With a super glossy finish and a 2 week wear time, it's easy to see why so many people love gel nails. However it can be pretty expensive to keep going to the salon to have them done, with a single application usually costing around £20-£25.
I was recently given the chance to test out an at home gel nail kit from NYK1 Secrets - a gel nail company that specialises in at home, professional quality products.
Inside my kit was everything I needed for multiple applications - base and top coats, two colours of polish, cuticle sticks, a UV lamp, prepping lotion, acetone for removal, lint free cotton pads, cuticle oil and much more. Also in the box were step-by-step instructions on how to create the perfect gel manicure at home. As a gel novice, these instructions were invaluable - they were super clear and easy to follow, making the whole process really easy to do.
I started off by filing and shaping my nails, before wiping them over several times with the prep and shine lotion. This helps to prepare the nails for gel application, removing excess oil and giving a good base for the gel to adhere to.
The next step was a base coat - I did one hand first, followed by the other. You have to cure each hand after every coat, and the two minute timer on the lamp meant there was no risk of under or over curing as you just push the button and then wait for the lamp to automatically switch off after two minutes.
After the base coat, I applied two coats of coloured polish, curing each coat for two minutes and then applied a final top coat and a last 2 minute cure session under the lamp. The instructions mention that even after the top coat, you'll be left with a slightly sticky finish to your nails, which is totally normal. Once the top coat has been applied and cured, then you need to wipe the finished nails over with a cotton pad soaked in the prep and shine lotion, which removes any sticky residue. After that, you're good to go!
I found the process pretty easy, if a bit time consuming. You have to be careful to leave a small gap in between the polish and the outer nail bed - if you paint over your cuticle or around the edges of your nails, you'll need to remove this prior to curing (with a cotton bud soaked in acetone) as any overspill can lead to the gel lifting and peeling from your nails.
It took me about an hour to do both hands, however I think this would be a lot quicker the second time around as I'm now used to the process.
My polish lasted an impressive 16 days before I got my first chip (easily 4 times the length of regular polish). I have to admit I was a bit bored of the colour by then, but I was determined to see how long it would last for! Removal was a slightly painful process of soaking off in acetone, but after about half an hour I had all of the gel off.
I think this kit is a great option if you're a gel nail lover - you get everything you need in one kit and can top it up with extra polishes from their website. There are dozens of different shades to choose from, and although the initial outlay might seem a little pricey, it's really only about the cost of 4 salon gel manicures.
I would definitely use this kit again, especially before holidays or weeks when I know I won't have chance to renew my nail polish regularly.
The kits cost £97.95 for a full kit with your choice of 4 polish shades (plus a base and top coat) and extra individual polishes cost £8.95. You can buy the kits direct from the NYK1 Secrets website.
Have you tried gel nails before? What do you think of this at home kit?