Make Your Mani Last FOREVER With This Polish Duo

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lippmann-gel-labPhoto: Courtesy of Nordstrom.
Certain beauty products — think NARS blush in Orgasm, Clinique's Black Honey lipstick — are so good, they're practically famous. And, while we do love so many of those well-known, well-loved products with a loyal following, we've been wondering why others have been quietly flying under the radar. With that in mind, meet our new beauty series, Cult Classics, in which we'll introduce you to the products you really, truly should know about (and try, like, right now). They're not brand new, but trust us: They've got staying power.

Okay, maybe forever is an exaggeration, but this high-tech topcoat/basecoat duo will significantly extend the life of your at-home polish. We stumbled across it during our Product Smackdown last year, of the (then) new gel topcoats. Being the type of people to chip their manicure mere seconds after it's applied, we were understandably excited about the prospect of an easy-to-use, easy-to-remove, at-home product that would make our polish job last longer than five minutes.

What we discovered was that not only does this wonder duo give our nail lacquer serious staying power, it also actually made it easier to do our nails at home. But, let's back up for a second and explain the concept for those of you not familiar with gel topcoats. These wonderful inventions allow you to achieve the long-wearing power of a gel manicure, without the harmful UV light or super-damaging removal process, in one easy-to-use, at-home topcoat — you use them in place of your regular topcoat to make your polish look shinier and last longer.

Okay, back to the mani miracle. Upon applying the Lippmann basecoat, we noticed that when we then put on our actual polish, we had a way easier time painting our nails. We're talking a whole lot less streaks, smudges, and paint on our skin. It was almost as if the basecoat caused the polish to be attracted to it , allowing it to stay where we wanted it to be, rather than all over the beds of our nails.

Then came the topcoat, which brought another wonderful surprise: It made our nails dry at lightning speed — we're talking half the time we're used to. And, even better, our nails were dry-dry. Not the kind of hoodwink dry, where you touch the surface and think you're good and then the minute you try to grab something in your purse they immediately smudge. No, those babies were good to go — and grab — whatever we wanted without mucking up our newly painted digits. We went a total of seven full days before we started to even see a hint of a chip. Best of all, you can take it off with just your regular nail polish remover — no damaging acetone soaks required!

We've now gotten to the point where we won't use any other basecoat or topcoat for our DIY manicures. It's really that good. While the price is a little hefty (unless you caught that 50% off deal we alerted you to last week), if you're the type of person who regularly paints your nails at home, this set practically pays for itself with the amount of frustration and time you'll save yourself on chipped manicures.

Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab, $45, available at Deborah Lippmann.