There are some things best left to professionals—you know, bikini waxing, highlights, microdermabrasion, that sort of thing. Gel manicures have typically fallen under the umbrella of “don’t try this at home.” But leave it to good ol’ Sally Hansen, the drugstore mainstay with a product to meet most every nail need (they’re not the #1 nail brand for nothing), to crack the code. Yep, they’re rolling out two easy-breezy at-home, or in-office—or anywhere with an electrical outlet, really—gel manicure options. Which means two weeks of DIY chip-free nails, in about the same amount of time it takes to do a typical base-coat-color-color-top-coat number. And shocker of all shockers: it might also be neater. And: it won’t destroy your nails. In fact, it kind of protects them.

To see for ourselves, we asked our friend and nail polish/art/Salon Effects aficionado (and, oh yeah, major model) Eniko Mihalik to swing by the Gloffice for a little guided experimentation (also on hand to play referee: manicurist-to-the-stars Tracylee, who also happens to be Sally’s new Nail Ambassador). First up: the Salon Insta-Gel Strips, which are basically the cousin of the über-popular Salon Effects. The starter kit comes with sixteen pre-cut, pre-colored gel polish strips (enough shapes to fit every nail—trust us), a magical top coat (not just any will do), and the cutest darn mini LED lamp you’ve ever seen. Seriously, it’s quite a showstopper. The box also contains little bits and bobs for cleaning and smoothing your nail bed. The whole thing feels very ‘grown-up Easy Bake Oven’…and do you remember how much fun that was?!?!

Anyway, we do, and we also quite enjoyed the pseudo-challenge (it was way easier than we thought) of this at-home gel business. What we enjoyed even more was the super-glossy, buttery, professional-looking results. And two weeks later, nary a scuff in sight! Check out part one of our adventure right here, and then choose your own with Sally Hansen’s intriguingly matchmaker-esque “My Two Weeks” Facebook app. In addition to channeling your inner diary-keeper, you could also win a gel kit. All from the comfort of your sofa…or your desk, if you’re lucky enough to call playing with nails your job. *Wink*

Video music: “Forever” by HAIM
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