12 Best Gel Nail Polish Brands For At Home Manicures

12 Best Gel Nail Polish Brands For At Home Manicures

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase.

A gorgeous manicure can instantly boost your confidence and mood. Finding that bright pop of color for your nails is sure to put a pep in your step.

What’s not great, though, is giving yourself the perfect manicure only to do the dishes and chip your polish less than five minutes after you’re done.

pink shades of essie gel nail polish on woman's finger nails with a yellow flower

This is why more and more people are turning to gel polish. 

With the right gel polish, you can enjoy a fabulous glossy manicure and get chores done immediately after without fear of chipping.

The best part is that gel manicures aren’t only available at the salon. Now you can get the same long-lasting goodness at home with a bit of patience and the best gel nail polish products.

So how do you do a gel manicure at home? Which brand of gel polish lasts the longest? And what is the best gel polish you need to have?

We’re here to answer all these questions and show you why gel is an excellent choice for your next manicure. We’ll also share our top picks for the best gel nail polish you should have in your nail arsenal.

Essie Gel Couture
Editor's Choice
  • Up to 14 days of wear
  • Gorgeous gel-like shine
  • No UV lamp needed 
Butter London Patent Shine
Premium Pick
  • Up to 10 days of gorgeous shine and color
  • Cruelty-free and vegan
  • Promotes stronger nails and prevents breakage
Wet and Wild 1-Step Wonder Gel
Budget Pick
  • Two weeks of color and shine
  • Cures with overhead lighting
  • One-step easy application

Gel Polish vs. Regular Nail Polish

The primary difference between gel nail polish and regular nail polish is that you traditionally need to cure gel polish under a UV or LED lamp, while regular polish is air-dried naturally.

This is due to the fact that regular polish is primarily made up of nitrocellulose, a type of polymer that’s used to adhere to and create a solid, glossy film on the nails.

It’s mixed with color pigments and other ingredients using a solvent like ethyl acetate. 

Once regular nail polish is applied to the nails, ethyl acetate slowly evaporates and leaves the dissolved pigments and nitrocellulose on the nail. As such, regular polish takes longer to dry.

By contrast, gel polish contains pre-dissolved monomers that harden into polymers in seconds once exposed to UV light. Without UV radiation, it won’t adhere to the nails. 

But there are gel polish variants that give you the same long-lasting quality without the need for UV and LED lamp curing. Many of these are also fortified with ingredients to promote nail health.

So with the many different varieties of gel polish available, more and more are looking for the best brands of gel polish you can use at home.

Benefits of Gel Polish

These days, there are so many different types of manicures and nail polish to choose from that finding the right one can feel overwhelming. 

To help you decide whether gel polish is ideal for you, we’ve created a rundown of its benefits and drawbacks below.

Long-lasting and durable

One of the most significant benefits of quality gel nail polish is that it lasts longer than regular polish. 

With gel polish, you can get a gorgeous, chip-free manicure with bright color and glossy shine that last for up to two weeks. This is why it’s become so popular among nail enthusiasts.


Regular polish usually takes 10 to 30 minutes to dry initially and even longer to dry fully without the risk of ruining the finish. 

Gel polish, on the other hand, only requires a few 30- to 60-second rounds under the UV lamp after each coat to dry fully. This means you don’t have to wait minutes upon minutes for it to dry.

Smooth, glossy finish

Unlike regular polish, gel doesn’t start drying as soon as it’s out of the bottle.

So you can take time gliding it onto your nails, fixing patchy areas, filling in gaps, and evening out streaks to get a perfectly smooth finish. 

Plus, a gel polish finish is shinier too.

Nail protection

If you have weak or brittle nails that break easily, gel polish can offer extra protection.

While it doesn’t make your nails stronger per se, its hardened layers act as a shield that prevents breakage and allows natural nails to grow properly. 

Remember to practice caution when removing the polish and avoid peeling off the layers yourself to prevent damaging your weak nails further.

Cons of Gel Nail Polish

Harder to apply

Although you have more time to fix your application when using gel polish, learning how to apply gel properly can still take a while. 

Plus, there are added steps like nail prep and buffing to ensure a smooth application. 

It can be tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll soon apply gel polish like a pro.

Need for UV/LED lamps

In addition to the more complex application, most gel polishes need a UV or LED lamp to cure. 

While some newer gel alternatives don’t need a lamp, a curing lamp is still recommended if you want longer-lasting, shinier nails. 

Of course, there are several health and safety risks linked to UV exposure. However, the FDA asserts that the amount of UV radiation from nail lamps is minimal, meaning it shouldn’t be a cause for concern in most cases.

However, to protect your skin against potential damage, make sure to use sunscreen before putting your nails under a UV lamp. 

