Looking polished for weeks with a gel manicure

After two weeks! (ignore my dry hands, please!)

After two weeks! (ignore my dry hands, please!)

I realize that I’ve been writing a lot of beauty-related posts lately, but I’m trying to find products and services that make me look presentable, without spending a lot of time or money. Today’s service: gel (or shellac) nail polish.

Before I had kids, my nails always looked perfect. Unlike my hair, my nails are strong and don’t break easily, so I spent time every Thursday night (while watching TV) painting them. Friends warned me I wouldn’t have time to do it once I had kids, but I managed to maintain my routine when Clay was born. He was a great sleeper and in bed by 7:00, so it was fine. Then Avery came along. She was also a good sleeper, but with more laundry to fold and bills to pay on the rare nights I had time to watch TV, I ended up with clear nails for a while.

A friend introduced me to the gel polish craze about 18 months ago and in that time I’ve had it done probably eight times, usually around special occasions (vacations, weddings, etc.). Every time I do it, I love it because it lasts for three weeks. Even french manicures, which with a regular manicure last five days, if you’re lucky.

I don’t know about you, but I just feel more polished (no pun intended) when my nails are done. Gel manicures are not cheap (about $30), but if you do the math it works out to be $10 a week. I was spending about an hour a week doing them myself. My time is worth more than $10/hour and I know yours is, too.

I know there has been criticism that the gel polish damages your nails, but in my case since I only do it occasionally, my nails have been fine. You do need to use acetone to get it off, which the salon can do for you, or you can buy a bottle for $2 at Target and soak it off yourself (while watching TV?). Also, they do use ultraviolet light to set the polish, so put sunscreen on your hands before you go, just to be safe.

For those who really want to save money and not just time, there are home gel kits, which they sell at Ulta and other beauty supply stores. I’ve considered buying one, but I have to admit, I like the little break I get at the salon. I’d love to hear if anyone has tried one and liked it though!

Happy Easter, everyone! Maybe the Easter Bunny will bring you a gift card to the nail salon and you can enjoy a gel manicure!

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