Semi-Cured Gel Nail Polish Strips Are the Secret to a Flawless Home Mani

If you're looking for the best nail polish strips with staying power, this innovation belongs on your radar.

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When it comes to forgoing in the nail salon in favor of a DIY, there are quite a few routes you can take: nail strips, nail polish, polygel, dip powder — the list goes on. If your goal is to replicate a professional gel manicure, but your skills are minimal, you might find your sweet spot in an under-the-radar option. Semi-cured gel polish strips promise the results of a gel manicure with a more user-friendly application process. (

If you've had a gel manicure before, then you know the process involves placing your hands under a UV ray-emitting lamp multiple times. This curing process causes monomers and polymers in the polish to link up, resulting in a hardened manicure that won't chip for several weeks. (Worth the mention: That UV exposure might up your risk of skin cancer.) It's an ideal scenario, but requires a certain skill level to replicate at home, which is where semi-cured gel nail polish strips come in. Like regular nail polish strips (aka nail wraps), they're self-adhesive strips that you stick on your nails before cutting each to size. But in this case, they're meant to be cured under a UV lamp for a result with staying power that rivals a traditional gel manicure.

As the name suggests, the nail polish strips are already partially cured when you take them out of the package — one brand that offers the strips, Ohora, says that its strips are made with a gel that's already 60 percent cured. To apply: You first shape your nails and clean them with alcohol or an included prep pad. Then you stick on the dry nail polish stickers, cut and file them to size, and place your hand under a UV lamp so that they harden or cure the rest of the way. If you don't already have an at-home UV lamp, they are actually pretty easy to come by. One option, SUNUV UV LED Nail Lamp (Buy It, $24, amazon.com) is a bestselling option on Amazon. Removal is also less of a pain than the traditional gel manicure removal process. Instead of soaking in acetone and scraping off the residue, you use a wooden stick to help peel them off. Specifically, "to remove the semi-cured gel, please soak the enclosed wood stick repeatedly with a remover and push the stick gently from the edges to the cuticle to minimize your nail damage," according to Ohora's directions. As with gel manicures, you can expect a few weeks of wear. Ohora says its products last "up to 17 days" while the brand GelMate claims its strips last "up to 2 weeks." (

If you're feeling a solid nail color, you can try an option like GelMate Semi Cured Gel Nail Wraps (Buy It, $13, amazon.com), which comes in 10 colors. At the other end of the spectrum, some of the nail polish strips feature intricate detailing that would be difficult to replicate with polish and appliqués. You can go with the swirly pastel version of Danni & Toni Gel Nail Strips (Buy It, $15, amazon.com) or Ohora N Moire (Buy It, $17, vanity-table.com) which incorporates a marbelized pattern and jewel accents. If you're more interested in a pedicure, you can decorate your toes with an option like Ohora P Blanc (Buy It, $14, vanity-table.com), which features an inverted French tip design. (

For some, home manicures are always a highly-involved ordeal, while for others, a few swipes of regular nail polish suffices. If you're someone who's into the ease of nail polish strips but prefer gel manicures' longevity, you can now try an option with elements of both.

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