Ever since I started accompanying my mom to the nail salon as a kid, I have been triggered by the sight of chipped nail polish. It drives me nuts. I’ve been known to carry a spare bottle of polish with me, and sometimes I have no choice but to whip it out at work, because if I need a touch-up, I can’t focus on my actual job.
I’ve tried every polish trick there is over the years, including CND’s Stickey base coat (which does actually work pretty well), and at-home gel machines, and running my nails under cold water after painting, to seal in the coats (also measures that helped my polish last longer). But what I really wanted was to simply slap on a color on Sunday and not have to worry about it all week. Without paying $40 at the salon.
Then, one morning in 2014, I tried a pale shade of Sally Hansen’s Miracle Gel (The Cut actually did, too). It takes just two steps. You apply the color (no base coat necessary) and then a top coat. Then, it dries in about 20 minutes, and then …
No, it did not endure for the two or even three weeks of a salon gel manicure. But it easily went a full week, and since then even a week and a half. And just like that, I became an addict, for the totally non-debt-inducing cost of about $7 a bottle (the top coat has lasted me since 2014).
In the beginning, there were only 47 shades, which didn’t include the less traditional colors I typically go for, like puke-yellow or toothpaste-green. But now they’ve got about 75, and counting; I have a Container Store drawer that looks like a rainbow exploded inside. When I walk by that little bucket of powdery blues, strawberry pinks, and juicy purples, I sometimes actually smile. No lie. Not to mention: Miracle gel comes off just like regular polish, with a remover and cotton ball.
And of course, don’t forget the long-lasting top coat.
The Strategist is a new site designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best umbrellas, steak knives, rolling luggage, and yoga mats. Note that all prices are subject to change.
If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.