasted well, especially considering that I'm a cook and use my hands a lot! I would buy this polish again."

Available at drugstores

9. Rimmel Play Fast Quick Dry Nail Polish (Killer Queen), $4.95

Tester says: "I love this dark purple! It was very easy to apply – the brush was good and the polish went on evenly. The handle is wider at the bottom which makes it easy to use. Two thin coats were enough and the polish dried fairly fast. I really liked this product and would buy it again."

Available at drugstores

10. Guerlain Kit French Manicure, $50

Tester says: " This is the nicest nail polish I have every used. The soft pink was very natural and lasted extremely well – I only had to redo my nails once they grew out. The brushes were really good and the handles were beautiful and easy to grip. I was very impressed with the top coat, which also did a great job protecting one of my other, cheaper polishes. I really liked this product and would certainly buy it again."

Available at department stores across Canada and Guerlain boutiques in Toronto and Montreal

11. L'Oréal Paris Pro Manicure (Dozen Red Roses), $5.95; L'Oréal Paris Pro Manicure Top Coat, $5.95

Tester says: "I loved this bright and vibrant red! It was easy to put on and the brush and handle were good. One thick coat dried in two to three minutes. Without the top coat, it was good for a week before I needed to touch up. With the top coat, it lasted through two weeks of normal life, or one week-long ocean kayaking and camping trip when I was in the salt water every day. I had never used a top coat before but I will now – it makes a big difference."

Available at drugstores

12. M.A.C Nail Lacquer (Dark Angel), $12; M.A.C Overlacquer, $12

Tester says: " Dark Angel is a deep, dark, matte purple that's my new favourite polish colour. It applies easily and, depending on how thick you're applying it, two coats should do the trick. I'm a klutz with nail polish, even on my toes, but once dry, any extra you painted onto your toes (rather than your nails) will come right off. The top coat definitely made a difference – it made the polish last a couple of days longer and added a nice sheen."

Available at, M.A.C stores and M.A.C counters at The Bay nationwide

13. Revlon Nail Enamel (Autumn Berry), $5.50; Revlon Multi-Care Base and Top Coat, $7.50

Tester says: "Autumn Berry is a dark, shimmery purple with brown undertones, not my usual shade but very on-trend. It was very smooth going on and I liked the brush – it fanned out well without losing too much control. It took three thin coats for this colour to look good on. The polish lasted three to four days without the top coat and a week with it – not bad considering my active life taking my child to the zoo and playground."

Available at drugstores

14. Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour (Pepite), $25

Tester says: "I'm hopeless at keeping nail polish on my fingers for more than a day without chipping, so I like to go for neutrals or clears that don't show flaws. This clear polish loaded with glitter does the trick – the clear base means chips don't show, and the glitter makes my nails sparkle. Alone, this is a subtle way to dress up your nails, and you could use it to brighten up other colours as well. I love it!"

Available at Chanel beauty counters across Canada;

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Our 14 top nail polish and top coat picks