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Samantha Faragalli
Sep 24, 2015 @ 1:00 pm

Ah, acrylic nails. They bring me back to my middle school days—a time when a few of my best girlfriends and I would head to the salon more than ready to get a fresh “full set.” I always came home with bright colors my mother never approved of (looking back, I seriously don’t know what I was thinking—lime green was never my color). When I finally traded in my way too long tips, I was shocked at the poor condition of my nails. That said, I immediately gave my nails break in order to nurse them back to good health.

When it came time to spruce up my hands again, I was stumped at which route to take (a traditional manicure chips within days, and I don’t have the time for frequent salon visits). That’s why I’ve rounded up the three best long-lasting alternatives to acrylics. The best part? You can achieve them all on your own—no salon visit necessary. Below, I break down my picks.

Gel Manicures

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For vibrant color and irresistible shine, a gel manicure is the way to go. Thanks to the myriad of gel nail polish formulas, creating this durable, high-gloss mani outside the salon is now a possible feat—no UV light necessary! These typically last between 2-3 weeks.

Shop it: Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish, $7; target.com, Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy Longwear Nail Enamel, $5; target.com. Nails Inc. Gel Effect, $15; sephora.com,.

RELATED: 3 Ways to Remove Your Gel Manicure Without Going to the Salon

Press-On Nails

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Talk about a drugstore steal? Press-on nails come in a plethora of on-trend colors and are the effortless version of a perfect mani. To successfully apply, peel off the backing and press onto the nail gently. The best part? There is no dry time and the removal process is uncomplicated and mess-free—simply peel off and toss.

Shop it: Broadway Nails impress Press-On Manicure, $6; target.com, Revlon Color Allure Press On Nails $7; drugstore.com.

Nail Stickers

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Nail stickers are a great way to get fun, unique nail designs without all the hassle and extra time. These long-lasting accessories come in a wide range of chic patterns and colors and are easy to use. Simply apply the sticker to the nail, file off any excess sticker and finish off with a clear top coat for a shiny, gel-like effect.

Shop it: Essie Sleek Stick Stickers, $10; sephora.com, Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Stickers, $7; walgreens.com, Incoco Nail Polish Applique, $7; target.com

Related Video: I'm Obsessed: Nails Inc x Alice + Olivia

RELATED: 6 Secrets to Making Your Manicure Last Longer

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