The word “game-changing” gets tossed around a lot when it comes to beauty products, but I think we can all agree that it definitely applied to the invention of Shellac professional polish. In a pre-Shellac world, the idea of a manicure lasting more than a few days before chipping was unheard of, and there’s no way traditional nail polish could survive an extended vacation intact. But that all changed when Shellac hit nail salons. On the down side, the cost of regular pro manis adds up pretty quickly, not to mention that you’re exposed to UV light during the drying process. Plus, Shellac removal is not for the faint of heart—raise your hand if you’ve ever sat at home watching Netflix with tin foil wrapped around your fingertips.
Thankfully, major beauty brands like Revlon and Essie have clued into the fact that we want long-lasting, chip-free manis and we want them now. Enter gel nail polishes. Even if you don’t have the time (or $) to book regular salon appointments, you can still get the results you crave thanks to these DIY manicure staples. Ever since discovering these next-level polishes, I’ve been addicted. Now when I’m headed out of town I can confidently paint my nails because I know they’ll go the distance. Lastly, removal is easy peasy—it’s just like taking off regular old polish (no hardcore acetone or aluminum foil required).
The key to success for these gel polishes is the two-step system. Both Revlon’s Colorstay Gel Envy polishes and Essie’s new Gel Couture polishes prove that some things are better in pairs. You start with a vibrant colour (two coats do the trick) and finish with an extra-strength top coat that seals the deal. Right now I’m going through a blue phase: Revlon’s “Wild Card” and Essie’s “First View” are both in heavy rotation for summer. Maybe it’s a sign that I’m craving an ocean-side getaway—and with all the money I’m saving on pro manis, I just might be able to make it happen.