Lasting Color? No-Chip Polish Examined

Does no-chip polish sound like a dream come true or what?
Does no-chip polish sound like a dream come true or what?
Ken Browar Productions Inc./Getty Images

Whether you climb mountains or wash dishes, you want pretty nails that won't chip as you scrub the broiler pan or reach for your date's hand at the movies. Now, you're in luck: No-chip nail polish, a staple in spas and salons for years, is also available for home application. Let's get the lowdown – that means all the pros and cons -- on this polish that works as hard as you do, and can still handle a night on the town.

A variety of no-chip polishes are available for salon application, including CNDShellac and OPI gels. Both brands claim your manicure will last a couple of weeks without chipping.


At the salon, no-chip polish goes on just like regular polish. Here's where the no-chip part comes in: One at a time, the stylist places your nails under a UV lamp, where they cure and dry instantly. All in all, the procedure costs between $40 and $50.

For a fraction of that cost -- about $3 per manicure -- you can get an in-home, no-chip kit. Choose the color of your dreams and use the LED lights that come with the kit to set the finish. These in-home manicures will also last a couple of weeks without chipping.

No-chip manicures may sound like the answer to your chipped nail prayers, but there are two things to keep in mind: No-chip polish must be carefully removed with acetone-soaked cotton wrapped around the nails to soften the polish before it is scraped off. If you or your nail technician scrapes the polish before it softens, layers of your nail or, in the worst cases, your entire nail can come off. In addition, the repeated application of no-chip polishes can cause thinning and weakness of the nails. Both CND and OPI recommend you use state-licensed manicurists who have been trained in the no-chip method you choose.

The other concern with salon no-chip manicures is the UV light used to cure the nails. Some doctors believe exposure to UV light is a potential risk factor for skin cancer, though industry scientists disagree. If you're worried about this risk cover your hands with a cloth or sunscreen before having your nails done.

Learn more about beautiful nails from the links on the next page.


Lots More Information

Related Articles

  • Chen, Andrea F., MD, Chimento, Stacy M., MD, Hu, Shasa, MD, Sanchez, Margaret, MD, Zaiac, Martin, MD, and Tosti, Antonella, MD. "Nail damage from gel polish manicure." Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. November 2011. (September 10, 2012)
  • Sanders, Jamie Allison and Fernholz, Katherine. "The No-Chip Manicure: Pros, Cons and Everything In Between." December 2012. (September 10, 2012)
  • "Long-lasting manis for less." Shape. January 2012. (September 10, 2012)
  • Zekman, Pam. "No-Chip Manicures Can Go Wrong." CBS Chicago. July 30, 2012. (September 10, 2012)