Martha Williams, drums
$50 at Michael Anthony SalonSpa(1001 W North Ave, 312-649-0707, michaelanthonyspa.com)
Results It’s been three weeks, and TOC’s assistant photo editor has only one chip. She banged her hands on a counter showing off the polish’s resilience and broke a nail instead. Still, the minor chip didn’t appear until a couple of days after the break. And she even had nail outgrowth before any chipping occurred.
Lauren Viera, bass
$50 at CiCi’s Nails(3323 N Lincoln Ave, 773-880-0989, cicinailslakeview.com)
Results Viera encountered a chip within her first week. “It’s probably because I don’t protect my nails when I’m doing a lot of stuff—typing, cleaning, etc. Otherwise, they’re still totally shiny,” Viera says. Lucky for her, this Lakeview salon offers free repairs if the manicure doesn’t stay perfect for two weeks. She also walked away with a gratis after-care package, which is included in the deal.
Laura Watral, guitar
$50 at Honey Child Salon & Spa(735 N LaSalle Dr, 312-573-1955, spasalon.com/honeychild)
Results Watral reports that she hasn’t had a single chip. “It’s by far my favorite manicure ever,” she says. “I don’t think I could go back to a regular manicure.”
Andrea Bauer, lead singer/guitar
$45 at Dynamic Studio(2346 N Clybourn Ave, 773-772-2772)
Results By the end of her second week, Bauer had more chips than any other band member. She blames her severely abusive nail activities: In addition to playing guitar, Bauer picks stickers off CDs and records at her day job at Reckless Records. Plus, she’s a nail biter. “In all reality, it didn’t stand a chance,” Bauer says. “Yet, it lasted longer than any manicure I’ve ever had.”
All four salons use the same procedure. Just like a regular mani, this one starts out with specialists cleaning and buffing the nails. Instead of coating cuticles with a slow-drying polish, the no-chip version features a gel, which is available in a variety of colors. Hands are then placed under a UVA dryer for a couple of minutes to freeze the gel; the polish-dry process is repeated a few more times. The no-chip takes a little longer than a typical manicure (about an hour), but you won’t have to hang around afterward waiting for your nails to dry.