Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab System | Review & Results



The New Healthy Alternative to Gel Manicures. No Lamps. No Tools. No Damage to Nails.

PRICE DETAILS: $45 for 2 .5 fl.oz. bottles (♦♦♦♦♦)

PRESENTATION: Standard square glass bottles with brush applicator.

KEY FEATURES: COAT OF ARMS Base Coat. Formulated with epoxy resin for extended wear and acrylic to strengthen the nails. High viscosity for protection. SHINING ARMOR Top Coat. Formulated with polymers, resins and acrylics for strength. High viscosity helps create more deposit on nail upon application giving a heavier layered effect with super high shine and yet ultra-quick drying. Both are infused with Biotin, Green Tea Extract and Aucoumea.

QUICK REVIEW: This long-wearing base/top coat combo makes a DIY mani/pedi last longer than other OTC products and is easily removed without damage to the nails. However, it doesn’t hold a candle to the wear and shine of gel manicures.


COSMETIC PRODUCT REVIEWS Gel manicures offer high shine, chip free, long lasting results that cannot be replicated by normal nail polish. While these results are amazing, they are typically more expensive than regular manicures, require extra steps and UV/LED lamps and the removal process is damaging. Companies are now offering simpler at-home versions that replicate SOME of the benefits of gel manicures without the damage and difficulty.

DEBORAH LIPPMANN - ACROSS THE UNIVERSEDeborah Lippmann offers some of the most creative, beautiful and trendy nail lacquers on the market (her current GIRLS inspired collection is really cool). Her Diamonds and Pearls shade is the only polish I’ve ever finished up! I also love the look and wear of gel manicures but my nails cannot weather the damage and I don’t have time to go to the nail salon on a regular basis. So when I happened upon the DEBORAH LIPPMAN GEL LAB set at the Ala Moana Nordstrom – I handed over my money with little hesitation.

Deborah Lippmann Across the Universe (read REVIEW) →

the PRODUCT & APPLICATION: Coat of Arms (Base Coat) and Shining Armor (Top Coat) apply like their civilian counterparts (with the recommendation that you wait at least 1 minute between each coat). Nothing dramatically different here. Both steps DO NOT require a lamp, tools or extra steps.

I decided to use a dark shade that would really show imperfections and chips – Estee Lauder Pure Color Nail Lacquer in Blue Blood was my first choice. The shade is almost black (with 2 coats) but reflects a distinctive blue. Just for comparison, I used my normal base coat/top coat combination – Salon Sciences Instant Artificials (read REVIEW) and Seche Ultra-V which requires the use of a small UV lamp. I did Gel Lab on my left hand and Salon Sciences/Seche combo on my dominant right hand.

NOTE: I was very busy doing CPR training during the test – which gave my nails a lot of action. My nails are normally bare or a pale color because chipped polish drives me crazy!


After applying base coat – 2 coats polish – top coat with the recommended one minute in between coats (and a dose from the Seche UV lamp on its respective side) – the shine on the Seche side was a bit more vibrant (and still looks shinier a week later).

GEL NAILSAfter 2 days the Salon Sciences/Seche side started to chip. After 4 days – chipping was very obvious on the Salon Sciences/Seche side and starting to show on the Gel Lab side. At this point I would normally “mend” the manicure by patching the chipped area and tipping it with coordinating glitter to prolong the manicure – but I pushed through.

←My one and only gel manicure. I loved it – but it wrecked my nails.

By the one week mark the Salon Sciences/Seche side was a done deal with big chips and obvious wear. Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab fared substantially better, showing minimal chips considering what I did this week. Would I let it go for another week (gel manicures typically last about 2 weeks or more depending on nail growth)? No way. I’ll be giving myself a manicure during the half time show of the Superbowl.

TEST #1:


TEST #2 (NOT SHOWN): Just to be thorough, I did a second test. I did the same test with Revlon Color Stay Longwear Nail Enamel in Calla Lily, using the Colorstay Base Coat and ROCK Top Coat ($7.99, – using the Seche Ultra V lamp to set the top coat. In this case, the Revlon Base/ROCK Top Coat side (Right Hand) wore close to, if not marginally better than the Gel Lab side (Left Hand). Being that I’m right handed, I put the drugstore side at a disadvantage by putting it on my right hand.

THE FINAL ROARWhile the Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab did a nice job in creating a smooth base and long lasting top coat – it didn’t do better than similar products that were much more affordable.

WOULD I BUY THIS AGAINNo. I’ll use it up – it was $45 after all and still a better deal than a $60 manicure that will only last 2 weeks. But the Revlon Colorstay Nail Enamel system, ROCK Top Coat or even the new Instagel System by Sally Hansen are less expensive and just as effective (if not better).


PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: Gel-like innovation at your fingertips. No lamp. No extra tools. Just nail lacquer. Follow the easy Gel Lab system to achieve the look of a gel manicure with extended wear, 360-degree brilliance and ultra-quick dry time. Simply remove by using The Stripper or any nail lacquer remover.
DIRECTIONS FOR USE: For the longest wear, wait one minute between each coat. Apply one coat of Coat of Arms Gel Lab Base Coat. Follow with two coats of any Deborah Lippmann nail color. Finish with one coat of Shining Armor Gel Lab Top Coat.
COAT OF ARMS BASE COAT INGREDIENTS: Ethyl Acetate, Butyl Acetate, SD Alcohol 40-B, Nitrocellulose, Tosylamide/Epoxy Resin, Isopropyl Alcohol, Trimethyl Pentanyl Diisobutyrate, Triphenyl Phosphate, Steralkonium Hectorite, Sucrose Benzoate, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Citric Acid, Dimethicone, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Aucoumea Klaineana Resin Extract, Biotin.
SHINING ARMOR TOP-COAT INGREDIENTS: Ethyl Acetate, Isopropyl Alcohol, Butyl Acetate, Cellulose Acetate Butyrate, Trimethyl Pentanyl Diisobutyrate, Triphenyl Phosphate, Acrylates Copolymer, Adipic Acid / Neopentyl Glycol / Trimellitic Anhydride Copolymer, Benzophenone-1, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Aucoumea Klaineana Resin Extract, Biotin, Violet 2.
Free of Formaldehyde, Toluene, DBP, Camphor or Parabens.
Information Source: Gel Lab box. Cosmetic Monster is not responsible for any errors. See actual packaging for more information.




5 thoughts on “Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab System | Review & Results

  1. I’ve been using Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Acrylic Gel + Nylon & it peels off after 1 night of bartending. I can literally peel the entire layer off. The Sally Hansen Thicken-Up is a little better, but it CHIPS off in islands, instead of peeling, which is pretty ugly & can’t be fixed without literally filling the surface of the nail down. Someone recommended Gelish to me, which is basically what I was getting at the salon but applied like regular nail polish; it still requires a UV light. Any thoughts?

    1. I like Salon Sciences Instant Artificials from Sally Beauty Supply (not Sally Hansen) if you’re just going to do clear. Its like regular polish. I would also use a prep before application – or just wipe the nail well with alcohol (not the tequila kind!). I also like Essie Millionails.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s