I really love having my nails painted. I really hate that most nail polishes, even high end brands, chip after one day. It really is a bug bare of mine and so I decided treated myself to a gel polish manicure a couple of months ago. After having them done, and the manicurist making it look so easy, I was like “I could so do this at home!”. They lasted me almost 3 weeks, despite the daily chores such as washing up over 10 times, cooking, cleaning, bathing the children and so on…So, que the purchase of the Nailene Sensational Kit. I got mine for half price from Boots and the kit included the LED Sensationail lamp, the top/base coat, a small bottle of Scarlett Red polish, cuticle stick, lint-free wipes, nail primer and nail cleanser. This was everything I needed to get going.
I have had this kit since July and have used it many times, but have never gotten around to actually blogging about it, so today whilst I had a bit of down time I thought I would do my nails and take some photographs. I am by no means a nail expert, but I do like this kit as it is fool proof although I rarely get longer than a week out of my nails. I am not sure if there is something I am doing wrong, to not be able to get the full 2 weeks. No matter what brand I use, I tend to get the same wear out of them.
Anyway, the main thing is to start with clean, filed nails – cuticles pushed back or removed completely. I have my nails short as they grow at different rates and I also wear contact lenses which are harder to manage with long nails as you can imagine. I bought a cheap manicure tool kit from Ebay – I thin kI paid around £3 and it comes with a pair of nail clippers and 2 cuticle pushers. They are solid metal and do just the trick.
Once my nails are filed and clean, I use the gel cleanser by applying it to lint free wipes and rubbing each nail almost as if I am removing nail polish with a cotton pad. This ensures the nails are clean, grease free and ready to be primed. Just a little tip, the nail cleanser is in fact rubbing alcohol. After that, I then apply the gel primer which is applied using a nail polish style applicator. This air dries but leaves an almost sticky residue on the nail and acts as a bonding agent to help the gel polish bond to the nail bed.
Once the primer has dried, I then apply the clear top/base coat. I always start off by completely doing my thumb nails first. This is because it is hard to position the thumb nail straight in the lamp whilst my other 4 fingers are in there. Maybe it’s just me?!
Anyway, another tip is don’t be tempted to apply the polish too thick! I did this the first few times thinking I would only need one coat but it simply does not work. It just peels off and does not look right. Apply one thin, even layer of the base / top coat to the nails and place in the PRO 3060 LED LAMP which comes with the starter kit. Of course, you can use any LED nail lamp but I cannot speak for their effectiveness. Cure the base coat for 30 seconds (I tend to do it for one minute) – the lamp bleeps when the 30 seconds is up, or switches off when the 60 seconds is up.
The base/top coat shows up as white under the lamp which means you can see if you have missed any bits! Once the base coat has been applied, then go on to apply the colour (s) of your choice. For the purpose of this post I have used several colours. I would not usually do that, but a change is as good as the rest. Apply a thin layer of the colour of your choice, being careful not to get it on the skin / cuticles. Cure the first layer for one minute. Apply a second, thin coat and cure for one minute. The good thing about gel polish is that it does not dry like normal polish, so you can send time getting it right and making sure you do not have any on the skin. Once the second thin layer is cured, apply another layer of the top coat. It is really important to seal the top of the nails to reduce the likelihood of the polish chipping from the tip. Once all the polish layers have been completed, there will be a sticky residue to the nails. This is removed by applying the primer/rubbing alcohol to another lint free wipe and rubbing the nails gently.
I always try where I can to stick to using the Sensational polishes but I have tried a few of the cheaper versions from Ebay such as CCO, GDI and Elite 99. CCO has a really good colour range and I have not had any real issues with it other than staying power and not getting longer than a week. I don’t really mind so much anyway as I still find this more cost effective than going to the salon fortnightly. I have a voucher to use for my local beauty salon and I am saving this for some special nails at Christmas!
To remove gel polish, soak cotton pads in acetone, wrap around each nail and then wrap in tin foil. Alternatively, soak your nails in a bowl of warm acetone and peel/scrape off using a removal tool. This process is not great for your nails, but if done properly damage can be kept to a minimum.
I noticed today, whilst buying my £1 meal deal in Boots that they currently have their popular 3 for 2 deal on all beauty products. This means that you can get 3 sensational polishes for the price of 2, which would be £30 instead of £45. It does sound pricey but each pot of polish can easily do 10 manicures.
Have you used a do – it – yourself gel nail kit?