When it comes to painting my nails, I'm a perfectionist. I can't handle uneven texture, dullness, or imperfect lines, and there is nothing—I repeat, nothing—more annoying than smudging my nails when they're almost dry. It's enough to make me throw in the towel and reach for the remover. I don't know what it is, but there's clearly something about an at-home manicure that brings out my Type A personality…
If there’s one thing being a nail-painting perfectionist has taught me, it’s that the real key to perfecting a manicure isn’t in the polish you pick—no, it’s in the topcoat. A topcoat, after all, is what seals in the color, prevents chips, and most importantly for me, gives a glossy finish (oh, how I love a lustrous, light-reflective manicure). Keep scrolling to see the best nail polish topcoats for salon-level shine and longevity. If gloss is your thing, you’ll love these 12 picks.
This super shiny topcoat is my all-time favorite. Not only does it make my nails reflect light like no other (believe me when I say the gloss is unreal), but it also keeps chips at bay for up to seven days. I can always count on this one to preserve my nails for a just painted look.
Sure, this topcoat is expensive, but it's worth it if you're painting in a rush or you're prone to smudging your nails after painting them. The quick-dry formula seals in less than 3 minutes. The formula even includes a "UV absorber" to prevent nail discoloration. How cool is that?
This topcoat offers a gel-like shine and longevity without the need for a UV lamp. Simply paint it on your nails in even strokes (don't forget to go over the tip of your nails), and your manicure will last for days and days and days.
Admittedly, $28 is a lot for a topcoat, but it's understandable when that topcoat comes from a brand as high-end as Dior. This formula, which sets and speed-dries nail polish, is a best-seller. Pair it with an equally high-end Dior nail color for a luxurious at-home manicure experience.
As the name implies, this topcoat offers an ultra-shiny finish to any underlying nail color (it makes even the quickest at-home manicure look expensive). Plus, it can actually benefit your nails with nail-strengthening rosehip, coconut oil, and green tea extracts.
Smith & Cult is one of my all-time favorite nail polish brands, thanks to its array of vibrant shades—Kundalini Hustle ($18) and Lover's Creep ($18) are two personal favorites. Whichever shade you choose to paint, seal it in with the brand's topcoat, which adds an ultra-glossy sheen. It's the cherry on top.
This list wouldn't be complete without an OPI topcoat. After all, OPI is one of the most classic nail brands out there. When it comes to choosing a topcoat from the brand, I'm partial to this one, since it offers up to 11 days of gel-like shine and longevity with no UV lamp needed.
Don't sleep on Butter London. Its nail colors are trendy, smooth, and highly pigmented—shout out to the shade CEO ($18), which is the prettiest cherry red, but back to the topic at hand. This topcoat does a little bit of everything. It's quick-drying, high-shine, chip-free, and protective (it prevents UV light from fading nail color).