My Top 8 Indie Nail Polishes of 2016

My Top 8 Indie Nail Polishes of 2016

Someone asked yesterday in a nail polish-related Facebook group, "What was your favorite polish of 2016?". For me, that's impossible to answer, but it got me thinking... So after taking a look back through my Instagram, I actually was able to choose several favorites! I kept things simple and chose a favorite polish for each type of finish (in no particular order), plus a few honorable mentions at the end. Scroll through to see my picks!

Notes: All polishes in this post were purchased by me throughout the year, except for Ever After "Little Foot" which was sent to me back in April to swatch and provide my honest review. Also, some photos have my old watermark "@build_a_nail" from before my name change in September. It's still me!


Favorite 2016 Crème Nail Polish - Cirque Colors “Whitney”

Chic, neutral and incredibly easy to apply in two creamy coats. This is a shade I'll reach for over and over! It looks amazingly clean on its own, and is also incredibly useful as a base for nail art.

 Cirque Colors "Whitney"

Cirque Colors "Whitney"


Favorite 2016 Jelly/Crelly Polish - Drip Drop Nail Paint “Wiggly Watermelon”

THIS. PINK. This light but bright shade is so pretty and playful. The jelly/crelly formula gives it a squishy, plasticized look that I'm obsessed with. Easily my favorite jelly/crelly of the year, as well as my favorite pink!

 Drip Drop Nail Paint "Wiggly Watermelon"

Drip Drop Nail Paint "Wiggly Watermelon"


Favorite 2016 Shimmer Polish - Illyrian Polish “Unearthly Whisper” 

Illyrian knows how to make killer shimmers, and this is no exception. The dusty blue contrasts perfectly with the red/copper shimmer for a very wearable shade. It's understated but so beautiful. 

 Illyrian Polish "Unearthly Whisper"

Illyrian Polish "Unearthly Whisper"


Favorite 2016 Holo Polish – Different Dimension “Dragon” 

I LOVE holos in this color family - not quite grey, or purple, or taupe, but somewhere in between. This one is gorgeous and looks amazing in every type of lighting. The purple shimmer makes it extra special, and the formula is excellent. This was part of my first ever purchase from Different Dimension this year and I plan to make more in the future!

 Different Dimension "Dragon"

Different Dimension "Dragon"


Favorite 2016 Flakie Polish –  Ever After “Little Foot” 

This polish was a total standout this year! Ever After has a very active Facebook fan group and when this baby was released, practically everyone had it on their wish lists. It was an exclusive shade, created for the Nail Whisperer's April 2016 "My Favorite Things" box, which was themed "My Little Dino". I was lucky enough to be sent a bottle to swatch and I'm SO thankful for that! There is more holo, shimmer and flakie goodness packed into this polish than I can possibly name, but it was extremely unique this year, and in my entire collection. 

 Ever After "Little Foot"

Ever After "Little Foot"


Favorite 2016 Duochrome Polish  – Tonic Polish “Lunar Lust” 

It's safe to say 2016 was an amazing year for Tonic Polish. Their duochromes and otherwordly shades have created a ton of buzz, and rightfully so. Lunar Lust is the grey polish of my dreams - a beautiful oil spill shift and a sprinkling of holo. Perfect. (PS. I'm 99% sure this was released in 2016 but could be wrong. Either way, it was new-to-me in 2016.)

 Tonic Polish "Lunar Lust"

Tonic Polish "Lunar Lust"


Favorite 2016 Thermal Polish – Great Lakes Lacquer “Fade to Winter” 

Oddly enough, I didn't expect to love this polish as much as I do. I knew I would like it, but I LOOOOVE it. It's absolutely stunning in person, packed with blue shimmer that shifts to a stealthy glowing purple in certain lighting, plus fine scattered holo. The base color transitions from dark grey when cold to a dusty light blue when warm. GLL killed it with this thermal and perfectly captured the name of the polish. 

 Great Lakes Lacquer "Fade to Winter"

Great Lakes Lacquer "Fade to Winter"


Favorite 2016 Polish Color – Polished for Days “Maldives”

I realize "color" isn't the same type of category as the rest, but I felt this one needed to be included. Maldive's perfectly rides the line between blue and purple and looks nothing like any other shade in my collection. It's so bright, bold and unique!

 Polished for Days "Maldives"

Polished for Days "Maldives"


Honorable Mention

These beauties were close runners up in their respective categories, so I had to include them for good measure. Plus who doesn't like more eye candy?! Click through the slideshow for more photos.

Pahlish “Saint Glinda” - Purple, holo, flakies. Just yes.

Great Lakes Lacquer "It’s Treasure, Savvy?" - 2016 was the year of olive polish, and this was one of my favorites.

Great Lakes Lacquer “Washed in Holo” and Cupcake Polish “Bitter Almonds” - Two amazing holos that competed for the top spot.

Illyrian “Soft Shock” - This color! So gorgeous, but bumped out of the shimmer top spot for needing 3 coats or undies for opacity. 

Pretty & Polished “Patch” - Pretty & Polished makes these incredible dusty cremes that no one else really rivals. This was the perfect burnt orange for fall.

Purple Nail Art with Cirque Colors "Cosmopolitan" and Pahlish "Strawberry Moon"

Purple Nail Art with Cirque Colors "Cosmopolitan" and Pahlish "Strawberry Moon"

Barielle New York at Night Collection - Swatches, Review & Nail Art

Barielle New York at Night Collection - Swatches, Review & Nail Art