Finding the perfect shade of nail polish isn’t always easy. With so many colors to choose from, you have to consider everything from the length and shape of your nails to your wardrobe and skin tone. Few colors can defy the odds by making it into everyone’s nail polish collection but then again, there’s always the color white.
Bold white nail polish can make your fingernails pop whereas a natural white shade can give you elegance for days. In this guide, we explain why white nail polish will never go out of style while helping you find the perfect shade for you.
- How to Find the Best White Nail Polish
- Top 10 Best White Nail Polishes 2021
- 1. Best Overall Polish: Essie’s Blanc Nail Polish
- 2. Best Premium Polish: OPI’s Funny Bunny Nail Polish
- 3. Best Polish for Nail-Growth: Sally Hansen’s Well, Well, Well
- 4. Best Gel Polish: MEMEDA’s Milky Nail Gel Polish
- 5. Best Budget Polish: Sally Hansen’s White On Nail Polish
- 6. Best Pearly-White Polish: Orly’s Gogo Nail Polish
- 7. Best Affordable Gel Polish: Vishine’s Pure White Gel Polish
- 8. Best Vegan Polish: Duri’s Ghost Nail Polish
- 9. Best Polish for Pregnant Women: Zoya’s Snow White Nail Polish
- 10. Best Matte Polish: China Glaze’s White On White Nail Polish
- Guide to Buying the Best White Nail Polish
- Last Thoughts
How to Find the Best White Nail Polish
White nail polish has always been in style. But as of late, it’s become increasingly popular thanks to stars like Selena Gomez, Khloe Kardashian, and Rihanna. There is much more to this shade than meets the eye and it’s finally getting the recognition it deserves.
What to Consider When Selecting the Best White Nail Polish
Ultimately, you want to find the best white nail polish for your lifestyle. But before you do, there are a few factors to consider.
First things first, you’ll want to consider the quality of each bottle of nail polish. After all, low-quality white nail polish can be very clunky, taking away from the color’s elegance. We paid extra attention to the quality of each polish — from its brush and bottle to its color and consistency.
If you thought white nail polish was boring, think again! This classic color is available in tons of different shades, each one bringing something new to the table. Which shade of white are you searching for? On our list, you’ll find everything from classic white to off-white shades of nail polish.
Once you know what shade of white you’re searching for, you can move on to selecting the finish. There are half a dozen to choose from: pearl, sheer, matte, cream, glossy, or shiny.
Lastly, you’ll want to consider which type of nail polish is best for your nails. After all, we don’t all put them through the same grind. There are a few types available aside from the regular polishes we’re used to:
Quick-dry: Whereas a manicure can leave you immobilized for up to half an hour, a fresh coat of quick-dry nail polish can dry in under a minute or two. Depending on your lifestyle, waiting for your nails to dry can either be a relaxing or frustrating experience. Luckily, you’ve got some options.
Nail-growth: Some nail polish companies promote healthy nails by infusing their formulas with hydrating oils, like argan. Do your nails need some extra love and care?
Nail strengthener: Can you benefit from a white nail polish designed to treat weak or brittle nails? Turns out, you don’t have to sport bare nails to strengthen them because you can have the best of both worlds. The choice is up to you.
Long-lasting: Nail polish tends to chip after just a few days — or even earlier if you constantly work with your hands. Reapplying nail polish every single day isn’t an option for everyone. Thankfully, there are long-lasting white nail polishes that can remain intact for over a week.
All-in-one: In a perfect world, we’d protect our nails with a base coat before adding polish, and top them off with a top coat to seal the deal. But let’s face it, we don’t always have time for that. Instead of going through this lengthy process, you can choose an all-in-one white nail polish that protects your nails, while leaving them shiny, with just a few brush strokes.
Gel: Are you looking for a regular nail polish or would you rather side with something more durable, like long-lasting gel polish? If you aren’t sure which one to pick, check out our full buyer’s guide, where we explain the pros and cons of both options.
White nail polish is here to stay, whether you use it in a French manicure or as your main color. There is so much to love about this classy shade and we’re excited to share our top picks with you.
