White Nail Polish: The 2022 Best

There’s nothing quite as classic as white nail polish – a lacquer that looks stunning whether it’s stark or sheer, coating the entire nail or just the tips for a timeless French. What is it that makes white nail polish different? “The number one thing to look for in a great, high-quality nail lacquer is the pigmentation,”Heather Reynosa (Director of OPI Global Education Design) “Rich pigment [and] solid color that doesn’t streak is imperative.”

But you don’t have to be Hailey Bieber to get the perfect “glazed donut” manicure or a KarJenner to have flawless nails thanks to PEOPLE’s lengthy search for the best white nail polish. In fact, we’ve found tones to satisfy any preference – from the iciest whites to delicate, sheer shades. 

However, you’ll want to be a little generous with your spending when shopping for the perfect shade, as white polishes have formulas that are tricky to work with when the quality decreases. “Bright white lacquers have a large amount of titanium dioxide, and that can make your polish thicken a little faster than most,” Reynosa shares. “So this is one color in your collection that’s best to shop for based on quality, not on price.”

These were 8 of 22 polishes tested by PEOPLE. Read on to discover which bottles you’ll be reaching for next time you want to switch up your mani-pedi.

Check These Things Before You Make a Purchase

Shade

When you think of white nail polish, shades comparable to Wite-Out may come to mind, but there are in fact many options for a white manicure if you don’t (or do) want the paper-white effect. Many tones were tested including opaque and snowy whites, as well as translucent, gray-toned colors. Amazing results in color, texture, and transparency were achieved. You can also opt for a shade that’s buildable, like a semi-sheer white (think OPI’s Funny BunnyYou can increase the amount of coats you use to get your desired look.

These are the features

Every lacquer is unique, with its own features such as super-pigmented or luminous shimmer. If you identify the most significant features that are important for your requirements, it will help to select the best white nail polish. A few testers prefered the more opaque shades. Some testers preferred a nail polish that dried within 20 minutes. Others prefer building the color up and then waiting to dry. However, Reynosa recommends being wary of fast-drying polishes, as they can create some chaos in your manicure if you aren’t careful. “Fast-drying can actually work against you, especially if you are trying to even out the application — it can leave streaks and actual marks [or] dents from the brush strokes.”When you search, remember this!

Ingredients

Just like many beauty products, it is also a product of the modern day. “clean”There are many products on the nail market. If you are someone who strives to use good-for-you products, then you’ll want to keep an eye on the ingredients listed on the label of your nail lacquer. Some nail polishes do not suit sensitive skin. Deborah Lipmann’s Gel Lab ProThey are also vegan. They do not contain dibutylphthalate, toluene or camphor, toluene, toluene, toluene, toluene, toluene, toluen, toluene, toluene, toluene, toluene or dibutylphthalate, formaldehyde amide, formaldehyde nitrate, formaldehyde sylamidesylamidesylamidesylamidesyle tosylamidesylamidesylamidesylamidesyle tosyle tosyle tosydehyde xyle tosylamide and parabens This ingredient can cause skin irritations or other problems. Look out for the 10-free indicator if you have concerns about what ingredients you’re putting on your skin.

Most Frequently Asked Questions

  • Before getting a manicure, how should your nails be prepared?

    Reynosa gives some helpful tips for preparing your nails to apply your white nail polish. “Make sure your cuticles have been meticulously manicured, and the surface of your nail is clean and smooth. Shaping your nails comes next, which should be carefully done with a nail clipper if you need to adjust the length and a nail file for fixing any jagged edges or adding a shape (think coffin, almond, square… the list goes on).

    “Don’t skip the base coat!”Reynosa cautions. Reynosa says that how rough or smooth you want your manicure to be is determined by the shape of your base nails. ShowMend your cuticles before you paint.

  • What is the best way to apply white nail varnish?

    It’s ridiculously easy to mess up your polish application, so we asked Reynosa to weigh in on this topic. “Instead of applying right at the cuticle line, start in the middle of the nail and massage the brush up towards the cuticle line, then pull down the center,”Recommendations from a nail expert “Repeat this on the sides until you have the coverage you want.”Also, different colors and consistencies require different application methods. When creating your DIY salon experience, this is something you should remember. “With white and with pastels, it’s best to float your brush and lightly sweep the surface instead of pressing — this will help you create an even, salon-like finish.” And don’t forget to clean up any mistakes around the nail bed with a non-toxic nail polish remover and seal off your look with a hard-wearing topcoat.

  • These are some of the most important features you should look out for when choosing a white polish.

    As Reynosa mentioned before, you won’t want to be stingy when it comes to the type of nail polish you buy in a white shade. Due to the high count of titanium dioxide required to achieve a densely white shade, it’s important to invest in a product that doesn’t thicken quickly or have a goopy consistency (which is easy to fall into with white polish). Thinner formulas often glide onto the nail much more gracefully, so it’s preferable to have a diluted, yet buildable consistency over one that is overly thick. Although they are more costly, high-quality lacquers provide smooth results. 

  • We tested white nail varnish

    Our testers were able to test the range of 22 white nails colors by bringing along acrylic-free and polish. One coat of each nail polish was applied to each tester’s right hand. Then, it dried for two minutes. The tester then applied another coat of the assigned nail polish to their right hand and could evaluate if it needed another coat. Based on the tester’s desired level of opacity, they determined how many coats would be required. The average was 2 to 3 coats. Let the polish dry for about 30 minutes. The testers checked for any smudging and tacky areas after 30 minutes. Their nails were also evaluated. They then gave each nail a rating and repeated the process with another polish. 

    Is it People Tested?

    PEOPLE TESTED is a seal of approval that helps you select the best products. We use our unique method to evaluate products in 3 labs throughout America as well as with home testers from across the country to determine their durability and effectiveness. Based on these results, we rate products and make recommendations.

    But we don’t stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we’ve awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. Companies are welcome to apply for the PEOPLE Tested Seal of Approval. NeverGet our recommendation. Their products deserve it.

    In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase.

    Want more product suggestions? You can view all our People Tested content. 

    White Nail Polish: The 2022 Best

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