It holds up against all of the La Croix cans I pop open.

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Yes, You Really Do Need a Top Coat for Your Nails. This Is the Best One
Credit: Kseniya Ovchinnikova/Getty

I've learned the hard way that your manicure is only as good as your top coat. Hand washing dishes, digging for my keys at the bottom of my bag, and figuring out zippers have all been ways I used to chip my nails just a day after painting them. But in an effort to extend the life of my at-home manicures, so painting my nails wouldn't always be a complete waste of time, I've found that tossing my basic top coat for one with a gel finish formula has done the trick.

With no UV light required, Sally Hansen's Miracle Gel Top Coat acts like an invisible shield that seals in color polish and protects it from chipping and looking dull. The translucent polish makes whatever shade you just painted your nails look brighter, shinier, and overall, your nails just look healthier with it on.

Like the name implies, the formula is supposed to mimic the look and lifespan of a gel manicure you'd get at a salon, and it does just that. The top coat always keeps my nails chip-free for a week, despite all of the cans of La Croix I pop open and burned frying pans I scrub with cheese cloth on a regular basis. In fact, I believe this top coat is why my DIY manicures always seem to last a couple days longer than the ones I get from fancy salons. But even when I treat myself to a salon manicure, I go over it with Sally Hansen's top coat when I get home so I can ride out that $45 paint job as long as possible.

VIDEO: How Much It Costs to Maintain a Gel Manicure

The fact that this gel finish formula lets me go a whole week without having to touch up or entirely redo my manicure is the number one reason it's the only top coat I'll use. But, the brush deserves a shout out, too. Shaped like your nail, it's wide, flat, and has a curved edge so it covers the entire nail in one stroke — without getting any polish on your cuticles.