Two-to-three week manicures have become the norm in salons nationwide and regular old nail varnish just ain't cutting the mustard. However, there are tons of different brands on the market, so I took my talons to several salons to test them out for long-wearing potential.
The Sell: 14 days of no chip, shiny colour.
Our Take: This is the most widely available brand in Ireland when it comes to long-term manicures. Nails are prepped, painted with a base coat and then colour, with each layer cured under an ultraviolet light.
For me there are several drawbacks with this brand.
Firstly, the colour range isn't fantastic – limited to basic pinks, reds and nudes on the whole – but they are rolling out more shades. Secondly, and most importantly, this is a very thin formula which some will find a plus point, but not me.
I have weak, thin nails, and the Shellac did very little to protect them. While it will chip eventually, you should get at least a week of perfect nails, which is fantastic compared to normal polish, but not so impressive up against other long-term brands.
Cost: Between €20 and €35.
Get it from: Salons and nail bars nationwide. I visited Clerys Nail Zone, Dublin 1 (€30).
Artistic Gloss Polish
The Sell: Three weeks of glossy nails with no chips or smudges.
Our Take: A more advanced and sophisticated version of the original Shellac, this is a more gel-like consistency and therefore thicker and harder.
There is a wider variety of colours including neons and glitters, and I felt it protected my nails more over the course of its lifetime.
It is generally more expensive thanks to the equipment used, but I feel it's worth it, as it grew out with barely a chip, and I wasn't mortified with my nails after a fortnight like I was with CND.
It's also cured with LED light instead of UV, so it's faster, and it kept its shine better.
Again, needs to be soaked off in salon, or by yourself using acetone, but make sure to buff the top coat off first as it is a bit thicker than Shellac.
Cost: €30-€55, salon dependent.
Get it from: Salons around Ireland. I visited Pink Beauty Emporium, Dundrum Town Centre (€35).
The Sell: Much like the Artistic Gloss, it promises a longer lasting effect than its predecessors.
Our Take: This was my favourite.
The colours are strong and punchy, and come in a wide variety of trendy shades. The first coat looks worryingly sheer, but the second one builds up to a vibrant finish. It's really thick and very glossy. It didn't chip at all, and grew out beautifully, leaving little half moon arcs at the bottom of my nails. After three weeks though, I did notice little scratches from wear and tear.
It's cheaper than Artistic, super shiny, and is the one I would go for again. Not as widely available yet as Shellac, but it is getting there.
Get it from: Salons, spreading nationwide from the bigger cities.
I visited Dylan Bradshaw Nail Bar, South William St, Dublin 2.