Powerhouse Pair for a Perfect Ten

If I have an hour to myself, you can bet I'll spend it at the gym - not at a salon.

If I have a gift card to a spa, it's going toward a massage - not a manicure.

Oh, and then there was this New York Times story, exposing abusive salon conditions in the tri-state area.  

Having a professional tend to my talons falls pretty low on my list of priorities, but when time permits, who doesn't love to have perfectly-manicured mitts?  And who doesn't curse under her breath (or out loud) at the first sign of a chip?  

Obviously, a gel manicure is the way to go.  If you don't feel like ponying up for an at-home LED/UV lamp (and who does?), then Gelous is the answer.  

You'll find dozens of tutorials on Pinterest advising the use of a white buffer before applying Gelous as a base coat, then between coats, and finishing with your choice of top coat.  This will produce a long-lasting manicure (about five days).  To make it really last, some bonding needs to be involved - specifically Bonder by Orly.  The steps to success follow:

1.  Apply Bonder by Orly on clean, dry nails (buffing not necessary).

2.  Follow with polish of choice (Essie, Brucci, and L'Oreal have all worked).

3.  Allow to dry, apply Gelous.

4.  Repeat steps 2 and 3.

My one gripe with this process is that it is a bit time-consuming, but in the end it's worth it - especially for a pedicure!  I can live without having my nails done, but bare toenails make me feel like some sort of untamed creature.  Follow these steps and you'll have perfect toes for up to a month.