As much as I used to dread chipping nail polish and less than perfect at-home manicures, there’s something addictive about doing your own nails (plus it’s cheaper). But, redoing my nails three times a week just wasn’t working for me, and I’ve since opted for gel nails. The idea of gel nails totally baffled me for the longest time–are they fake nails? How does it work? What’s the difference? Well, now that I’m a little more knowledgeable on the subject, I’d love to share.
Gel nails and gel polish are two completely different things. Today, we’re talking polish. It’s essentially a nail colour that after applying, is cured under a special lamp. The manicure lasts quite a bit longer than just your average nail polish, and your nails will be a little bit more durable. It shouldn’t really chip, and will look good until you’re nail is grown out– I find that I can go around three weeks until I need a refill. Oh, and ‘refill’ is the salon term for changing the colour of gel polish.
I personally get my gel nails done in a salon, but at $50 and an hour and half spent gazing around the salon every few weeks, it can be a bit consuming. One thing I didn’t realize I’d miss was painting my own nails– ya, most of the time they don’t even turn out the way I’d like, but it’s still a fun idea. I’d heard of at-home gel nail products, but never really wanted to shell out the cash for a set that I wasn’t even sure would work. A tiny little white box appeared on my ‘to-try’ list, promising perfect gel nails in 30 seconds–and while I couldn’t test it out on myself, I didn’t hesitate to play nail-lady to all my friends (and their sisters).
You do the trimming and filing first, as per usual. Then, using the cleanser, you swipe over all your nails to assure a smooth base. Then you apply your colour, thirty seconds under the tiny lamp, and much to my surprise, the polish was dried. The hot pink shade, Na-no Way!, needed two coats and two trips under the LED to build a solid opaque colour, but was beautiful when complete. At only $30, this at-home set is the most fool-proof route to longer lasting manicure and a cheap alternative for gel nails.
–Anna Raponi



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