Manicures and pedicures are a crucial component of any polished look. (No pun intended.) From basic nail polish to silk wraps and acrylics, there are plenty of options to chose from.
I find that gel nail polish is the best option: natural looking, easy on/easy off, maintains the integrity of your natural nail, and lasts about 2 weeks without chipping or tearing. Thankfully for the independent woman on a budget, at-home kits have become readily available.
I recommend starting with Sephora’s GelShine At-Home Colour System. It is a small investment of $159, but considering the salon cost of gel manicures in NYC ($30-$40) it is well worth it.
The at-home gel polish kit comes with a top coat, base coat, acetone remover, cuticle oil, LED light, buffer, lint-free pads, nail wraps, nail cleanser, gloves, cuticle pusher, and 1 color of your choice. I went with “I’m Wired,” which is described as an “opaque electric coral red.” Each additional color at Sephora is $17.50/bottle. Not only is this a little on the pricey side, but it’s difficult to grow your color collection as they only offer a small range of colors.
For the NYC beauty who’s really on a budget, I would recommend making your way over to Duane Reade or Ulta to pick up a $9.99 bottle of Red Carpet Manicure. It works well with the Sephora At-Home Gel Polish starter kit and lasts just as long. They produce a wide variety of colors, including top coats and base coats. I went with Plum Up The Volume and Camera Shy, and I will soon be going back for more.
If you’re a fan of OPI, as I am, go for the OPI Gelcolor Collection Soak-Off Gel Lacquer. Do not… I repeat…do not purchase the OPI Axxium. Something about the Axxium formula does not work with the LED light from Sephora, and you will have a big ‘ol mess on your hands. (Again, no pun intended.)
In conclusion: The starter kit from Sephora is quick and easy to use. If you follow the directions properly, your manicure will last as long as if it had been done by a professional nail technician. Once you’ve got the kit, head on over to Duane Reade to take advantage of the variety of shades from Red Carpet Manicure. You’ll get more bang for your buck.