2018 FAVORITES: Top 10 Nail Polishes & Products

by - January 08, 2019

Hey guys! 2018 was definitely the year that I got into nail art, after dipping my toes into it in 2017, and I've obviously featured quite a lot of nail content since then. When I sat down to pick out my favorite nail products of 2018, I was actually pretty surprised at just how much the choices underscored my personal tastes. I only included polished, base and top coats, and cuticle care products because I didn't really know how to narrow down my favorite nail art tools and products, but if you'd like to see a post on what tools I use for my nail art, please let me know!

To check out my favorite nail polishes and products of 2018, keep reading!

2018 was definitely the year that I figured out just how much cuticle oil helped with maintaining my nails. I've never had good nails and especially in colder weather they've always broken and peeled pretty easily, but now that I've become basically a cuticle oil obsessive, I've really seen a stark difference in my nails and even this winter been able to maintain strength and length that is basically unheard of for me. 

JULEP Essential Cuticle Oil
I've actually been using this cuticle oil for years, but never with the consistency of this past year, and this has been one that I've really seen results with. Admittedly, I'm actually probably not going to be picking up another one of these for all kinds of reasons, but it's definitely one that I can't deny the quality and effectiveness of. It's a long time favorite and one that has been a staple in my life since I've been consistent about applying cuticle oil.

CND SolarOil Nail & Cuticle Care
This one is much newer to my collection, but is one that I absolutely loved from the first application. First of all, it smells like almond, which always brings a product to a higher place in my esteem, but above and beyond that it's super effective. This is a much richer cuticle oil than the JULEP one and tends to be the one that I apply before taking off my nail polish and before bed because it doesn't sink in as quickly as I'd personally need for daytime use, but it's really effective and makes a real difference in my cuticles with just one application. 

I really didn't expect my favorite polishes to look like this when I sat down and started thinking about the polishes that stood out this year, but I can't say I'm really surprised since purple and green is probably my favorite colour combination of life and both colours also stand on their own for me. Another thing that I find really interesting is the fact that all of these have a completely different finish, even though four of the five of them are holo. It really speaks to the differences you can see in the appearance of different holo formulas, even when they're all good holo formulas. 

Girly Bits Cosmetics - Jive Talkin'
Jive Talkin' is actually my first Girly Bits polish - though I have recently ordered a couple more - and it's a serious stunner that got a lot of use during my 12 Days Of Halloween Nails. It's a rich chartreuse shade with the most intensely stunning holo glitter. It's opaque in two coats, which is always a plus for me, and just has the kind of punch that I always look for in this type of formula. I know this one may not be for everyone, but it's one that I'm completely thrilled to have in my collection. 

OPI Nail Lacquer - DS Extravagance
This polish isn't available anymore, which is absolutely tragic, but it had to be in this list because it's just that much of a favorite for me. It's a rich deep berry shade with scattered holo. It's opaque in two coats, but does need a top coat for added shine and impact. This is one of those polishes that I constantly reach for when either I don't know what else to use as a base for nail art or when I just want to do a quick mani without any nail art. It's just beautiful, what more can I say? I wish that OPI would rerelease their Designer Series polishes, because this one has been so much a favorite of mine and there are a few others that I know I would love as well. 

OPI Nail Lacquer - This Isn't Greenland
I don't think I ever would have thought that this sort of light sage green créme polish would be a favorite of mine, but it's so unique, has such a great formula, and works so well as a base for nail art that it just had to be. It's also truly unique - I have nothing else even remotely like this in my collection and I don't even think I've ever seen this type of shade from other brands. I have to say, OPI has really been doing it for me this year, which is kind of surprising because they weren't a brand I really paid a lot of attention to before. Either way, I'm so glad I got my hands on this shade because it's just been such a winner for me. 

Polished For Days - Eudaimonia
I feel like this is the polish that pushed me into really loving indie polishes. I'm definitely late to the game, mostly because I sucessfully resisted for so long, but this shade got in my head and I finally absolutely had to order it. I've always loved this type of shade, it's been a go to for me for a really, really long time, but the addition of holo and flakies to make this sort of basic shade really interesting and impactful just pushes it over the edge for me. I don't actually use this in nail art very often because it's just so beautiful on its own that I hesitate to put anything over it - that's how gorgeous it is. And it has pushed me into a near obsession with wanting to order everything Polished For Days ever releases. 

Color Club Halo Hues in Cloud Nine
The Halo Hues polishes have been used in a ton of my mani's this year and I have a pretty huge collection of them, but Cloud Nine is both the first one I bought and the one that always stands out above the rest for me. It's a very pale sort of lavender pink shade that it just packed with insanely dense linear holo and makes the most amazing impact. I mean, look at that photo... that holo is so strong! I don't really love to wear this on its own, but it makes an incredible base for nail art, which is what I generally reach for it as. 

Unt Read For Take Off Peel Off Base Coat
I used to avoid glitter polish like it was the plague, but now that I have this base coat in my life it has opened up a whole new world for me because I don't have to deal with scrubbing my nails with acetone anymore to get rid of glitter. For me, this one works head and shoulders better than any of the other peel offs that I've tried and I don't think I'll ever not have this on hand. 

Essence The Gel Polish Top Coat
I actually picked this up based on seeing it used by a lot of people over stamping. Since it's so affordable and is easily available locally, it was worth a shot and I think I've been through about three bottles of it in the last year. It's a gorgeous glossy finish that dries really fast, but the more important thing for me is that it doesn't smudge my nail art. I do still have to be careful to do as few strokes as possible to avoid smearing, but as long as I'm careful I never have to worry about this one. Only problem with it? It dries out and gets goopy pretty freakin' fast... but I don't mind replacing it because it's just that good.

Seche Vive Top Coat (not pictured)
This top coat isn't in the photos because I'm actually currently out of it, but I've been through two bottles so far and I'm sure I'll continue to buy it. For me, this one works better than the original Seche Vite because it doesn't shrink on me, except a little when it gets goopy and is time to replace the bottle. It also works really well over nail art and doesn't smudge or ruin a mani that I've worked for ages to get perfect. This also lasts longer in the bottle for me than the Essence one without getting too thick to work with, which means it's worth spending a little more on. 

I wanted to include some of the nail art that I did in the past year using these favorite polishes - including pairing two of them together. Like I said, I love purple and green together as well as on their own, and I feel like I've really been able to create some great looks with these polishes!

I have to say, I'm really looking forward to what I'm going to discover in nails in the coming year, since 2018 was such a great one on that front for me. I'm loving experimenting with nail art and really finding my style and I can't wait to keep going on that front, getting better at it, and bringing you guys more nail content! I also already know that I'm going to find some amazing new favorites in the coming year - and even though we're only a week into it, I think I already might have a new favorite cuticle product!

Thanks for reading!

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