Top 10 Cult Nail Polishes

The Most Iconic Nail Colors To Date

The Most Iconic Nail Colors To Date

Mac Lipstick in Ruby Woo, NARS Blush in Orgasm, Too Faced Better than Sex Mascara—some beauty products are so iconic, they simply deserve a spot on every woman's top shelf. And when it comes to the world of nail polish, the same rules apply. Among the overwhelming offering of shades that line the shelves, a selection of them have reached cult status—think timeless, universally-flattering colors and formulas so good you'll use them until the bottle runs dry. From OPI Bubble Bath to Dior Rouge 999, no polish collection is complete without a few of these classics. That's why we've rounded up a science-backed selection of the best cult nail polishes on the market, all backed by user reviews, best-seller lists, editorial recommendations, and more. So next time you're standing in front of the overwhelming polish wall at your go-to salon, don't stress—do yourself a solid and refer to the algorithm-backed list that follows. From colors that have stood the test of time to newcomers that are taking the beauty scene by storm, keep scrolling to discover and shop the 10 best nail polishes of all time. Opening image: christianlouboutin.com

Love our 10 Best Cult Nail Polishes? Check out our 10 Best Top Coat Nail Polishes for more top-ranked finds!

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September 16, 2019

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The Rankings

Essie Nail Polish in Bikini So Teeny
Rank & Style Approved


Essie Nail Polish in Bikini So Teeny

BEST FOR: This periwinkle purple was a hit the second it landed on the shelves back in the summer of 2012, and the obsession hasn't stopped since. Formulated with tiny flecks of sparkle for an extra shiny finish, this bright but soft shade is ideal for transitioning from summer to fall.

ABOUT THE BRAND: There's a reason why practically every salon you've ever been to has multiple rows of Essie bottles lining the walls. Besides boasting an impressively long-lasting and chip-resistant formula, the polishes are also DBP, toluene, and formaldehyde-free.

Chanel Le Vernis Longwear Nail Colour in Organdi

LOVED FOR: This pinky-beige shade is seasonless, looks good on all skin tones, and goes with just about every outfit, so it's a no-brainer when your nail tech is pressuring you to pick a dang polish already.

WHY YOU NEED IT: Enriched with bioceramics and ceramides, Chanel's formulas provide deep care to strengthen and improve the quality of your nails while you wear them. It's a win-win.

Deborah Lippmann GREY Jason Wu Gel Lab Pro Nail Color

WHAT IT DOES: Inspired by Jason Wu's ready-to-wear collection GREY Jason Wu, this cool grey shade is a chic and sophisticated take on the classic nude concept.

FUN FACT: Deborah Lippmann's Gel Lab Pro Nail Color is designed to give you the gloss, cushion, and long wear of a gel manicure, sans the nail damage.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish in Get Mod

WHY YOU NEED IT: White nails have been trending big, and surprisingly enough, we expect them to keep gaining momentum through the fall season. This creamy, opaque shade just so happens to be bottled up in the form of Sally Hansen's best-selling Miracle Gel formula, meaning it'll give you a salon-worthy finish and wear-time around two weeks. Even better, the flat, cuticle-shaped brush makes application a total breeze.

COMPLETE THE LOOK: Top it off with Miracle Gel Top Coat to set the shade—no UV lamp required.

Dior Nail Glow Nail Enhancer

WHAT IT DOES: This universally-flattering nail color does exactly what its title suggests. When applied, the pinks of the nails become pinker, the whites become whiter, and the overall result is a shiny, glowing, healthy-looking finish. Dior calls it an "instant French manicure," and we'd have to agree.

USERS SAID: "This is the perfect polish for when you want to look and feel put together, but don't want to worry about manis, color, or chipping. It adds a subtle pink glow and shine to your nails. It's also a heck of a lot cheaper than regular gel!"

Christian Louboutin Rouge Louboutin Nail Colour in Rouge Louboutin

LOVED FOR: Leave it to Louboutin to create a polish that's just as pretty as his to-die-for stilettos. Insta-worthy bottle aside, reviewers rave about the highly-pigmented formula of this glossy red shade. Rumor has it, all it takes is one coat to achieve a perfectly opaque finish.

FUN FACT: Since we know you're probably wondering, yes—this is the exact same color as the red soles of Louboutin heels.

OPI Nail Lacquer in Lincoln Park After Dark

BEST FOR: If you're not quite ready to commit to a deep, dark, all-black mani, this cult-favorite OPI shade is an excellent alternative. It's just as vampy, but subtle hints of red and purple along with a slight shimmer make it a little less intense.

USERS SAID: "My friend and I got pedicures with this color, and I was immediately obsessed. I went right home and bought it and never looked back. Its beautiful, opaque in one coat, and the formula is amazing."

Dior Vernis Gel Shine & Long Wear Nail Lacquer in Rouge 999

WHY YOU NEED IT: You can't go wrong with red, and this is quite possibly one of the most iconic of the bunch. Dior's advanced formula provides glass-like shine and extended wear, while the new precision brush allows for the perfect amount of polish in one single sweep.

COMPLETE THE LOOK. It's also a perfect match for Rouge Dior Lipstick in 999.

OPI Nail Polish in Bubble Bath

WHY YOU NEED IT: Even if you're not a "pink person" per se, it's hard not to love OPI's classic Bubble Bath. It looks just as good on fair skin tones as it does on dark ones, goes with any outfit, and works well for any occasion whether its a wedding or a regular workday.

HELPFUL TIP: Apply one coat for a sheer, subtle wash of color or two coats for an opaque but barely-there pink.

Essie Nail Polish in Ballet Slippers

USERS SAID: "Such a pretty, pale pink and a great classic color! If properly applied with a base coat and topcoat, I can get a week’s wear with no chipping, and I’m HARD on my nails! LOVE!!"

AS SEEN ON: This iconic pink hue is Queen Elizabeth's favorite. NBD.

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