on May 24, 2012
I've been getting my nails done for years (usually acrylic) but my manicurist turned me onto gel polish and I loved it! Gel polish stays looking newer for a longer period of time because it keeps its shine. My acrylic could last for weeks if not for the surface polish (regular nail polish) that will have chipped or dulled in less than 2 weeks. With the gel polish over acrylic I could go much longer without a fill because my nails still look new and shiny even after 3+ weeks of nail growth.
Though I haven't gotten acrylic lately I still enjoy polishing my nails at home. Polish usually lasts about 5-7 days for me depending on how much effort I put into prep work and the type of polish I use. I first saw this kit at Walmart and thought it was too expensive to try. Finally saw it at CVS instead with a $10 off coupon next to it recently and bought the kit. It came out to something like $40.
Upon opening box I was pretty impressed with the UV lamp - it looked high quality. I was less impressed with the other tiny, tiny, bottles of gel cleanser, base/top coat, gel color, and primer. It would have been nice to have larger bottles of product. The instructions were LONG. Not that any of it was complicated, but there were a lot of steps involved. Half of these steps I already do when I put regular polish on anyway. (File, clean, etc.) No big deal really. It's helpful that they give you a summarized reference card in addition to detailed instructions so you don't have to read the long instructions over and over again.
1. I took my old polish off using regular remover and cotton. This will prove to be a huge no-no later with the lint from cotton.
2. Using their lint free wipe, clean nails with "Gel Cleanser".
3. Applied "Gel Primer" to nail in a circle (though I did a box shape) around my nails. Air Dry.
4. Apply thin layer of "Base/Top Coat". This is clear so I couldn't tell whether I was applying thin or not. At this point I notice little fuzzies everywhere on my nails from cotton earlier. Doh! Oh well, must keep polishing! Cure for 30 seconds...the lamp beeps after 30 seconds and turns off after 60 seconds.
5. Apply thin layer of "Color Gel Polish". As I am doing this I accidentally swiped my other hand with cured base coat against my sweater sleeve. Not only do instructions not tell you that curing doesn't set your base/top coat but your nail surfaces are quite sticky right now and you have to be very careful. Grrr..More fuzzies all over my nails. Must continue color gel polish. Cure for 60 seconds.
6. Repeat with second coat of "Color Gel Polish" and cure for 60 seconds. The fuzzies are annoying me but thankfully since my nails are not set I am able to remove some of them as I am applying polish. At this point nails are still super, super tacky. Stay away from dirt, lint, everything!
7. Finally, apply one more thin coat of "Base/Top Coat" and cure for 30 more seconds.
8. Take the lint free wipe, put some "Gel Cleanser" on it and wipe it over surface of nails. This takes away that tacky/sticky layer. Viola! Done!
- Gorgeous, mirror like shine, gel manicure that looks incredibly professional. Shines like crazy.
- No strong odors at all. I was surprised that it barely had any. No odors on nails after either.
- I figured out during process that if lint sticks to polish after curing you can clean it up with the "Gel Cleanser" and continue on to next step of polishing. It turns out that the polish IS set underneath the sticky layer on top and you can just wipe it away with the cleanser.
- Polish color has depth, no streaks at all.
- Read instructions once and just referred to reference card afterwards. Pretty easy.
- Nice UV lamp.
- Though it seems like long process, it's not. Remember you are not curing each finger, you are curing one hand at a time (minus the thumbs).
- Save money in long run (maybe not time because of removal).
- Probably should have mentioned in instructions that your nail surfaces will be sticky through entire process until last step.
- Not much product in kit.
- Price is sort of high. Bottles of polish cost around $10. Refill kits I think are slightly higher or around same price.
- Removal time and effort is expected to be high. It's a given whether you get acrylic, brush on gel, etc. I have not tried a product that did not require the use of a Dremel, literally, to take the manicure off. If this is a concern of yours, you could still purchase this kit and do a clear gel overlay on your nails instead. Let your nails grow out or do your own fills.
