Call me one of the unlucky ones (okay, you’re unlucky). While some people can use any old base coat and top coat and have their manicures last 5-days plus, I’m one of those poor souls where it’s a GOOD day if I’m on day 2 of a manicure without chips or serious tipwear. I actually have a spreadsheet (a SPREADSHEET!) where I track the results of my base coat/top coat combination experiments. I have even color-coded the results (i.e. number of days before first chip) as red (1 day or less), yellow (1.5-2.5 days) and green (> 2.5 days). Very, very few greens on that sheet and lots and lots of yellow and red.
I do all the prep work that you’re supposed to, and I moisturize like crazy, and yada yada. Still, chiptastic after a day or 2.
I have done Shellac gel manicures in the past, and I am never again going to get on that application/removal roller coaster and the damage that can cause to your nails. Soaking them in pure acetone for 10+ minutes isn’t helping nail health, that’s for sure.
Lucky for me there are several new products on the market that have separated me from my hard earned cash and are dangling in front of me the promised land of week-long manicures. The first one up for review is Deborah Lippmann’s Gel Lab.
Promoted to give “gel like results” and “5+ days of wear” without the issues of gel manicure removal, I was excited to try Deborah Lippmann’s Gel Lab, even though it had a US $45 price tag. In order to make the test as “scientific” as possible (she said half-jokingly), I prepped my nails as I always do, and used a polish color that I’ve used before and had no issues with (Chanel Le Vernis Vertigo). I specifically chose a dark color so chips and tipwear would show right away.
And unfortunately, show right away they did. I had minor tipwear in about a half a day, and the first serious tipwear within a day. Chips started a’comin’ on day 2, and by the end of the second day, I ended up having to do a quick tip repair and repaint of the top coat as I didn’t have time to redo my whole mani. Less than a half day after the repair, the thumb started chipping again.
In addition, application was not pleasant. The base coat is very goopy, and made my color look a little lumpy. The top coat didn’t help much either. It’s about as thick as Seche Vite but without the self-leveling and shine you get with that best-in-class top coat.
In all, it was an epic, epic fail, and this set will be returned.
Next up, CND Vinylux. Maybe lady luck will cut me some slack.