I've had two gel manicures in the past, one Shellac and one Artistic Colour Gloss, and I loved then both. The long wear, the incredible shine, the lack of worrying about your nail colour chipping for a coupla weeks... what's not to love? Admittedly, regular gel manicures will leave a large dent in your wallet, with each manicure costing at least £30. There are a few home kits on the market, which promise the same long lasting, shiny results at a fraction of the cost.
Red Carpet Manicure produces a couple of different kits which include a full set of products designed to give a professional gel manicure result at home.
Along with the curing light, you get a gel base coat and top coat, a cuticle oil, a prep solution to maximise adhesion, a red gel polish, polish remover and a purifier (which removes any oily residue from the nail prior to application).
The basic premise is that you prep the nail by shaping and buffing, followed by an application of the purify and prep products which make sure the nail is completely clean and dry ready for application. The gel products are designed to be applied very thinly, and have short stubby brushes which encourage you to minimise the product you can apply in one go.
Red Carpet Manicure recommend that you apply base, two coats of colour, and topcoat to the fingers of each hand followed by the thumbs, to ensure that you can fit all your freshly painted nails into the curing light. I found it relatively easy to apply the layers of gel, curing under the light for 30-45 seconds in between coats, and ended up with ten perfectly polished nails in about 40 minutes.
And here are the results, a week and a half after application. The polish is smooth, shiny and vibrant, and is showing very few signs of wear and tear. Admittedly, the cuticle space is starting to look a little large, and I'll probably have to remove it before I get three weeks out of it, but that's largely due to my lack of cuticle trimming prowess prior to application.
Anyway - all in all, this is a fabulous little kit. If you're an adept nail-painter and regularly polish your own fingers, you'll probably find it relatively easy to apply and cure the polish, and you'll get a great professional looking result. At £90, the kit is quite expensive - but after three home manicures, it'll have paid for itself, and you'll still have plenty of product remaining. Red Carpet Manicure also sell additional colours for £11.95 each, although I've also heard that Gellish polishes work with the Red Carpet Manicure system too. I've also heard of people getting great results using the gel topcoat atop normal polishes, which I'll definitely be trying soon.
You'll find the Red Carpet Manicure system at their website. What do you think of gel manicures? Tempted to try a home version? Let us know in the comments!
Disclosure: PR sample