This Nail Polish Gives You a Salon-Worthy French Manicure In Seconds

I'll never pay for an overpriced manicure again.

Perfect Formula Pink Gel Coat nail polish
Photo: Perfect Formula

Manicures have always been a special treat for me. Ever since I had my first one at 12 years old, the hour-long, $35+ (don't even get me started on nail art prices!) pampering sessions have been reserved only for occasions such as week-long vacations, high school dances, and family weddings.

Yet I almost always end up smudging the polish to the point of no return, despite my best efforts to preserve the works of art on my fingertips. I'll slowly snake my manicured hands through my coat sleeves, but half my nails will come out looking like they got into a boxing match with the fabric inside — and lost. I'll hop into my car and smack my thumb on the steering wheel, leaving a huge divet in my freshly painted nails. I'll wash and dry my hands with tacky polish and end up with an imprint of the towel on my nail beds.

Over the years, my smudging streak came to turn me off from manicures completely, and I began embracing the au naturel look for every day and any occasion. Then the Perfect Formula Pink Gel Coat (Buy It, $30, showed up in my Glossybox subscription two years ago. (If you haven't heard of Glossybox, it's a monthly subscription box for premium beauty products.)

From the first swipe of the bubblegum-tinted clear coat, I was hooked. My nail beds suddenly glowed with a healthy rose hue, my tips radiated a cotton color rather than their usual eggshell shade, and the polish was bone dry in just one minute. It was the instant French manicure I didn't know I needed.

Seriously, look at this transformation:

Before and After using Perfect Formula Pink Gel Coat
Megan Falk

Just like filling in your eyebrows, swiping on this natural-looking, quick-drying polish makes you feel put together even when you're rocking a messy bun and hoodie. The formula contains an optical brightener to filter out any yellow appearance in your tips, along with keratin, which makes the clear coat an actual suit of armor for your nails. This was another bonus: After a few uses, my once weak and pliable nails no longer broke after the slightest bend in the wrong direction.

The polish's chip-resistant formula can withstand the daily wear and tear of typing and weightlifting, and it can even weather the efforts of the most determined nail-polish pickers. Perfect Formula recommends removing your coat once a week before re-applying, but your French manicure can last much longer than that: I've left my polish on for a month, and my grown-out nail beds were the only sign of its old age.

Thanks to this easy French manicure nail polish, completing everyday tasks after my nails are painted no longer has to turn into a game of Operation. And the clean and polished look isn't saved for once-in-a-blue-moon moments anymore. Sure, I skipped the nail salon and painted on a coat of the pink formula before my college graduation and every job interview, but I also swipe it on before making a Saturday morning Target run or a stop by my favorite coffee shop.

Considering one long-lasting bottle costs less than one salon manicure, I can't imagine I'll give up my at-home alternative any time soon.

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