No UV lamps or hefty price tags necessary
Chipped nail polish is up there with our top beauty bug bears (along with dreaded split ends and chapped lips), so gel nail polish has always been our saviour.
But at-home manicures are very high maintenance (and that’s before you consider nail art or an at-home pedicure) and, let’s face it, there aren’t many things that can top the feeling of leaving a salon with a fresh gel manicure.
Except perhaps getting that same salon-worthy gel mani in the comfort of your own home, that is. The beauty gods have sent us several angels in the form of gel nail polish that give us the long-lasting, glossy and super polished looks that we all love so much (without the UV lamps, hefty price tags or the tricky removal process).
Get DIY-ing with the beauty desk’s top picks – and when you’re done here, be sure to read up on how to remove gel nail polish at home.
Best gel nail polish
The best gel nail polish should be high-shine, rich in colour and – probably the most important factor – not chip off within the first day. Brands like Nails Inc, OPI and Sally Hansen all offer great options, and affordable brands like Barry M also have great nail polish formulas on offer.
Durability is the key with this one. With a formulation built to resist those oh-so-irritating chips and nicks, these polishes are sure to last. The cult nail brands’ new range offers up catwalk inspired shades as well as some of their best sellers, ensuring that you’re bang on trend with these beauties. Top up with nail oil to keep the shine for up to 10 days.
At home manicure kit
As well as your gel nail polish of choice, there are a few other things worth having in your beauty arsenal if you want your at-home manicure to go the distance:
Not only can a good base coat help to prolong the life of your manicure, but it can also protect and treat your natural nails underneath – as is the case with Rimmel’s Nail Nurse 5 in 1 Base Coat. Bonus: this one doubles as a top coat, too.
Not only does a good top coat help to prolong the life of your colour of choice (no second day chips!), but this one leaves your nails so shiny you’ll find it hard not to admire them constantly. Look to the brand behind the Queen’s favourite nail polish if you want to recreate a gel effect at home, with Essie’s Gel Setter Top Coat, £8.99, Lookfantastic.
Multiway nail file
Not only is filing the lengths of your nails important, a multiway file can smooth ridges on the surface of your nail, as well as add shine when you’re not wearing polish. Try brushworks’ 6-way Shape and Shine nail file, £2.99 at Lookfantastic.
Nail and cuticle oils are a great way to keep your natural nails healthy and soften dry cuticles. We love Sally Hansen’s Vitamin E Nail and Cuticle Oil, £6.95, Boots.
Ready to give your nails a bit of TLC? Keep scrolling for our edit of the best at home gel nail polish purchases. Armed with any of these and you’re set for a foolproof at-home mani. Consider your summer nails sorted.
Conveniently combining both base coat and colour, these polishes allow you to achieve that just-left-the-nail-bar mani/pedi with ease. Just add the ColorStay Gel Envy Diamond Top Coat for extra protection and shine and voila. Hello enviable salon quality manicure.
Rimmel are famous for their nail varnishes, and their super shiny Super Gel formulas come in over 30 different colours.
With more than 40 glossy shades for you to choose from, you are spoiled for choice with this one. No base coat necessary (hurrah!), this high-tech gel cuts out all the fuss of a salon gel manicure; it gets right to the point and is totally budge-proof.
These densely pigmented polishes offer up oodles of vivid colour and show-stopping shine. It’s super easy to apply, and one-coat will ensure the luminous chip-free colour that we all crave for days. The beauty desk love the pastel shade Sky Blue, and give this one top marks for long-lasting luster and volume. At £3.99 a pop, we think they’re an absolute steal too.
These are a gel manicure in a bottle with no need for any UV light. What’s better is that you can remove with your normal nail polish and won’t have your natural nails flaking off with it.