Over the years I have collected a vast amount of nail polishes and painted my nails a huge variety of shades. However I am always disappointed with the results despite claims on the bottle that the nail polish is chip proof, or it will last for x amount of days, it never looks quite as nice after a couple of days, and I just don’t have the time to keep painting my nails when they start to look chipped.
I’ve had acrylics before but the upkeep on these was too much for me to fit in, so I always ended up having them removed after a while and reverting back to nail polish. A few months ago I decided to invest in my own UV lamp and see how gel nails would suit me. I can honestly say I have not looked back since.
After quite a lot of research into the different UV lamps on the market, I decided that there wasn’t a lot of difference between the brands, so after working out what I needed to get started, I settled on this starter kit which came out at a good price compared to buying everything separately.
To apply gel nails, you need a a UV lamp, gel polishes, nail prep and polish wipe, gel remover and cotton wool pads. The process of preparing your nails and applying the polish will take you a lot longer than just applying regular nail polish, however the results will last for up to two weeks without chipping. I would allow an hour to apply your nail varnish, and then another hour when you want to remove the polish.
To apply your gel nail polish, begin by preparing your nails with a cuticle stick to push your cuticles down, and trim them if needed. File your nails to the shape you want and remove any course bits on your nails. After this take a cotton wool pad and a small amount of nail prep and polish to cleanse your nails. I find it easier to work on one hand at a time but you will decide what’s easiest for you.
Once your nails are prepped, apply a layer of base coat to your nails and cure in the UV lamp for 2 minutes. Every lamp is slightly different but most work in 2 minute intervals. Remember when applying gel polish that it does shrink under the UV lamp so be careful to apply to the edges of the nail, If you go over the edges of the base and the sides of the nail, it’s a good idea to remove with an orange stick before curing as the polish will set in the lamp.
After the base coat apply a layer of colour. There are so many different gel polishes on the market in a variety of different colours. I have fallen in love with colour change since I have been using the polishes and have had some great results.
It’s recommended that you apply two coats of your chosen colour curing in the lamp after each coat. The final layer is the top coat before curing for the final time in the lamp. You will have spent a total of 8 minutes curing in the UV lamp before the final process of cotton wool and the nail prep and polish wipe to finish the process. Your nails will be tacky until you have wiped with the nail prep and polish at the end when they will become smooth and you are ready to go.
When it’s time to remove your nails, I suggest pick a time when you may be relaxing in front of the TV as the process can take a while. The nails soak off in around twenty minutes by using either the special acrylic clips you can buy, or you can DIY the process like I do with cotton wool pieces soaked in nail remover placed on each nail, and wrapped in silver foil to secure. Again I recommend doing this one hand at a time so you aren’t completely immobile for twenty minutes. After the process you will see the polish lifts off. Stubborn bits may beed help by using an orange stick to scrape the hardened bits off. It’s a good idea to treat your nails when using gel nails to protect the nail bed under the polish by using cuticle oil.
If you’re reading this and thinking that this process takes a long time and it would be better to just paint your nails quickly with polish, then I urge you to try gel nails for yourself. I think the time spent doing my nails has decreased even with the lengthy process to apply and remove my nails. They also stay fresh and chip free for so much longer that I don’t have to think about my nails more than once every couple of weeks. I have learned to apply my nails on the days I have time which doesn’t add any pressure.
Once you have bought the kit from a money saving point of view, you won’t need to buy anything other than new polishes if you want a variety of colours for ages. The nail prep and polish lasts for ages, as does the gel remover. Bottle of polish are generally in 10ml bottles and these will last for a very long time if you are changing colours frequently. I think the only thing you have to worry about is not getting addicted to buying different colours all the time.
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