- Not good for people that like to switch colors often.
- And last, the whole UV lamp thing does concern me. Is it dangerous to be using this thing?
Though I'm dreading the removal part because I've had to go through similar process with brush on gel before, I am overall very satisfied with the outcome. It's my first time using this and my nails came out great despite the couple of snafus. I still have fuzzies in my nails but you can't even tell because it's so ridiculously shiny. I'll upload a picture for everyone.
***Follow up 7/25/12
I am still a VERY happy user of this gel kit. I just wanted to update on removal methods (and it's really not that bad!)
Pure acetone soak:
I went and purchased pure acetone from the beauty shop (it comes in plastic bottle in different sizes). Poured some into a glass bowl and soaked for 10 minutes. (This is after I had filed the shiny layer off surface of nails). After 10 minutes I noticed gel had softened on nails. Taking an orange stick I scraped the gel off one finger at a time. It was not difficult whatsoever. Your hands don't look pretty during this process. The gel doesn't come off in one piece, it sort of shaved off...like if you were to take a chocolate bar and a peeler to get some chocolate shavings lol. Even when I soaked other hand for longer I still had same experience. Some people put the bowl of acetone into another bowl of hot water. I have not tried that method yet. If you try this method make sure you have a good surface to work with and a glass bowl. I originally put it in plastic and it melted the plastic. Also the acetone can eat away at your furniture/laminate. I'm sure adding heat would have helped but I have a small apartment and not much workable space to do anything. Other reviewers seem to say that is key to easy removal.
The peel off method:
I know, this is not the "prescribed" method but I just scrape it off my nails without the acetone. I found that this was less messy and since gel wasn't soft from acetone soak, came off in bigger chunks. Any remaining gel I just filed away. The traces of gel normally stick to where you had placed your primer. So don't go overboard on the primer! I have not used acetone since and I've done my nails several times since then. If your natural nails are pretty strong then you can probably get away with this method as well.
The other peel off method:
This is the fun one. I skipped the primer when I put the gel on. The resulting manicure looked just as good though didn't last as long. And when you are tired of your manicure all you do is peel it off each finger in one piece. It reminded me of the polish we used as children that peeled off in what looked like a layer of vinyl. It was fun but don't expect it to last weeks or anything. Great for anyone with commitment issues :)
Watch out for that primer. The more you put on, the more difficult it is to take off gel. It's like super glue.
Just a quick update. (Still loving the system btw!) They have a new tool now that looks like a scraper, costs about $5 and works GREAT in helping remove polish. Looks sort of like a mini curved spatula. I have not gone back to using the acetone at all and continue to just remove polish by scraping it off dry. With this added tool I can remove my polish in less than 10 minutes. Do use care when using the scraper not to dig in and damage natural nail! I use primer sparingly....so if your polish is not coming off easily you will need to soak your nails in pure acetone to soften if you have trouble.
on November 10, 2012
Over time my nails have become brittle. Instead of being weak and breaking on the edge at the quick, which they used to almost always do, they were now breaking off in a jagged chunk of a piece or section at the tips causing me to continually shorten them to the length of the one that most recently got dinged. Very frustrating. After hearing a lot about gel polish I decided perhaps that would strengthen my nails along with taking Biotin (a B-vitamin supplement). However, the salon cost was too prohibitive for me twice a month. I was happy to see several products become available to the general public for home use, but was skeptical about quality and DIY results.
Before purchasing anything I went to a professional and got a clear gel manicure to test the wear and see how long it would last for me. If it didn't do well then I would avoid the expense of a DIY investment. I researched the various products available and weighed the info and concerns related to UV light versus LED during the time the initial gel manicure was growing out. I decided that the feedback from dermatologists was just too iffy for me to risk UV exposure so I went on the search for products cured with LED light. Around that time I discovered SensatioNail on the market in my local drug store. I waited a bit and then read reviews online and couldn't find many negatives (mostly the bad reviews seemed to be related to user error/issues) so I started searching for the lowest prices and watching for sales.
