Like most, I feel a little better and dare I say smug when I have perfectly polished nails - I feel more together and will make a point of all but presenting my sleek, shiny nails to perfect strangers (presenting my train ticket to the inspector with a lot of pizzazz and gestures). As much as I enjoy - and to some extent hoard - nail polishes, nothing quite comes as close to a professional salon manicure or does it?
A few years ago gel based and infused nail polishes began sneaking onto counters, at first we were all a little curious and then if we are all entirely honest, disappointed. The first flirtations with at home gel polish kits were time consuming, in some cases dangerous (unregulated UV systems) and all round disappointing; as such most of us were more than happy to book into our local salon or make do with regular nail polish, and who could blame us? However since late 2015 and of course within the last five months, new, affordable and altogether more convenient, at home gel kits have appeared on the market meaning we can save both time and money.
Sure I enjoy the experience of trotting along to my favourite nail salon and being pampered but it doesn't half eat up a sizeable proportion of my day, not to mention a small chunk of my pay-check if I allow it to become a bi-weekly habit. With at home nail kits, I can slob out comfortably in my pyjamas and preen my nails without ever leaving the sofa nor enduring the soak off process, should you grow tired of your manicure.
Due to only having two hands, I have of course only tried out a few of the newer two step gel nail kits but thus far I have been nothing but impressed. My first at-home gel polish dalliance of 2016 - and bizarrely one of two celebrity endorsed products - was the freshly launched Rimmel Super Gel Kate Moss System; an easy to use gel based nail polish line that features a broad range of shades, is applied in two coats and set with a thick but glossy top coat - easy, peasy and very much standard for the rest of the kits within this post. What sets the Rimmel Super Gel System aside from the rest is accessibility - there is not a budget beauty spot on the highstreet you will not find this stocked within which gives it a somewhat leg up. I won't pretend that 10 minutes with this polish kit in-front of the T.V will equate to two weeks of chip free nails, it won't but for just £8.99, you can have a perfect manicure for seven days and of course use the polishes time and time again.
Unlike the above gel kit, the Sinful Colors and Kylie Jenner joint venture can not be bought as a kit, you do have to purchase the base colour and gel top coat separately, but at just £3 a polish it really isn't too excessive. If fun, fashion forward colours are your chosen nail decoration, the Sinful Colours King Kylie collection awaits your arrival - nine bright and occasionally muted shades that have a beautiful almost gel texture, all of which glide onto the nails and dry in record speed. The real star of the show is the gel top coat, it seals any polish it is applied on top of - I find that much like the aforementioned Rimmel kit, the Sinful Color formulation wears well for up to a week but offers the most glossy finish, a finish that could be mistaken for a professional manicure.
Two other kits well worth a mention are the new Ciate Gelology Nail Paints - cruelty free with a great range of sophisticated, office friendly hues and the yet to be launched but worth the wait Bourjois La Lacque Gel range - especially worth bookmarking if red or pink polishes make up the majority of your collection.
Perhaps the most telling sign that the world of gel manicures is shifting towards at home treatments is the news of the Essie Gel Couture - an at home 14 day polish that promises, or at the very least aims to be one of the hardest wearing polishes to ever grace your dressing table. Personally I'm not holding out for two weeks of perfectly polished nails but the preliminary reviews look promising, as does the sprawling 42 shade range.
What do you think - should nail technicians be quaking in their boots or will at home gel polish kits never replace the results or experience achieved at a salon?