My beauty confession: I hate getting my nails done. Not only can it take a long time, but it also can end up being expensive! The only thing worse than shelling out all that cash to get your nails looking just so is that moment, right after you leave the salon, when you glance down only to find a chip (although this top coat might help). Of course, there is always gel polish — but, again, get ready to pay for it. A typical gel manicure in San Francisco costs around $30, which is a big jump from the average $15 cost for a regular mani.


My nails chip really easily because I’m typing all day everyday, but getting gel manicures — which last significantly longer than regular manis — is too expensive for me. That’s why I turn to this trusty nail salon hack to walk away with a gel manicure (and pedicure) for the price of a regular mani. Needless to say, it’s saved me tons of money!

Why I Love Bringing Nail Polish to the Salon


What It Is: Go to the drugstore and buy a couple of the gel nail polishes they offer. My favorites are Essie Gel Couture ($11) and Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Twin Packs ($16 for a color and top coat). These two types of polishes are my essentials when I visit the salon. You don’t need a heat lamp to dry them or anything special — just treat them like normal nail polish colors.

How It Works: When you get to the salon, explain that you’d like a regular mani/pedi with the nail polish you brought. You can save even more money if you just opt for a color change (I do this when I don’t need all the bells and whistles of a full-service treatment — SO much less expensive!). Done and done!

Where You Can Find It: Gel nail polish is becoming hugely popular for good reason, so you won’t have any trouble finding lots of affordable options at a drugstore. For me, it’s all about how the polish wears (I get at least a full week with the Sally Hansen and Essie products I mentioned) and the variety of colors offered in the line. Stock up on your faves and get ready to get your nails did.

Why This Is My Beauty Confession: This is my beauty confession because it’s a total game-changer for me. I dislike having bare nails, but also dislike paying $50+ every month (sometimes twice a month!) to get a fresh mani/pedi. This hack allows you to have polished nails with gel that will *actually* last while still saving significant money each time you step out of the salon.

Follow us on Pinterest for more beauty confessions.

Brit + Co may at times use affiliate links to promote products sold by others, but always offers genuine editorial recommendations.