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September 11, 2014

There are many DIY gel manicure kits on the market, but Ciate's Geltox Starter Kit ($99; sephora.com) might just be the speediest version yet. The LED light claims to lock in the shatter-proof effect in just one minute, with results that last as long as the gel nails you get in a salon. In the midst of Fashion Week, we asked InStyle.com Assistant Editor Marianne Mychaskiw to try out the kit and report back on the results. Keep reading to find out what she thought!

Though Fashion Week is one of my favorite times of the year (aside from the holidays and my birthday, of course), it can be hard to get very much done between shows and backstage appointments. I was in dire need of a manicure, but didn't have time to spend an hour in the salon waiting for my nails to dry with all the exciting events happening, so when I heard that Ciate's Geltox Kit promised a full-on gel mani in just one minute, I was convinced the beauty gods had answered my prayers.

Instead of springing for a coordinating gel nail polish, I was able to use the rainbow of hues already in my lacquer collection, and the set was so easy to use. After buffing and shaping your nails, simply push back your cuticles, run the Geltox cleanser over each nail bed, and apply the polish of your choice. Once your lacquer is dry, sweep on the Geltox top coat and let it cure under the LED light for one minute. Your nails will come out totally finished, not to mention mirror-level shiny, and any leftover residue can be whisked away with a cotton ball soaked in the Geltox cleanser.

One thing: Make sure you let your nail color dry completely before applying the top coat— as in, dry enough to dig for your keys in your handbag without smudging anything. My nails seemed dry enough when I layered on the final coat, but lo and behold, my ring finger and pinky hadn't completely set. Because of that, I had to give them a few more passes under the LED light, but I eventually got the gem-like salon effect the kit promised. If you're impatient like I am, run your digits under cold water or blast them with your hair dryer before applying the gel to ensure things don't get messy.

Thanks to the brand's Gel Detox Kit, which comes equipped with removal solution and these cool cotton pads that literally wrap around your finger to dissolve the gel, changing out your color no longer requires soaking your digits in acetone, but I haven't quite gotten to that point yet. My shiny nude nails have survived Fashion Week thus far, so I'm willing to see how many weeks I can ride out this look before it's time to make a switch.

Check out the Fashion Week manicures we love in our gallery!

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