I don’t know about you, but I for one am obsessed with gel nails. OBSESSED. I’ve never gotten into acrylics, normal nail polish usually gets smudged within the first half hour/chips within the first day, and stick on nails have always rendered my hands absolutely useless for actually picking things up/texting/getting dressed/doing anything hands are supposed to do.
Cue the gels.
There’s nothing I love more than going to a salon to get my nails done. I love getting pampered, I love getting my nails shaped properly, and I love just relaxing while someone else makes my manicure look perfect. But when I do visit the salon, I often find myself disappointed with their colour selection, and if my nails chip for any reason it’s such an effort to go back and get it fixed.
A few years back I wrote about the gel nail kit I created so I could do my own gels at home. Believe it or not (probably not considering the abysmal photography), it’s actually one of my most popular posts on this blog. Whilst I used that kit all the time and loved it, eventually I outgrew the bulky lamp and long cure times – although only 2 minutes long, it would take me around an hour to do my nails and let’s be honest, who has time for that?!
The kit I upgraded to was the Sensationail Starter Kit. Sensationail are a gel nail brand available in Boots, they offer tons of different starter kits with everything you need, including a very compact LED lamp that can cure polish in 30 seconds. Coming in at around £50, they’re also often one of Boots’ star offers in the lead up to Christmas – so watch out for the kits being half price in the next few months. There’s actually a Limited Edition Ultimate Starter Kit on offer for £30 at the moment and looks like it includes a few more products than the one I bought, including the polish to gel which turns normal nail varnish into a gel polish.
I’ve had the kit for over a year now and one of the things that still stands out to me is how great the lamp is. It’s nice and small, has an automatic sensor instead of having to press a button, and the base is removable for easy pedicures. The base coat takes 15 seconds to cure, while each colour coat takes 30 seconds to cure – much faster than my previous kit which really does make a difference to the overall time my nails take. I find I can do them in around half an hour now, despite the fact I’m painfully slow at painting them.
I have two colours of gel, both nude shades. Macchiato is a lovely beige nude which takes around 3 coats to become fully opaque, while the second shade I have, Mauve, is a much pinker toned nude and is slightly darker, so takes between 1-2 coats to be fully opaque.
There’s quite a wide shade range available from Sensational, but the lamp also works with other brands of gel polish – so I still get to use all my old Bluesky colours (which come in at a fiver each compared to the Sensationail ones which are around £15 a bottle.)
As someone who can’t get normal nail polish to look neat whatsoever, I absolutely love gel nails. I love that once the nails are painted and cured, they’re done. No risk of smudging, no plunging hands into freezing water in the hopes of setting it quicker, no chips the day after. They’re done and set for 10 days to 2 weeks.
In terms of damage to the nails, gels do get quite a bad rep. Personally I like to give my nails a rest every few months just in case, but as long as I remove the gel properly I don’t notice any damage or weakening of the nails. Sensationail actually do something called Nail Shields which you put on before applying the gel so that when it’s time to remove your manicure it just peels right off. I’ve never tried them, but really keen to give them a go so I’m sure there’ll be a review coming in the near future.
Have you ever tried gel nails? What do you think?