Ten panelists tried the polishes at home, and 10 panelists received a series of professional manicures. Those were checked at 7, 10, and 14 days.
The Chanel Le Vernis polish is the most expensive tested, at $27 for the color plus an additional $52 for the base and top coats. But it chipped so quickly that most of the home panelists removed it early.
Which are the hands-down favorites? Surprisingly, a $2 polish available at Walgreens called Sinful Colors came out on top. And the base and top coats together are just $8. The polish still looked good after seven days, but it took slightly longer to dry than others.
Another winning polish is the $10 CND Vinylux Weekly Polish. It lived up to its name and still looked good after a week. It doesn’t need a base coat, and the top coat is $10.
Also a favorite: The $6 Revlon ColorStay polish promises to last 11 days, and it still looked OK when checked on day 10. The base and top coats cost $13.
If you want a quick manicure and don’t have time for the whole base-coat, top-coat routine, Consumer Reports found some one-step polishes that looked pretty good at the end of a week. They’re Sally Hansen complete Salon Manicure for $7 and CoverGirl Outlast for $5.