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The 9 Best White Nail Polishes for a Perfectly Pristine Manicure

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Walking into the nail polish aisle at your favorite store can be overwhelming. With so many gorgeous shades of polish ranging from metallic to matte and everything in between, narrowing it down can be tough. 

When tracking down the perfect white nail polish, you’ll want to consider a few things. Your polish choice might vary if you’re after a French tip manicure versus a solid white mani. You can also go bold with a metallic finish or create a demure look with a semi-sheer, off-white nail polish instead. No matter your preference, we’ve got the best options for you in our roundup of the best white nail polishes for 2023.

Best white nail polish overview:

How we chose the best white nail polishes

To compile this list, we researched manufacturer specifications, including the type of finish, number of coats needed, suggested dry time, and more, to create a short list of the top white nail polishes. Then, we combed through detailed product descriptions, ratings, and reviews to find the best white nail polish for each category.

Our picks for the best white nail polish

Best overall
Dazzle Dry in White Lightning

What we love

  • Dries quickly
  • Free of formaldehyde and parabens
  • True white

What we don’t love

  • Bristles may shed
  • Part of a multi-step system

Dazzle Dry’s White Lightning polish lives up to the brand’s name because it’s dazzling in so many ways. For starters, this polish is formulated without formaldehyde and other potentially harmful ingredients like parabens. The formula is designed to dry quickly, letting you get on with your day without waiting around for your nails to dry. Just give yourself five minutes after applying two coats of the polish, and you’re out the door.

This white polish is part of the brand’s multi-step system, including nail prep, base coat, top coat, and a liquid to revive your topcoat. It’s encouraged to use the entire system together to ensure the best outcome for your nails.

The finish is creamy, so you can use it to coat your entire nail, for nail art, or to get that picture-perfect French tip manicure. Note that some reviewers reported that the bristles shed a bit, so you may want to invest in another brush if you find loose bristles in the polish.

Finish: Creamy | Drying time: 5 min. | Coats needed: 2

Best budget
Sinful Colors in Snow Me White

What we love

  • Vegan formula
  • Free of 17 harmful chemicals
  • Bold white

What we don’t love

  • Dry time not specified
  • May be streaky

The best white nail polish on a budget comes from Sinful Colors. We love its bold white hue but keep in mind that some users reported the polish may apply a bit streaky, so be sure to use two coats and seal it with a top coat for the best results.

It’s a semi-matte finish, so you’ll get the best of both worlds — not too shiny but not too matte. We also love that this polish is free from 17 harmful chemicals (like toluene, formaldehyde, comphor, acetone, and more), and it’s a vegan formula.

The brand doesn’t specify how much dry time you’ll need, so when you first use it, allow yourself to be extra patient. That way, you’ll avoid the dreaded middle-of-the-nail smudge after perfecting your favorite manicure.

Finish: Semi-matte | Drying time: Not specified | Coats needed: 2

Best drugstore
Essie in blanc

What we love

  • Easily found in chain drugstores
  • Full-coverage formula
  • Glossy finish

What we don’t love

  • Not fast drying
  • May chip easily

There’s nothing quite like running errands at your local Target or Walmart and finding the perfect polish to perk up your day. Essie is available at many local retailers, and the brand’s collection includes Blanc, a glossy shade of white that offers full coverage for an opaque, statement look. The vegan formula is free of eight potentially harmful ingredients like formaldehyde resin, camphor, xylene, and toluene. 

Because the drying time isn’t specified, you’ll want to experiment with the polish to see how long it takes before it’s set. Some reviewers experienced chipped polish a little more often with this one than with other brands.

Of course, a long-lasting manicure takes some work, so be sure you use a quality base coat and topcoat to maximize your results. If you start your mani with fresh, clean nails, you may find that chipping won’t be as much of an issue.

