For me, there is something totally transformative about emerging from the nail salon with a fresh gel manicure. From the perfectly preened cuticles to the precisely applied colour, I always feel like I’m ready to take on the world when my nails have spent an hour under the care of a true professional. However, while nail salons are now back in business and ready to fulfill all of our summer nail art dreams, the last year has meant that I’ve had to embrace doing my own nails at home—a task that I absolutely hate. No matter how carefully I prep my nails, wait for the polish to dry, apply a top coat and then sit around aimlessly without touching anything my nails always chip, smudge or streak within hours of application. And while I’m totally willing to admit that it might just be my total ineptitude as a manicurist that causes these issues, I think a lot of it is actually down to the nail polishes that I was using. Because I’ve started exclusively using gel nail polishes and it’s been something of a revelation: No chips, no smudges, just smooth, glossy nails that last all week.
I have to be clear here though, when I say gel nail polishes what I actually mean is gel effect nail polishes. While I love the longevity and quick-dry nature of a professional gel manicure, I have no interest in investing in a UV lamp and the various varnishes and tools that I’d need to do it myself at home. Instead, gel effect polishes offer up that same high-shine finish that I love but with none of the removal hassle that comes with a proper gel mani. These just wipe off with a standard nail polish remover.