I've never tried gel nails before. It seemed quite difficult to try them as I don't like the idea of going for a manicure somewhere with a stranger, and if you do them at home you need the lamp and all the stuff... But then a couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by two companies separately, one asking me to review their gel polish, and another asking me to review their LED lamp! I thought it seemed too good a chance to miss, so here I am, doing gel nails!
The polish is from a British brand, NYK1 Secrets. I received two colours to try, Burnt Red and Gold Wow, a glittery gold. The LED lamp is from a company called U Spicy.
Never having done gel nails before, I needed to do a bit of reading to work out what was needed - it's very different to normal polish application. I also used some Gellux products which I bought locally. First you clean the nail thoroughly, then buff, wipe with a cleanser (I used a Gellux one) and then apply a fast bond. Then base coat, then cure for 30 seconds under LED lamp.
Then comes a coat of polish - I started with the red one. This felt really different from 'normal' polish, as it's much thicker. The brush is really nice - short and firm and very easy to control. The thick polish means that's it's also really easy to apply cleanly - it doesn't flood or run or get in places it shouldn't. You then cure this under LED light for 30 seconds.
As you can see, the lamp is a neat little dome shape. The lights are in the top of the cavity, but the inside is full of mirrors, so it bounces the light around. The size is perfect to easily fit a hand or a foot inside. There are 4 pre-timed buttons on top, one each for 30 seconds, 60 seconds, 90 seconds and 30 minutes. I'm not sure what you'd be doing to need 30 minutes! The lamp is this model, and is for sale on Amazon for £27.99. LED lamps are considered better than UV lamps, as they are lower wattage, but more powerful, so need less time and less UV exposure. At least, I think I've understood that right!
I did a second coat of the polish, cured for 30 seconds, and then added Gellux Top Coat, and cured for another 30 seconds. The polish is dry straight away, but has a funny sticky finish, which you wipe off with the cleanser again. It felt so strange to have perfectly dry nails immediately! In fact, I walked around with my toe separators on for about 10 minutes before I realised that they weren't necessary!
I love the effect I got with these! My nails are so shiny and glossy, and the finish is perfect. I managed to chip one nail the next day by stubbing my toe and scraping it on something metal. It definitely wasn't the polish (though it may have been my application!) But it did give me a chance to try removal. I put a cotton wool pad soaked in acetone on my nail, wrapped it in foil for 10 minutes, and then removed it.
I was expecting it to wipe off like normal polish, but it didn't. It sort of all flaked off, in a powdery, dry bits. It really surprised me. I had heard horror stories about gel nail polish damaging the nail surface, but my nail looked absolutely fine. I redid that nail, and it looks perfect now.
These NYK1 polishes are available in a whole host of colours, including glitters and sparkly finishes! Click here to see the range! There are all sorts of different price combinations - one polish would be £8.95, but if you buy 3 or 6 then you get free Prep & Shine (their pre-polish cleanser) in varying sizes, or they have discount deals if you buy multiple colours. You can also buy whole sets that include all the other stuff you need such as cleansers, base and topcoats. You can also buy these on Amazon.
I have to say I'm really impressed with these polishes! I don't paint my toes often, as nobody really sees my feet in winter. But I love the idea of being able to paint them so easily and that I can stick my socks back on straight away if I want to! And that they'll stay perfect for much longer than normal polish - I'll report back in a week or so about the wear on these. I've had them on for three days now and they do still look perfect. I do love changing the colour frequently on my fingernails though, so I'm not sure that I would wear gel polish on my hands frequently. However, I think they'd be fab for those times when I'm either going away for a week and don't want to bother taking polish with me, or when I've lost my mojo and have no ideas. I will definitely try the gold polish on my fingernails soon, perhaps this weekend, so I will post again when I do!
These polishes and the lamp were provided for my honest review. See my Disclaimer for more information.