Gel-Like Nail Polishes for Anyone Who's So Over Gel Manicures

Caitlin M.
ByCaitlin M.

For anyone who's ever rocked a gel mani, you likely know the removal process can be a bit of an undertaking. From the wait time to the sometimes tough condition your nails can end up in, a gel mani isn't for everyone. If you find yourself in need of a break from gels but don't want to sacrifice the lasting power and shine, meet the nail trend that blends the look of gel with the ease of polish.

What it is: Gel-like nail polish are a happy hybrid of gel polish and regular polish. Formulated to last—many can last ten days—and a high-shine finish, these polishes go on like a normal polish and don't require UV or LED lights to cure. Note: Many of these polishes work best with accompanying top coats to create a complete system!

Why we like it: Yes, we do love a good gel manicure. But the cost of a bi-weekly mani can add up—not to mention the time and trouble it can take to (properly) remove the polish. So we're all about this cost-effect, time-saving trend! And many of these gel-like options can be picked up at the drugstore for a fraction of the cost of one gel mani. Need we go on?

Where to find it: There are a number of different options for every price point. For the luxury lover to the drugstore maven to the true semi-pro, there's a gel-finish polish for everyone.

Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro Polish

deborah lippmann gel lab pro nail polish

$$$: $20 at Sephora

Those who already are fans of Deborah Lippmann's polishes will swoon for the Gel Lab Pro series, which boasts ten active ingredients that help provide the gloss and cushion of a gel mani sans the post-polish damage.

Formula X The System XCEL Customizable Gel-Like Nail Polish Set

formula x the system xcel gel-like nail polish

$$$: $32 at Sephora

Anyone looking for a professional-like kit should stock up on this find from Formula X. The four-piece customizable manicure kit works to extend the life of polish for up to ten days!

Essie Gel Couture

essie gel couture nail polish

$$: $11.50 at Ulta

The newest launch from essie boasts salon-like finish thanks to the two-step system. First use the Couture color, which is so pigmented, there's no need for a basecoat, then follow up with the Flawless Gel-Like Top Coat to solidify the look and keep it lasting for days and days!

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel

sally hansen miracle gel

$$: $9.99 at Ulta 

Sally Hansen's formula is a favorite among Influensters, who love the lasting power of this no-lamp polish. Many say they don't see chips for nearly a week!

China Glaze EverGlaze Extended Wear Nail Lacquer

china glaze everglaze extended wear nail polish

$: $3 at Ulta

For a fraction of the price of a gel mani, you can try China Glaze's extended-wear polish, which contains active plasticizer technology, to get that ultra-sheen you crave. Pro tip: Use with EverGlaze Active Topcoat to lock in color and shine!

Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy Longwear Nail Enamel

revlon colorstay gel envy longwear nail enamel

$: $7.99 at Ulta

The bargain hunter will want to stock up on Revlon's version of the gel look. And with 30 shades to choose from, stocking up has never been so easy!

Which no-lamp nail polishes have you tried? Sound off in the comments below!

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About the Author
Caitlin M.
Caitlin M.
Runner. Music lover. All things nachos. Follow me on Instagram: @caitlinsmiller