I was surprised that the gel manicure held up extremely well with no chips or peeling and I had a measurable way to realize that my nails grow more quickly than I might have guessed. By four days I could detect the re-growth, but it was tolerable; however, by one week I was starting to wonder if it was noticeable to others and by 10 days I had a good 1/8 of an inch re-growth, which to me was quite enough so two weeks wasn't going to probably be the case for me (especially with colors). Nice for growing out problem nails, but not so great to have manicures done on a regular basis at a salon because with such fast re-growth a new professional manicure every 10 days would be cost-prohibitive.
Around that time, Walgreen's had a sale on Nailene's SensatioNail with $10 off the starter kit (bringing it down to $49.99) and $2 off each nail product (manufacturer's coupons which were available at the Walgreen's beauty counter and also usable WITH the sale price. Each color was $7.99 less $2 and the French kits were marked down too and I was able to use a $2 off manufacturer's coupon for them as well). All together I got the starter kit with LED light in Raspberry Wine, a sheer pink French kit, clear French kit, Sugar Plum color and extra French tips, for around $90 including tax. A chunk of change, but reasonable considering the cost of LED lights sold separately online was more than that just for the light.
Removing the existing gel was not at all difficult. I chose to try my own method first before utilizing those listed in various reviews online or even in the directions. I used pure acetone I had on hand that was previously purchased at Wal-Mart (least expensive place I had found it locally) with a square of absorbent paper towel. I did the removal while watching TV so I was not taking time away from something else. I held/pressed a small square of moistened paper towel over each nail at a time for approximately two minutes, using the crook of my finger on the other hand to `warm' it and keep it from drying out in the air. After a minute or two I rubbed a little of the flaking gel off with the towel square onto another section of paper towel, re-moistened the square and held it again for another minute or two. After that I found I was easily able to use my thumbnail to gently push/scrape the flakes from my entire nail in long steady light pressure motions starting from the cuticle to the tip. It wasn't difficult and came off easily. Before I knew it, all my nails were clean and ready to go to the next step. To me, this was gentler on my hands than soaking my fingers in acetone because the moist paper towel was only on top of my nails and not all over my fingers/skin (except for the crook of alternated fingers on the opposite hand).
After the gel removal I washed my hands and treated my nails and cuticles with my favorite oil, added my favorite hand lotion to my hands and let my nails breathe overnight. The next morning I began the new manicure, which took approximately 20 minutes start to finish.
This was my first time using DIY gel product and I definitely learned several lessons right away with the first application. I chose to try the sheer pink without tips for my first experiment. It seemed to me to probably be the most forgiving if I messed up and I thought it would probably show less if I did a less-than-perfect job (and that turned out to be correct). You could just as easily use clear. I like the sheer pink look anyway and had used that on my nails more than anything else for years so it was a very natural combination and look for me. I recommend this for the novice. It helps you learn what you might need to refine without likely having to re-do the entire manicure right away. PLUS: It's light and I have discovered it can easily be covered up successfully with a darker gel color without removing the entire manicure first. A bonus!
Here are my recommendations:
First: T-A-K-E Y-O-U-R T-I-M-E! This is particularly important if you are going to use a color, especially a dark or red color. The raspberry wine definitely stains your cuticles and skin (and must be cleaned up with acetone) so it is very important to go slowly and methodically. I recommend using your dominant hand (likely the one you write with) to do your `other' hand first. This gives you the best "feel" for using the product with confidence and you'll be able to quickly see some obvious do's and don'ts that should help you tackle the opposite (more challenging) hand. The gel polish won't dry too quickly like regular polish does, so you have the time to be meticulous and fix issues before you cure it. If you want a good end result, this is imperative! The second you put your hand under the LED light you will be able to clearly see all mistakes and learn what not to do next time.
