Hello everyone! I am extremely excited to share with you all my first foray into the land of gel nails! I recently had the opportunity to try out Orly's SmartGELS and with it being my first time using gel nail polish, I did a thorough research online before making a start :P However, after trying the Orly kit, I can safely say this is pretty easy to do. Orly offers a starter kit which includes all the equipment you will need to create your gel manicure, as well as remove it. An LED lamp can be purchased in a separate kit.
Here are the materials you need to ensure you can create your own at-home gel manicure:
- LED light, which has a 30-60 second timer. Simply hit the button at the top and wait for your gel polish to cure (30 seconds for lighter shades and 60 seconds for the darker ones).
- Cleanser and lint free wipes, used to ensure the nail bed is free of oil before applying the gel polish, as well as removing the sticky residue after you have finished applying all your coats.
- Primer, base+top coat and of course, your choice of the SmarGELS colour. You can see Terracotta in the photo below.
I followed the instructions on an information booklet and I was pretty happy with the way my manicure turned out. With this being my first time applying gel, I have to say that there wasn't any steep learning curve. Yes, I can definitely do better but I do think this was a nice outcome for my first try :)
1. Buff and clean nails with the cleanser & lint free wipes
2. Apply primer to the tips. Allow to dry.
3. Apply base+top and cure for 30 seconds.
4. Apply your first layer of the SmartGELS polish. Cure for 30 seconds.
5. Repeat step 4.
6. Apply base+top to seal in your gel colour. Cure for 30 seconds.
7. Take the cleanser and lint free wipe and clean the surface of your nail to remove the sticky residue.
8. Admire your super shiny final product!
I had previously read online to wrap my tips with the gel polish to improve wear time. Unfortunately, I found that this caused the gel polish to shrink after it was cured, making my nails look like they had tip wear. Besides that though, I received no further wear or tear in the three days I had it on (and that's really something, considering I constantly wash my hands at work!).
Now, a little bit about removal. On day three, I found that I could lift a little part of the gel polish on my right index finger. After resisting for the whole day and not play with it, I decided to try if I could actually remove the gel polish by simply peeling it off my nails. And voilà! Look what happened.
The gel polish peeled off all my nails as if I had worn a PVA glue base coat. (In fact, it worked even than if I had worn the PVA because the last time I did that, the glue completely ruined my nails, causing peeling and completely weakening my nails. Oh no, never again will I use PVA glue! *shudders*) Unlike my experience with the glue though, my nails were in no way damaged after the peeling and I actually managed to avoid a much longer removal process. Hurray!
I'm not sure why the gel colour managed to peel off my nails, although I suspect it may have been because I didn't cure it long enough. In hindsight, Terracotta is probably considered a darker shade so I should have probably cured it for 60 seconds as opposed to the 30 seconds I did.
Orly's Starter kit retails at $79.95 and the LED light at $99.95. The SmartGELS can be purchased separately and retail at $23.95 each. The entire system can be purchased from Terry White Chemists, National Pharmacies and online at Orly Beauty.
I loved how easy it was to create the gel manicure and I will definitely be playing around with more of it in the near future! Have you ever tried a gel manicure before?
Thanks for reading!