I've been a wearer of Chanel polish for several years (anyone remember their great black polish fiasco a few years back?!) and I received the Christian Louboutin polish as a gift, but I wanted to try out some other brands as well.
I painted my nails using the exact same method for each polish (i.e. base coat and top coat), but I used as many coats of polish as I deemed necessary to achieve the look I was going for. I do not like sheer polishes, so I normally use 2-3 coats when I paint my nails. If you're thinking about investing (yes, I actually used the word investing) in a designer polish, I encourage you to take a look at my reviews- you might find them as surprising as I did. Each polish will get a rating out of 5, as well as a short pro and con list. I used NutraNail Growth Formula for my base coat, and Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Ultra Wear Top Coat. I painted my nails Sunday night and wore each color until Friday, so each brand had a full 5 days to be worn and I used Saturday to take the polish off to prep for a new color on Sunday.
The Designer Brands
Christian Louboutin - $50.00 in Rouge Louboutin
Man, oh man was I seriously disappointed with this polish. The colors are absolutely striking and bold, but the polish does not last. It took me SIX coats of the traditional red color to achieve the look I like, and painting with their long stilletto-esque brush is near IMPOSSIBLE. You have to commit a large amount of time for this project because between the copious amounts of coats, you need to be extra careful when using the long handle. This polish starting chipping the next day. I hardly had time to do anything strenuous and it was already chipping. By the third day, I had to take it off because it looked so unprofessional. For the $50 (YIKES) that this polish will set you back, I would pass on it. Unless you're a Louboutin collector, there's really no need to buy their polish- it's just not worth it.
Pros: amazing color, chic design
Cons: does not last, hard to apply
Chanel - $28.00 in Vamp
Good old Chanel- it never fails to disappoint. I love their polish so much. The colors are bright and rich, and they go on smoothly. I always use the diamond shine polish as a top coat on some other colors that I want to have a little bit of a shine, and it makes my nails sparkle like no other. The wear is pretty great, too. My Chanel color lasted until Friday, with no noticeable chips. If you're looking for a designer polish and have the money to spend, I would definitely seek out some Chanel. The ONLY con is the shape of the brush. I've noticed many polishes have made brushes that contour to the shape of your nail and cuticle, which makes it super easy to paint your nails without getting too much excess polish on you fingers.
Pros: great colors, long lasting
Cons: small brush for application
Dior - $27.00 in Cosmic
While I was doing some polish research online, I stumbled upon this "perfect for summer" color and decided to give it a try! I was a little disappointed that it doesn't look EXACTLY like the color online (something that happens quite often with my purchases from Macy's), but it was a great color nonetheless. It has a great brush and I only needed two coats to get the look I wanted which was GREAT because it also seemed to dry much more quickly than the other brands- so Dior is a definite time saver. The color was bright a vibrant and my mom even thought I got my nails done at the salon- that's how great they looked! My nails did start chipping around day four, which isn't so bad, but it's harder to hide with such a bright color.
Pros: brush shape, dries quickly
Cons: not as long lasting as another brand
Tom Ford - $35.00 in Mink Brule
This polish was seriously amazing, I actually can't believe it! I purchased this on a whim at my Nordstrom Rack during the Clear the Rack sale, so I didn't actually pay full price for it (I got it for $4 and some change!) BUT I would DEFINITELY buy a full price bottle! The gorgeous nude color has been perfect for the transition into spring and I can't tell you how many compliments I got on my nails while wearing this color. The brush is shaped to fit your nail and cuticle, and I needed 4 coats to achieve the look I wanted. It lasted the full 5 days, and probably could have lasted a few more!
Pros: brush shape, long lasting
Cons: need 4 coats to achieve desired look
So, for the designer brands the ranking in order (for me) would be: Tom Ford, Chanel, Dior, and Christian Louboutin. I would highly recommend the Tom Ford and Chanel polishes if you're looking for great colors and long lasting color. I did love the Dior color and it dried quickly, so don't count it out when shopping- just know it doesn't last as long. However, I painted my nails with a specific base coat and top coat, so your results may be quite different if you use other products. The Dior polish might last longer with another top coat, and if I try it out I will definitely update and let you know!