I feel so ladylike and put-together when I have a fresh manicure, but that same polish job makes me feel like a sloppy slacker when it chips a few days later. I’ve tried a couple of things to solve this problem. I was a dedicated daily re-applier of Nail Tek Xtra, but then I got a life. Now I’ve settled on boring light colors that make peeling polish less noticeable, along with Creative Nail Design’s Stickey Base Coat. I was really excited when I read about O.P.I.’s Axxium Soak-Off Gels, a permanent nail lacquer that lasts and lasts. It’s basically the same powder used for acrylic nails applied thinner. When dried under a UV light, the powder forms a chip-proof bond with the nail. To maintain the color, wearers get “color fills,” similar to an acrylic tips fill-in, when their nails grow out. Permanent in this sense doesn’t mean you have to rock the same nail color forever, though. Regular nail polish can be applied on top of the Soak-Off Gels. And the gels are removed by soaking the nails in an acetone solution. I wore acrylic tips and linen wraps for about five years and can tell you that anything harsher than regular nail varnish applied to the fingernails will inevitably cause some damage. Acrylic and acetone are especially damaging to the nail because they strip all moisture. Not to mention the aggressive filing that is required to make the powder dry smooth. After removing the Axxium Soak-Off Gels, you’ll be left with severely weakened nails that can take up to a year to grow out. Your polish will undoubtedly chip then, and you’ll be back to where you started.