Top 10 Best White Nail Polishes 2021
1. Best Overall Polish: Essie’s Blanc Nail Polish
- Type: Regular
- Color Name: Blanc
- Finish: Glossy
- Shade: Bright white
Essie is a beloved and trusted brand that has been pumping out signature shades of nail polish since 1981. One of their most popular colors is Blanc, which translates to white in French. True to its name, Blanc offers a beautiful bright white color that demands attention. Although it has a similar color to Wite-Out, its easy-glide brush delivers a streak-free application, preventing it from appearing too thick.
Essie’s Blanc is infused with quick-drying ingredients. However, only small amounts are present which is why it isn’t advertised as a quick-dry polish. When applying this nail polish, it’s best to first apply a base coat. Then, depending on the finish you’re looking for, you can apply a thin coat of Blanc for a transparent look, or two coats for an opaque look.
This shade offers a glossy finish which might stop you from layering it with a top coat. However, if you do not, you might find out firsthand that Essie nail polishes tend to chip within a few days of use — especially if you complete household chores or work with your hands. Depending on how much time you have for weekly manicures, it might be beneficial to opt for a gel polish instead. Should this interest you, we highly recommend the Vishine’s Pure White Gel Polish.
- Beautiful bright white color
- Polish is opaque, not transparent
- Can be used for French manicure tips
- Brush doesn’t leave behind any streaks
- Nail polish goes on smoothly and dries quickly
- A base and top coat are needed to prevent chipping
- Type: Regular
- Color Name: Funny Bunny
- Finish: Sheer
- Shade: Soft white
It can be challenging to find a white nail polish that isn’t too flashy. But luckily, OPI has got us covered. Their gorgeous shade, Funny Bunny, gives off a neutral and versatile look. Although a more vibrant shade of white is typically used for French manicure tips, Funny Bunny gets the job done — just be sure to add a few coats because it’s quite sheer on its own. It’s so sheer, in fact, that you can even layer it over other nail polishes. Or, if you’re going for a more subtle look, you can use it on its own.
It’s no secret that OPI does it best, and they’re at it again with their ProWide brush and rich lacquer. Applying this polish is a breeze. However, if you want it to last, you need to put in some extra work. Typically, OPI nail polishes can last up to a week before chipping. But this is only the case if you use a base and top coat.
Once you factor all of this in, an at-home OPI manicure can be quite expensive. Still, this is a small price to pay for the luxurious feel that OPI brings. If you’re looking for something a little more affordable, check out Sally Hansen’s White On Nail Polish. This white nail polish is much less expensive and yet it still gives off a gorgeous neutral look.
- High-quality nail polish
- Beautiful neutral color
- ProWide brush for easy application
- Can be used for French manicure tips
- Can be layered over other polishes or worn on its own
- A little expensive
- A base and topcoat are needed to prevent chipping
3. Best Polish for Nail-Growth: Sally Hansen’s Well, Well, Well
- Type: Nail-growth
- Color Name: Well, Well, Well
- Finish: Slightly glossy
- Shade: True white
Sally Hansen’s Color Therapy line does a lot to keep your nails healthy. If your nails need some extra care, you don’t have to go bare to give them love. Color Therapy nail polishes contain an argan oil formula that moisturizes the nail, helping it grow to new lengths. There’s a lot to love about this affordable polish, like how it isn’t prone to chipping — even without the presence of a top coat. Although, for a long-lasting manicure, top coats are always encouraged.
Well, Well, Well offers a true white color with a slightly shiny finish. It’s the perfect shade of white for French manicure tips, and it’s thick enough that you only need one coat. Applying white tips is easy thanks to Sally Hansen’s wide and tapered brush. So easy that you can even freehand the process. If you want to paint your entire nail white, however, it’s best to use two coats to even out the polish. But be sure to apply light coats unless you enjoy a thick consistency.
Although Color Therapy will do a lot to moisturize your nails, it won’t do much to protect them if they’re thin and brittle. If you’re looking for an affordable white nail polish that can harden your nails, we’d point you toward China Glaze’s White On White instead.
- Doesn’t chip easily
- Argan oil formula moisturizes the nail
- Perfect color for French manicure tips
- Wide and tapered brush for smooth application
- Consistency is a little thick
- 2 or more coats are needed for full coverage
4. Best Gel Polish: MEMEDA’s Milky Nail Gel Polish
- Type: Gel
- Color Name: Milky
- Finish: Sheer
- Shade: Off-white
Gel polish isn’t for everyone. After all, gel manicures do require a few extra steps, like curing each coat under an LED/UV light. But, although more time-consuming at first, a gel manicure can last up to a month without chipping, which is perfect for anyone who constantly puts their nails through the wringer.
