Before using the butter LONDON Horse Power Base Coat and Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Top Coat (in the red bottle) I had a heck of a time getting my mani to last longer than a day or two. Previously, I'd had good luck with Seche Vite, but I found it was so goopy that I started to get a lot of shrinkage in my polish. When I switched to the Horse Power/Insta-Dry combo, I was pretty impressed with my four- to -five-day staying power.
A month or so ago, though, Deborah Lippmann sent me the new Gel Lab Pro duo, and it has completely blown my go-to combo out of the water!
At $45 for the set, this combo is not cheap, so I really wanted to test it thoroughly.
Test 1: Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro vs. my regular top and base coat combo
I applied the same polish to both hands (butter LONDON in Ladybird) but applied the Gel Lab Pro to my left hand and the Horse Power/Insta-Dri combo to my right hand.
I had chips in my right hand after three days but didn’t get a chip in my left hand for 10 days. I am right-hand-dominant, so after the 10 days, I applied the same polish but used the Gel Lab Pro on my right hand and Horse Power/Insta-Dri to my left hand. I found in this case that the left lasted four days and the right—the Gel Lab Pro—lasted 10 again.
As far as application goes, the top coat is a little thicker than Insta-Dri but it isn’t as goopy as Seche Vite. I also noticed that it seemed to apply more smoothly overall, spreading evenly across my nail (even when painting with my non-dominant hand). Both took the same amount of time in terms of drying, and I also thought the overall finish was pretty much the same: shiny and shellac-like.
Test 2: Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro with cheap polish
For this test, I used a Sinful Colors polish ($2 at Walgreens) in conjunction with this base/top-coat duo to make sure that it performed as well with drugstore polish as it did with higher-end polish. I found that its performance was pretty consistent: my mani lasted me about eight days. My normal run with Sinful Colors is about three or four days depending on top coat.
I was so pleased with how long my polish stayed on my fingers using Gel Lab Pro, and I will have no problem purchasing it with my own money when I run out; it’s worth it to me to be able to keep my mani looking good for 10 days with no touch-ups.
- What’s the longest you’ve been able to make your at-home manicure last?
- Do you have a favorite base and top coat combo?