For the past year or more, gel effect formula nail polishes have been creeping up on us, from higher end brands and from the drugstore. I think personally if you can get a shade polish you like using a gel effect nail polish formula, you should! I myself especially love certain shades but end up not wearing them if I don’t get on with the formula.

Making the effort to paint your nails in the first place, you want them to last, unless like me you chop and change a few times a week. But in all seriousness, if you find yourself reapplying polish on a regular basis due to chipping after the first few days of polish wear and find painting your nails a chore, gel effect nail polish formulas are the way to go.

They can last anywhere between 3-10 days depending on the brand and claim they have better longevity, but most generally tend to last longer than a regular formulation. I am going to give a run down on my  4 favourite gel effect nail polish formulas and how they worked for me and some of my favourite shades from each range.


The first range I tried is the Nails Inc Gel effect formula, which I find works well for me, I get good wear time from the polishes within the range.

It is formulated with a “revolutionary plasticiser technology” and has an extra wide brush for flawless application. The pigment in the polish is good, although I found some of my standard Nails inc colours had slightly stronger pigment overall in comparison.

With two coats of polish you get excellent coverage and the polish has a lovely glossy finish with “a plumping agent” to level out imperfections on your nails. I found the formula to be so glossy after two coats of colour, would I need top coat? Then I realised this is a gel effect formula and without the top coat it would impair the longevity of the manicure.

I usually get anywhere between 5 and 10 days wear out of this polish using my usual base and top coat. I must say this polish range is one of my favourites and I have amassed a vast array of shades within it to get the benefits of the gel effect formula.
Favourite shades from the range, well, theres so many! If I had to pick my top 3 – Baker St, Victoria and Porchester Square, which are classics from Nails Inc. Its so hard to choose shades as I have so many!

imageAnother range I love for its gel effect qualities is OPI’s Infinite Shine range, which I discovered in the last 6 months or so.

The shade range is great and the polishes are so glossy and desirable. I am surprised I resisted temptation with these polishes for so long.

These polishes are designed to be used with the Infinite Shine Primer Base & Gloss Top Coat which, if I am honest I did not invest in. I have similar products within my stash that would do the same job. Still, I felt on the whole, I got excellent results with 8 days chip free wear with ever so slight tip wear.

The only issue I felt I had with this polish was the formula, as it was ever so slightly thicker than the other gel formulas, so I had to be careful not to overload my brush. Also a few of the brighter shades had given me some staining on areas of the nail where I had not applied base coat – the walls of the nail and cuticle. Definitely need polish remover and a clean up brush for this one!

My favourite shades from the range are Girl Without Limits – a dusky pink, Withstands the Test of Thyme – a bright dusky turquoise, Follow Your Bliss – a glossy baby pink, To Infinity and Blue-yond – a beautiful bright blue, The Sun Never Sets – a peachy orange and Unequivocally Crimson – a bold bright red. All gorgeous from this range!

imageThere are only a few good gel effect formulas from the drugstore, the first is Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy polish range. After reading a few good reviews of different polishes from the range, I thought I would take the plunge and try it out.

As a cheaper alternative to the other two higher end ranges I had tried, I thought it if could withstand best part of a week’s worth of hard work from my hands, it would be doing well.

For the price point the polishes worked so well, with an excellent formula and looked supremely glossy and pumped up on the nails. These polishes also are to be used in with conjunction with Revlon Gel Envy base and top coat. I decided for the interests of functionality, to try these with products I was already using which would offer similar results.

All in all, I got 7 and half days of chip free polish before I knocked my nail opening a coke can, and that was that. But on the whole, I felt I got my moneys worth for the application. I do hope they give more choice of shade range in future, as they are lovely polishes and feel there are a lot of darks glitters and shimmers within the range currently.

My favourite shades from this range are High Stakes – a deep evergreen shade, Hold Em – a dusky pink mauve shade, Dealers Choice – a turquoise shimmer shade, All in over Blackjack – a teal toned navy shimmer shade and Showtime – a deep purple shimmer shade.

imageMy final gel effect range which I really like is Sally Hansen’s Miracle Gel range, which has been out a while and has a comprehensive 45 shades in total  within the range.


This range compromises of gel colour and gel topcoat, when used together, the gel properties within the polishes are cured using natural light. I would advise to use this polish in the daytime near a window, to help naturally cure the product. Do not apply this at night! Using basecoat with this polish is not advised, so if you are using base coats or nail strengtheners, this polish may not be for you in the longterm.

I found overall the metallics and shimmers lasted longer in this formula, getting 6 to 7 days chip free, but the crème and pure pigment formulas lasted only fairly well, 4 – 5 days without looking a bit battered. The polish itself is a good formula with a decent brush which glides nicely on the nail. Lovely!
My favourite shades, so many to choose from are Crème de la Crème – a creamy nude shade, All Chalked Up – a pale lilac toned off white shade, Grey Matters – a pale dusky duck egg green shade, Combustable – a bright turquoise metallic and Dig Fig – a deep dusky claret.

These polish ranges are excellent places to discover gel effect polishes without the time and consideration needed to have actual gel or shellac applied.

imageA cheaper method to update your own polish collection would be to invest in a Gel effect top coat.

One of my favourites I recently added to my collection is the Essie Gel-Setter Nail Polish Top Coat.


It gives any nail polish the finish of gel nails without the hassle, it dries extremely fast, keeping smudging to a minimum.

A polish to try to get the gel effect look without the price tag!

What are your favourite gel effect ranges? Any to add to my collection? Any good gel base/topcoats? Let me know in the comments.