InStyle magazine, in its January 2013 issue, tried CND Shellac Power Polish, OPI Gel Color, Gelish, and Orly Gel FX at several different neighborhood salons to weigh the pros and cons of getting a top-quality gel mani or pedi. Here are the results:
Cost: $25 to $50 for a manicure; $30 to $75 for a pedicure
Time: About 45 minutes
Pros: Every brand we evaluated delivered mirror-like shine and stayed chip-free for at least 10 days. Another plus? The UV lamp dries the polish almost instantly, so once your technician says you're done, you leave the salon without the risk of smudging.
Cons: Gel polish is tough to remove. You need a cache or supplies to do it at home. Or you can return to the salon for a 15-minute acetone soak... If you nails grow fast, you may see growth at the cuticle after a week, similar to the way dyed hair shows roots.