I love gel nail polish, because I am incapable of keeping regular polish on my nails longer than a few hours. Gel manicures are fairly expensive, so when I heard about DIY kits I knew I had to try one.
I am very lucky and grateful to have received the Red Carpet Manicure Gel Polish Pro Kit for Christmas, so here I am to review it for you!
The kit includes:
- Prep: Max Adhesion Sanitizer – a fast-evaporating liquid which dehydrates the surface of your nail for the best polish adhesion
- LED Gel Polish: Red Carpet Reddy – a lovely bright neutral red and the only colour included
- Purity Pre & Post Application Cleanser – to remove the sticky residue left by the polish
- Revitalise Nourishing Cuticle Oil
- Structure Base Coat Gel
- Brilliance Seal & Shine Top Coat Gel
- Erase Gel Nail Polish Remover – strong acetone-based nail polish remover
- Pro 45 LED Light – to cure the polish between coats, taking either 30 or 45 seconds depending on the coat
The manicure process is in a nutshell:
- Cut and shape your nails, and clip the cuticles.
- Prep the nails with the cleanser and sanitizer.
- Apply the base coat and cure for 30 seconds.
- Apply the colour and cure for 45 seconds and repeat.
- Apply the top coat and cure for 45 seconds.
- Remove the sticky residue with the cleanser.
I found the process straightforward and spent a little less time than I would to paint my nails with regular polish. Although there are extra steps, there is no waiting for the nails to dry in between coats (heaven!). Also unlike regular polish, it is especially important to remove any polish on the skin before curing.
I found the polish tended to shrink away from the edge of the nail if left too long before curing (see the tip of my middle finger in the below photo). This is not unique to Red Carpet Manicure: my local beautician mentioned it last time she gelled my nails (I think she uses Gelish). To solve this, I painted and immediately cured two fingernails at a time, instead of the recommended four (and then thumb).
As far as I can tell, the quality of the gel polish is akin to that used in a salon. It has been about 48 hours since I painted them and I’ve seen no difference in shininess and resistance to chipping – which I’m thrilled about.
Your manicure’s quality depends heavily on your ability to paint your own nails. Mine would certainly be a bit neater if someone else did it for me (see photo), but I will happily take the slightly messier cuticle line over paying salon prices (and hopefully I’ll get better with practice). Alternatively you and a friend could paint each other’s.
This comes in at £90, so is definitely an investment. However, a gel manicure at my local salon is £25, so this product pays for itself after four uses, and the bottles included are designed to last for more than that.
Alternatively The Red Carpet Manicure Portable Starter Kit is priced at a more reasonable £60. The main difference seems to be the LED light, which takes longer to cure each coat (1 – 3 minutes).
Additional colours are about £11-12, which is equivalent to a premium normal polish, e.g. OPI. It seems sensible to only buy shades you’d want on your nails for weeks at a time, but they do stock a huge range.
I am over the moon with this kit because it enables me to actually wear nail polish on my fingers – previously a mere fantasy. However, if you are one of those awesome people who are able to maintain normal polish on your fingernails and/or like to frequently change colours, this is perhaps not worth your money.
Please let me know if you decide to buy a gel manicure kit or indeed already own one. What do you think?
For tips on removing gel nail polish, check out this post.
Have a great week,
Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored in any way. The product was gifted to me by someone who paid for it in full.