5 Nail Polishes With Exceptionally Good Brushes

The secret to a perfect polish job? The right brush.
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Kate F.
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The secret to a perfect polish job? The right brush.

I can pinpoint the exact moment that I converted to the wonderful world of nail art: The first time I swiped on a coat of Dior lacquer. Yup, ONE easily-applied coat later, and my nails were smooth, shiny, and little did I know, much less prone to chipping. At first, I assumed it was the polish formula. Then a beauty editor friend recommended using a wide, flat, short brush to apply polish. 

BOOM. That was all that needed to be said. I rushed home, spread my polishes out around me, and searched for the right brush. However, I was disappointed to discover that most of the brands utilizing the brush were higher end and pretty damn pricey, but there were a few drugstore saviors. 

Here, listed from cheapest to most expensive, the brands that have employed my nail brush hero. Note that in each photo the nail on the left has one coat of polish and the nail on the right has two coats. 

Wet N Wild Fergie Nail Color, $4

wet n wild fergie nail color in flossy flossy

Wet N Wild Fergie Nail Color in Flossy Flossy

Seriously, who doesn’t have at least a few Wet N Wild obsessions that they discovered while flat broke? This one is mine. I have it in Flossy Flossy, a gorgeous, gold, glittery shade (how’s that for alliteration?). It’s convinced me that every brand that produces glitter polish should make this brush standard--the flat nature of it helps glitter spread evenly over the nail, rather than clumping up in random spots.

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure, $8

sally hansen complete salon manicure in new wave blue

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in New Wave Blue

This stuff is the best proof I can give that great quality products need not be designer. In fact, I’m fairly certain that if you poured Sally’s magical mixture into a Dior bottle but kept her brush, I’d be totally fooled. It glides on like butter and settles into a perfectly smooth, glassy layer--supposedly sans base coat and top coat. Plus, who else could match that color range?

Lancȏme Vernis In Love, $18

lancome vernis in love in rose satin

Lancȏme Vernis In Love in Rose Satin

If you’re looking to feel like a sweet, delicate ballerina, Lancȏme’s nail colors were made for you. And it goes without saying that they’re all about the brush I hold so dear. It’s a little longer and thinner than the others on this list, but manages to maintain the same control during the polishing process. And if you’re looking for a little more precision, this one’s totally up your alley. Complicated nail art? Check.

NARS Nail Polish, $20

nars nail polish in hell-bent

NARS Nail Polish in Hell-Bent

“Fat” would be an understatement when describing this brush, made by the masters of color. It’s so large and in charge that it practically hugs your entire nail during application, so one or two strokes is really all you need. Oh, and if you’re going to drop cash on a NARS polish, I recommend hitting up Phillip Lim’s collection for the brand. I’ve got the shade Hell-Bent and I feel like the coolest, edgiest girl in the room when I have it on.

Dior Nail Lacquer, $25

dior nail lacquer in trafalgar

Dior Nail Lacquer in Trafalgar

If I ever win the lottery, the first thing I’ll do is rush out to buy every single nail lacquer Dior makes. Their brush is flawless: not too wide, not too thin; not too long, not too short; not too thick, not too flat. As a reasonable human being, I currently have this product in classic, every-girl-needs-one shades like nude pink, red, and black (or Tra-La-La, Trafalgar, and Bar, respectively). But that’s not to say I’m so reasonable that I don’t constantly lust after them all.

Let me know what polish brands are your all-time favorites, and if they’re one of the golden gods of this age (the ones that have my wide, flat brush, I mean). I’d love to add a polish or 10 to my arsenal!