When Shellac manicures and gel polishes hit parlors a few years ago busy women of the world rejoiced. The pros: quick dry time, a high-gloss finish, and long-lasting, chip-free color. The cons: you can't remove the color at home, it can leave nails damaged, and, oh, the price tag.
Local polish producer Julep looks to give pinkie painters the best of both worlds with its new Freedom Polymer Top Coat. Use the lacquer on top of any polish in your collection and its polymer force field leaves nails shiny and chip free for longer than your basic manicure.
We tested out the top coat to see if it lives up to its game-changing claims:
Julep gives you the option to leave the lacquer to cure in regular light for five minutes or hover your hands over a 60-watt light bulb for two minutes. I chose the bulb and was pleasantly surprised to find the polish completely dry—no hour-long dry times or reaching-for-my-keys smudges.
But by the third day I needed a touch up, though that was likely due to some heavy crafting projects and not the polish. The directions suggest applying a new coat every 2 to 3 days, and once I got with the program my nails stayed chip-free and glossy for an entire week.
When you're ready for a change, Julep's formula comes off with any polish remover, giving you the freedom (get it) to switch up polish without an appointment.
The final verdict: We're canceling our next Shellac session.
Pick up the top coat online or at any of the four local Julep salons to get a long-lasting mani at home for nearly half the parlor price.