As any true fashion enthusiast knows, striking a high-low balance is the best way to look amazing without breaking the bank. There's something so cool about pairing a Gucci splurge with a Zara sale item. You know what we're talking about. And the same can be said for your manicure routine. While the occasional spa day is great for upkeep, truthfully, we prefer to tackle the polish changes ourselves. You'd be surprised how much in-between DIY manis and pedis can do for your bank account—especially if you reach for a budget-friendly polish from the drugstore.
From different formulas and finishes to must-have hues and the longest-lasting topcoat, drugstore polish is the product you're sleeping on but shouldn't. Ahead, 15 of the best ones to trick people into thinking you went to a salon.
Best Clean Formula: Olive & June Nail Polish
Whether you're health-conscious, pregnant, or just occasionally prefer to take the better-for-you route, Olive & June's natural formula gives your go-to OG lacquers a run for their money. The 7-free shades are chip-resistant while also boasting vegan and cruelty-free ingredients.
Best Long Wear: Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Nail Color
The ultimate set-it-and-forget-it polish, Sally Hansen's Xtreme Wear Nail Color will stay until you're ready for a color swap. No more chipping after your first post-polish shower.
Best Salon Fave: OPI Infinite Shine Long-Wear Nail Polish
Step into any nail salon today, and you'll most likely find a selection of OPI nail polishes displayed on the wall. It dries fast, lasts over a week, goes on super shiny, and comes in every color your heart could ever desire. It's no wonder why professionals swear by it.
Best Powder Formula: Red Carpet Manicure Color Dip Nail Dipping Powder
You read that correctly: A powder formula, Red Carpet Manicure's Color Dip Nail Dipping Powder makes it easy for even the most novice nail DIY'er to get an even application. Dip your nail in this odorless powder before sealing it with a topcoat (no UV light needed) for up to 21 days of wear. And it comes in all finishes from sheer to shimmer and even glitter.
Best Gel-Like Formula: Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish
Gel manicures at a salon can be expensive and time-consuming—not to mention they can be rough on your nails. The good news is Essie's Gel Couture Nail Polish gives you the benefits of gel polish at home—aka a mani that lasts a solid two weeks—sans UV lamps and the need to scrape them off.
Best Quick-Dry Formula: Sally Hansen Insta Dri Nail Color
If we don't have time to hop into a salon, chances are we don't have a ton of time to wait for our mani to dry either. This two-in-one color-and-topcoat formula dries in 60 seconds. And get this: It even comes in glitter finishes that also harden in a flash.
Best Glitter Formula: Zoya Nail Polish in Cosmo Magical Pixidust
This vegan-friendly nail polish is long-wearing and free of parabens, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor, lead, toluene, DBP, TPHP, xylene, and ethyl tosylamide. Plus, it's glittery, shiny, and holographic to boot.
Best Topcoat: Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Nail Coat
If you know, you know. While Seche Vite is fairly under-the-radar, it boasts a secret cult following from professionals and DIY enthusiasts alike. It goes on crystal clear (no yellowing here), super shiny, and can get any nail polish to last twice as long.
Best Pink: Essie Nail Polish in Ballet Slippers
If you're in search of a pink, look no further than this royal-approved shade. Ballet Slippers by Essie has been spotted on Kate Middleton and is known to be Queen Elizabeth's go-to shade since the '80s.
Best Red: OPI Nail Lacquer in Big Apple Red
Every nail polish lover needs a classic red in their color wardrobe. Big Apple Red by OPI imparts a bright true-red shade in a super-shiny finish that looks flattering on all skin tones.
Best Blue: Sinful Colors Professional Nail Polish in Endless Blue
This Endless Blue color by Sinful Colors is a perfect shade of sapphire that boasts a popping pigment while still remaining deep and demure. You know what that means? It's versatile enough to wear from summer to winter.
Best Neutral: Sally Hansen Good, Kind, Pure Vegan Nail Polish in Almond Tan
With subtle pink undertones, this soft almond shade flatters any skin tone. What's more? The formula is one you'll feel good about wearing—it's a 16-free plant-based polish. Even the brush bristles are plant-based.
Best Purple: Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish in Museum Muse
A perfect mix between a cool blue and moody Bordeaux wine, this muted plum shade transcends seasons, skin tones, and trends. Keep it in your rotation for the occasional unexpected color swap.
Best Black: LeChat Dare to Wear Nail Lacquer Black Velvet
If there's one thing we want from black nail polish, it's an opaque finish that goes on smooth and doesn't require layer after layer. This all-time best-selling shade from LeChat dispenses the blackest black in a single coat.
Best Green: Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Color in Leaf Me Be
If you haven't been thinking of green nail polish as a new neutral, think again. This deep, olive green is an easy (and unexpected) swap for your go-to nude.
Go Full At-Home Manicure
Nourish dry, cracked cuticles with this nourishing blend of organic jojoba and hemp-seed oils and vitamin E in a single swipe. And the best part is the rollerball is an actual amethyst stone, the stone of breaking bad habits, which can help you fight the urge to bite or pick nails and cuticles.
If your shaky hand—paired with the fact that small and narrow brush handles are notoriously difficult to hold—leaves you with a messy paint job, this universal polish bottle handle makes it easy to get an even, clean finish every time.
Crafted with sharp blades to quickly and accurately remove excess cuticles, this titanium-gold cuticle nipper is rust-resistant and beautiful to boot.
A nail clipper and nail file are the absolute basics of nailcare essentials. Keep your digits tidy with a set you can throw in your bag for on-the-go touchups.
Hydrated, moisturized hands always look good. Apply this feel-good hand mask nightly, and let its clean, vegan, gluten-free formula go to work. Plus, it boasts the same fruity, floral signature Fenty scent.