If you follow me on twitter (follow here!) you know that for the past three months (except right now weirdly enough) I've been rocking the white nails (matte, shiny, I've done it all). I think it makes you look classy and pulled together without even trying (which I definitely need help with-I'm a mess 99.9% of my life). Another reason I wear lighter colors is because it isn't as noticeable when the polish chips! #protip
So, we've all heard about gel nails, acrylic nails, do it yourself nails, people doing their own nails who shouldn't be and don't know how, "almost" gel nails, and the list goes on....Recently I was contacted by a brand called Madam Glam that only makes nail products (and ships internationally) and was asked if I would like to try their gel nail starter kit. I've been wanting to try out gel polish for a while now, but the only reason I haven't gotten into them is because buying the entire kit (you need a base coat, nail color, and a top coat to give yourself a proper gel manicure) is expensive! So when they offered to send me the kit I jumped at the chance naturally, AND I have a coupon code for 30% of their polishes that I'm going to list at the end of the post to hopefully help you guys out if you were having the same dilemma as I was, and also with the holidays coming up I think it would make a really nice gift.
I chose the color Perfect White as I think white polish is really timeless and versatile, and obviously when you wear a gel polish, you're really committing to a few weeks of that color so picking something versatile (especially for the first gel polish you've ever owned) is a must.
If you are unsure of what a gel polish is or how the process works, a gel polish is a polish that is cured under a UV or LED lamp to harden it and make it last longer. It is done in three stages: a base coat, the nail color (sometimes 2-3 coats) and a top coat. It's similar to acrylics in the feel of the nail (thicker, shinier, and harder) but it's better since you don't have to shave the nail down as intensely as you do with acrylic nails and ruin your nail bed. If you've ever gotten acrylic nails done (or seen them done on a friend) you can see that when the nail starts to grow out there is a very drastic ridge from where the acrylic was and the natural nail is since it was filed down so much.
Things you need to apply your gel polish:
1.First of all you need an LED or UV lamp, and depending on the time for the different lamp, that is how long you cure the polish.
2. Rubbing Alcohol/Isopropyl alcohol
3. Nail File
4. Nail Buffer
5. Lint Free Cotton Wipes
7. (Optional) An old angled makeup brush
How to apply your gel polish:
1. First file the tops of your nails in one direction to create a smooth surface
2. Wipe the nail down with a lint-free cotton wipe and the alcohol
3. Buff the nail to create an even smoother surface
4. Wipe the nail again with the alcohol (make sure the nail is very dry).
5. Apply the base coat, clean up the edges with the acetone on the angled brush, and cure for the amount of time according to your machine (mine was 2 minutes because I used a UV lamp)
6. Apply the colored polish coat, clean up the edges, and cure the nail
7. Apply a second (and third) coat if necessary, clean up, and cure the nail
8. Apply the top coat, clean the edges, and cure
9. Wipe down the top of the nail with a lint free wipe and the rubbing alcohol
And there you have it! Shiny beautiful salon ready nails!
*you cannot take shortcuts with this-you need to do all the steps mentioned above or they won't turn out right. It seems like a lot but it's really easy (especially if I can do it)*
**KEY POINT: DO NOT TOUCH YOUR NAILS UNTIL THE VERY END**
If you touch your nails mid-way into the process they are still smudgy and will smear and look horrible, so a helpful hint from me to you- just take my advice.
This whole process took me around half an hour-45 minutes to do (shorter time as I got better at it), and then I picked most of the polish off when it came time to take it off (I KNOW I SHOULDN'T- but I even pick acrylics off.) Properly taking them off, just soak your nail in acetone/nail polish remover and it will soften the polish and you can easily wipe it off.
-You HAVE to prep the nail, or the polish won't stick as long as it should
-You HAVE to use alcohol to dry out the nail, but vodka, spirits, or hand sanitizer works just as well
-If you don't have lint-free nail wipes, paper towels work as the best alternative
-Make sure you clean up the edges! If you get any polish on your skin, it will make the nail polish lift and you won't get the full wear time out of it (putting acetone/nail polish remover on an angled brush and going around the edges of the nail is the quickest, simplest way to do it)
-Don't try and do your whole hand at once, do the first four fingers (minus the thumb) on one hand, do the first four on the other hand, and then do your thumbs and cure them in the lamp together.