As important as it is for a nail polish to have a great formula (smooth, pigmented, streak-free), it means nothing if the brush you use to apply it isn’t up to par. The two definitely go hand in hand, which is why, when the Top 10 Tuesday crew decided to focus on brushes, I opted to hone in on my favorite nail polish brushes.
The Best Nail Polish Brushes
Clockwise from Top
CND VINYLUX ($9.95, Folica.com) – CND introduced their current flat brush with the Color & Effects line and it was love and first stroke. Opting for triangular bristles that suck up polish like a squeegee, the flexible brush fans out to create a crisp line at the cuticle while giving excellent coverage.
Deborah Lippmann ($18, Sephora.com) – The queen of prestige nail lacquer, the brush inside the vanity-worthy bottle is just as well made. Thin, round, short and flexible, with an ergonomic handle, this brush was designed with the pro in mind yet it’s just as accessible for consumers.
Morgan Taylor ($8.50, LoxaBeauty.com) – I have nothing but good things to say about Morgan Taylor. It’s quickly becoming one of my fave new polish brands. If they get better mainstream distribution, watch out! The thin, flat brush reminds me a lot of the one in CND VINYLUX.
China Glaze ($6.99, SallyBeauty.com) – I perfected my application technique around the time I became obsessed with China Glaze and their brush has a lot to do with it. It’s always been one of my fave brushes because it’s long, thin and flexible, offering a lot of control.
Urban Decay ($15, Sephora.com) – When Urban Decay brought their cult classic nail polish back into our lives, they did it right. Taking the time to construct an eye-catching bottle and user-friendly brush, I forgive them for leaving us high and dry for a time. Like the China Glaze brush, it’s thin and long but more dense, delivering a lot of polish in one stroke.
Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear ($2.79, Drugstore.com) – Of all the Sally Hansen brushes, this is definitely my fave of the bunch and I wish they would just convert all their lines to use it. Flat, short, thin and flexible, it makes polishing a breeze.
Zoya ($9, Zoya.com) – If isn’t apparent, I love a thin brush. Wide are fine and I can make them work but I feel like you get the best result with a thin brush and Zoya’s is right up there with the best of the thin, pro-style brushes. I found that when I really got my polishing technique down, I preferred the control of a thin brush over the ease of a wide one.
Essie ($8.50, Nordstrom.com) – There’s a reason almost any salon you walk into carries Essie. Pros love their brush and formula and while I’m far from a pro, I agree and can see why it’s a perennial favorite. The thin, flexible brush works so well at manipulating their polish.
MAC ($12, Nordstrom.com) – I’ve given MAC a lot of s— over the years about their brush. Let’s face it, the old one was garbage. Thankfully, they have revamped the line and I am all for giving credit where it’s due. The new MAC Studio Nail Lacquer brush is light-years ahead of the one we loved to hate. Flat, medium in width with, praise jeebus, FLEXIBLE BRISTLES, it finally does justice to the juice inside the bottle.
Nubar Nail Art Pen ($7, ByNubar.com) – I’ve tried a lot of nail art striper polishes over the years and Nubar definitely has the best brush of them all. Super thin, long, consistently well cut, it makes drawing so much easier than any of the others. Bonus: the Nubar Nail Art Pen comes in a huge array of colors from basics, to metallics to neons.
Would any of my favorite nail polish brushes make your Top 10 list? What brand has your favorite brush? What brand do you think I skipped? Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!
Disclosure: Product samples were provided by reps for each brand featured. Affiliate links appear in this post. When you purchase through an affiliate link, you help support this site. For more info view my Disclosure Policy.