Good Day Sunshine
SUMMER SCENARIO: You're psyched for a weeklong surfside retreat but fear your glossy mani-pedi will get scuffed and stained within the first couple days.
QUICK FIX: Splurge on a long-lasting paint-on gel color treatment a day or two before departure. Sandy beaches are great for smoothing rough heels and calloused soles but terrible for keeping your polish immaculate. Gritty and abrasive, sand can dull a topcoat and chip away at color before you even reach the surf. Add to that UV exposure, which can leave pale or clear nail lacquers with a dirty, yellowish tinge, and you can count on disastrous digits.
OPI's GelColor in-salon manicures (about $28 to $38) and pedicures (about $35 to $45—go to opi.com to find a local nail salon or spa) produce durable color that stays shiny and perfect for two to three weeks. The company makes 42 vibrant colors that can be layered together for even more options.
Conveniently, the treatment requires no drying time, so you can slip into your sandals immediately after application.
The trick to maintaining the pristine look of the salon treatment: cuticle oil. A generous dose of jojoba-, apricot-, or almond-infused cuticle oil twice a day on hands and feet keeps nails pliable and cuticles well-lubed. (Sand absorbs moisture, so best to douse your nail beds with oil post-beach.)
If you want to change up your color before the three weeks is up, the gel color makes a nice, smooth foundation for regular nail polish—just swipe it on over top, no base coat needed. (Fix mistakes with a non-acetone polish remover, which will not disturb the gel color.)
And if you're short on prep time before your trip, clean up your cuticles, then pack some stick-on polish strips (also no drying time required). They adhere in minutes and can be removed like regular nail polish. Sephora makes playful patterns for fingers, and now Sally Hansen's Salon Effects come in sizes (and styles) designed especially for toes.
MC RECOMMENDS: OPI GelColor in Cajun Shrimp, Strawberry Margarita, Suzi Says Feng Shui, and A Grape Fit (at salons); Sally Hansen Salon Effects Pedicure in Toe-riffic! and Pink Boa, $10 each; CND SolarOil, $12; Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil, $8.