Harder removal

The tradeoff for the glossy, longer-lasting color you get from gel polish is that its removal is also more complicated. 

To safely remove your gel polish, you’ll need to use a combination of buffing and an acetone soak. After 10 to 15 minutes, you can then push the acetone-soaked flaky gel off with a wooden cuticle pusher. 

More expensive

Gel polishes used to be difficult to find as they were mostly sold only to salons and professional technicians. This made gel polish more expensive than regular nail polish. 

However, professional gel nail polish brands nowadays are making more affordable options that are commercially available and easier to find.

Choosing the Best Gel Polish for Nails

Because there are more available options for gel polish now, it’s important to consider a few essential factors before buying one to ensure you make the most out of your purchase. 

First, remember that the best brands of gel nail polish are often more expensive, but paying a bit more is often worth it in terms of quality.

Reputable nail brands like Essie, OPI, Revlon, and Sally Hansen have good gel polish products worth trying. They also release new colors and variants per season.

However, other brands offer equally great but more affordable alternatives. Feel free to try several to find the best one for you.

Here are some questions you should ask when choosing your gel polish:

  • Is this a well-known, established brand?
  • Does this gel polish require UV or LED lights, or can it cure without a lamp?
  • How long does it last?
  • Are there a lot of colors and options?
  • Does the polish have a good matching base coat and top coat?

Answering these questions can help you narrow down your choices and find which gel nail polish is best for you.

12 Top Gel Nail Polish You Need to Try

Now that you know more about gel polish and the factors you should consider when selecting the best gel nail colors to use at home, check out our list of gel polishes you definitely should try this year.

Each of these options is long-lasting and highly recommended by other users. Additionally, they’re all from well-established nail care brands. 

Some require UV/LED curing, while others don’t. 

Read the descriptions to see which product best suits your needs. 

Essie Gel Couture Longwear Nail Polish

Enjoy the shine of a gorgeous gel manicure with this easy two-step gel polish kit.

Key benefits: Gel-like perfection minus the UV lamp; comes with a top coat for a shiny finish; curve-hugging brush allows perfect color application


  • Up to 14 days of wear
  • Gorgeous gel-like shine
  • No UV lamp needed 

This salon-quality gel nail polish duo is designed to give you a fantastic and vibrant manicure.


Essie is a reputable nail care brand known for creating a wide variety of vibrant and long-lasting nail colors.

The Essie Gel Couture Duo Longwear Nail Polish is an easy-to-use and effective two-step system for gorgeous, long-lasting color.

The combination of the color and top coat creates a gel-like shine as well as a fade- and chip-resistant manicure.

Plus, it doesn’t require a curing lamp and removes like regular polish with acetone — no need for harsh scrapping or scrubbing.

Needs UV/LED light? No!

DND Duo Gel

Get gorgeous pink and nude long-lasting colors with the vast catalog of DND Duo Gel polishes.

Key benefits: Full coverage color; easy to apply; comes with regular matching nail lacquer


  • High-gloss shine
  • Chip- and fade-resistant
  • Cruelty-free 

Enjoy a guilt-free gel mani with this animal-friendly, top-rated gel nail polish.


The DND Gel Duo brand makes cruelty-free gel polish minus harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, toluene, camphor, and more.

Plus, DND has a wide range of colors with matching base and top coat polish. This way, you can enjoy a full gel manicure that lasts for up to two weeks.

Just glide on the glossy color, cure for 30 seconds per coat under an LED/UV light, and you’ll be good to go!

Needs UV/LED light? Yes.

Gelish Soak Off Gel Nail Polish

Experience a vibrant, glossy, smudge-proof manicure with Gelish’s gorgeous gel polish.

Key benefits: Bright and bold color; smooth application; over 200 colors available


  • Lasts up to 21 days
  • Soaks off in 10 minutes
  • PETA-certified 

A pioneer in the gel polish industry means Gelish always delivers gel manicure excellence.


Gelish is an innovator in gel polish and was one of the first gel polishes to be packaged in a bottle with a nail brush like regular nail polish.

This polish applies smoothly and cures under an LED lamp in just 30 seconds. The result is a vibrant, smudge-proof, glossy manicure that lasts up to three weeks.

The company also offers a wide variety of gel polish colors, although many nail enthusiasts agree that the best Gelish nail polish is the Cranberry Crème. 

You can pair it with a Gelish base coat and top coat for best results.

Plus, despite its long-lasting chip-free finish, this gel polish also soaks off completely in 10 to 15 minutes, making it one of the best soak-off gel nail polish choices.

Needs UV/LED light? Yes.

Modelones Gel Nail Polish

This nail polish set in skin tones gives you 6 gorgeous neutrals and hundreds of possibilities.

