"I headed up to the Escape Salon in Midtown Manhattan to undergo my very first Vinylux manicure. I definitely had some trepidation — I have what can best be described as 'problem' nails, which will peel, split, and break if I so much as look at them funny. I had done Shellac before, but found the acetone-wrap removal process to be too harsh on my nails. Not to mention the fact that I have polish ADD and can't stand having the same shade on for more than four days — two weeks was just way too long to have one color on my digits. So, Vinylux's soak-free removal process and one-week wear time was right up my alley.
"We decided the best way to test the polish was to have it compete with a regular polish, so I had my nail technician paint my right hand with Vinylux and my left hand with a leading salon brand of high-quality nail polish. I chose a vibrant orange on my regular polish hand, and opted for the pretty coral Tropix shade of Vinylux. There were a ton of colors to choose from, and I almost went for the gorgeous metallic Steel Gaze, but wanted to keep things summery. Next time, my pretty.
"The cool thing about Vinylux is that there's no basecoat — the polish has built-in technology that helps it adhere to the nail without staining it — so my right hand was done in a fraction of the time it took to do my left. My nail technician simply applied the polish, waited a minute for it to dry, applied a second coat and waited, then applied the special topcoat. My hands were dry in under 10 minutes, while it took the regular polish mani almost 20 minutes."
"Stupidly, not realizing just how persistent soot is, I picked up all of her clothes to bag them up for dry cleaning with my bare hands. You guys, soot does not come off. As I type this, I literally still have soot stuck in the crevices of my nails. Continuing on with my tour of stupidity, I decided to pick up the shattered glass of her window using my bare hands. While I thankfully managed to avoid cutting myself, I did slice my nail on my right hand, causing a minuscule snag. At the end of the day, that snag had caused a small chip in my Vinylux polish.
"After our marathon clean-up session, I used some weird, chemically grease-be-gone goo to clean my hands, and when that didn't work, I went to town on them with a stiff nail brush. Chips galore ensued on the traditional polish hand, but the Vinylux stayed relatively strong and almost all of the soot vanished.
"As the week progressed, the regular polish just kept racking up the chips. After seven days, I noticed that the Vinylux polish started to look dull, and there was definitely some regrowth showing at the tips, but it remained chip-free except for my one unfortunate glass casualty. I managed to go another three days, for a total of 10 days, before I saw another chip in my Vinylux. My regular mani was absolutely destroyed by that point — and still had remnants of the soot, which massively creeped me out and made me sad for my poor friend and her apartment.
When it came time for removal, the regular polish came off no problem, but the Vinylux definitely gave my trusty SpaRitual Fluent gentle, vegan remover a run for its money. I really had to work the cotton pad over my nails and rub hard — at one point I was basically scraping the polish off. It reminded me of the removal process of a really thick glitter polish. But, even through all of that, my nails didn't look all that worse for the wear. There was no peeling, splitting, or breakage from the polish, which is definitely noteworthy for my easily damaged digits."
The bottom line: "While the Vinylux technically chipped after just four days, my test case was crazy-extreme. I don't doubt that had I used gloves like a sane person, my polish would have stayed pristine for the full week. Removal was a bit of a pain, but nowhere near as bad or as damaging as all the other long-wear polishes and gels currently on the market. I like that the manicure takes half the time of traditional polishes, and that you can have it done at the salon or DIY it at home. I would definitely buy this product — heck, I've already got my next color picked out. Hello, Steel Gaze..."
CND Vinylux Weekly Polish and Topcoat, $9.90 each, available at CND.
Photographed by Laura Miller