Second: T-A-K-E Y-O-U-R T-I-M-E! It is critical IMHO to brace or secure EACH hand and some fingers as you apply the gel polish. I use the corner of my bathroom counter or a table and anchor my little finger of the hand holding the brush for steadiness. I also keep the finger I'm working on flat on the top of the counter or table. This helps tremendously to provide for the best opportunity for a good result. Rotate the flat finger from left to right to be sure you're covering close enough to each side edge. If not, just fill in with light even strokes with little polish on the brush.
Third: H-E-E-D T-H-E D-I-R-E-C-T-I-O-N-S: Pay attention to the warnings about using too much gel polish on the brush at once. It's easier than you think to get too much. Once it pools in the cuticle area or along the sides, or even gets on your skin, it's really challenging to clean up easily without just wiping it all off and starting over, thereby wasting expensive product. The best way to avoid this is to swirl the brush around the inside of the bottle to remove excess polish first. You can always add a little more if needed, but it's nearly impossible to remove polish with just the brush if you start with too much. Once you begin polishing, start with a long single stroke down the center of the nail from near the inside of the nail bed area to the end of the nail to see how much gel you really are working with. You can gently and slowly push the brush a little closer toward the cuticle if necessary to get as close as possible WITHOUT touching the edge. Then stroke the sides, being careful to stay away from the skin or leaving too much polish that might run or pool. Gravity is not your friend with gel application! Turn your finger from side to side to be able to see the edges better and know exactly how close you can get.
Fourth: B-E-F-O-R-E Y-O-U C-U-R-E E-A-C-H L-A-Y-E-R: Hold your fingers up in the light at different angles and move them around so you can see that there are no bubbles or uneven areas and that the gel is evenly distributed as the light shines on various parts of your nails. If you find a bubble, use a mostly dry brush to smooth it till it's satisfactory. In some instances you may be able to turn you hand upside down for a couple of seconds and let gravity help redistribute the gel toward the center if too much is close to the side edges. FOR COLORS: Don't worry if you don't have completely even coverage of the first color coat. You can balance that out with the second coat. It does cover well with two coats. Repeat the same process to avoid bubbles or uneven coverage. I thought perhaps I could avoid using the top coat to keep from having layers that got too thick-feeling, but after removing the tacky moisture layer from one finger after curing the raspberry wine, there was no shine. So, top coat seems necessary with colors (except the clear French kit). When applying top coat, be careful not to get carried away. It doesn't need to be thick or it may pool or run if it is applied too liberally; however it does need to cover each side edge properly. It also needs to be checked for bubbles and even coverage before curing.
Plus: I have come up with my own solution to remove missed bubbles (which I somehow have managed to have at least one of on one finger each time). I have a new, clean straight edge and literally VERY CAREFULLY shave the head/top off the bubble. I can't see that it removes any of the shine, but it does leave a smooth feel without any detectable bubble (if done properly, you can't tell there was a bubble, either by sight or feel; except on VERY close, intense inspection). Be sure to use the blade parallel to your nail and very s-l-o-w-l-y slide it smoothly across till you meet with slight resistance (the bubble). Then gently push it through the gel bubble to top it off. If you don't have the blade flat enough you will gouge the layer and that does leave a nick that you can feel.
Finally: I was just too curious to wait longer than a week after my initial sheer pink manicure and the re-growth was already showing; so I cleaned my nails with alcohol to remove any lint and added raspberry wine right over the existing pink manicure (two coats of raspberry plus one clear top coat). It worked beautifully. The sheer pink re-growth was completely covered up. There were no lines or indication that there was even anything else under the raspberry wine and my nails are even stronger because of the added gel layers. I think I will always start with a sheer, clear or French manicure and then when it's grown out too much to my liking I'll add color to get another 1-2 weeks or more before removal and provide the most strength possible as my nails grow out. Since I'm not one to change colors all the time, but like my nails to look nice, I really appreciate getting more time out of each manicure before removal and I really like the strength of my nails!
