Nothing makes you feel as glamorous and luxe than the brilliant shine of gold. When I’m wearing my gold nail polish, I feel spoiled. I’m not sure why, but I feel like I’m about to head to a Hollywood after-party. Metallic polishes can range a warm bronze to full on mirrored chrome. They can be a smooth solid shade, large flecks of glitter, or a color shifting holographic sparkle. But all of them are irresistibly shiny.
One other thing all metallic polishes have in common is that they can truly be a pain to remove. Like glitter nail polish, metallics can have you scrubbing at your nails for what feels like hours and leave you surrounded in a pile of sparkly cotton balls. I have a gold polish that doesn’t look like glitter when I’m putting it on or when it’s dry so I forget when I go to remove it. A few swipes of my favorite nail polish remover and suddenly all the gold has disappeared from my nails and in its place is silver glitter that won’t budge. All this hassle can leave us tempted to chip off the offending polish to try to avoid the mess and annoyance of remover, but resist that urge! When you chip off your nail polish, you’re often taking the top layer of your fingernail with it. Overtime, this leads to thin, weak nails. So are you doomed to eternal scrubbing if you love your metallic polish? Not at all.
The easiest way to remove metallic and glitter nail polish is with a good nail polish remover, some aluminum foil, and time. The most efficient remover is pure acetone, but if you’re trying to avoid it, check out my guide to the best nail polish removers for high quality removers. Apply some nail polish remover to a cotton ball or small bit of paper towel and apply it to the offending polish. Wrap your fingernail, cotton ball and all, in a small piece of tin foil and wait two to four minutes. The tin foil holds the remover close against your nail and keeps the remover from evaporating and losing its power. After you’ve waited a few minutes, your polish should come off completely with just a few swipes. Be sure to moisturize your nails and skin after using this method as some removers can dry your skin out. If this information has set you free from the fear of glitter, check out my guide to the best glitter nail polish shades.
The final touch to any manicure is a good top coat. For metallics, it’s essential to have the right top coat to bring out the true brilliance of the lacquer’s shine and to protect the pigment from fading and going dull in the sun. Read my guide to the best top coat for long lasting nail polish to find the top coat right for you. Metallic nail polish adds glitz and glamour to any look. Let’s look at the best and shiniest out there today.
1. Getting Groovy by Essie
This super shiny gold has a very smooth shimmery look to it thanks to loads of microglitter. It has a thick but easy to apply formula that can get away with only applying one coat. When anything that is meant to sparkle can get away with one coat I am definitely impressed. To get the fullest shine, Getting Groovy is totally opaque in two coats and gleams like polished brass. Since its from essie you know you are getting the hightest quality lacquer that is three free–doesn’t contain DPB, toluene, or formaldehyde. Getting Groovy is from essie’s collection celebrating mod fashion and the soul of the 60’s. So if the color gets you into the spirit go ahead and dance.
- Wearable in one coat, opaque in two
- Top quality, luxury brand
- Three free
- Thick easy to apply formula
- Formula may be too thick for some
2. Oscar by Julep
Oscar from Julep’s It Girl collection is a bright glitter in a clear base. The smooth reflective surface of the uniform glitter hexes produces a cooler shine than some of the other, warmer golds. This one is great as a top layer, especially for creating a glitter gradient effect. It can be worn on its own but it takes two to three coats for the gold to really shine. You can skip the all the layers and go straight to full glitter coverage if you use the sponge trick which I talked about in my best glitter shades post. Oscar is part of their oxygen line of breathable nail polish so when worn with an oxygen base coat, your nails can still breathe and will stay healthier. Breathable nail polish is also perfect for Muslim folks who want to keep their manicures but need to have their hands uncovered for prayer. Be sure to check in with your particular faith leaders to make sure breathable nail polish aligns with your religious requirements. Julep is a vegan brand and Oscar is five free and contains green coffee extract to strengthen nails as you wear it.
- Bright reflective glitter
- Breathable nail polish
- Contains green coffee extract
- High quality brand
- Needs several coats to be opaque
3. Ziv by Zoya
This thick gold polish is opaque in one coat and full on glam with two. It’s full of gold microglitter and flake foil so no matter the angle, there’s always something to catch the light and set this color on fire. And fire is the right word for this one as it’s a lot warmer of a gold than a cooler yellow-gold color. Zoya is a 10 free nail polish brand so it doesn’t contain lots of nasty things like lead, formaldehyde, or DBP. With a good base and top coat, Zoya polishes can last you up to a week of wear.
- Warm flashy glow
- 10 free formula
- Long lasting
- Opaque in one coat
- Lots of foil and glitter means it won’t come off easy
4. Glitzerland by OPI
Glitzerland is from OPI’s Swiss collection so let’s all take a moment to appreciate the punny name. This gold is much more subtle than some of the others on the list. It has that metallic shine we want, but is a warmer, bronzier shade that could almost pass as a neutral at one coat. If you want something a little less flashy and more wearable in professional environments, Glitzerland might be just want you’re looking for. The formula is much thinner than any of the lacquers we’ve seen so far. Glitzerland is opaque in three coats, but wearable as a shimmer at less than three.
