Gel nail polish picks that'll give you salon-worthy results

No UV lamps or hefty price tags necessary

best gel nail polish
(Image credit: Getty Images)

No UV lamps or hefty price tags necessary

Chipped nail polish is up there with our top beauty bug bears (along with dreaded split ends and chapped lips), so gel nail polish has always been our saviour.

But at-home manicures are very high maintenance (and that's before you consider nail art or an at-home pedicure) and, let's face it, there aren’t many things that can top the feeling of leaving a salon with a fresh gel manicure.

Except perhaps getting that same salon-worthy gel mani in the comfort of your own home, that is. The beauty gods have sent us several angels in the form of gel nail polish that give us the long-lasting, glossy and super polished looks that we all love so much (without the UV lamps, hefty price tags or the tricky removal process).

Get DIY-ing with the beauty desk’s top picks – and when you're done here, be sure to read up on how to remove gel nail polish at home.

Best gel nail polish

The best gel nail polish should be high-shine, rich in colour and – probably the most important factor – not chip off within the first day. Brands like Nails Inc, OPI and Sally Hansen all offer great options, and affordable brands like Barry M also have great nail polish formulas on offer.

Nails Inc Gel Effect Polish, £15, Fabled

gel nail polish

Durability is the key with this one. With a formulation built to resist those oh-so-irritating chips and nicks, these polishes are sure to last. The cult nail brands’ new range offers up catwalk inspired shades as well as some of their best sellers, ensuring that you’re bang on trend with these beauties. Top up with nail oil to keep the shine for up to 10 days.

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At home manicure kit

As well as your gel nail polish of choice, there are a few other things worth having in your beauty arsenal if you want your at-home manicure to go the distance:

Base coat

Not only can a good base coat help to prolong the life of your manicure, but it can also protect and treat your natural nails underneath – as is the case with Rimmel's Nail Nurse 5 in 1 Base Coat. Bonus: this one doubles as a top coat, too.

Top coat

Not only does a good top coat help to prolong the life of your colour of choice (no second day chips!), but this one leaves your nails so shiny you'll find it hard not to admire them constantly. Look to the brand behind the Queen's favourite nail polish if you want to recreate a gel effect at home, with Essie's Gel Setter Top Coat, £8.99, Lookfantastic.

Multiway nail file

Not only is filing the lengths of your nails important, a multiway file can smooth ridges on the surface of your nail, as well as add shine when you're not wearing polish. Try brushworks' 6-way Shape and Shine nail file, £2.99 at Lookfantastic.

Cuticle oil

Nail and cuticle oils are a great way to keep your natural nails healthy and soften dry cuticles. We love Sally Hansen's Vitamin E Nail and Cuticle Oil, £6.95, Boots.

Ready to give your nails a bit of TLC? Keep scrolling for our edit of the best at home gel nail polish purchases. Armed with any of these and you're set for a foolproof at-home mani. Consider your summer nails sorted.

Katie Thomas

Katie Thomas is the Senior Beauty Editor at Marie Claire UK. With over 10 years of experience on women's luxury lifestyle titles, she covers everything from the best beauty looks from the red carpet and stand out trends from the catwalk, to colonic irrigation and to the best mascaras on the market. She started her career on fashion desks across the industry - from The Telegraph to Brides - but found her calling in the Tatler beauty department. From there she moved to Instyle, before joining the Marie Claire digital team in 2018. She’s made it her own personal mission to find the best concealer in the world to cover her tenacious dark circles. She’s obsessed with skincare that makes her skin bouncy and glowy, low-maintenance hair that doesn’t require brushing and a cracking good manicure. Oh and she wears more jewellery than the Queen.