Barely There Polishes That'll Convince Everyone You're a Nail Polishing Pro

Your nails but better.

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more.

Woman Painting Nails on Top of Notebook and Desk
Getty/Silke Woweries

We're acutely aware that not everyone has mastered the 90/10 rule and using Vaseline to combat paint on your cuticles can wind up being a gloopy mess if you're not careful. So what to do when you've tried every trick in the book and still can't manage to accomplish a semi-decent manicure at home? We're here to say that all hope is not lost. You can still make the most of your DIY manicure with a barely there polish that brings out the best in your nails. We rounded up the best sheer nail polish colors for faking a professional job even if you have shaky hands, vision issues, or just lack the patience to delicately apply polish (and wait for it to dry—the real clincher).

OPI Bubble Bath

OPI Bubble Bath

BUY IT: $12.50;

This is the OG sheer polish. It's been a go-to for ladies everywhere since it launched and there's no sign its popularity will let up, ever. Apply an extra coat to get a slightly more opaque look.

Essie Gel Couture Longwear Nail Polish Sheer Fantasy

Essie Sheer Fantasy Nail Polish

BUY IT: $10;

A sheer baby pink is a universally flattering choice. This version has a gel-like finish and shine that resists fade, cracking, and peeling, even after pushing a week of wear and tear on your nails.

Sally Hansen Good. Kind. Pure. Polish Coconut Milk

Sally Hansen Good Kind Coconut Milk Pure

BUY IT: $6.53;

A hint of creamy white with a mostly sheer finish is a neutral take on the less-is-more mani. Coconut Milk is a surefire way to show off perfectly groomed nails.

Olive & June The Sheer Set

Olive & June The Sheer Set
Olive & June

BUY IT: $40;

Why settle on one when you can have four top-selling sheers. This collection includes BEB (sheer white), EC (sheer peach), CHM (sheer tan), CCT (sheer pink)—it's a sheer for every season. Bonus: It also comes with the brand's fan-favorite Super Glossy Top Coat.

Revlon Nail Enamel Sheer Petal

Revlon Sheer Petal

BUY IT: $3.84;

Give this pinkish nude a try if you're looking for a bit more coverage without going full-on opaque. Don't skip the base or top coats, they'll set this polish a sparkle.

Ella+Mila Nail Polish Dessert Island

Ella+Mila Desert Island Sheer Nail Polish

BUY IT: $11.39;

A peachy pink sheer will highlight warmer skin tones to perfection, plus, you can feel good about the 7-free formula that skips harmful chemicals found in many other popular lacquers.

essie Treat Love & Color Nail Polish In a Blush

essie Treat Love Color In a Blush

BUY IT: $8.99;

Essie's Treat Love & Color line is designed for one-step strength and color application. This soft pink will help strengthen nails in just one week.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles