From NailsInc to Revlon, New Look to Rimmel, no nail varnish has escaped our gruelling tests!

If there’s one thing Team Now love (apart from cookie dough ice cream, Ryan Gosling and pictures of cute kittens, natch) it’s treating ourselves to a new nail varnish. From glitter, to neons, to jazzy nail art and classic nudes, we’ve tried THE LOT.

But not all of them have measured up to our sky-high standards. We want even colour. We want long lasting technology. And we want affordable prices. And we want them, um, like, now! Pretty please with a cherry on top.

So, in a bid to track down the best nail varnish for once and for all, we launched a very scientific experiment. With lab coats, plastic goggles and graphs galore.

We road tested 101 of the best nail varnishes in the beauty biz, with brands including Maybelline, Rimmel, Revlon and L’Oreal stepping up to the challenge.

After painting our nails we kept a close eye on each and every varnish, inspecting how each one stood up to every day tasks including exercise, washing up and opening cans of coke over an entire week. It’s all in the name of scientific research, ladies. They don’t teach this shiz in GCSE biology!

Hannah Eichler, NOW’s Freelance Fashion Stylist, reports:
‘My favourite shade was definitely the Maybelline Super stay 7 – it was a gorgeous cherry red, and gave great coverage and intense colour even with one coat. I was so impressed at how long lasting New Look’s varnish was, especially given the price and I loved how glossy Revlon’s Color Stay nail varnish remained over the seven days. Bio Sculpture remained chip free too!’

Scarlett Russell, NOW’s Freelance Showbiz Writer’s verdict is:
‘L’Oreal Paris was by far the best varnish I tried. It was the only one that came with top coat in the package – after 7 days it was almost perfect! Rimmel by Kate Moss was super-shiny and didn’t chip badly, either.’

As voted for by NOW staffers, the runners up are:

In 5th Place: L’Oreal in Place Vendome, £4.99


Lydia T says: ‘The brush and the colour of this varnish I loved. It was simple to use and lasted well.’

In 4th Place: Avon Gel Finish in Fire Cracker, £7

Lucy says: ‘I was so impressed with this nail varnish. It stayed glossy and chip-free for a whole five days!’

In 3rd Place: Models Own in Rhubarb
& Custard, £4.99

Kim says: ‘This was so hard wearing – it was almost perfect by the end of day 7!’


In 2nd Place: Revlon 680 Revlon Red £6.49


Scarlett says: ‘I loved the cherry-red tint of Revlon – it was my favourite shade by far and lasted amazingly well after three gym trips and constant typing at work!’


Essie  ‘Jump in my Jumpsuit’ £7.99


Lydia S says: ‘This was the champion of them all. It was easy to
apply and had even coverage and deep colour even with just one coat.  What’s more, it not only stayed chip free, but remained chip free even after an entire week!’

Congrats, Essie! You’ve done our talons proud!


Scroll through the gallery to see for yourselves how the winning nail varnishes stood up to our gruelling tests. And stay tuned for more tried and tested products – next up: Mascaras!

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Hannah Eichler