MEMEDA’s line of gel polishes are non-toxic and odorless, which is why people with sensitivities tend to seek them out. We love the off-white color MEMEDA has to offer. It’s super classy and quite frankly, a color like this one is hard to find.
Still, this polish has a few drawbacks. For example, the consistency of the gel is quite thick, making it challenging to apply a thin layer. However, up to 4 layers are needed to obtain a beautiful milky and opaque color. If you’re concerned about the thickness of this gel polish, take a look at the Vishine’s Pure White Gel Polish instead. It’s one of the thinnest gel polishes on the market.
- Sophisticated milky white color
- Gel manicures can last for up to a month
- Polish is quite thick
- Polish is very sheer, 2-4 coats are needed for an opaque look
5. Best Budget Polish: Sally Hansen’s White On Nail Polish
- Type: Regular
- Color Name: White On
- Finish: Glossy
- Shade: True white
The most affordable white nail polish on our list is White On by Sally Hansen. It belongs to the Xtreme Wear collection which is well-known for its beloved easy-glide brush. White On is a true white nail polish that sparkles with a glossy finish. But even then, it’s recommended that you add a top coat or two, as it chips very easily.
White On isn’t considered a thick nail polish but its color is quite powerful, eliminating the need for multiple coats. This allows the polish to dry quickly, which is always welcomed. Despite its initial color, White On can take on a slight yellow tone if it is not protected by a top coat. If you’d rather spend a little extra on a high-quality nail polish, check out OPI’s Funny Bunny Nail Polish instead.
- Super affordable
- Multiple coats aren’t needed
- Easy-glide brush for easy application
- Chips easily
- A top coat is necessary to avoid color changes
6. Best Pearly-White Polish: Orly’s Gogo Nail Polish
- Type: Regular
- Color Name: Gogo
- Finish: Pearl
- Shade: Grey-white
If you’re looking for a stylish pearly white nail polish, look no further than Orly’s Gogo. Its rich consistency allows it to dry quickly and evenly. In the sunlight, you might notice how Gogo has some glitter in it, which may or may not be your thing. However, once in a darker setting, Gogo takes on a pretty grey-white hue instead.
Orly’s Gogo is easy to apply and, due to its color, it makes for a very interesting French manicure. It’s easy to freehand white tips, too, thanks to Orly’s small and thin brush. However, thin brushes can leave streaks, so be sure to apply a nice amount of polish to avoid this issue. All in all, there are few white nail polishes as stunning as Orly’s Gogo. Its unique pearl finish will have you feeling like a mermaid.
- Polish has a nice consistency
- Beautiful pearl finish
- Its small brush may leave streaks
- Polish contains glitter
7. Best Affordable Gel Polish: Vishine’s Pure White Gel Polish
- Type: Gel
- Color Name: Pure White
- Finish: Glossy
- Shade: Light grey
When you go on vacation, you want a polish that will stay intact for your entire stay. After all, applying nail polish every two days or so isn’t always an option, and neither are chipped fingernails. That’s when Vishine Gel Polish comes in. This long-lasting gel polish can maintain its perfection for up to 21 days. And once you’re done with it, you can soak your fingernails for easy removal.
If you’re interested in a bright white gel polish to finish off your French manicures, Vishine won’t let you down. Just be sure to apply 2-3 coats of polish to attain a true white color, as applying a single coat can make the polish appear light grey.
As for the gel polish’s consistency, it can be quite thick depending on your home’s temperature. To thin it out, place it in a bowl of warm water for under a minute before applying it. And be sure to cure it, using an LED/UV light, a little longer than recommended, especially if the polish goes on thick. Surprisingly, Vishine’s Pure White is actually considered to be a thin gel polish, although it may not seem that way if the bottle gets cold.
If you’re looking for a white gel polish that is more milky than pure white, we highly recommend MEMEDA’s Milky Gel Polish.
