Beauty Throwdown: Battle Gel Top Coats
We’ve never really been big gel-manicure fans. While the prospect of a two-week chip-free mani is tempting, the inability to switch polish at a moment’s notice, and the idea of having something adhered to our nails via UV light, is a little bit of a deterrent. Except, that is, during fashion month. There is barely enough time to sleep, let alone keep up with our regular nail maintenance during the month-long collections cycle, which is why the wealth of latter-day gel-polish formulas have been tempting us with their siren call of late. The newest revolution in the long-lasting polish arena are top coats that give the same effect as a gel manicure but don’t need the power of a high-watt UV lamp to cure them. You simply swipe on, remove with your own nail-polish remover, and enjoy an extended amount of perfect polish time. Deborah Lippmann and LCN are two brands eager to deliver on the promise of the next generation of extended wear, but do they actually work? Here, we pit one against the other to find out the answer. Let the throwdown begin!
The Newcomer: The silky thin formula of LCN’s Polish Seal is deceiving in that it doesn’t feel like you’ve applied anything at all. But when it’s completely dry—which takes about five to ten minutes—your nails feel super strong and look decadently shiny. After a week of furious typing, dish washing, and general life living, our polish was still intact, albeit a little worn around the edges.
The Old Standby: Lippmann’s formulas always tend to be denser than most, and her Gel Lab system is no different. The two-part process starts with a base coat that goes on thick, dries easily, and ensures that your lacquer of choice does not budge, almost on impact. The equally substantial top coat then dries in mere minutes, without smudging. An impressive shiny gleam—and a week-plus of perfect polish—is your reward for the reaping.
The Bottom Line: When it comes to matters that are easily quantified, there can only be one clear winner, and that honor goes to Lippmann’s Gel Lab, which lasted two to three days longer than LCN’s Polish Seal. Never underestimate the power of a good base coat.