I feel mighty unfaithful writing this feature. I have been an advocate of the gel manicure for years. I love the perfectly even sheeny shiny finish and the fact I don’t have to think about it once it’s on – at least two weeks worth of completely chip proof colour that makes my dry often eczema covered hands look instantly a million times better.

I have been treating myself to gels for at least eight years or so on and off (more on than off truth be known) and only really had a proper break when I was seven months pregnant. I couldn’t justify the cost or the schlep to the salon when simply getting in or out of the car felt like a total body workout whilst simultaneously wearing an 18lb backpack.

Some months after Mabel was born I rekindled my love affair with the UV lamp, so fed up was I of my own mediocre attempts at nail painting that inevitably flaked after all of five minutes due to the constant bottle scrubbing and sterilising. Oh it was so lovely to have my fingertips all feminine and pretty again after what felt like such a lengthy hiatus….But. It was still a mission to find time for an hour appointment every fortnight, endeavour to find someone to look after Mabel and the cost really does add up. I dread to think how much I’ve spent in my lifetime thus far. At least enough to by the grey version of my favourite designer boots several times over…..

I will no doubt still invest in the full on professional gel for special occasions and holidays, a talented manicurist I am not, no matter how much effort I seemingly put in. Waiting for polish to set is literally like watching paint try – I haven’t got the ruddy patience.

In the meantime however I will most definitely be using these gel/polish hybrids which are EXCELLENT. I’d say as long as you re-apply the top coat every other day then you will genuinely have a chip proof finish for seven days straight. True Story. Those of you who are actually “careful” with your manicure may get even longer (I am not one of those people unfortunately.)

There is no need for base coat (hooray!) and both the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel and the Revlon ColourStay Gel Envy dry super quick. I apply two coats of colour otherwise it can look a little streaky.

If I had to choose I’d say the Sally Hansen works better on me, although Revlon has some really gorgeous shades available. You can buy both from Boots and they often have a 3 for 2 offer on.

I’ve recently been trialling the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat over regular polish and it works a treat! So exciting!

Are you a slave to the professional gel manicure?

Have you tried any of these new gel finish polishes? I can only review and recommend the Sally Hansen and Revlon as I haven’t tried any other brands yet.

Any other brands I should know about? (because you know, all this money I’m saving on going to the salon I’m now clearly splurging on multiple bottles of the alternative anyway *need help on how to stop my beauty product addiction pronto*)