Key benefits: Easy to apply; excellent color-locking ability; wide range of color combination possibilities


  • Lasts up to 28 days
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • No bubbles; chip-free

Modelones Gel Polish comes in curated shades that are perfect to use alone or together.


Founded on the “users first” principle, Modelones is known for offering nail products that are simple, safe, effective, and easy to use.

The brand produces affordable curated sets of colors that look beautiful by themselves or when combined with other hues. Each set also gives users the freedom to experiment with different base and top coats.  

Plus, their vegan, cruelty-free, and easy-to-apply gel polish cures under an LED/UV lamp and guarantees up to 28 days of bubble-free and chip-resistant color, making it a great option for long-lasting gel nail polish.

Needs UV/LED light? Yes.

Gellen Gel Nail Polish

Beautifully curated gel polish kits allow easy application and long-lasting color and shine.

Key benefits: Healthy ingredients; highly pigmented colors; mirror-shine finish


  • Lasts up to two weeks or longer
  • Curated colors
  • Eco-friendly

Go for a fun party style with this gel polish set that combines bright red, black, and glitter polish.


Don’t want to take the time to decide on which gel colors would look best together?

Gellen, a brand that’s been in the nail industry for 2 decades, has done the work for you by putting together themed gel color kits for every occasion. 

This Charming Moments set combines bold and bright colors with a matching top coat, all perfect for a night out. You can combine vibrant reds and pinks with deep black and fabulous glitter.

Plus, this well-reviewed gel polish is easy to apply and lasts several weeks with a stunning mirror-like shine. It’s one of the best gel nail polish products on Amazon.

Needs UV/LED light? Yes.

OPI Infinite Shine Gel Polish

Gorgeous and vibrant color from a trusted nail care brand.

Key benefits: Glossy finish; ProStay technology; chip-resistant manicure


  • High-definition color
  • Shine lasts up to 10 days
  • Can be removed without acetone soaking

If you are looking for bold, unique, and cheeky colors, OPI Infinite Shine is a perfect choice for you.


OPI is a brand we’re all familiar with, and their Infinite Shine product provides long-lasting gel-like color through a simple three-step system made with the brand’s ProStay Technology.

Plus, OPI produces vibrant ultra-rich shades with fun names, like this beautiful blue in Mi Casa Es Blue Casa from their Mexico City Collection.

This gorgeous azure shade is just one of many that can create vibrant and shiny chip-resistant manicures that remain glossy for up to 11 days or more.

Combine the colors with base coat primer and top coat to lock in a glossy shine.

Needs UV/LED light? No!

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel

Get bold colors and glossy shine for up to eight days with Sally Hansen's two-step Miracle Gel.

Key benefits: Dazzling color and shine; easy application; chip-resistant polish


  • Gorgeous bold color
  • Eight days of glossy shine
  • ColorSet Technology

This party color collection by Sally Hansen Miracle Gel offers a long-lasting festive manicure every time.


Sally Hansen is one of the top-rated nail care brands in the world. And they’ve consistently produced products that are a mainstay for all nailholics. 

Their Miracle Gel is one of these products.

It’s a two-step manicure combination that brings vibrant color and a shine-locking top coat together for a gorgeous, glossy mani without needing a curing lamp.

Plus, Sally Hansen also offers several top coat finishes, so you can choose how you want the final color to look.

Top coat choices include glossy, matte, crystal, sugar, and unicorn, allowing you to have fun and play around with your gel colors.

Needs UV/LED light? No!

Orly GelFX

Get stunning colors and vitamin-fortified gel manicures with Orly GelFX.

Key benefits: Long-lasting; unique formulation; cruelty-free


  • Contains antioxidants to promote nail health
  • Brilliant shine 
  • Lasts up to 21 days

This reliable gel manicure polish gives you long-lasting color and shine with nail-strengthening ingredients.


Trusted nail brand Orly’s GelFX gel manicure system with a base coat and top coat and a plethora of colors allows you to enjoy brilliant glossy manicures in bold gel colors for up to 21 days.

And the best part about this cruelty-free, vegan formulation is that it’s fortified with antioxidants, vitamins A, B5, and E, which promote healthy nails and protect the nail structure.

With this, you can enjoy a long-lasting mani and keep your nails healthy and strong at the same time.

Needs UV/LED light? Yes.

Wet n Wild 1-Step Wonder Gel

A gel manicure that’s just one step? It’s possible with Wet n Wild!

Key benefits: One-step easy application; wide range of bold colors; brilliant shine


  • Lasts up to two weeks
  • Cures without a lamp
  • No strong smell

If you want something easy to use, this one-step gel polish is for you!


A gel manicure is a great way to get long-lasting color and shine. But doing your own gel mani is a bit complex and can take several steps.