ONE MONTH LATER:
After using the product several times now I can say with certainty that I am most likely going to abandon use of SensatioNail after the current supply from the starter kit is used up. I have not been able to remove it completely yet without some stripping/weakening of my own nails. I like the look and wear, but not what it's doing to my nails. I'd estimate that my nails are about 35-50% weaker and thinner at this point. I particularly like the LED over UV light and will continue using it. I will be switching to CND's Shellac and still using the LED light, but for half the curing time. Gel-ish has a free pamphlet in Sally's stores that gives curing equivalents for LED lights so I will use that as my guideline (on cursory review it seems to be about half the time). When I initially had the professional do the first gel manicure (Shellac is her product of choice) so I could test gel out before investing in it myself, it came off beautifully and without any trouble or damage to my nails. Someone told me that it is not quite the same as this kind of gel product, but I'm okay with that. The same person also recommended using a product called "Nail Envy", which she says the pros use and is best for strengthening natural nails and preventing damage. I will try that along with Shellac and see how it goes. In the meantime I am using regular polish with one clear gel coat of SensatioNail on top for strength and protection to give better wear. Hopefully that will also make it easier to remove without more damage to my nails till it's all used up and I make the switch. I'll update again after I've used CND products for at least a month.
MANY MONTHS LATER:
I have learned that as long as I don't use too many layers of the product, it comes off nicely without damage to my nails (particularly when I rough it up with the Emory board they provide). My less-than-happy previous update is now replaced with me being a very happy long-term user that is quite satisfied with the product. I recently purchased my first essentials replacement items. They have lasted far longer than I expected and I am actually still using them. I just had a coupon and it was also on sale so the timing was right for the purchase because of the discounts. I plan to continue using the products long-term. This gets a definite thumbs-up from me and a recommendation to anyone interested in a low-cost DIY home gel kit that doesn't give UV exposure.
on January 16, 2013
I'm not very cosmetically savvy. I was a chronic nail biter turned chronic nail polish chipper- I was painting them at least once a day, and chipping them off, and doing it again. It left my nails really thin, the polish would stain my cuticles something fierce and all too often, I'd smudge them while waiting for them to dry.
Without sounding too infomercial-ly, I can tell you that this product really solved all of those problems *IF* you use it properly. The nail polish doesn't set until you put it under the LED light- this gives you a lot of opportunity for damage control (using the little wooden cuticle pusher you can easily wipe away excess polish). Once you put it under that light though, consider it a temporarily permanent extension of yourself. As soon as it cures in the light you can go about your day- no fanning your fingers and blowing!
Note that I said "if you use it properly"- I read reviews on every site I could find before buying the starter kit and there are a few resounding complaints:
"It peels off right away"- you put it on too thick- when the instructions say thin, they mean REALLY thin. I go super light on the first color application (most times I can still see my nail through it) then on the second coat of color I add a little more, but still quite thin by all standards. First time I put it on, I applied it like I applied regular nail polish and also experienced a little peeling. Easily corrected the 2nd time around.
"Nails are super thin now" - don't use the emery board that comes with it- I think it's meant to make your nail coarse so the polish sticks better- I use my own, that is a little bit finer, which might make the next part a non issue for me:
"It won't come off" - I have not used the recommended removal kit- as far as I can tell, it's acetone wraps followed with some scraping. sounds awful. I just chip mine off- it hasn't destroyed my nail, and it seems pretty easy to do after two weeks- it's grown out enough where you can start to get under the corners of it. If you try this and it doesn't work for you, the instructions say to only add the primer layer around the edges of your nail and it'll come off much easier. Don't waste your money on that gooey removal kit.
"Came out ugly!" - make sure you clean your nails beforehand- push up/trim the cuticles, etc- you don't mop your floor when it's covered in junk, why would you paint your nails if you haven't done a little nail-scaping?