- Excellent gel option for French manicure tips
- This gel polish can easily be soaked off
- Polish is very thick when cold
- Needs to be cured for longer than suggested
8. Best Vegan Polish: Duri’s Ghost Nail Polish
- Type: Regular
- Color Name: Ghost
- Finish: Semi sheer
- Shade: Off-white
Turns out, finding a vegan and chemical-free nail polish isn’t all that easy. But luckily, there are great polishes like Duri’s Ghost to see us through — and for a very reasonable price, too! This gorgeous shade of white comes in a semi-sheer finish. It’s opaque enough to leave its mark but sheer enough to offer a natural look. The more coats you apply, the more opaque the shade becomes. Duri’s Ghost is known for its sheer off-white look and it’s a shoo-in when it comes to designing wedding nail art.
Keep in mind, however, that this polish has a reputation of being super runny. In fact, it may even run down your fingernail, toward your cuticles, if you do not leave your nails to dry on a flat surface. We’d also encourage you to add a top coat once you have finished painting your nails, as this will ensure that your manicure lasts for a long as possible. Duri’s Ghost is a long-lasting polish on its own, but it never hurts to have some reinforcements.
If you like the fact that this polish is vegan, but do not enjoy its sheerness, check out Zoya’s Snow White Nail Polish instead. This nail polish offers a pure white color with a creamy finish.
- Great price
- Vegan product that is free of chemicals
- Beautiful and natural semi-translucent look
- Polish is a little runny
- A top coat is needed to prevent chipping
9. Best Polish for Pregnant Women: Zoya’s Snow White Nail Polish
- Type: Regular
- Color Name: Snow White
- Finish: Cream
- Shade: Pure white
Zoya has been pumping out gorgeous nail lacquers since 1986. They’re one of the first nail polish companies to adopt the Big-10 Formula, which forbids the use of chemicals like formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, dibutyl, toluene, camphor, TPHP, parabens, xylene, ethyl, tosylamide, and lead. Zoya’s Snow White vegan polish is so safe it can be used by pregnant women. This salon-quality polish offers a gorgeous pure white shade that no one can ignore. It has a creamy finish that comes to life with a top coat.
Zoya’s Snow White Nail Polish doesn’t have an overbearing consistency, which allows it to dry quickly. Unlike some regular nail polishes, Zoya can last for up to 5 days without chipping — and even longer if you apply a top coat. It has a thin brush that is perfect for nail art but far from ideal when attempting full-on coverage, as it may leave streaks.
Despite its creamy finish, Zoya’s Snow White is quite sheer and a few coats must be applied to achieve opaqueness. Because of this, it isn’t necessarily the best for French manicure tips. If you’re looking for a pure white nail polish that you can use for white tips, check out Sally Hansen’s Well, Well, Well. However, keep in mind that this nail polish isn’t chemical-free.
- Vegan and chemical-free
- Quick-drying and long-lasting
- Beautiful white color
- Many coats must be applied for an opaque finish
- Not the best for French manicure tips
- Very thin brush
10. Best Matte Polish: China Glaze’s White On White Nail Polish
- Type: Nail strengthener
- Color Name: White On White
- Finish: Matte
- Shade: White cream
China Glaze’s White On White Nail Polish isn’t exactly chemical-free, but it does contain fewer chemicals than the typical nail polish. It’s free of the toxic trio (dibutyl phthalate, toluene, and added formaldehyde), after all! There’s a lot to love about this polish, like how it offers a beautiful white cream color that can be quite hard to find. Better yet, it dries in a matte finish! If matte isn’t your style, you can always top this nail polish off with a glossy top coat and it will transform before your eyes.
China Glaze polishes are infused with china clay, preventing them from chipping. This china clay also strengthens the nails. But, to achieve full coverage, you need to apply a minimum of 2 coats, as this polish has a very thin consistency. Also, since this polish tends to dry out in the bottle, it’s important to tightly close the bottle after every use. Check out Essie’s Blanc Nail Polish for a high-quality polish that won’t dry out.
- Beautiful white cream color with a matte finish
- Strengthens the nails and protects from chipping
- Free of dibutyl phthalate, toluene, and added formaldehyde
- Polish has a thin consistency
- 2-3 coats are needed to achieve full coverage
- Polish is prone to drying out in the bottle
Guide to Buying the Best White Nail Polish
So much can be accomplished with the perfect shade of white nail polish — from white nails and white tips to wedding manicures and nail art. White nail polish is one of the most versatile shades of polish and it looks good on everyone, no matter their skin tone, nail length, or nail shape. In this full buyer’s guide, we put some of the most frequently asked questions to rest, while also discussing the difference between nail lacquer and gel polish.