Here’s where the Wonder Gel comes in. Made by beloved beauty brand Wet n Wild, this gel polish lets you get a long-lasting glossy mani in just one simple step — no need for a top coat! 

Just apply the gel polish and allow it to cure on its own. Done! However, we still recommend using a base coat and top coat for best results. 

Needs UV/LED light? No!

Bio Seaweed Gel Unity All-In-One

This gentle, easy-to-apply manicure gives you bright color that lasts.

Key benefits: No harmful chemicals; gorgeous colors; all-in-one formulation


  • SolarCure Technology
  • Lasts up to two weeks
  • Easy to remove

Gel polish, base coat, top coat, and strengthener all in one bottle!


This gel manicure doesn’t actually contain any seaweed; that’s just its brand name! Bio Seaweed is a family-owned and operated company that’s committed to formulating healthier alternatives to other gel polish products.

As such, this product contains no harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, BHA, or solvents. Plus, it doesn’t dehydrate, stain, or weaken your nails.

Additionally, this gel polish can cure either under a UV lamp or in direct sunlight, making it really easy to use.

You can use this color with the brand’s matching base and top coat for best results.

Needs UV/LED light? Yes. Or direct sunlight!

Butter London Patent Shine

Luxurious color and a brilliant, lasting shine.

Key benefits: Cruelty-free clean ingredients; sophisticated colors; nail-hugging brush applicator


  • Shock-resistant polymer technology
  • Contains bamboo extract
  • Radiant curing with natural light

Get brighter, stronger, healthier nails with Butter London Patent Shine 10X Nail Lacquer.


Butter London is known for clean, feel-good, and cruelty-free beauty products, and their gel polish is no exception.

This polish’s good-for-you formula contains no harmful chemicals that can damage your nails. Plus, it’s fortified with bamboo extract to help promote stronger and healthier nails and prevent breakage and peeling.

The patented polymer technology also provides brilliant shine and bold colors that can remain chip- and fade-free for up to 10 days.

Just apply two coats and let dry in natural light and you’re done! No base coat or top coat needed!

Needs UV/LED light? No!

LeChat Perfect Match Gel Polish

LeChat Perfect Match Gel Polish has over 200 gorgeous colors in cream, matte, and glitter finishes, giving you colors you can enjoy for every occasion. 

Key benefits: Easy application; long-lasting nail shine; quick soak-off


  • Different finish options
  • No running, shrinking, or color fading
  • With color-matching nail lacquer

Enjoy a long-lasting silver glitter mani with bright shine with LeChat Perfect Match Gel and Nail Lacquer.


Since 1993, LeChat has been producing advanced, high-quality polishes — and this gel polish is no exception! 

It offers a no-running and no-shrinking formulation that glides on smooth and provides lasting shine and vibrance for weeks.

Plus, the LeChat gel polish colors are also available in dip powder and lacquer, so you can do touch-ups on the off chance that your gel chips so that you can keep your mani perfect longer.

Needs UV/LED light? Yes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you dry gel polish without UV light?

Gel polish is traditionally cured using a UV or LED lamp, but some gel polishes that are popular for at-home use don’t need UV to dry the polish.

For instance, the Essie Gel Couture Longwear Nail Polish and the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel allow you to enjoy all the benefits of a gel mani without a curing lamp.

Is a UV or LED light better for curing?

Both work, but an LED lamp can cure gel polish in half the time needed for UV lamps. 

So if you need to dry your nails for one to two minutes under a UV lamp, you’d only need 30 seconds under an LED lamp.

Plus, an LED lamp bulb doesn’t need to be replaced.

What are the best at-home gel nail polish brands?

There are a lot of good gel nail polish brands for at-home use. Some of the more popular choices include OPI and Essie. 

On the other hand, if you are looking for the best professional gel polish, Gelish and Orly are the most popular salon gel polish brands.

Finding the Best Gel Nail Polish for You

Getting long-lasting and gorgeous nail color has become a primary consideration when choosing polish. After all, with a busy schedule, not everyone has time to retouch their manicure constantly.

Gel polish is your best bet if you want a long-lasting manicure with a brilliant and glossy shine. And because there are now several at-home options, you can try a few until you find one that works for you.

Just keep in mind the factors that matter most to you. For example: do you prefer a bright gel polish? An affordable gel polish? Or a long-lasting gel polish?

Knowing what’s most important to you can help you decide which gel polish you want to buy. Don’t be afraid of trying several if you aren’t completely happy with the ones you’ve tried.

This way, you’ll be sure to find a gel polish brand that gives you a bright, beautiful manicure.

Love nail polish? 

Check out these fun nail inspiration articles:

1 thought on “12 Best Gel Nail Polish Brands For At Home Manicures”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *