Today, I’m spilling a favorite beauty secret of mine…a secret that has to do with the ultra-trendy gel manicure.

Gel manis are pretty much the best–using a special gel polish and UV light, they keep your nails strong, shiny, and chip-free for way longer than traditional manicures–even ones from a salon. The obvious downsides to the gel mani, though, are the added cost…and the inconvenience waiting for the magical nail gel to cure. Solution? Do it yourself, of course. About a year ago, nail polish companies started to offer DIY gel manicure kits complete with gel topcoat and miniature UV lamps, and today, Sally Hansen offers a no-light-required premium polish system that supposedly offers perfect nails sans UV. What Sally Hansen probably doesn’t want you to know, however, is that they offer another nail product, that can be used with ANY nail polish, to get all of the benefits of your premium gel manicure at a decidedly UN-premium price.

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri  Top Coat.

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Insta-Dri is sold as a quick-dry top coat–simply paint your nails, wait two minutes, and apply a coat of it and your manicure will be dry to the touch in a matter of seconds, perfect for girls on the go. Insta-Dry ALSO makes your quickly-dried nails ultra glossy, even, and strong, all while protecting them from chips almost JUST as well as an actual gel manicure would. I’m a pretty active, hands-on girl, and when I use Insta-Dri as a top coat, I can make it through an entire week chip and touch-up free. A gel manicure at a salon costs, on the low end, around $35 and lasts maybe two weeks. A bottle of this stuff costs around $7, and lasts forever. Get it.

Shop the Story: Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Top Coat, $6.28 @Amazon.

xx,

Liza

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