4 Best Nail Polishes

We tested 185 bottles of nail polish and found our favorites.Overall Winner

Essie Nail Color ($8, over 200 shades; drugstores, amazon.com)

This standout pulled top points for shine and also did well in five other categories. "It was easy to apply and looked shiny and bright throughout the time I wore it," said a volunteer. Our manicurist gave it perfect scores for how evenly it went on, while many women loved that it came off easily without staining their nails.

Related: Beauty Treatments: When to DIY and When to Go Pro

Longest Lasting

Maybelline New York Color Show ($4, 30 shades; amazon.com)

Volunteers reported that this bargain pick stayed put for an impressive six and a half days on average. "I'm very hard on my hands - gardening, playing sports, scrubbing pots - but the polish stayed perfectly on my nails as if it were the first day," raved one.

Quickest-Drying

OPI Nail Lacquer ($9, over 200 shades; amazon.com)

This speed demon was way ahead of the competition when it came to drying time, besting the runner-up by almost a minute and a half on average. Women also loved the classic red shade Big Apple Red, one of the brand's best sellers.

Related: Best Anti-Aging Makeup

Most Chip-Proof

CoverGirl Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss ($5.50, 45 shades; amazon.com)

In-lab and at-home testers rated this newbie - the only winner with a built-in base and top coat - best chip-defier, and its staying power nearly matched Maybelline's: "It was long-lasting and never chipped," noted one pleased tester.

What's your favorite nail polish? Let us know in the comments!

--by Good Housekeeping Research Institute

More from Good Housekeeping: