Manicure Makeover

True story: I am obsessive over my nails. I change my nail color constantly and as soon as I get the first chip, off they go. I would rather have naked nails than chipped nails any day. I've spent more money than I care to mention on manis and pedis, always having to get gel and rarely leaving the salon paying less than $50.  
After checking out my bank account and the amount I was spending per month {laughable}, I made a decision: I needed to restrict myself to salon visits only on special occasions and I would have to paint my nails {gasp} myself. I went on a field trip to Walgreens and raided the shelves. Enter: At-home gel polish. 
I knew I would have to try a few to really see what this "do-it-yourself" polish was like, and I probably spent more money on research for the first couple of months than I would have if I just went to the salon {shhh, don't tell}. But after testing a few, I found two that I really like and stand behind.  [Side note: I hated the at-home lights, they didn't work for me. That's not to say they wouldn't work for you, but they were way too pricey and I didn't like the end product.] I think you'll agree that these are worth every bit of $7.99-$9.99 and the color selection is great. You definitely need to buy the top coat that goes with each, but it will last {only one coat is needed per polish}.
A few helpful hints when painting your nails with these gel polishes: 
  1. Always wash hands well before painting. I file mine and afterwards take a cotton ball soaked in an acetone-based remover and wipe over them {before I polish}. Never put on lotion before you polish your nails, they should be a blank canvas.  
  2. Polish at least two coats but no more than three. The more coats, the thicker the polish and more likely they are to chip.  
  3. Let your nails dry for 2-3 minutes before applying the top coat {always use the top coat that comes with the gel polish -- it really does work!}. 
  4. Let hands dry 5-10 minutes before getting back to your normal business. It's always best to let them dry for as long as you can possibly sit still {soooo hard for me!}. Try not to wash your hands in warm water or shower for at least 10-12 hours after you polish your nails, they need time to fully dry. I promise, this works! 
  5. Reapply your top coat once every couple of days. This will help your nails keep a glossy finish and give you that "gel" look. 

My two favorites:
In my experience, both of these lasted for at least 1-2 weeks without chipping. One of them I even wore an entire week in Hawaii where I was in and out of the water and on the beach playing in the sand. No other polish would have ever lasted me this long!  
Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy {$7.99} --  The color above is Checkmate, but I also own Wild Card - it's the perfect royal blue.
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel {$9.99} -- The color above is Creme De La Creme, it's the only color I have purchased so far, but I love it. 
The best thing about both of these is that they can be found at your local pharmacy or Target. They also both have a TON of color choices. I made Morgan be my guinea pig and hand model for this post. We used Sally Hansen Miracle Gel polish on her nails.  
{Love her rings? They are available online and in-stores: Mint Julep Ring | In The Groove}

For a nail-obsessed gal, this is a no-brainer. I'll save a little bit of cash each month {and probably end up buying a few more goodies from vestique} and use this at-home gel polish instead of heading to the salon. It will give me a nice excuse to crack open a bottle of wine and pamper myself for a night! Who's with me?


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