The latest at home gel polish that I will be reviewing is from Gelish. Gelish promises that their manicures last up to three weeks without chipping - and I found this to be the case. At the three week mark I only had one nail that chipped and that was because the nail was flaking before I put the polish on. I was hoping that the gel might save the nail but I was opening a soft drink can and off chipped the nail, polish and all.
You need a few things to be able to do the Gelish soak off gel polish at home.
Firstly, a lamp to cure the polish. Gelish use LED lamps to cure their polishes. The difference between UV and LED lamps is the wave lengths of light that are emitted. The polishes contain photoinitiators that are activated when exposed to light of certain wave lengths. The photoinitiators are different in UV polishes compared with LED polishes; therefore, you need to make sure that you have the correct lamp for your polish. If you are going to use gel polishes from different brands, make sure that all the polishes are cured with the same type of lamp. If you use the wrong type of lamp, the photoinitiators won't become activated and you polish won't cure and harden.
I used the Mini Pro:45 LED Curing light which was brilliant as most steps could be completed in a matter of seconds. It was a tad annoying having to do my thumb separately (as you can see below it didn't quite fit in); however, the longest cure time was 45 seconds so it really wasn't a drama - I would do the fingers of each hand then the two thumbs together. Another great feature of this lamp is that it automatically turns off once the desired time has been reached so you don't have to pay attention or keep time. The Mini Pro:45 LED Curing light is $59.95.
The next thing you should get is the Gelish Mini Basix Kit as it contains every product that you need to do your gel manicure (apart from the colour of our choice. The Gellish Mini Basix Kit is $39.95 and includes:
- Mini Gelish pH Bond
- Mini Gelish Foundation
- Mini Gelish Top It Off
- Mini Gelish Nourish
- Mini Gelish Cleanser
- Mini Gelish Artificial Nail Remover
The first thing you do is gently buff your nails, then you sterilise and prep them with the pH bond. Then you apply the Foundation and cure it for 20 seconds (with the Mini Pro:45 LED Curing light - it is longer with the mini light - 1 minute). You can see in the image below that it leaves your nails looking quite matte. This is the perfect canvas to then apply your gel colour of choice.
Next you apply a very thin coat of your colour of choice. It is better to do multiple thin coats rather than one thick coat as thick coats tend to pool around the cuticles which can then lift and chip earlier than three weeks. I actually used 2 colours for this manicure - Go Girl, which is a bright girly pink and Silver Sand, which is a clear base with multi-coloured glitter throughout. Using the Mini Pro:45 LED Curing light, each coat just needs to be cured for 45 seconds.
|Go Girl + Silver Sand|
|Go Girl + Silver Sand|
Applying thin coats of Go Girl was fine - two coats and I had a completely even and opaque finish. However, I found it difficult to get decent glitter build up with Silver Sand and ended up having to dab it on a bit to try and get more glitter particles on it. It was worth it in the end as the final result was spectacular. The glitter topcoat made the manicure so much more exciting than straight pink and I actually got quite a few compliments for it.
The final step is to apply a thin coat of the Top It Off, making sure to paint over the tips of the nails to fully seal it. Your nails will be left feeling really stick/tacky at this stage. That is completely normal - they are completely cured and dry at this stage. To remove the tackiness, all you need to do is wipe over with the Gelish Cleanser and it will remove it without damaging the gel polish. You then just massage in the Nourish cuticle oil into the cuticles and surrounding skin to keep your fingers looking their very best.
To remove it, all you need to do is soak your nails in the remover. They state that it can be done in as little as 10 minutes but it took me closer to half an hour. It is no surprise that if you have a polish that can go 3 weeks without chipping then it is going to be difficult to remove. I think part of my problem was that I ended up applying about 6 coats all up trying to get the glitter to build up, so that was a lot of layers to soak off. One tip I have heard is to buff the polish before attempting to soak it off. You can tell when the polish has been soaked enough in that it starts to wrinkle off and then scrapes off easily with very little effort. If it is taking a lot of effort then it needs to be soaked for longer.
I was really impressed with the easy of applying the gel polish. It genuinely does look professional (assuming that you don't get it all over your cuticles - but if you do, just wipe it off before you cure it and apply again). It really did last 3 weeks chip free on all but one nail. That is almost too long as by this stage I had a good 4mm of nail regrowth which looked just as bad as a chip! There are over 70 colours to choose from in the Gelish range which can be seen here. This is yet another at home product, that is super easy to use and gives you results as good as you can get in a salon. As a mum of two young kids who doesn't have time to go to a salon anymore it is exactly what I need.
You can find the range of Gelish products at Hairhouse Warehouse, Price Attack and selected stockists. To find your nearest stockist, call (03) 9575 0600.
Are you a fan of the at home gel polishes or do you still prefer the tradition nail polish?
All opinions are my own and I received no remuneration for this post. The Gelish products were provided for consideration.