- Warm neutral gold
- Thinness gives you shade options from shimmer to opaque
- Needs three coats to be opaque
- If you’re looking for loud, flashy gold, this isn’t for you
5. Show You a Gold Time by Bliss
This glitter polish is packed with enough shades of metallic glitter to make you dizzy. It’s a clear base with large gold hexes, large rose gold hexes, and a few large silver hexes for extra shine. Those are surrounded with gold and rose gold small and microglitter as well as tiny flake foil. The levels of sparkle and this one seem endless and with the different mediums of shine from the different sizes and the foil, this twinkles in any light. Bliss polish tends to have a very medium formula, not too thick and not too thin. Show You a Gold Time includes milk thistle extract, wheat and soy germ to strengthen and moisturize nails. This would be gorgeous on an accent nail, as a top layer, or for full blinding glam using the glitter sponge trick.
- Bright gold and rose gold
- Variety of glitter sizes and types
- Contains strengthening botanicals
- Would take many layers to be opaque without a sponge
6. Solange PixieDust by Zoya
Solange PixieDust is a bright, attention grabbing yellow gold. If the paradoxical idea of a matte metallic strikes your fancy, you need to try this one out. This intense yellow gold is full of foil glitter that is anything but subtle. It dries to a very gritty texture and it also dries suprisingly matte. It won’t be totally matte since it’s full of so much glitter, but it is much more matte than any other gold polish on here. It’s a very unique look. Solange PixieDust does shine up with a good top coat and with the gritty texture, you’ll probably want one. It’s Zoya so you know this is a high quality polish that is 10 free and long lasting.
- Unique matte finish
- Eye catching yellow gold color
- 10 free
- High quality brand
- Gritty texture
7. The Full Monty by Butter London
For a shade called The Full Monty, this gold is very regal to me. It’s a soft yellow gold, not as aggressive as some of the others but not exactly subtle either. This shade of gold feels classy and elegant to me, at home in formal wear or just grabbing a latte. It has a very creamy application and is opaque in two coats. The formula contains calcium, vitamin E, A, C, and B5 to keep nails strong and healthy. Plus butter LONDON is an eight free polish so you know your nails are safe from a lot of nasty chemicals. This is one of the brand’s longer lasting formulas so you can count on your polish to last you almost a week.
- Elegant soft gold
- Eight free
- Strengthening botanicals
- Long lasting
- Formula can go on a little streaky
8. Empire by ILNP
This gold polish is from ILNP’s Ultra Metallics collection. It sparkles intensely without being overly flashy. Empire is definitely more of a light yellow, almost silvery gold instead of the warmer bronze shades. This polish has a bright metallic finish and is loaded with tiny holographic flakes that give Empire that rainbow-colored twinkling that makes you think of diamonds. While I haven’t tried any of ILNP’s Ultra Metallics, the holographic polishes I’ve tried from them are very long lasting and chip resistant. The formula goes on smooth at a sheer shimmer for one coat and fully opaque at two or three coats. ILNP is a three free brand and is also vegan and cruelty-free.
- Cool, buttery gold with holographics
- Rated 4.9 out of five stars by users on Amazon
- Long lasting
- Intense twinkle effect
- The holographics make this not great for subtle wear
- May be too silvery for some
9. Shattered Souls by Smith & Cult
This polish is a clear base filled with large gold hexes and tiny gold hexes. The combination ends up looking almost like your fingernails are covered in gold leaf. It works as a top coat to brighten up any shade and as a stand alone polish for stunning golden shine. It’s not going to give you dense coverage without three or more coats, but the glitter is so bright that you might not even see that the whole nail isn’t covered. This lacquer is a good candidate for the sponge trick if you’re looking for that blinding sparkle. It’s an eight free polish so it’s not full of nasty stuff that can hurt your nails. Smith & Cult is one of the longest lasting varnishes I’ve found before you start moving over into gels and shellacs. This glitter can last around a week without chipping. The high concentration and size of glitter will give this one a textured finish so you’ll probably want a good top coat.
- Highly reflective, polished gold shine
- Large hexes have gold leaf effect
- Long lasting
- Eight free
- Easier as a sparkle overlay than on its own
- It takes a few coats for full coverage
10. Alchemy by LVX
The first word that comes to mind when I look at Alchemy by LVX is burnished. It’s got that polished gold banister in an opera house look. This isn’t one of the loud, bright golds. Alchemy is a darker gold, heading in the direction of nude, but still very much a metallic. It has a lot of variability depending on the light you’re in so the color can be a little bit of a surprise. LVX’s formula is five free, vegan, cruelty-free, and made in America. If what you’re looking for is a low glow that isn’t glaring, then Alchemy is for you.
- Deep, burnished gold
- Made in America
- Five free
- Thick creamy formula
- Not as brightly golden as others
- The color shifts depending on the light
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