Which metallic nail polishes are best?

When you want something shiny for a fun evening out, turn to metallic nail polish. It’s eye-catching and adds a vibrant sheen to your nails. Metallic nail polish is perfect for both daytime looks and nighttime attire, something that gives you a dramatic, clean look. If you’re looking for an affordable yet high-quality metallic nail polish, Essie Metallics Nail Polish in For the Twill of It is the top choice.

What to know before you buy a metallic nail polish

Metallics go with everything

Some nail polishes work best for certain seasons or occasions. Pastels are perfect for springtime, and glitter nail polish is ideal for special events. However, metallics are versatile and transition easily from day to night. Their reflective quality and fun tones match plenty of different outfits and events.

Dry time

Compared to darker shades, metallic nail polishes tend to dry quickly. This is ideal when you don’t have much time to do your nails. They’re also good if you need to change to something a bit more dramatic from your daytime outfit. 

Application process

Streaks tend to show more easily in metallic nail polish. While it will dry quickly, you’ll have to take your time to get a smooth application. The best way to get a smooth, even coat is to start at the bottom center of the nail and pull the brush upward towards the end of the nail. Then, go to the bottom right and left with the same technique.

What to look for in a quality metallic nail polish

Complementary colors

As with all nail polishes, metallic nail polishes come in various shades, such as a cooler chrome or warm rose gold. While these all will look great, it’s important to choose one that matches your typical wardrobe palette. Take time to review your wardrobe and see what colors you tend to wear most often. If you’re the kind of person who tends to wear muted tones like grays and blacks, opt for something in the silver family. If you prefer bright, warm colors, something closer to gold is your best bet.

Finish and texture

Not all metallics have the same kind of finish, so you’ll want to find one that goes with your outfit. If you want an almost glittery sparkle, opt for a nail polish with some texture. If you prefer more of a satiny finish, look for ones in the matte family. Since metallic nail polish is already a bit of a statement, opt for simpler jewelry and accessories.

Nail-healthy ingredients

Pick nail polishes that don’t use harmful ingredients, like toluene and formaldehyde. These can dry out your nails, causing them to crack and split. If your nails are weak or damaged, seek out a metallic nail polish with healthy, fortifying ingredients. Look for plant-based polishes that include things like celery seed extract and soy amino acids.

How much you can expect to spend on metallic nail polish

There are plenty of fantastic metallic nail polish brands you can find at your local drugstore for $10 or less. Premium department store brands cost between the $20-$30 range.

Metallic nail polish FAQ

How can I make my metallic nail polish last longer?

A. Metallic nail polish tends to chip more than other colors, so you want to take extra precautions to make it last. First, make sure your nails are healthy and strong. Also, make sure you remove any previous polish and clean your fingernails. Next, apply a nail-conditioning treatment to keep your nails strong underneath the polish. Then apply a clear base coat, two coats of metallic polish and a topcoat. You can reapply this top coat every few days to extend the life of your manicure.

Does metallic nail polish contain metal?

A. No, it shouldn’t. However, some mineral-based polishes contain some mica and other trace amounts of metal. If your skin is sensitive to metals and minerals, check the product description before purchasing.

What’s the best metallic nail polish to buy?

Top metallic nail polish

Essie Metallics Nail Polish in For the Twill of It

Essie Metallics Nail Polish in For the Twill of It

What you need to know: Essie is a leader in the nail polish industry and offers an extensive, rich line of metallics. While they have a great selection to choose from, “For the Twill of It” is particularly flattering.

What you’ll love: It has a rich maple with olive shimmer, which goes with plenty of neutral colors. You can lean into the shine and drama with this deep, multi-faceted metallic color. It looks good on just about everyone.

What you should consider: It may take you several coats to make this color completely opaque.

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta Beauty

Top metallic nail polish for the money

Revlon Nail Enamel in Amethyst Smoke

Revlon Nail Enamel in Amethyst Smoke

What you need to know: This drugstore cosmetics giant delivers a high-quality product with this color-saturated, rich metallic hue. 

What you’ll love: Although metallics tend to chip faster than other shades, this one will go toe-to-toe with any of your other polishes. If you need a long-lasting manicure, this is the one for you.

What you should consider: The brush may be narrower than you’re used to, which presents a special challenge when you’re trying to avoid streaks.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro Nail Polish in Outta Space

Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro Nail Polish in Outta Space

What you need to know: This polish gives your nails gel-like strength and finish without the cost of a salon manicure.

What you’ll love: While many metallic nail polishes center around traditional metal colors, like silver and gold, this shade combines pink with a dazzle of metallic. It has a fabulous, long-lasting formula. The brush offers a solid, wide coat.

What you should consider: Some users felt the pink color was darker than the photos online.

Where to buy: Sold by Sephora

 

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Maria Andreu writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.