linger on the sidewalk where my neon nails are pretty
July 5, 2018 9:23 AM   Subscribe

Where's all the non-shit neon polish at?

**I'm seeking recommendations please for TRIED AND TESTED neon nail polish. Please DO NOT recommend nail polish that you think will be good because you've used the brand before and you like it, neon is a different beast!**

I'm looking for highlighter-level, melt-your-eyes-out bright neon colors with no shimmer or glitter, if at all possible. For some reason, I have a very hard time finding neon nail polish, period, and doubly so ones that don't suck. Maybe neon formulas are just really hard to make, idk.

My strong preference is that these are available over the counter, and not online-only indie brands.

Here are the neons I have:
I have an old highlighter yellow (no label) Sinful Colors polish. The formula is crap--it takes a minimum of 4 coats to reach even a hint of opacity, and it flakes after a day. They don't even carry it in their line anymore so no use hoping they've made it better. The color is perfect, though.

I have 3 neon-ish colors from Sally Girl. The fuchsia and green got gummy very fast, and the blue does the same crap opacity and immediate flaking as that Sinful Colors one. Also the bottles are frustratingly tiny and hard to handle. Also either my Sally's hates me or this polish line has been discontinued.

I have one hot pink (color craze pink bubbles) LA Colors polish from the dollar store. It's GREAT, one of my favorite polishes. They appear to have other neons in their line, but I never ever see them at the Dollar Tree.

I have a bright orange (I think turn tint up) from Funky Fingers. It's almost ok, but is sheer af and requires many coats to opacity.
Anyway, do YOU have a neon nail polish color you love?
What brand and shade is it?

Thank you!
posted by phunniemee to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I have used Zoya's Evergreen, per their suggestions over Purity to make it properly pop (except Purity looks to be backordered until 9/5), and with a glossy top coat because I hate matte polish, but it was gorgeous neon green. Zoya's polishes are long-wear on me.

They don't call Thandie a neon but it's pretty great over a white base also.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:29 AM on July 5, 2018

I will second Zoya. The white base is a good plan if you don't want to do multiple coats, though. Every color I've used has had good coverage after 3 coats at the most.

(They have a lot of bright colors that don't come up in a search for "neon" if you'd like to browse.)

They have a store/salon locator if you'd like to buy in the real world, but I find Zoya's easiest to buy online (because I am lazy).
posted by darksong at 9:39 AM on July 5, 2018

Definitely invest in a really good white base and a really good top coat. Put the white on, then the neons you already have, then the top coat. I have neon polishes (China Glaze, Nina, Finger Paints) and get good wear out of them when I do this.

Also, make sure you're prepping your nails for good adhesion. Well cleaned, well dried, no lotion/oil/residue on the nails. Plus, I find some some LIGHT roughing up of the top can help give the polish something to stick to and make it last a little longer.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 9:42 AM on July 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

I can't specifically recommend a brand or color, but I have had a lot of luck with the trick of putting a white basecoat, then a matte topcoat over the white, then the neon. That matte coat really seems to really get the neon to pop.
posted by juniperesque at 9:48 AM on July 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

+1 million to a good white base coat. I use Essie white as my base coat, and then whatever blinding discount colors I find on the sale rack at Ricky's NYC. (local to NYC obvi)

Specifically; Essie "butler please" on top of the Essie white (blanc) gives you a very bright, electric blue. My top coat is Seche Vite.

The white base makes them pop so much more than over a regular base coat, you don't need to worry about 2 coats of white, even just 1 coat makes the brighter colors pop, and I find using a better quality white polish means that the top colors last a little bit longer.
posted by larthegreat at 10:13 AM on July 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

I just wanted to nth Zoya polishes in general. I have nails where no matter how meticulously I clean and prepare them, most polishes bubble up and flake off at the cuticle within a day. Not so Zoya -- I'm getting several days' wear out of their polishes, and when it does start to chip it's at the nail tip, not the cuticle. I prefer very dark colors on my nails, and I'm getting good coverage with two or three coats. If you're interested in giving them a go, they're currently doing a "buy three get three free" sale through Sunday July 8; the code for that is "sparkle".
posted by Janta at 11:06 AM on July 5, 2018

I haven’t tried this myself but you can get neon food coloring or pigment and mix it with a nail polish. I have a batch of neon food coloring that I’ve been meaning to test like this.
posted by shalom at 11:27 AM on July 5, 2018

Thanks for the promo tip, Janta! I just bought 6 Zoya polishes. All of you please keep your well manicured fingers crossed for me on these colors.

It looks like a well formulated highlighter yellow is going to be my personal polish holy grail.
posted by phunniemee at 12:32 PM on July 5, 2018

I have not found any good neons in the stores ever ever, so online is how I roll. Check out Bundle Monster (if you are willing to do gel) and Born Pretty Store.

This yellow is pretty darn bright, but not technically neon. It is a stamping polish, thus mega pigmented, so it goes on bright enough in one coat without having to use a base color. I usually do two anyway.

Not sure how far you wanna go for dat yellow, but they also have seriously neon yellow in a nail powder. Powders can be intimidating, but they're not that hard to do. If you're interested, there are many many tutorials on YouTube that can walk you through it real good.

Zoya polishes are beautiful, but I find they take forever to dry even with a quick dry top coat. And they always always require three coats.
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 3:04 PM on July 5, 2018

I really like the Color Club colors for neons. The nail salon I used to go to used their colors for neons. They hold up really well and have no texture/drying issues. Two coats is fine.
posted by freezer cake at 1:31 PM on July 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

I have some updates for future seekers of neon colors. Unfortunately the search continues.

Zoya Evergreen is NOT neon, it's the most perfect true green I've ever seen in my life but wow just not even close to being neon. (And perhaps I got a bad batch but Zoya Purity (the white) is literally the shittiest polish I've ever used in my whole life.) Juvia is a very pretty bright turquoise blue color, but would be more neon over white. The opacity is shit on both these colors but neon or not neon they're very pretty. Zoya Charisma is a pretty, electric fuchsia color and has good opacity, but is crazy crazy matte.

I have Color Club Not-So-Mellow-Yellow currently en route to me per a suggestion from juniperesque who went sleuthing for me at her nail salon, so I'll update when I have that to try out! If it goes well I'll probably return to color club for a neon green because damn they've got some fun looking stuff.
posted by phunniemee at 7:45 AM on July 13, 2018

Oh, somehow I didn't even notice the OP was you. I believe we live in the same town now, if you have any desire to meet up and look at the neons I have, we could try to arrange it?
posted by freezer cake at 9:33 AM on July 13, 2018

FYI, this week's laquerista challenge is neon nails--maybe you can find some polishes that haven't been on your radar before. Pics on Instagram and reddit (r/RedditLaqueristas).
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 4:53 PM on July 13, 2018

I have finally achieved my neon dreams. Photo here!

For posterity, the polishes used were...

Color Club Not So Mellow Yellow
the Funky Fingers orange I mentioned above
the LA Colors hot pink I mentioned above
Zoya Juvia
the Sally Girl green I mentioned above

There's 2 coats of Sinful Colors white (I think it's called Snow White) under everything, and a dollar store LA Colors neon glitter on top.

posted by phunniemee at 10:01 AM on July 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

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