I tried a "gel mani hack" on Pinterest (ah, the Pinterest vortex...) a while back. The topcoat they suggested was the Sally Hansen No Chip Acrylic Top Coat. This was probably the worst topcoat I have ever tried. I think a cheap clear coat would've been better. I was really surprised because usually I am a huge fan of Sally Hansen products. This one just seemed to crack and crackle all over within 24 hours,
For a while after I was using the Sally Hansen Double Duty Base & Top Coat. This stuff is great, plus it's a two-for-one! I apply one coat on clean, dry nails as a base coat; apply 2 coats of whatever polish I am in the mood for; then one coat of this as a top coat. I recently used it over the 4th of July and my polish was hardly chipped after four days (more on that look below).
On a recent trip to Target (hmm...another vortex), another gel product caught my eye. A bunch of Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy products had been marked down so I grabbed the Gel Envy Top Coat. Again using the Double Duty as a base coat, I applied two coats of an Essie polish, and used the Gel Envy to seal things in. It was amazing! My nails lasted at least five days, which for me is a record for nails I did myself. And I didn't even have to find time to go to the salon.
Left: Double Duty Right: Gel Envy
I was so thrilled with the Gel Envy top coat I used it for a wedding I was in over Essie's Sugar Daddy (three layers of the color). I did my nails two days before the wedding and they lasted the whole wedding weekend, plus! Longwearing color you can do at home for half the price? That's my kind of deal!
$18 Gel Mani (at home!): $5 Double Duty Base Coat + $8 Essie Polish + $5 Gel Envy Top Coat
Essie in 'Sugar Daddy'
4th of July Polish: I picked up the Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy in 'Wild Card' which is almost an exact dupe for Essie's Butler Please. I wore 'Wild Card' on eight of my fingers with OPI 'Alpine Snow' and 'I'm Not Really A Waitress' on my ring fingers. I haven't tried the Gel Color with the Gel Topcoat yet, but I only see good things for this line! Check 'em out and let me know what you think!
4th of July Nail Colors