If you’ve fully embraced the hermit life (or are just on a tight budget) and are determined to do your own nails, it doesn’t mean your nails need to look a kindergarten art project: painted outside the lines and a little sticky.
Instead, grab a bottle of the best gel nail polish for a DIY manicure that won’t chip off when you sneeze. Gesundheit!
Unlike regular polish, gel nail polish is made of acrylic monomers and oligomers that bond together when placed under UV light. This changes it from a liquid to a hard, resistant coating. See! We did pay attention in science class. Thanks, Mr. Wikipedia.
This special kind of polish is well-loved for its instant drying time and long-lasting effects. And gel nail polish has evolved over the years, now giving us at-home polishes with streamlined application processes until the tiny robots arrive to paint our nails and reach that itchy section in the middle of our back.
If you’re new to doing gels at home, then you may need to pick up a few supplies. Some gel hybrid polishes give the same high shine and longer wear but don’t need UV lights to cure, but many do require a UV nail lamp.
And you’ll definitely want snacks. No, raisins don’t count.
11 Best Gel Nail Polish Brands For Flawless Claws
1. Gelish Soak-Off Gel Polish
Gelish is a traditional gel polish that requires UV light to cure, and soaking to remove. But the payoff is well-worth it when you get chip-resistant color for two (or more) weeks. Anything that lasts longer than our attention span is well worth it! Did someone say chips?
2. Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish
If you change nail polish colors every time you change clothes, try Sally Hansen’s Miracle Gel. It’s a gel polish, but comes off easily with regular nail polish remover. And no judging on costume changes – we’re still only dressing from the waist up.
3. Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro Nail Color
This polish is formulated with ingredients that are good for your nails such as biotin and keratin and hopefully something that keeps us from chewing them.
4. OPI Infinite Shine Long Lasting Nail Polish
OPI’s special gel formula is a glossier, higher-performing version of the original polish. OPI knows it’s only competition is itself. The judges are still confused on how to score it.
5. Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy Longwear Nail Polish
Save a step with this polish from Revlon that has a built-in base coat, allowing you to slap on the color right away. But don’t worry, if you need more time before going to your co-worker’s baby shower, they recommended sealing it with a top coat.
CND Shellac Gel Nail Polish
A salon favorite, Shellac is the easiest of traditional gel polishes to remove without damaging your nails. It also is long-lasting and has zero drying time. If only every wedding date could be that good.
6. Essie Gel Couture 2-Step Longwear Nail Polish, $11.50
Essie puts a literal twist on gel polish by offering this affordable and long-lasting option. There are over two dozen colors to choose from, so block out some meeting time to pick out your next shade. It technically is brainstorming!
7. Chanel Le Gel Coat Longwear Top Coat, $28
Forget knock-off bags – Chanel’s Le Gel Coat is the most economically friendly way to wear real Chanel. Better yet, it provides the benefits of gel nail polish without needing a UV light system. Simply dry your nails with natural light before moving on with your day that’s better than everyone else’s. Fash-un.
8. China Glaze Gelaze
China Glaze also builds a base coat into their gel polish, but you’ll still need to pop your nails under a UV light. Twitter will survive without you for 30 seconds. No promises about Reddit.
9. Le Mini Macaron Le Maxi Deluxe Gel Manicure Set
This set not only has a cute name, it also includes one 3-in-1 polish (a base coat, a color polish, and a glossy top coat). And an LED nail lamp, a cuticle stick, a nail file, and 20 remover wraps. What, no lemon spa water?
10. Beetles Gel Nail Polish Set
This gel nail polish set includes 20 colors of traditional gel polish, which is just one color short for our 21 nails. The bottles are also mini-sized, so you can bring them in your carry-on! There have been worse animals on airplanes.
11. wet n wild 1 Step Wonder Gel Nail Color
For just $6, you can get a two-week chip-free manicure without the need of a base or topcoat with this 1-step polish. For $6, we’d even take the chips. BBQ please.
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