Finish: Glossy | Drying time: Not specified | Coats needed: 2

Best gel alternative
Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro in Amazing Grace

What we love

  • Less damaging than gel polish
  • Contains nourishing ingredients
  • Vegan

What we don’t love

  • Larger brush
  • High price

Amazing Grace, indeed! We love a good at-home gel manicure, but our nails don’t necessarily feel the same way. Gel polish can be damaging, especially if you tend to pick at your polish. This beautiful white polish dries to a creamy finish after just two coats, and it’s a handy alternative to gel. It’s designed to mimic the shiny finish and cushiony feel of gel, minus the damaged nails post-manicure. 

It’s a bit of a splurge at around $20 per bottle, and the larger brush won’t be ideal for precise nail art. But it includes ingredients like evening primrose, keratin, biotin, green tea extract, and rice protein to nourish your nails. You can expect to spend about two minutes waiting for each of the two coats of polish to dry, so it’s pretty quick to swipe it on and go about your day.

Finish: Cream | Drying time: 8 min. | Coats needed: 2

Best semi-sheer
Static Nails Liquid Glass Lacquer in Bubble Bath

What we love

  • Long-lasting polish
  • Promotes nail growth
  • Hydrates nails

What we don’t love

  • Best results when used with 2 other brand products
  • A bit pricey

We love this white nail polish for a few reasons, one being that it’s a demure, semi-sheer option. While you could use this for a subtle French tip manicure, it looks beautiful when you use it as a solid color option. It’s an off-white, rather than a bright white, bringing in a pretty, feminine finish without much effort. Although the brand recommends using its Primer and Top Coat for the best results, this polish requires just two quick coats, drying in as little as 10 to 15 minutes. 

The price tag is a bit higher than some other polishes, but we appreciate the hydrating marula oil that gives the nails a splash of moisture. The polish also includes rose hip to help your nails grow, while biotin steps in to repair damaged nails. This formula is also vegan and made right here in the United States.

Finish: Semi-sheer | Drying time: 10-15 min. | Coats needed: 2

Best metallic
Zoya Nail Lacquer in Genesis

What we love

  • Pearly, metallic finish
  • Lasts up to 14 days
  • Customizable coverage

What we don’t love

  • May need multiple coats for opaque finish
  • Best results when used with other Zoya products

Zoya’s nail lacquer is a stunning metallic polish with a slightly pearlescent finish, so it’s sparkly without a chunky texture that can often plague glitter polish. Zoya describes it as “micro-fine diamond dust,” which just sounds so luxurious. To enjoy this sparkling beauty, start with two coats of polish. Note that if you’re looking for a more opaque finish, you’ll probably need to add another coat or two. 

If you follow Zoya’s five-step application process, you’ll get up to 14 days of fabulous nail color. However, part of that process includes using Zoya’s base coat, topcoat, and Fast Drops to ensure your nails dry quickly. Those products can add up in terms of cost, but it could be worth it if you prefer a long-lasting manicure over frequent touch-ups.

Finish: Metallic | Drying time: Not specified | Coats needed: 2

Best quick-drying
Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in White on Time

What we love

  • Top and base coat included
  • 1-coat coverage
  • Dries quickly

What we don’t love

  • Larger brush
  • Takes some time to get used to

A white nail polish that only requires one coat sounds too good to be true. Fortunately, though, it’s real: Sally Hansen’s Insta-Dri line is actually three nail polishes in one bottle: base coat, color, and top coat.

That’s right, that means you only need one coat, and you’re done. Plus, the formula is seriously quick to dry — it only takes a minute. This is a great find for people on the go who don’t have the time (or patience!) to wait for a mani to fully dry. 

The brush is on the larger side, which could be complicated for smaller nails. A large brush doesn’t offer as much control as a smaller brush, so it’s not the best option for French tips or nail art. Some reviewers mentioned needing to wipe off excess polish from the brush so as not to create a mess, so give yourself at least a few minutes to experiment with this polish for the first time.

Finish: Opaque | Drying time: 1 min. | Coats needed: 1

Best vegan
OPI Natural Origin Nail Lacquer in Strong as Shell

What we love

  • Lasts up to 7 days
  • Plant-based polish
  • Vegan formula

What we don’t love

  • May go on streaky
  • Best results when used with other OPI products

This vegan nail polish comes in a pleasing shade of nearly-bright white. The brand calls it a “natural origin nail lacquer,” meaning as much as 75% of the ingredients are actually plant-based. Plus, the cap is partially made from recycled material, making this a more sustainable choice. It goes on with a glossy, super-shiny finish for the perfect splash of white. The polish should last up to seven days, but for best results, OPI recommends using its Nature Strong Top Coat to finish the look. 

