Monday, August 12, 2013

Gettin' Rebel-ish with My Gelish

When I returned to the United States last year after having lived overseas, my first "beauty mission" was to try one of the new gel manicures.  However, after shelling out 40-ish dollars a couple of times for this new trend and doing some research, I realized I could put on my big girl nail polish and do this business myself.  So, I ordered the Gelish Basix Kit and a Red Carpet Manicure LED Light, and I was ready to do my own manicures.

However, even though the kit and light paid for themselves quickly in comparison to having gel manicures done in the salon, I became disappointed in the lack of colors available for gel polishes.  In addition, gel polishes (Gelish, Red Carpet, etc.) are ridiculously expensive, and my favorite regular polishes were suffering serious neglect.  With a little more research on various beauty blogs, I discovered that even though this practice is heavily "debated" in the nail care world, some people are bending the rules and using their regular polishes in conjunction with some of the gel products.  So, in the name of good manicures and breaking the rules, I did a little gel nail experiment last week and documented the results.  Here they are...

First, in the Gelish Kit you get 4 mini bottles of products:

 - pH Bond is to "prep" the nail before applying the Foundation.  However I'm not convinced that this is a necessary product.  Isopropyl alcohol would probably do the trick, as the goal is to dry the nail bed and remove any lotions, oils, etc. before the manicure.
 - The Foundation is the first layer of the Gelish system
 - The Top It Off is the top coat
 - The Nourish oil is a nice-smelling cuticle oil to use daily after your manicure.  Good stuff, but dupe-able.

You also get small bottles of "artificial nail remover," which is just plain acetone, and "cleaner," which is isopropyl alcohol.  

Here's a picture of my LED lamp, which is small, lightweight, and fits easily in my box-o-nail-stuff:

Here is what I did:

1.  Gave my hands, nails, and cuticles a good scrubbin' with my Bath & Body Works 60-Second Manicure Hand Scrub

2.  Filed nail edges and pushed back/trimmed cuticles

3.  Applied the Gelish pH Bond

4.  Applied the Gelish Foundation and then cured all of my nails under the LED light

5.  Applied the first THIN coat of my regular polish and let it dry during a Real Housewives of New Jersey episode (if that show gets cancelled because of Juicy Joe and Theresa "Love, Love, Love"'s shady business dealings, I am going to go into MOURNING.)  Don't forget to "seal" (swipe the brush across in a horizontal direction) the edge/tip of the nail, too.  This is one of the keys to making gel manicures last. 

6.  Applied another thin coat of my regular nail polish and then let it dry during an episode of Pretty Wicked Wives (my newest obsession...the Real Housewives of Atlanta could learn a few Southern belle tips from these girls...they are the real deal!)

7.  Zzzz...went to bed.  From all of the articles that I read, another key to making this work is to be sure that your regular nail polish is 110% dry.

8.  The next morning I applied the Gelish Top It Off, cured my nails again under the LED lamp, and cleaned off the tacky residue that is left at the end of any gel manicure with rubbing alcohol.

They looked GORGEOUS and actually didn't have the "thick" feel that some gel manicures have on my nails.  Even better, this manicure lasted me 7 full days with very little wear at the edges, and I probably could have stretched it out to 10 days had I not started peeling the polish off myself (bad habit!).  Here the results, as documented by your faithful beauty blogger:

Day 1 - OPI's Bright Lights, Big Color, my favorite nail color this summer (got a little too aggressive with my cuticle nippers on my middle finger!)

Day 3 - Just a teeny bit of wear on the nail edge (Don't judge my ratty was the middle of a week of teacher workdays.  No students around to do my manual labor.)

Day 5 - Still looking good other than a little bit of growth at the base and a tiny bit of wear on the edges.

Day 7 - A bit more wear on the edges and a little bit of chipping, but still pretty decent! (my pinky finger was a victim of my boredom at a faculty meeting). 

While I know that gel manicures are touted to last 2 weeks or longer, the obvious growth at the bottom of the nail bed and my boredom with whatever color I am wearing are what usually cause me to soak (or peel) them off after about a week. What I normally do after a gel manicure is give my nails a "break" and just use my favorite nail strengthener, Sally Hansen Nailgrowth Miracle, for a week or so.  However, a regular manicure would NEVER last 7 days on my nails, so this gel/regular polish system my new favorite "discovery"! 

Have you ever tried doing your own gel manicures?  Please share your tips and tricks!

1 comment:

  1. Great idea! I have never tried this but might give it a gander and will def. pick up that Sally Hansen stuff.

    And, oh, I am right there with you on RHONJ! What will happen if Juicy Joe actually gets DEPORTED! OMG!