Published: 16:08 BST, 19 July 2016 | Updated: 21:21 BST, 19 July 2016
With a packed social calendar of weddings, beach days and Instagram-worthy vacations, it’s during the summer season, perhaps more than any other, when you need your nails to look on point at all times. Plus, there are so many fun colors to try.
While keeping a standing gel manicure appointment at your local nail salon seems like a no-brainer, it’s no longer the only long-lasting option.
A handful of nail polish brands have recently debuted lines of gel-manicure-inspired formulas that promise longevity without the UV light and the time-consuming removal process.
To find out whether these innovative, at-home gel-like lacquers live up to their claims, I put polishes from Essie, Nails Inc, Formula X, Revlon and Londontown to the test against a salon gel manicure for two weeks.
Read on below to see how they fared.
Changing the game: Brands like Essie and Nails Inc (above) have debuted stronger, gel-inspired formulas this summer
The ultimate test: To see how the at-home options stack up to the real thing, one FEMAIL reporter put them up against a salon gel manicure (above)
To kick off the Fourth of July weekend, I paid a visit to my neighborhood nail salon for a classic gel manicure...on just one hand.
After explaining the little experiment to my very confused and slightly horrified manicurist, I settled on a bright red color to be painted and cured on my right hand: OPI Gelcolor in Big Apple Red in the spirit of the holiday.
Still skeptical about sending me off with a half-done manicure, the technician insisted on grooming my left hand and giving each nail a layer of shiny base coat.
Waiting for me at my New York apartment were five bottles of at-home gel polishes and their corresponding top coats (while you can use regular top coat, for best results, using the specially formulated, complementary top coat is key) in white and blue hues to keep with the patriotic theme.
As I painted my fingers with my dominant hand, I was impressed at how smoothly and evenly each of the polishes went on. With the exception of the white polish from Londontown (which by the nature of the light color always requires an extra coat), none required more than two coats of lacquer.
Shop Essie's new Gel Couture line: Essie Gel Couture in Find Me a Man-Nequin (.50, ulta.com) and Essie Gel Couture Top Coat (.50, ulta.com)
Shop Londontown's two-step Gel Genius system: Londontown Lakur Enhanced Colour in Duchess (, londontownusa.com) and Londontown Kur Gel Genius Top Coat (, londontownusa.com)
Shop Nails Inc's coconut water-infused line: Nail's Inc Gel Effect Coconut Brights Collection in Portobello Terrace (, nailsinc.com) and Nails Inc Gel Effect Top Coat with Kensington Caviar (, nailsinc.com)
The very next day, both manicures were put to the ultimate test: The beach.
The salon gel manicure went unscathed, while the at-home mani suffered just a few minor chips at the tips. Looking back, this could have been avoided by painting a thin layer of polish across the top edge of each nail as a barrier of sorts.
To challenge both of the manicures' strength, I made sure to wash my dishes each night in hot, soapy water, without my trusty, manicure-protecting kitchen gloves.
At the seven day mark, the gel manicure on my right hand was still looking fresh. On my left hand, tiny air bubbles had appeared on the three nails painted with lighter colors from Nails Inc, Londontown and Revlon.
Still, it looked remarkably good for an at-home job. 'Wait, that's the same manicure from last week?' one friend commented a week after the paint had been applied.
Shop Formula X's new chip-resistant line: Formula X Full Strength Nail Polish in Game Changer (.50, sephora.com) and Formula X Shine Strength Nail Strengthening Top Coat (, sephora.com)
Shop Revlon's salon-quality, two-step system: Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy Nail Enamel in Lovestruck (, ulta.com) and Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy Diamond Top Coat (, ulta.com)
During week two, I went to the beach again, washed more soapy dishes and went on a grueling hike in the woods.
It was at this point that both manicures began to show their age. Spaces had developed between my cuticles and polish on every nail.
The gel manicure had accrued some slight dings and chips around the edges and had lost some of its shine. Though I decided to get the manicure soaked off on day 14, I could have gotten another five days out of it.
The self-painted manicure was also chipped along the edges, but more so. The air bubbles were more prominent and the bright sky blue hue from Nails inc on my pointer finger was riddled with cracks. After some consideration, I realized that the damage was likely due to the fact that when I type on my work computer, I employ that finger the most.
The results: After two weeks, the gel-inspired polishes were chipped around the edges and had suffered some cracks and air bubbles
Not bad! Also after two weeks, the salon gel manicure was just beginning to peel and lose its luster
I expected that the gel manicure would win out in the end, but still, the at-home options exceeded my expectations - especially those from Essie and Formula X, which fared the best of the bunch.
I also relished in how easy it was to take off the non-UV polishes. Simple acetone nail polish remover did the trick, and unlike the gel polish - which I got removed by a professional - the regular polishes didn't make my bare nails underneath feel weak or damaged.
The bottom line? For longevity, a gel manicure is your best bet. However, if you're looking for a healthier, budget-friendly alternative what to wear with black wet look jeans that doesn't require a salon visit and that lasts for a solid week and then some, you’ll likely find, asI did, that these new at-home options are total game-changers.
Рекомендуем посмотреть ещё:
Gwen Stefani stuns in shirt-dress at Kids Choice Awards Zayn malik hairstyle name 2017
[البِلى بالإسْتِعْمال العاديقُدْرَةٌ على إحْتِمال الإسْتِعْماللِباسيَبْدو عَلَيْه، يَظْهَرُ عَلَيْهِيَبْلى، يَتَآكَل nosit have påholde sigsætteslidslide.