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Yes, a gel manicure stays put for forever and a half. But increasing evidence of possible dangers associated with the practice has spurred us to try gentler alternatives that don’t require UV light. Here, five totally safe, remarkably long-lasting options.

RELATED: 7 Things That Might Happen If You Stop Getting Manicures

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel
Sally Hansen

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel ($10)

Wear: 7 days with minimal chipping

Pro: This drugstore gem comes in 47 shades (crème, sheer and metallic) and delivers super-smooth application.

Con: It doesn’t quite last the 14 days it promises.

CND Vinylux

CND Vinylux ($10)

Wear: 7 to 8 days

Pro: It’s the perfect combo of regular polish and shellac.

Con: If you don’t use the accompanying topcoat, it chips pretty easily.

Butter London Tops and Tails

Butter London Tops & Tails Set ($38)

Wear: 7 to 10 days without chips 

Pro: The base-and-topcoat duo can be used with all of the polishes you already own.

Con: Handle with care—the topcoat needs at least a few minutes to dry or you risk denting your hard work.

RELATED: The 7 Healthiest Nail Polishes You Can Wear

Essie Gel Couture

Essie Gel Couture ($12)

Wear: 14 days without chips

Pro: This one has the glossy, thick look of a gel without the harmful UV rays.

Con: The formula is slightly thicker, so it can get a bit gloppy.


Zoya ($9)

Wear: A solid 10 days without chipping 

Pro: Not only is this polish long-lasting, it’s also free of harmful toxins like toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin and DBP (dibutyl phthalate). The extensive line offers more than 300 colors, and it’s even vegan-friendly.

Con: It stays put so well that it's hard to get off. Try PureWow's polish removal trick with this brand.

Additional reporting by Brianna Lapolla

RELATED: The Best Nail Polish Colors for Your Nail Shape


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