I love the way my nails look with a fresh manicure. I don't love the way I usually smudge them before I even leave the salon. I also like to leave my nails natural because I don't like the feel of the acrylic overlay.
I have found the perfect solution: Shellac.
Shellac goes on like nail polish, so there is no damage to the nail unlike with acrylics. It's similar to a regular manicure - bottom coat, color, top coat - but after each layer your nails "bake" under a little UV lamp to set the polish. Immediately after the top coat is finished, the polish is basically indestructible. Oh, and the finish lasts 2 weeks. Hallelujah!
It was a bit more expensive than a regular manicure but took the same amount of time (about 45 minutes).
The only downside is that not every color is available; I originally wanted black but the closest color was a dark brown. So instead I opted for the traditional French. There are several other brands with a similar product (Shellac is made by CND; OPI also has one, and the salon I use had one other that I can't recall the name), so there are enough choices to find a good color.