Just a few other gems of information - I researched this polish on ewg.org, which rates the danger of cosmetic ingredients, and many of the polishes have a low or moderate ranking (the darker ones seem to hit the moderate category) and do not have a lot of the standard cancer causing agents found in other polishes. This is actually really impressive considering some of the other products out there! The LED light is also much safer than similar UV application systems.
I love this product- I will gift it to others and swear by it forever. Even my grandma loves it, and she's at that age where she a little shaky and her nails still come out great- like I said, very very forgiving.
on May 14, 2012
This gel polish is nice and shiny. However, it takes FOREVER to soak off. A nail professional warned me of that when I told her what kind of gel polish I had. I thought maybe she was just saying it to make money, NOT SO. It turns out that she was telling the TRUTH.
I have found an easier way to soak off any gel polish. You will need 100% pure acetone and 2 glass bowls (medium size and small size). Put hot water in the medium sized bowl and pure actone in the small bowl. It works better when you heat the water in the microwave for about 2 minutes. Place the acetone bowl inside of the hot water bowl. Soak for about 15 minutes and you are good. Hope this helps. Since I have found out how to remove it quickly, I am giving more stars.
on February 1, 2013
I have had great success with this kit. It truly lasts up to 14 days for me and I do plenty of chip-worthy activities (yoga, cook, clean, upholster furniture, type, etc). Before this kit I would CONSTANTLY do my nails. I now have so much more free time since I only do my nails every other Saturday instead of every other day. This type of manicure is a PROCESS. If you are willing to sit down and devote the time every other week, then this product is for you!
REMOVAL: I have found this to be a bit cumbersome as you can really only do one hand at a time and removing the gel polish on your dominant hand with your non-dominant hand takes practice. I've found the EASIEST way to remove the gel polish is the foil wrap method.
1. Cut a circular cotton pad into 4 pieces (enough for all ten fingers or toes)
2. Cut 2-3" wide tin-foil strips (enough for all ten fingers or toes)
3. Dip cotton pad piece in 100% acetone polish remover
4. Lay over nail on pinky finger
5. Lay foil over soaked cotton pad over finger and wrap
6. Finish one full hand pinky - thumb
7. Wait 20 minutes to allow acetone to loosen gel polish
8. Remove wraps and scrape any remaining gel polish off with removal tool or metal cuticle pusher
9. Repeat process with other hand
APPLICATION: Can also be a bit cumbersome but once you establish a routine it goes much faster and can be accomplished with relative ease. Again, you must follow a specific process to allow the gel polish to fully adhere to nails. If you skip or short cut a step it cuts down on the time your manicure lasts. The following works best for me:
1. Buff all nails until the surface appears rough and matte.
2. Wash and dry hands to remove nail buffing dust.
3. Cleanse the fingers' nails only on left hand with lint-free wipes (save thumb for last).
4. Prime fingers' nails on left hand with primer (save thumb for last).
5. Apply one layer of gel base and top coat to fingers' nails on left hand. Cure for 30 seconds.
6. Apply one layer of colored gel polish to fingers' nails on left hand. Cure for 60 seconds (repeat as necessary - I find most colors need 3 to 4 coats instead of the recommended 2 coats. Cure each coat for 60 seconds).
7. Apply final layer of gel base and top coat to fingers' nails on left hand. Cure for 30 seconds.
8. Cleanse polished fingers' nails on the left hand with cleanser and lint-free wipes.
9. Repeat steps 2-8 on right hand fingers (save thumb for last).
10. Repeat steps 2-8 on both thumbs simultaneously.
I leave my thumbs for last so that during the process I can clean up any seepage of color into cuticles with my thumb nails. I find that works better for me than trying to use the orange wood stick that is included.
