I’ve been to a nail salon..maybe twice in my whole life. That includes the time I went just two weeks ago. I dread each time I go to the salon and this time was no different. I’d much rather be at a car dealership stroking Aston Martins. But I never get the kind of finish I want when I do my nails…Is it because I’m never patient enough until they dry? Most likely. Anyway, the second time I went, I was cajoled into trying this gel manicure-she says its been around for a while and that it looks better than polish. Because I always like to try new things I said yes, and after I was done I loved the look. I’m very much into meticulously groomed nails right now, but I always like a faint pink natural gloss — something that almost matches the color of my nail beds but just a little more pink. After she was finished with doing my gel nails, I noticed that while the color was really natural and translucent, the glossy finish looked very unnatural. My nails were impossibly glossy, and I loved that. You know how when you apply that second coat of nail polish and it hasn’t dried..it looks so glossy and pretty glimmering under the light..but then it dries and it’s not glossy anymore. Well this gel she applied on me had that constant glossiness. I had to find out how to do this at home so that I wouldn’t have to come back to the nail salon. The lady who did my nails was more than helpful and told me to try this nail salon supply shop. Now here is a disclaimer for any straight males reading this blog; this post is for girls only! =)
After I got to the shop, I was greeted with a saleswoman who didn’t want to sell me stuff. I asked for the same gel that lady applied, and the woman asks me if I work in a nail salon…of course I say no and she says that it’s impossible to apply this stuff without experience. Instead she offers me this thing called Shellac. I kept insisting she sell me the REAL GEL the lady used on me because I don’t want the “almost” version. She said that Shellac was actually the same thing as the gel, but it’s much easier to apply for people like me who don’t work in a nail salon. I also had to buy the uv curing machine (it looks like a mini tanning machine for your hands, but it’s not). This machine just has UV lamps inside that set the gel. I came home with all my new supplies and I have to say after trying it once I am so glad I bought it so that I can maintain my hyper glossy neutral nails.
Have tissues ready and some acetone to dampen it with, you’ll need it at the very end.
I start out by buffing my nails, or gently sanding them down. This helps the gel to stick the nail.
Now that my nails are buffed (you can see they are all scratched up nicely) I can clip off any white pieces of skin around the cuticles. I take the time to do this at least once a week now just to keep my nails groomed.
These are the special gels the lady told me to use. As I said she wouldn’t sell me the real gel stuff but I found out that Shellac has the same end effect. The only thing is that you have to get three parts, the UV base, the color coat, and then the top coat. You can’t have one without the others. The color I’m using is “Clearly Pink”. The base coat is is available hereNail Art Equipment) and the top coat here..
I start out with a thin coat of the UV base. After a thin coat on all of the nails on both hands, you can cure them under the UV lamps for 10 seconds on each hand.
Then I applied a coat of the color gel. I chose a very faint transparent pink, it’s my favorite because it looks very natural and clean.
Same process, shortly after you’re done painting the nails you have to cure the first coat under the UV lamps.
What I love about these Shellac gels is that everything happens quickly. After the first coat color coat, you have to cure the nails only for 2 minutes.
After you’re done with the first layer, you have to apply another layer of the color, and then cure them for another 2 minutes just like before. Then the last layer is the top coat. After you’re done with the top coat you have to cure them for the final 2 minutes. Each hand takes approximately 6 minutes to cure. The weirdest thing is that at the end when you’re done curing, you’ll feel this sticky film on top of your nails. You have to wipe all of your nails down after the final curing with acetone to get rid of this film. Underneath this film is that real glossy finish. When I tried this the first time, I almost returned all of the gels and this UV lamp because I thought it didn’t work, but I figured out at the end you just have to wipe down your nails to complete the gel manicure. How stupid of me!
The last thing I like to do is to massage my cuticles with cuticle oil. I do this twice a week too just to make sure my nails stay healthy.
When the nails are finished, they are really shiny. The thing about this gel is that it’s also quite thick, after it’s done curing you feel like your nails are a bit bulbous. I like the look but maybe you’re not so into it. In that case you just have to apply a very thin layer. This shellac company has a lot of different nail colors- I wonder how glossy the color gels look, I bet they look pretty too. But for myself I don’t like color too I just like this pink transparent tone. I think this gel is great for people who have very thin nails that break. If you’re trying to grow them I recommend this stuff because the gel is so strong that it’s impossible for your nails to chip or break with it on.
Yes my nails are completely dry in the picture below, and it’s this glossy. I don’t know why but I’m just obsessed. It is hard for these to get scratched easily or even chip. The picture below is not photo-shopped either. I’m just so happy I don’t have to go to the salon for this kind of look. You can check out other colors too.
Feel free to leave any comments if you’ve tried this product and you’ve had less than stellar results. I would be surprised to hear that you did because I am no nail expert and found the process to be very easy and the finish to be quite nice. I am 100% sure I will never go to Duane Reade to buy regular nail polish, I’m hooked on these gels.