Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Beauty Review: Gel Nails

So this isn't about Stamping or Avon, but I think it's something that be of use to someone else so I'm sharing! I am writing about Soak-Off, Gel Nails.

First off there are different types of gel manicures. This is a some of the information I have found on Soak-off Gel POLISHES. These are similar to regular polishes. You have a base coat, polish, and a base coat. There are no powders involved. But they are thicker. When applied they are pliable, your nails will bend and you can easily pick things up. Also, each time you go in for a manicure or to change the "polish," you soak the old off in an acetone product and start all over again. There are no fills. If you just want a color change, you can however, use regular polish over them and remove it with a polish remover that doesn't contain acetone. Your gel nails will be just as shiny underneath as they were before you put the regular polish on them.
Years ago, about 15-20, I had a great manicurist (Marianne A.) who did my nails by hand--no drills. When I had the drill the first time, I thought I was going to die--I hated it, it hurt! When Marianne got pregnant and quit doing nails because of the fumes and dust, I knew I had to figure out how to do them myself and I did. I got several compliments on my hand-done nails. They lasted well and looked great.
I gave up my nails because of asthma. Even the no-smell products, cause problems. Just because they took away the smell, the harmful chemicals are still there. I hated parting with the lasting polish and even, pretty nails. My nails don't grow on their own. They split, chip, and break. It doesn't matter what product I put on them, they don't grow by themselves.
Last year, I started having serious splitting problems on two nails, with them splitting down into "The Bleeding Zone." My friend Sue's nails always look natural and she told me about something new called Gel Nails. So on her recommendation, I went to Creative Nails in Wildomar CA and had them put on. I HIGHLY recommend Stephanie. She knows what she is doing. I have heard and read horror stories about them. One friend's pealed off from another local salon in less than a week (they were too thick). Stephanie is wonderful! I wish I could afford to go every two weeks and have the pretty reds put on or maybe even a purple.  I wouldn't think of doing them myself. But my finances just cannot afford the $30 + $5/tip so I pick a light neutral color and make them last as long as possible and watch closely, with the intent of eventually trying it myself. The set I have on now was put on, on December 27. While the growth is definitely showing, I just sand the back part down and could easily put regular polish on top of them. I have even sanded the length down and they're still not peeling or chipping. Stephanie is #1 at her job!

There are few different types of soak-off gel manicures out there:
In my quest to save money I consulted my Good friend, Hairdresser Robyne for advice, and have settled on a system by Red Carpet Manicure (RCM). It is supposed to be the first system marketed to home DIYers. This is Ulta's line and we have a store nearby.

Ulta slaps their label on some quality products. Their regular polish is supposed to be by OPI. I have been pleased with the colors I have bought in the past.  I've read that Ulta's RCM Gel products are the same as Harmony's Gelish which is the same brand available at Sally Beauty Supply that I've been having put on. I have only seen this one place so I don't know if that is true or not, but two of the colors are identical matches. If you click on their names in this sentence and look at Ulta's and Sally's Mini LED Curing Light--they're the same. Then if you do a little more searching, most of the RCM and Gelish Gel Polish colors are the same.
PRICING: When I started checking around, Ebay turned out to be about the most expensive! Sally's prices aren't so bad and if you decide to buy there, it is worth it to buy their discount card. Ulta has decent pricing, but didn't have a kit--they did have free shipping. has good prices on a Harmony Gelish kit, but then you need a light.I couldn't find the Harmony Gelish LED light on Amazon. Reading the reviews on UV lights, the inexpensive ones were extremely questionable: some work, some didn't; when you got a broken one, getting your money back was a hassle, and/or it was costly to return.

I tried a google search and found that carries the Red Carpet Manicure products and has a kit, complete with light and what looks like a pretty red polish too for $79.95.
Plus you get free shipping. I ordered today and they are out of stock, but their notice says it will ship in 1-2 weeks. I can wait for that price! That is not much more than two manicures. If you don't mind the little bitty curing light that is battery operated, they even have a kit for $59.95.
I notice this one has the same out of stock notice so maybe it is an item that is dropshipped from the manufacturer. In the meantime I know I need some lint free wipes and 99% isopropyl alcohol. This will give me an excuse to make a trip to my Ulta to get a light colored polish. I don't think I want my first try to be with a dark polish. Oh and in my reading, it looks like you have plenty of time to clean up mistakes--up until you do that last curing. That's nice to know.

One more thing that has bothered me--UV rays from the lamp and skin cancer. I go to the dermatologist once a year and have had 2 things cut off of my face and one off of my eyelid, several burnings. Poor Ray goes every 5 months now and always gets several burnings a few cuttings and has had 3 surgeries removing nonmelanoma basal cell carcinonima. (Praise God they were all caught and excavated for lack of a better word!) Here is a page with an index of different articles, but also one in particular about the lights. If interested, look for, "Do UV Nail Lamps Emit Unsafe Levels of Ultraviolet Light?"

I am sure if you were to do more searching, there is more information out there. This is just a starting point of what I have found. I will post a photo of my nails once my kit arrives and I get the time and courage to actually do my nails. Somehow I think I'll find that courage soon or Ray will find it for me! ;-)

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