I would definitely recommend this to my friends and family and faithfully continue to use this kit. At first I only tested out the color included a few times to make sure I liked it and it lasted and was worth the time/money. I have since ordered a multitude of other colors and even got the essentials kit to re-up my base coat, primer, cleanser and wipes. I find it to be much more cost effective then spending $35 and up plus tip on Salon Gel Manicures.
on July 5, 2013
I've been getting acrylics filled for years and removed them right before I used this kit. Needless to say my nails were thin and mangled from being ground for acrylics but after adding gel they look great and are sturdy. This kit was very easy to use. I've never had gel nails before so I have nothing to compare to but they're very smooth and VERY shiny! I just applied it yesterday so I can't say how durable they are but I'm still chip free. I am very happy with my investment, $50 from local walmart (but I know people look here for product reviews) I look forward to doing my own gel nails. I'll try to remember to update in two weeks about the chipping and how hard they are to remove.
**Use THIN layers because it heats up under the light. It got very hot and I had to pull my hand out of the lamp when a layer wasn't thin enough**
I also like the LED lamp because I read that it's not as damaging as regular bulbs. There are MANY many LED bulbs in the lamp. It heats up very quickly. It's convenient that you plug the lamp in and press the button on the top to turn it on, it stays on for one minute then turns itself off. It makes a chirping sound at 30 seconds for base coat timing. It's great not having to use a stopwatch or stare at a clock! The lamp fits four fingers. You're supposed to do thumbs first, the fingers of one hand, then the rest.
on June 23, 2013
I had been getting "Shellac" manicures at salons and was excited to try the Sensationail home system. I think most stores stock the Red and Raspberry ones normally but I prefer a more subtle look so I went with this French Manicure one.
UV gel is best described as halfway between a nail polish and a gel nail. It is much stronger than nail polish but more flexible than gel nails. Included in the kit is everything you need for at least 10 applications:
-LED Lamp with electric cord, big enough to put 4 fingers in at a time
-double sided nail buffer, manicure stick
-100 white tips (more on this later)
-small package of lint free wipes
The actual product: gel cleanser, primer, color gel polish ("babydoll pink," which is a mostly opaque pale pink), gel base/top coat
Here are the steps to the Sensationail system:
1. Clean and shape your nails
2. Apply primer
3. Apply gel base, cure under lamp 30 secs
4. Apply color, cure under lamp 1 minute
5. Apply top coat, cure under lamp 1 minute
4. Wipe with cleanser
Overall I think this kit is a great value and includes easy to follow instructions. However there are a few cons...
1. The biggest thing you need is really steady control when putting this stuff on. Unlike regular polish, if you get some on your skin outside the nail it just doesnt look good and will start to lift around the egdes. Your left nails may not be as perfect when you are right handed for example. If this is already a problem for you with regular polish, this may not the best option.
2. This stuff is difficult to remove as it does bond strongly to your nails. The kit does not include pure acetone which you need to soak in to get rid of the gel cap. You can use regular nail polish remover as well but it will take much longer.
EDIT: I recommend filing the top of the nail with a rough file to help break the seal prior to using acetone.
3. This brand has very limited color choices. However, you can use this lamp to cure other UV gel polishes if you want more options. You may even do some fancy patterns if you get stamping tools or stickers.
4. Not a dealbreaker, but the white nail tips that come with the French kit fall flat. They are thick white brittle stickers that are hard to apply and dont look good in my opinion.
Gel manicures are the best so if you do decide to buy this have fun with it!
I will NEVER go back to regular polish after using gel/shellac polish! LED LIGHT is the WAY TO GO. UV lights are like putting your hand in a mini-tanning bed and just makes you more susceptible to skin cancer after using this thing all the time. Plus the LED light takes half the time to cure!
It is SO quick and easy and lasts so much longer than regular polish. If you don't like it at first, try, try again. Follow the steps in the directions and you should be fine. I haven't gotten a hang of the stick on french manicure tips - I usually just paint my french tips but I will try them again and see how they turn out and update this review if I succeed with them. But this is what I do when I use a regular gel polish color:
1. Push back & cut cuticles
2. File/shape nails
3. File/rough up the TOP of the nails - no need for a dremel, you don't need to get them as rough as you would if you were getting acrylics put on but you should rough up the nail base to help the polish stick on better and stay on longer.
