Saturday, June 22, 2013

Gel Haute Polish - first thoughts

Recently Living Social offered a Gel Haute Polish starter kit for $30. I've been wanting to try gel polish but starter kits run anywhere from $50 and up so I kept putting it off. $30 sounded like a fair price and I had the money so I figured, why not?

I hit a stumbling block almost immediately. The kit came with the basic gel nail supplies (base and top coats, cleaner, remover and light) along with 3 color polishes. There were 3 color trios to choose from but the kits were not identified. I thought maybe the names were in the same order as the pictures (apparently not the case). I ordered the Fundamentals kit. Turns out this included a brown, tan and orange polish. Not my style. Thankfully LS issued me a refund so I could order a different color set. Unfortunately, they could not identify which name went with which kit. I really wanted the purple set and had a 50/50 shot at getting it when I ordered the 2nd time. This time I went with the Impluse trio. Still not right. This one includes hot pink, neon orange and turquoises green. I didn't feel like hassling with another return so I just went with this one. (FYI, if the kit comes up again and you want the purple kit, the name is Timeless).

When I redeemed my code there was an option to buy additional polishes at 50% off. I went ahead and ordered 2 purple polishes. The kit arrived in a little over a week (I paid the extra $2 for express shipping). Just in time for my long weekend.

The directions are simple to follow. The products are amazingly low in odor, much less even than regular nail polish. The process takes a while because you have to cure each coat of polish under the LED light for 2 minutes. You have to do the 4 fingers on each hand and the thumbs separately.  This is where I could see an advantage to buying one of the higher priced kits that include a more powerful light (I've seen cure times as low as 30 seconds on some of them). I didn't mind much, though. I loaded up my Youtube queue and just watched videos as my nails cured.

I found the color polish a bit difficult to apply. The instructions stress using multiple thin coats, rather than one or two thick coats. I had to apply 3 coats of color to get a decent opacity, and even this is a bit sheer for my taste. The polishes self level, which is sort of nice, but it seems to pull away from the tip of the nail. Even though my nails feel like the polish goes all the way to the edge when I touch them, they look like there is a sliver of white at the tips, giving the appearance of tip-wear. I've seen suggestions to "tip"the nails with polish (run the brush along the free edge to coat the edge with polish) but my nails aren't quite long enough to do this. I'll have to practice and see if I can't find a way around this issue.

All in all it took a little over an hour to paint and cure both hands (a normal manicure for me takes less than 20 minutes plus dry time). I love the way my nails feel. They are smooth as glass. The shine is gorgeous. I put them to quite a test yesterday afternoon...I washed the deck furniture, worked in the garden, pulled weeds, cooked dinner. Any one of those tasks would normally result in at least one chip, especially on a fresh manicure. The pictures in the post were taken today. As you can see, there is not a scratch or dent on them. Color me impressed.

They say the polish can last up to 14 days. We'll see. A standard mani lasts maybe 3-4 days on me before showing tip-wear or chipping. I'll post back how I make out with this gel polish. I'm a little anxious about the removal process (anything that involves wrapping your fingers in aluminum foil with acetone soaked cotton balls doesn't sound overly fun) but we'll see how it goes.

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