Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Swatches & Review

Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab

Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab is a new duo out this spring that contains Coat of Arms (base coat) and Shining Armor (top coat). This is a gel-like nail system which is supposed to give you the high-gloss, long-wear, quick-dry look of a regular gel manicure but without the UV curing light.

It’s removable like any nail polish, just a simple nail remover takes it all off.

But does it really work?

Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab-2

Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab-3
Coat of Arms, Shining Armor

The instructions for use are pretty easy, basically like any manicure.

  • One coat of Coat of Arms base coat
  • Two coats of nail lacquer
  • One coat of Shining Armor top coat

You just wait a minute or two in-between all coats.

I tested this system out using Deborah Lippmannn’s Almost Paradise. I had no issues with the application at all. Everything was straight-forward as normal. No bubbling or unevenness with the top coat. It does dry pretty quickly but not as quickly as say Nubar Diamont, Poshe or Seche Vite. But still pretty quick!

Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Day One
Day one

Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Day One-2
Day one

So you can see my nails look shiny and smooth (if not a bit greasy from too much cuticle oil). I’m not sure that full-on squishy thing was happening like a traditional gel manicure though. It looked like any other normal manicure to my eye.

Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Day Two
Day two

Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Day Two-2
Day two

This is day two. It still looked nearly as perfect as it did after right applying with maybe a tiny bit of wear on my nail edges. Still shiny.

Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Day Three
Day three (left hand)

Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Day Three-2
Day three (right hand)

Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Day Three-3
Day three (left hand)

On day three there was some definite wear, mainly on my right hand, which I use more. My left hand looked pretty good, except for my thumb started cracking. It wasn’t as shiny as the day before and some scratches in the finish were showing. My right hand though had a lot of cracks, small chips and tip wear. Enough so that it was time for me to remove.

Overall: The normal amount of time I can wear any nail polish is 24-48 hours on average. This did extend my wear to 72 hours, but then I felt it wasn’t looking too fresh anymore. So yes it extended it a bit, but not that much. I was really hoping for 4 or even 5 days.

Availability: Nordstrom, Zappos,, Deborah Lippmann.

Pricing: $45.00.

Would you be interested in trying this or have you? What was your experience?


Note: Deborah Lippmann is cruelty free.

Disclosure: The product(s) in this post were provided to me by the manufacturer or their PR company for consideration. For more information please visit my legal page.

Do you like this product?

4 say yes!
63 say no!


  • February 12, 2013

    Thanks Kelly for reviewing this.I’m always on the lookout for the next best thing in gel-like nails since my own nails are fairly thin and weak and I’m too lazy to go to the salon and have the actual gel manicure refreshed or removed. I just tried NutraNail’s version of the “gel-like” strengthener – it’s awful, don’t waste your money! I was hoping Lippmann’s system would perform better in terms of wear, but was there any improvement in nail thickness and/or strength after application?

    • February 12, 2013

      Well my nails aren’t really flimsy or thin and they are very short, so other than the layers of polish, there wasn’t any extra added thickness or strength for me really.

    • February 12, 2013

      Leave it to Lippmann to come out with her own version of Gelous and charge $45 for it. Thanks for the review – I won’t be wasting my $.

      I used the Sally Hansen system with the UV light and got a full week out of a mani, which is about twice my usual wear time. My nails are on the thin side, and I did feel like the gel mani helped stiffen them up a bit (but only while I was wearing it – not like it actually strengthened my nails themselves).

      In lieu of purchasing a whole bunch of the gel polishes, I just apply the gel base coat and gel topcoat with no color, and then proceed with a regular manicure with basecoat, polish and topcoat. It definitely makes even a regular manicure last longer.

  • February 12, 2013

    Bummer that it didn’t last longer. I’ll stick to my Red Carpet Manicure Kit. Thanks for the review.
    Chris´s last post…There’s no other way to be BOLD for spring then with Burberry Lip Glow in Pink Sweet Pea No. 20My Profile

  • February 12, 2013

    I pretty much can only get 24 hours out of a traditional manicure. Gelous can get me 3 days and it looks similar to your day 3 above. I thinking will stick with that. It is cheaper. Also I do have the Red Carpet Manicure System that I love!

  • February 12, 2013

    I can usually get 2-3 days wear with just some kind of Orly top coat plus a layer of Seche Vite. Don’t need to shell out the $45. :-)
    Diane´s last post…Melon and Pumpkin PearlsMy Profile

  • February 12, 2013

    I’m soo glad you did a review! was thinking about buying this. I use shellac TOO MUCH and my nails show it. I ‘ll just stick to giving my self regular manicures in between shellac to give my nails a rest.

  • February 12, 2013

    Thanks for the review! I’ll probably pass on this since I only tend to wear a manicure for two days. Too bad it didn’t perform as well as they claim.

  • February 12, 2013

    I tried this system and was completely unimpressed! I followed the instructions to the letter, used only high end polishes (Lippmann, Chanel, Rococo, and A England) and it chipped in LESS time than my usual CND topcoats. So thankful for Nordstrom’s fab return policy!

