The Issue: Chipped Polish
The Solution: A Gel Manicure
Yes, you can stay perfectly polished without spending half your waking hours in a salon. A gel manicure dries quickly and can resist chipping two to three times as long as a traditional manicure.
How it works: A technician preps your nails as usual, but when the color is applied, it’s cured under a UV light for a few minutes after each coat. This yields a hard, dry finish (you can reach right into your bag for your keys). The color can be taken off with pure acetone polish remover, found at drugstores.
Where and how much: Gel manicures are becoming available at more and more salons. Some list them on the menu as such, while others offer branded versions, such as Opi’s Axxium Soak-Off Gel Lacquers and Creative Nail Designs’ Shellac. Expect to pay about $20 over the price of a traditional manicure.
Results last: About 14 days or longer. So do the math: A standard $25 manicure might remain ding-free for three days, but with gel, $45 should buy you at least two weeks.
A word to the wise: Dana D’Andraia, a New York City manicurist who regularly “shellacs” her clients, recommends it for toes, too, especially before a vacation. “I call them round-trip nails,” she says. “They stay perfect for the whole trip.”
Try this at home: Sally Hansen’s new Real Nail Polish Strips ($10 at drugstores), which look like colored pieces of tape, adhere to tips dry, so there’s no wait time. But they only last—at the max—10 days.