Over the past year or so I have gotten really into giving myself manicures at home. I think I’ve really gotten more into it since I received Julep Freedom Polymer Top Coat, which drastically cuts down on the amount of time it takes for your nails to dry. I’m not patient, and if my nails don’t dry quickly I will definitely get a smudge or two.
When I was offered the opportunity to review Couture Gel Nail Polish I quickly agreed. I’ve had gel nail polish applied at the nail salon before, though I’d never tried doing it myself. I was intrigued not only by the fact that my nails would dry as soon as I completed the manicure, but also because a gel manicure can last up to 3 weeks.
The Couture Gel Nail Polish kit I received in the mail was identical to the one above. It came with the curing lamp, 3 gel nail polish colors, base coat, top coat, and a bunch of extras like a case for the nail polish and an instructional DVD. Couture Gel has tons of gel manicure colors from which to choose! I ended up going with the red you see below, a pink, and a gold glitter.
I couldn’t resist this gorgeous red nail polish color. It has sparkles throughout that really shine when they catch the light. This might be my favorite shade of red nail polish ever!
What you see above is actually my second attempt at giving myself a gel manicure. My first attempt was disastrous, to say the least. With a gel manicure, if you get ANY polish on your cuticle and don’t clean it up before curing your nails under the light, well, your manicure just isn’t going to last. I learned this the hard way. The first time I gave myself a gel manicure it took me two hours to complete, and the manicure lasted all of 2 days. I had made the mistake of leaving a tiny bit of polish on a cuticle thinking “oh it won’t matter!”, when it obviously will.
It takes a long time to give yourself a gel manicure at home. There’s no way around it. You need to do thumbs separately from the rest of your hand, and for every layer of polish you put on you need to spend 2 minutes under the light, meaning that each hand will spend about 16 minutes under the light. It took me a long time to apply the polish because I was paranoid about getting it on my cuticles. All told, it took me about an hour and a half to do the manicure the second time around. I’m sure as I do it more that my time will go down a bit, although I’m really not sure I could do a full manicure in less than an hour just because you have to be so careful.
While my first attempt at an at home gel manicure lasted just two days, I had better results with my second attempt and it lasted five days. The manicure didn’t chip like a traditional manicure would, instead, I’d gotten just a tiny bit of the nail polish on my cuticle, which allowed air to get underneath the polish and I was able to pull all of the polish off my nail quite easily. If you’re wondering how to remove a gel manicure at home, Couture Gel sells Gel Nail Polish Remover Wraps and they work like a charm! (I was afraid I would have to go to the salon to get the nail polish removed!)
I think there’s a pretty exact science to giving yourself the perfect gel manicure, and it takes a few manicures to perfect it.
I really liked how my gel manicure looked – very shiny with vibrant colors – and also that my nails were dry to touch as soon as I finished the manicure. I just wish there was a little room for error … or that I had a steadier hand.
Disclosure: A Couture Gel Nail Polish Kit was provided for the purpose of this review, however all opinions expressed above are my own.