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Ah, gel manicures — both a bane and blessing.
It all traces back to a flaw in my being: I simply cannot function as a person in society unless my nails are painted. And gel manicures have historically served as my savior. The shellac is so durable that it can basically withstand a war zone, leaving my fingers primped, pretty and chip-free for 10 to 14 consecutive days.
Of course, gel manicures have glaring cons. As durable as the shellac is, it also wears my nails down to flimsy nothingness in the removal process, so I'm left with no other choice but to go back for another gel manicure. It's an expensive, vicious circle that has made me a prisoner of my own manicurist.
But not anymore!
Behold Seche Vive Gel Effect Top Coat, my new secret to pulling off a glossy manicure with the same chip-free, strong finish of gel.
Seche Vive Gel Effect Top Coat, $7, Amazon
I first stumbled upon the little blue bottle at Christmas Tree Shops (shout out to New England's best bargain store). A friend once recommended a different top coat in the Seche line for its lasting effects, but the gel effect piqued my interest because, well, I wanted a gel effect.
Since making this purchase, I can confidently vow I will never turn back. It's a transparent polish, so you can use it with any color — or brand — underneath. The top coat also dries within minutes, so, like gel manicures, you can be on your merry way without any worries of smudging.
The best part? My manicure can last a full seven to nine days without any chips. Every. time.
The second best part? This stuff is incredibly cheap. (It's $7 on Amazon!) I've saved so much money doing at-home manicures from my couch. (If you're apprehensive about painting your own nails and need some tips, we've got you covered.)
So now, a profession: I, an erstwhile gel manicure addict, have found solace in a budget topcoat.
For more beauty recommendations, check out:
- 11 award winners from Good Housekeeping's Beauty Awards
- 8 brand-new beauty products you should try this year
- The 7 best beauty products under $20 from the People and TODAY Beauty Awards
- The 8 best skin care products under $25 from the Glamour Beauty Awards