Our Top 10 Lists help shoppers quickly and easily find what they need. Using an intense review and approval process (which you can learn more about here), we break down the best products according to what consumers most commonly search for and want.
We’re convinced that there isn’t a more iconic shade of nail polish than red. Dramatic, timeless, and striking, there’s no better way to boost your confidence than by applying a coat (or two) of crimson polish. And while some shades are meant for a season, red has proven time and time again that it’s not a color that feels limited by the weather. Plus, if it’s good enough for Rihanna, it’s good enough for us.
But with thousands of red nail polishes on the internet to choose from, it can be overwhelming to set out to find your signature shade. We’ve made the search easier by rounding up a list of the 10 best red nail polishes of all time.
How We Found The Best Red Nail Polishes
Although fashion is about following your gut, we like to use a more methodical approach when it comes to sussing out the best of the best. That’s why we turned to our unbiased algorithm for help finding the top-rated red polishes on the market. Unique to Rank & Style, this data-driven tool finds and ranks the best products on the internet by factoring in best-selling buzz, editor recommendations, rave reviews, and more. From moody hues to bright and bold shades, scroll on to see which red nail polishes landed themselves a spot on our Top 10 list.
Next up, check out the 10 Best Dark Nail Colors. Opening image: @chanelbeauty
Top 10 Lists serve as unbiased shopping guides to the most trusted product recommendations on the internet. Products are scored and ranked using an algorithm backed by data consumers find most valuable when making a purchase. We are reader-supported and may earn a commission when you shop through our links.
Sundays Nail Polish In No.17 Cherry Red
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: The deep cherry take on this classic red gives it a dash of mystery. We’re also obsessed with the professional-grade flat brush that makes it easy to apply clean, precise swipes.
APPLICATION TIP: According to Sundays, you should start with a base coat of polish, add two coats of this shade, then a top coat to seal in the color beneath.
Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish In Lady Is A Tramp
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: For starters, Lady Is A Tramp is a fantastic name for a nail polish, and it’s hard to go wrong with Deborah Lippmann’s innovative contour brush. But more importantly, the rich, almost-maroon hue makes this the film noir version of red nail polish.
APPLICATION TIP: When applying this polish, start down the center of your nails, then work your way down the sides to avoid flooding your cuticles.
Revlon Nail Enamel In Revlon Red
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: Revlon has been around for nearly 90 years, so we tend to believe they know what they’re doing. It’s also hard to argue with over 2,000 5-star reviews.
APPLICATION TIP: Revlon’s nail polish is made with an anti-chip, fade-defiant formula, so your paint job should last a long time as long as you include a base coat underneath.
Olive & June Nail Polish In CV
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: Named after fashion designer Claire Vivier, this polish has a bright, warm tone that makes it appropriate for any season. Not to mention, it’s one of the most affordable polishes on the list.
APPLICATION TIP: Olive And June recommends pairing this polish with their Super Glossy Top Coat to extend your manicure’s lifetime and add extra shine.
Christian Louboutin Nail Polish In Rouge Louboutin
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: Frankly, this is every fashion enthusiast’s dream nail polish, as its hue matches the iconic red sole of a Christian Louboutin shoe. We also believe the bottle belongs in an art museum, but prominently displaying it on our bathroom counter will have to do.
APPLICATION TIP: Christian himself “encourages the wearer to take her time and enjoy the pleasure of the object as well as the pleasure of colour.” Don’t mind if we do.
Chanel Le Vernis Longwear Nail Colour In 510 Gitane
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: Chanel nailed this color—it's energetic and vivid, yet clearly a classic red. They also recently reformulated their polish to include ceramides, which help strengthen your nails (a big deal for those of us chugging collagen to keep them from going brittle).
APPLICATION TIP: You'll definitely need a base coat underneath this one. It'll help you avoid yellowing that’s caused by highly pigmented polish.
JINsoon Nail Lacquer In Coquette
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: Jin Soon named this shade after the 1929 film Coquette, a classic drama in which Mary Pickford falls in love with a man from “the other side of the tracks.” Simply put, we love a red that’s steeped in rebellion.
APPLICATION TIP: This is a quick-drying polish, which can be a saving grace or a disaster. To avoid the latter, make sure your nails are buffed before application.
Dior Vernis Gel Shine & Long Wear Nail Lacquer In Rouge 999
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: Dior’s Rouge 999 is a shade that makes us daydream of a romantic stroll down the streets of Paris. And it doesn’t hurt that the new polish formula plays up the smooth and shiny gel effect.
APPLICATION TIP: Dior’s brush is flat with a rounded tip, which makes it easy for even a beginner to apply the polish. However, we recommend rubbing a dab of vaseline on your cuticles—just in case.
Smith & Cult Nail Polish In Kundalini Hustle
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: The gold bottle, the fierce name, and the depth of this red all make us say, “va-va-voom.” We’re confident this is a polish that would be down for world domination.
APPLICATION TIP: When it comes to applying pigmented polishes, stick with three strokes per nail. Any more, and you might get... the clumps.
OPI Nail Lacquer In Big Apple Red
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: Big Apple Red is everything we want a red nail polish to be: eye-catching, timeless, and bold. Plus, if OPI wasn't number one, we’d be second-guessing our algorithm.
APPLICATION TIP: It takes about 15 minutes for polish to dry and set completely, so make sure you set up your Netflix queue before you start applying.