4. Wash hands
5. Wipe nails with 91% isopropyl alcohol using PAPER TOWEL (don't use a cotton ball or any stray fuzzies from the cotton ball will make the polish look bad). OR use pH Bond OR use the Primer gel. If you use all the Primer gel this kit comes with, 91% isopropyl alcohol will work. Allow alcohol, pH bond or primer gel to air dry.
6. Paint a base coat (sometimes called "Foundation gel") - Cure for 30 sec in LED light
7. Paint 1 coat color polish - Cure for 30 sec (1 min for darker colors). Make sure this coat is somewhat thin - if it is too thick then it will not cure all the way through and it will WRINKLE. If your polish looks wrinkled on any finger after curing it then you will most likely have to redo that last layer, and it will likely peel off easily where it is wrinkled because it is still liquidy under the outermost layer that is semi-cured.
8. Repeat step 7 until you achieve the desired color of layers of polish - usually 2-3 thin layers works best. May only need 2 for darker colors.
9. Paint 1 coat of top coat polish - cure for 30 sec.
10. WIPE tacky layer off nails with your rubbing alcohol (or gel cleanser from this kit) and paper towel and you're finished! When you run out of gel cleanser from this kit just use rubbing alcohol - it works just as well and is cheaper than buying more "gel cleanser".
- AVOID putting the polish on all the way up to your cuticle base. If you avoid having the polish up against the cuticle then it will grow out nicer and not have a hard ridge.
- This is not like regular polish in that your mistakes (polish that gets on your skin around your nails) will wash off with a little nail polish remover or after washing your hands a couple times. This gel cures in the light and "hardens" while curing, so the polish will cure how it lays, where it lays including any buildup on the sides of the nails or at the cuticle etc.
- Before soaking the gel polish off in acetone FILE the top layer off the nails and you will save a lot of time. Also
Once you get the hang of it, it's hard not to love this stuff. I bought a kit for my friend and another for my mom after purchasing one for myself.
Sold by: HBA DEPOT
Shipped by: Amazon LLC
Delivered: 3 days after order date
on March 2, 2013
I picked this exact set and I love the color. I wanted to share my removal method:
I picked up the removal tool at Walgreens. Great buy. I buffed the shine off the nails, put pure acitone on cotton, put the cotton on my fingers, wrapped my fingers in foil, put my hands under a heating pad, waited about 10 minutes, scraped off the gel with this tool, buffed my nails with a file, pushed back my cuticles, put on some lotion and put some cuticle oil on my fingers.
My fingers are ready to go for the next set. I'm going to give them a day's rest. I'm not sure if that's necessary but I'll do it anyway. Total time it took to remove: 25 ish minutes.
on January 4, 2013
I got this kit as an early Christmas present about 3 weeks ago. In that time, I've done my nails 3 times. I could probably have gone longer, but I hate the look of grown out nails and my nails tend to grow fast. The nails were shiny and chip free the entire time, they never dulled...so if you are good with grown out nails you could go for longer.
My first manicure was done with the Sensationail color and it was very durable and had great coverage. I've also used a polish by Gelish that worked fine with this base and top coat, although I thought the Gelish brand polish was way watered down. I used 3 coats of the color and could still kinda see through it. In the future, I'll probably avoid that brand. Last night I re-did my nails using the Sally Hanson gel strips. It came with it's own top coat and doesn't require a base, so I only used the Sensationail lamp for that manicure. That one came out beautifully too. My local Target is out of stock on the bottles of Sally Hansen gel polish, but that's what I'll try next. I'll try to come back and update the results. Overall, I preferred the Sensationail polish because 2 coats covered so well, I just wish they had a lot more colors to choose from. Sensationail, if you're listening, please give us some more colors and cute glitter polishes! That's all you need and you'd have 5 stars.
Oh, one more thing. I bought my starter kit at Walmart for $50.