In February I went to Professional Beauty at Excel. Despite my good intentions of needing absolutely nothing – something was always going to catch my eye. Professional Beauty is absolutely huge, with stand after stand selling everything from IPL machines, to sunbeds, to floatation tanks. 800 beauty brands are packed under one huge roof – Clarins, Fake Bake, Eve Taylor, Essie, Sienna X, Bliss, Dermalogica, and Aromatherapy Associates – to name just a few.
My nails are the bane of my life. If paint them myself – using Seche Vite’s base and top coat – with an Essie polish I am absolutely delighted with 3 days and no chip. A manicure at Nevilles – which is in my opinion the best manicure in London – will usually last me a week without a chip. My nails flake so badly a week out of a manicure is almost unheard of.
Gel has become a great solution for me. I don’t want chipped nails – ever- but I also don’t want to be painting them twice a week. The downside of gel for me is the removal, one may begin to peel and then unless I want to soak them and file them myself it means another appointment – I don’t always manage to find the time. I’m also not someone who loves to sit and have my nails done – I’m just glad when they are done.
To cut a VERY long and rather boring story short, I found a solution at Professional Beauty. I bought an at home gel nail kit – well actually I didn’t because I hated most of the colours – I pieced a kit together myself.
1) Mylee Professional UV Gel Lamp
You need a lamp of at least 36W to cure a polish like Shellac- and many others. There are lamps on the market of a lower strength – I wouldn’t risk one. This one is really cheap and lightweight and works perfectly. Each hand takes 120 second for each coat. So a total of 8 minutes to cure the gel on both hands or feet with two coats.
£14.50-£18.99 (depending on colour you choose) HERE
2) Mylee Nail Prep & Polish Wipe, Gel Remover
The Nail Prep solution has two purposes, preparing the nail just before the gel application and for wiping the nails at the end of the process when the gel is set.
Instructions for the Gel Remover is to cover the nails with this for 15 minutes, but the gel comes off mine with the Gel Remover after 5 minutes. It also doesn’t leave the nails or the skin horribly dry.
£9.99 for both HERE
3) Mylee Remover Foil Wraps x 100
Each wrap has a cotton pad within it. Saturate with ‘Gel Remover’ and then wrap around the nail. You could make your own with cotton wool and tinfoil – whether that is more trouble that it’s worth is completely up to you. I like the pre-made! One I remove the foil I buff off any excess with a nail file – but it is all already completely detached.
4) YCC Gel Polish IT6
I didn’t like the nail polish colours that were left at the stand that I bought all of the above Mylee Nail products at- I decided to buy a ‘one step’ polish at another stand – no top or base coat needed. Two coats of the gel and it’s done. I only bought one – I wanted to try it and see if I liked the whole process. Some colours out there are fairly hideous as I discovered at the beauty show. Keep in mind anything with glitter is always harder to get off. YCC’s gel polishes don’t seem readily available but here is a selection of gel polishes available online.
Prices vary from £5.00 to £20.00.
UV Gel Polish (would require top and base coat) HERE
One Step UV Gel Polish HERE
*My Mistake was putting too much gel on initially – under the lamp it will run in to the cuticle and side of the nail bed. One thin coat, and then another thin coat is all that is needed*
The whole set, including a nail polish, cost me £50 at Professional Beauty. Gel Nails in my local nail shop cost £25.00 – so this financially makes sense – as well as being extremely convenient.
The first time I did it – after a week – one did chip. So I re-did that nail alone and they lasted for another week. That is probably the most convenient thing about having a kit like this at home – one damaged nail doesn’t mean an appointment to get the whole set re-done.
I have just seen the brand ‘Bailun‘, that my local nail salon uses, for sale online – and as I’m always delighted with the gel manicure that they do for me I’m going to order a couple of their colours today with and their base and top coat.
If there are any UV Gels that you have tried at home and would recommend please do leave a comment.
Have a lovely day wherever you are!