The Gel Manicure
After a lot of consideration, I’ve decided it’s time to be girly again, after a very long lapse (like ten years or more). I also decided that I am artsy-fartsy enough to learn how to do gel manicures on myself at home (something that I read about online, and have seen on a few people I work with). A gel manicure at the salon costs between $25 and $40, and lasts up to 3 weeks.
I still had some Christmas money left that was burning a hole in my pocket, so I ordered myself a UV light (used for curing gel and shellac nail polishes). It cost me $30 including shipping on Amazon.com.
I went to Sally Beauty Supply, and bought the Gelish (that’s the brand) Basix Kit, which had all the stuff I needed to do a gel manicure, including an actual Gel color of my choice. I chose ‘Ambience’, and I love it. It’s pink and sparkly and very understated. I think this was the perfect choice for a first attempt at this.
I am incredibly hard on my nails, so I honestly wasn’t expecting much as far as endurance for these babies. After almost 2 weeks, they were still hanging tough, and I did a little gardening without gloves to test their mettle (really it’s because I couldn’t find my gardening gloves). Gee, I wonder why my manicures don’t last long?!
They made it through my digging in the dirt with flying colors, but two days later I managed to ram one of my fingers into a door frame, and the nail broke and the gel peeled, and the angels cried. Actually, I don’t know about that last part. Luckily, Ambience is pale enough that the extreme damage wasn’t too noticeable. After 2 weeks and 4 days, I decided it was time to remove the Ambience and try something new. I’ve never had nail polish last so long that it started to ‘grow out’ (where you can see the new bare nail behind the polish). You can sort of see the ‘grown out’ look in the pictures below. I can tell you, though, that the gel was as super slick and shiny the day I removed it as it was the day I put it on there.
To remove the gel, you’re supposed to soak something in Acetone (I used some cut-up cotton face-scrubbing pads), and put them on the nails and wrap your fingertips and the cotton things in Aluminum foil. I did, and enjoyed the look of my alien fingers for ten minutes while I let them soak. After the ten minutes was up, I unwrapped them, and the gel scraped off fairly easily. I scraped it off with my other nails, and it felt a bit like wet sand as it scraped away.
I had ordered 2 new colors – ‘Twinkle’, and ‘Sunrise and the City’. Twinkle is a clear polish with gold and other-colored glitter in it, and ‘Sunrise and the City’ has smaller, more numerous sparkles.
I decided for my second gel manicure, I’d try something less understated, so I went for ‘Sunrise and the City’. This color defies description. It’s sparkly. That’s really all that’s certain about it. In indoor low light, it’s sort of salmon-colored. Outside in the sun, it’s kind of orangey-gold. Under the CFL bulbs in the house at night, it’s a darker rust color. I love the way it came out, although it looks completely different on my nails than it did in the bottle.
I hate to say it, but GAWD, my hands look old. *sigh*.
I love this gel polish. It lasted through more than two weeks of all the usual ‘regular’ polish killers – washing dishes, washing my hair, digging in the dirt, rolling silverware at work, etc. Normal nail polish usually lasts me a MAXIMUM of two days before it chips and looks horrific. This is definitely one of the best purchases / learning experiences I’ve had in a long time!