Is Nail Polish Bad for You?
It’s no secret that nail polish contains harmful ingredients. However, these ingredients don’t usually pose a threat to people who use nail polish in small doses. Still, it’s best to seek out nail polishes that are free of the toxic trio, which consists of dibutyl phthalate, toluene, and formaldehyde. These chemicals can pose health risks, especially to pregnant women, nail salon workers, and avid nail polish wearers
To protect yourself, it’s important to use a chemical-free base coat like Zoya’s Naked Base Coat, before applying lacquer to your nails. Wearing a face mask while doing your nails isn’t necessary, however, as the mask is used by professionals to limit their intake of dust and vapors. So, while wearing a mask may be crucial for a nail technician, people who paint their nails at home, a few times a month, won’t gain much by wearing them. Still, if wearing one makes you feel more comfortable, it’s always an option.
Nail polish does contain harmful ingredients but in small doses. If this bothers you, you can always opt for a vegan and chemical-free nail polish formula like Zoya’s Snow White Nail Polish or Duri’s Ghost Nail Polish.
Nail Polish VS. Gel Polish — Which One Is Better?
Let’s kick things off with regular nail polish, which is the most commonly used form of nail polish in the world. We’ll cover its many pros and finish off with its cons before moving on to gel polishes.
Nail Polish Pros
- Some nail polishes are chemical-free
- Nail polish can easily be removed with acetone-based nail polish remover
- Some nail polishes can strengthen and heal brittle nails
- Nail polish is generally very affordable
Nail Polish Cons
- Some nail polishes are advertised as chemical-free but still contain low levels of chemicals
- If you do not use a base coat, the recurrent use of nail polish can stain your fingernails
- Nail polish doesn’t usually last for more than one week, and chips easily
Gel Polish Pros
- Gel manicures are durable and can last for up to a month without chipping
- You do not have to account for drying time, as gel polishes set under an LED/UV light
Gel Polish Cons
- Gel polishes are generally more expensive than regular nail polishes
- An LED/UV light must be used to set the gel polish
- You must expose yourself to UV light (Tip: To prevent sun-damaged skin, apply sunscreen to your hands before using the UV light)
- Your nails may become brittle if you regularly use gel polish
- Removing gel polishes can be quite challenging and damaging to nails
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is white nail polish classy?
One of the most common misconceptions surrounding white nail polish is the notion that it is tacky. This is because when people think about white nail polish, they often compare it to Wite-Out, which has a thick consistency and a matte finish. Although some people enjoy this bold look, it isn’t for everyone.
Luckily, there are many shades of white and some are classier than others. If you’re looking for a sophisticated pearly white nail polish that celebrities like Selena Gomez like to wear, we recommend checking out Orly’s Gogo Nail Polish.
Can pregnant women use nail polish?
Whether you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, it’s important to consider how your everyday products can affect your growing baby — and that includes nail polish. Some nail lacquers contain the toxic trio (dibutyl phthalate, toluene, and formaldehyde), which can negatively impact a fetus.
If you wish to continue using nail polish throughout your pregnancy, look for a vegan and chemical-free polish. However, be sure to talk to your doctor before applying the polish. In our list, you’ll find that Zoya’s Snow White Nail Polish has been marked safe to use by pregnant women.
Which white nail polish is best for French manicures?
Most of the nail polishes on our list can be used to complete French manicures. However, there’s one that stands out and that’s Sally Hansen’s Well, Well, Well. This bottle of polish has a wide tapered brush that makes it easy to apply white tips. It also offers a true white color that is perfect for the standard French manicure.
What nail colors are currently in style?
Currently, neutrals are back, and one of the most sought-after colors is white. This is especially true for OPI’s Funny Bunny Nail Polish, which has been in high demand. Besides white, the color cherry red is also making a comeback. But one of the most popular colors of the year, however, is the new and improved jean blue. We absolutely love OPI’s Less is Norse and we’re not the only ones!
White nail polish looks amazing on both fingernails and toenails. This vibrant color can take years off your hands by making your fingernails pop against your skin tone. There is so much to love about this color, and everyone can use a go-to white polish in their collection — be it for French manicure tips or fun nail art!
We hope this guide has helped you find the exact shade you were searching for and in the finish of your choosing, too. Good luck on your nail journey and remember, a good base and top coat go a long way!