There are several things I look for when it comes to my nails: long lasting color, shiny and fast drying. It's one of the reasons I love gel polish as much as I do. The one negative to gel polish is my nails get really long during those two weeks the color lasts and there's a large gap of unpainted nail at the base of my cuticles. For me, seven days is my happy place for polish. If I can get the color to last an entire week, I'm perfectly happy painting my nails again, but if I have to start all over any day before the seven day mark, it's not the best.
A while back, I tried the Formula X system from Sephora and I absolutely love it. I've tested the colors with and without the entire system, and honestly, it's the base coat the holds it all together. I like nail cleanser (on left) because it really cleans off any remaining polish or oils before you swipe on the base coat. I'm not kidding, the base coat is the way to go. I use it with all my polishes now because it just works.
The only part of the system I'm not knocked out about is the top coat. I don't know what it is, but from day one the top coat has always bubbled as it dried. I've been using the "Out the Door" top coat I found at Publix and it works fantastic. It is super shiny, thick and really holds up.
My favorite color for summer is "Pyrotechnic". It's a fantastic red. No hint of orange or pink to it, just a good true red shade. I applied two coats, but you'd be surprised how great one coat of polish looks. There's no streaks, just great color.
After two coats of polish, the last step of my manicure process is the "Ta Da" drops from Julep. I received this product in a recent Julep Maven box, and it's great. I'm not the type to sit around and wait on my nails to dry, but that leads to smudges. Instead, I use a drop or two of the quick dry drops on each nail, and I'm able to wait half the time of a normal dry time.
As you can see, I made it seven days (including two days in the pool) without any major issues. The color was wearing off at the tips, but that's because I sit at a computer all day and the typing is hard on the ends of my nails. I also had a bit of the grown out look going on at the base of my nails, but it's not overwhelmingly obvious.
I'm also very curious about the Formula X Press pods. You get 24 of the most popular shades in single use press pods. These would be great for travel or wanting to test and find your favorite colors without having to purchase the full-size bottles. One press pod will do all ten nails with two coats of polish. I've been wanting to try some new colors, so I'm thinking this is the way to go.
Affiliate links used, but all opinions are my own.