Gel nails have become the new norm when it comes to regular manicures. The long-lasting, shiny effect that these artificial nails give make it an easy, low maintenance option for the working woman.

That is of course, until it all comes off.

The incessant scraping and filing of nail surfaces usually leave them feeling weakened and raw. Some of us are quick to layer it over with another round of gel, while others swear off it altogether.

Cue Depend’s GelLack System, an at-home gel nail kit that claims to have the same beautifying benefits without the damage – the polishes are removed with just oil and water.

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I tested the Obligatory Start Kit, $99, which comprises of an LED lamp, a “Before/After Cleanser”, an orange wood stick, as well as a gel base and top coat. On top of the kit, I also used a medium-beige nail colour of the same brand in the shade Desert Nude, $13.50.

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The process is easy and does not require more than half an hour, though it takes time to get used to.

First, use the Before/After Cleanser on bare nails and apply the base coat; let it sit under the LED lamp for 30 seconds. Next, repeat this with two coats of nail polish.

Your nails will feel sticky even after putting them under the lamp, but don’t fret. All you have to do is to wipe off any excess with the same cleanser after each layer, making sure not to leave any fingerprints or dent marks.

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It’s also important to clean up any “bleeding” of nail polish onto the cuticles and sides of the nails, or you’ll be stuck with messy, hard edges when the whole process is over.

Finally, finish off with a thin layer of top coat, again, wiping off the excess after it hardens. I found the last step to be essential – the top coat seals the colour and gives the most shine.

The nude colour I was using however, required three coats for complete coverage, though I used two on some nails for trial purposes.

For two weeks, the shine held up very well, though naturally, some of the edges had started to loosen after the one and a half-week mark.

But the “looser” nails were incredibly easy to remove. After massaging the remover oil on my nails and soaking them in warm water – 40 degrees celsius is best – a simple nudge with an orange stick was all it took to have it peel off in one neat layer.

Having more coats didn’t necessarily mean that they were tougher to remove, too – there was no difference.

Instead, the wear-time is what matters most.

I tried removing the gel nails at three different time periods – a day, a week and two weeks. Naturally, it was almost impossible to remove after a day of wear; it required a good amount of scraping at the one week mark, too.

And true to its claims, my nails looked exactly the same as before, with no rough and uneven surfaces to grow out.

Overall, the Depend GelLack system is a great investment for all gel nail addicts. But be prepared to keep the nails on for at least two weeks, even if you made a mistake during application. And as with all nail polishes, certain colours may require additional coats for full coverage, though it will not affect the ease of removal.

Want more details on this gel nail system? You’ll find it here, and a step-by-step video guide on how to use it, then check out what cool nail designs are trending now for your next DIY manicure!