Be sure to gently shake or roll the bottle in your hands before polishing your nails, as the formula may start out streaky otherwise. Drying time isn’t specified, so don’t be in a rush the first time you apply the polish. You’ll want to apply two thin coats to get just the right amount of coverage.

Finish: Glossy | Drying time: Not specified | Coats needed: 2

Best for French tips
Orly White Tips French Manicure Nail Lacquer

What we love

  • Breathable polish
  • No base or top coat needed
  • Nourishes nails

What we don’t love

  • May chip easily
  • Polish may stay soft after it dries

The phrase “white tips” is actually the name of this white nail polish, so we love it for creating that perfect French tip manicure. The polish is formulated to let your nails breathe, and it includes healthier ingredients that nourish your nails, including argan oil, vitamin B5, and vitamin C. Apply just one coat if you want sheer coverage, or go for two for a classic opaque French tip. 

The brand doesn’t specify how long you should let the polish dry, but you don’t need a base coat or even a top coat with it, so that cuts back significantly on waiting around for your mani to set.

Do note that a few reviewers found that the polish tends to chip and may stay soft after it dries — meaning you might inadvertently dent your mani even after it’s completely dry. If that happens, you may want to try just one coat or two ultra-thin coats to cut back on the potential for any of those mishaps.

Finish: Glossy | Drying time: Not specified | Coats needed: 2

White nail polish for every type of manicure

Our list of the best white nail polishes is meant to guide you to the perfect pick for your manicure, whether you want French tips or a solid hue. Our top pick is Dazzle Dry in White Lightning because it dries fast, is a true white, and doesn’t contain formaldehyde or parabens. Plus, its creamy finish is optimal for everything from nail art to French tips to a solid white manicure. 

How to pick the right white nail polish for you

Clearly, there are plenty of beautiful white polishes out there to try. When finding the best one for you, consider the finish, shade, and whether you want to buy your own brush to create nail art or perfect a French tip manicure. 


  • Opaque. Opaque polishes create a bolder look by adding a coat of solid color to your entire nail.
  • Glassy. Looking for a little sparkle but don’t love rough glitter polish? Try out a glassy polish, which creates a smooth look with plenty of glittery goodness.
  • Sheer. Sheer polishes offer a subtle look that lets a bit of nail show through the polish.


  • Bright white. If you want a true white, reach for a shade that’s described as bright white.
  • Off-white. There are tons of gorgeous polishes that are shades of off-white, meaning they’re not quite a true snow white. They’ll have undertones like pink or gray and even blue.


  • Size. If you’re after the perfect French tip with a white polish, you may want to invest in a liner brush for a thinner, more precise line of color. 
  • Shape. For nail art, consider finding a brush that’s thinner and roughly as long as your fingernail to make lines or a brush with short bristles for creating flowers. Look for a flat oval brush to give you more control when working with gel polish or other thicker polishes.
  • Material. Nail brushes can be made from animal hair or something man-made, such as nylon. Generally, natural brushes will last longer, while synthetic bristles will be better for thicker gel polishes.


Is white nail polish flattering? 

Back in the day, bold and bright white polish was widely available — although that exact shade doesn’t necessarily flatter every skin type or satisfy every person’s color preference. Luckily, so many shades and finishes are available today, meaning you’ll be able to find a polish to flatter your skin tone.

What does it mean when a woman wears white nail polish?

Thanks to TikTok, some women are wearing white nail polish to signal that they’re single. But we say white nail polish doesn’t have to mean anything! Find your perfect white polish and confidently rock your manicure, single or not.

How do you get the perfect white nail polish?

Picking out the perfect white nail polish is very personal. Because it’s so versatile, we love Dazzle Dry in White Lightning for its bright white color and fast-drying finish that works just as great for nail art as it does for a solid white mani.