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Found: A Nail Polish That Lasts Like a Gel (Without the UV Lamp)

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Welcome to Esther Tested, where surfer and Racked SF associate editor Esther Hahn shares her best tips for fitness and beauty in the Bay.

Caption/Instagram
Caption/Instagram

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A nail polish that behaves like a gel—without the UV lamp and the painful removal process—sounds like a polish that only exists in dreams. The kinds that feature nail art, of course. But Caption Polish is doing exactly that with its colorful lacquers. The secret is a multi-patented, proprietary technology called LacQ3, and it promises a chip-free mani for up to nine days. The polishes are also highly pigmented and only require single coats to achieve the colors' full effects. I put the polish to the test throughout a week of travel, surfing, and hands-on work in my garden and barn to see how well Caption delivers.

From the very first swipe of polish, I had reason to believe that Caption wasn't overplaying its capabilities. The color was vibrant and the texture was smooth. The application happened right before the Racked Awards party in NYC, and I braved the subway with a fresh set of nails. It wasn't the actual subway ride that worried me—it was fishing out my Metrocard from the depths of my wallet. But to my surprise, the polish didn't scuff or budge.

Now it's six days since the Caption mani, and my nails look great. There's slight chipping on a couple of nails, but the overall look is significantly better than standard polish would look a week later. It's also important that I can take off the polish using polish remover at home, (especially for those late night polish changes), so I'm willing to trade a true gel for a few chips. Caption also says that its formula strengthens brittle nails, which explains why my nails, which are prone to breaking, feel stronger than ever.

Overall, Caption Polish is impressive—as long as your expectations are reasonable. The polish does chip (albeit, minimally), and a perfect mani won't last nine days. That said, it is the best non-gel option that I've ever tried. Each color will retail for $12 when the brand launches to the public at the end of the month. Either stock up for DIY manis at home or ask your local SF nail salon to carry the full collection. Welcome to your next nail addiction; at least it'll last longer than the rest.
· Caption Polish [Official Site]
· Esther Tested [Racked SF]