However I was determined to kick the habit mainly due to the lack of salons offering gel extensions these days which i'm told is mostly to do with the introduction of gel manicures. Having dabbled into home gel manicures in the past I thought they weren't for me, it takes way too long and only lasted 4 to 5 days and when I went to salons for the service they only lasted about a week on me so it would be an expensive habit to maintain.
Investing in a LED lamp was my best option and so I purchased this kit, I bought it on QVC as it was available on 4 easy payments (£19.99 a month, which is less than I would have spent on maintaining my extensions every month) and the kit came with 2 extra gel polishes (which retail at £13 each), an accessories kit and removal kit.
|Red Carpet Manicure Gel Polish Pro Kit|
|Red Carpet Manicure Plum Up The Volume|
That was a lot of sharing I know! On to my actual review.
Application: If you are new to painting your nails it might be tricky to apply as you have to be careful not to flood the nail bed and also to cap the free edge with the polish, if you are confident doing your own manicures it is just like applying a normal nail polish, easy peasy.
Time: The LED cures the polish in 45 seconds (30 for the base coat) which makes it so much quicker overall than a UV lamp to cure (2 minutes per coat). The manicure in total takes about 25-30 minutes from start to finish and the total curing time is 8.25 minutes so a third of the time it used to take me with a UV lamp. The element of the manicure which takes the most time is the removal process because this stuff is a bugger to get off, the first time I removed it I used their removal kit & instructions however this took a lot of soaking so now I just use tin foil & cotton pads soaked in a acetone based nail polish remover which is a little bit quicker.
Longevity: I was used to gel manicures lasting 5ish days on me and the fact that my nails were paper thin under the gel meant that for my first few manicures I wasn't expecting much, for once I am happy to say I was blown away. I had my first manicure on my nails for 12 days with no chips, on the 12th day my thumb got one chip (my own fault for picking) & I removed the manicure immediately (I have major OCD about leaving my house with a chipped nail) If I was a normal person it would have lasted 14 days easily.
Value for Money: The kit's rrp is £89.95 which is an investment i'll admit, at the moment it is not available on QVC, BeautyBay do stock it at the same rrp but it doesn't come with the extra colours or accessories & removal kits which does make it seem expensive as you only get the lamp, one shade of polish, the prep, base coat, top coat and the purify cleanser & remover. I probably wouldn't have purchased it unless it was on QVC with the extras and so if you are considering buying it i'd wait until it is back in stock as you get a lot more for your money.
Overall: I really do recommend this kit for people who are interested in doing their own gel manicures, the LED lamp is very small but it is effective, it has a self timer so shuts off after 45 seconds (Over curing the polish is a bad thing) and the shade range from Red Carpet Manicure is forever growing & I for one want to purchase more shades. The kit gives you everything you need to get started and if you only ever wear red nail polish then it's all you will ever need. If you have damaged nails it will help grow out the damage as long as you remove the polish correctly & make sure to use cuticle oil every couple of days without having to worry about your nails constantly chipping.
- My top tip would be to make sure you are using very thin coats of each step, if you can't get the colour even after 2 coats add another, it will not decrease the life of the manicure, it actually gives the nail more strength & I have been using three coats of colour whilst my nails are damaged.
- If you're like me & have hundreds of nail polishes and don't want to neglect them you can simply use the base coat and follow straight away with the top coat (I usually do 2 layers of top coat for added strength) Once cured go over with the purify cleanser and then follow with a normal nail polish and top coat, it is less time consuming than a full colour manicure & you can utilise your nail polish collection as well as the strength underneath the polish making it more chip resistant.
- If you get bored (like me) of the shade on your nails instead of removing the manicure & starting over simply paint over them with a regular nail polish, as long as you use a none acetone remover you can do it as much as you like until the gel needs changing.
That was definitely a long one but I am really impressed by this kit, I need to get more shades for definite so watch out for those.
Are you a gel manicure fan or more of a traditionalist?