3 Chip-Free Alternatives to Traditional Nail Polish


I love a freshly manicured hand. It just makes me feel a bit . . . fancy. Put together. I’ve always been kind of a girly girl.

But you know what really irks me? When I spend an hour painting my nails to perfection and they chip the very next day. I’m a busy mom. My time is valuable, and I bet yours is too.

I’ve tried most of the different nail polish alternatives, and I’m here to give you the run-down on each one. Honestly, I think they are all superior to regular ol’ nail polish.

3 Chip-Free Alternatives to Traditional Nail PolishAt-Home Gel Manicure Kit

These kits can be purchased at Sally Beauty, Ulta, or online. Sally Hansen and Gelish are two popular brands. They require several steps (base coat, color, top coat) and come with a UV light to cure between each step. The result is, in my opinion, a salon-quality gel manicure.


They are beautiful, shiny, and durable. It’s literally impossible to chip them, and you can wear them until they start to grow out. They have a large color selection as well!


The kit is expensive compared to a bottle of nail polish but would pay for itself if you use it a lot. The manicure process is a bit time-consuming with lots of steps. But the second you complete the manicure, the nails are fully cured and dry. No more waiting for them to dry while you try to avoid household talks but inevitably mess them up anyway!

Nail Stickers

Colorstreet is a popular manufacturer of this manicure style, but I’ve also seen similar products at Ulta and Target. You place them on just like a sticker and then “score” or trim off the excess.


Application is super fast and easy–much more enjoyable than a traditional polish or gel manicure. Again, they barely chip and you can easily wear them for 1-2 weeks.


They don’t look as perfect and glossy as the other options. Mine tend to get tiny cracks the longer I wear them, although the cracks are barely visible to anyone except me. There aren’t as many color options as regular nail polish provides.

Press-On Nails

Press-on nails are amazing. My first experience with press-on nails was with cheap, tacky nails that I applied as a wee 10 year old, so I had to push beyond that association and give them another try. Some use glue and some use a sticky adhesive, but you simply pick the correct size nail and stick it on. I’ve used Kiss and Impress brands, and they can be found at most drugstores.


Press-on nails are the fastest and simplest of all options. They are impossible to chip and can be worn for a very long time (possibly several weeks). If you have short, stubby, chewed-up nails (me!), then you can add some length and create beautiful, uniform nails.


I’ve occasionally had one pop off which is a bummer if you are on vacation. But if you are at home, it’s easy to reapply another one from the package. It might take a few attempts to learn just the right amount of glue to apply so they stay put. The color selection is limited compared to traditional nail polish options.

All these options are a bit more expensive than traditional nail polish but way more affordable than a trip to the salon. Your nails will look perfect for weeks! Most importantly, you won’t waste your precious time. So why not give it a try?

Put those kids to bed, pop on a good television show, and treat yourself to a manicure!

Originally published July 2021.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.