  • February 12, 2013

    I was interested to hear your thoughts on this when I saw your post on Instagram but I don’t wear polish for longer than a few days anyways so I think this will be staying at Nordstrom LOL. I expected it to make a manicure last at least 4-5 days as well but with signs of wearing showing at 3 days, I think $45 is a tad much.
    Jacqueline´s last post…No Time To Paint Your Nails? Strip ‘em Instead!My Profile

  • February 13, 2013

    I was hoping this would be some kind of wonder-magic-potion that would make my nail polish last for a week or so, hence the perfect vacation kit! Thanks for reviewing and saving my money for more colorful polish :))
    Caroline @Good Lack, Nail!´s last post…ANNY Ocean Blue vs. China Glaze Shower togetherMy Profile

  • February 13, 2013

    I definitely won’t be trying this, and if I did want to try gel or gel-like polish, I wouldn’t spend $45 on this.

    Then again, I am one of the lucky ones. With basecoat and topcoat, I go 6-9 days with no chips and very minor tipwear almost every time, so I’ve never even considered gel polishes.

  • February 13, 2013

    Thanks for this review…… if I’m going to spend 45 dollars I expect more than 72 hours of wear. I can occasionally get that when I don’t let the polish my nails at the salon and polish them myself
    Kasey´s last post…Beauty Find of The Week: Viviscal Month 2My Profile

  • February 13, 2013

    Thanks for the review, I was curious about it (though the price made me reluctant to bite). Generally speaking I average at least 4 days out of a mani, but can get up to 5-6, the wear here doesn’t sound like it’s worth the price!

  • February 13, 2013

    What a bummer. I really want to find a way to get 5 days of wear out of my polish. Right now It looks great for 2, passes as good for 3 and needs to be removed during day 4. I’ve been toying with the idea of reapplying a top coat every day, but have no clue if it will work. Have you tried that before?
    Alison M´s last post…NYX Le Chick Flick Waterproof MascaraMy Profile

  • February 13, 2013

    what’s your favorite top coat and base coat?

    • February 13, 2013

      Base coat really isn’t that important to me, I usually use Qtica Natural Nail Growth Stimulator or Nubar Foundation. Nubar Diamont is my favorite top coat by far! But I also like China Glaze Fast Forward and Poshe.

  • February 13, 2013

    Thanks for the in depth review.

    I’m really interested in finding a good UV gel top coat or some kind of clear UV gel that I can use over my regular polishes to make them last longer! Looks like I’m going to have to do some experimenting!
    Michelle´s last post…Whew! University of Michigan EnspiRED Fashion ShowMy Profile

  • February 13, 2013

    There are other long wear systems out there – the reformulation of Revlon Color Stay is much like this one and I tend to get about the same results from it – a few shades maybe a couple more days with some touch up out of them. I did find it makes no difference on the Revlon one if I use their base and top coat at all = it’s the polish that really helps and I actually get longest wear out of it when I use my SV top coat! Like Michelle above said, I also find a good UV l top coat using a lamp to cure it with any non UV polish under that works just as good as all the gel lamp cured polishes I have tired. That helps me a lot with the whole idea of gels because I never want to give up the huge stash I have and some amazing shades I adore because they are maybe not as long lasting as others. I won’t be buying any more ‘systems’ other than I will get a new LED lamp as I still have my old UV lamp – tho now all I read says the UV lamp is not dangerous as once thought. But the LED’s will cure faster than the UVs. Thanks for the review. I think DL needs to go back to the drawing board on this one!

    • February 13, 2013

      @ beachgal-
      You brought up some stuff I never thought about with the gel polish vs gel topcoat alone- not to mention the whole UV/LED = bad or good thing, so thank you! I’ve been staying away from the gel stuff because of the UV danger, but now I see I need to investigate more. Awesome post. Thanks again.

  • February 13, 2013

    Thank you for this review! I was wondering about this system, and since you and I agree about top coat- Diamont- I totally trust your opinion.

  • February 13, 2013

    The packaging is cute! Too bad it didn’t extent wear much, though. I don’t have trouble with polishes not lasting so it’s probably not something I’d buy anyway
    Catherine (@bcrueltyfree)´s last post…NYX I Dream of St. Marteen Eyeshadow PaletteMy Profile

  • February 13, 2013

    I was all, “Hmm sounds interesting” and then I saw the price tag. Nope, sticking with Seche Vite or Revlon Quick Dry.

  • February 19, 2013

    I am a huge DL fan and have been eyeing this for some time. You just saved me $45. Really apprecaite your dedicated and detailed review!

  • April 7, 2013

    I guess I’m the only one who purchased this and had good results! I got 6days using this plus a cheapy sally hansen polish. I type on a computer all day at work, did some intense gardening, and it wasn’t until I did dishes and did some heavy duty kitchen cleaning that it finally chipped. With just polish alone, I was getting chips the second day just typing.

    • August 12, 2013

      You are not the only one! This product is amazing, my nailpolish never stays on for more than a day! With the gel lab products my nailpolish stays on for a week!
      I have really thin nails, they break as soon as my finger tips bump into something, however with this they look nicer after a couple of days use.
      I also use the nail primer and this other product from Lippmann called something like second nail if I’m not wrong, it comes with the fast track kit.
      I recommend this product!
      xoxo Norway!

  • June 18, 2013

    Thank you for this review! I saw this set on HSN (or QVC, one of those) yesterday and I was a little curious. Glad to know it’s not as great as the sellers made it seem before I considered purchasing it. (If I wanted a gel manicure, it’s because I would want the lasting–power of one).
    Sammi´s last post…Ipsy Glam Bag: June 2013My Profile