Allure explains how OPI's Axxium soak-off gel lacquer and Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Nail Color work and reviews the products.
Paul Bryson, OPI's director of research and development, explains that gels are applied like regular polishes, with a base coat, two coats of color, and a topcoat, but is dried under UV light after each coat. In the UV light, "the ingredients connect like chain mail, forming signficantly stronger bonds that can absorb pressure and bumps, making it nearly impossible for bits to break away," according to Allure.
Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Nal Color has a flat brush with a tip that's tapered at the edges to make application easier. The formula "contains plastic compounds to produce a service that flexes, rather than shatters, when it hits something hard," the magazine reports. A methacrylate polymer holds the lacquer together and a glass derivative creates a shiny coating.
Allure editors who tested the products say the gel manicure lasted three weeks without chipping, and the Insta-Dri polish stayed glossy and chip-free for five days.