I have a very serious topic to discuss today. It’s something that I’ve spent hours and hours of my life on since I was probably 9 or 10 years old. Much younger if you count the times I did it behind my mom’s back.
Let’s talk about nail polish, shall we?
I’ll admit, I’ve kind of been a little nail polish freak since a very young age. I don’t know, something about having those shiny hot pink pretty nails like Dolly Parton. I remember being so intrigued by one of those tabloid magazines like The Inquirer that had pictures of the lady in the Guiness Book of World Record’s for having the longest finger nails. My great-aunt Bee had stacks of those magazines and they somehow sucked me in on every visit to her house. I would cut out finger nail shapes out of paper and tape them to my own nails, I would steal my mom’s polish and paint my little heart out. I remember buying those sticky press on type nails and even the ones you cut and glue on. I loved nails. I still do. For me, it’s my down time. My relaxation time to put those girls to bed and quietly get out my nail stuff, plop down on the couch and do a little mom time mani and pedi. Sometimes, the kids wake up and come downstairs wanting me to do their little nails. I swear they have nail polish radar that equals the power of their popcorn in the microwave radar. They can wake out of deep sleep just as soon as I’m applying the polish and need a steady hand and concentration, or just as soon as that microwave goes off and the whiffs of fake butter enter the air. I went through a little time in high school where I had acrylic nails done at a salon. I had to use my own McDonald’s money on these nails. But I never really enjoyed getting pedicures. I was always disappointed or knew I could do a better job at home. I even bought one of those razor blade things to help take the dead skin off the underside of my heels. So for the most part, I’ve always been a do it yourself kind of gal when it comes to nails. With this comes some frustration though. I’ll work on those nails, getting them all pretty and the next day or so they begin to chip. Even with good polish and even with a heavy-duty top coat. Or I’ll do my nails at night and carefully tuck myself into bed, or have my husband tuck me in and I’ll lay with my hands very carefully folded on top of the covers so I don’t disturb that precious polish that’s still curing. I usually wake up with all sorts of blanket marks and a hot mess of polish that needs to be all redone the next day. Has that happened to you? But my toes always turn out, always dry fine and don’t chip so they are not an issue. I could never see paying for a pedicure when I can just do it myself and even give the girls a dime or maybe a little bribe of ice cream if they scrub my feet and lather them up with lotion. My eight year old loves to play pretend salon. I even have to “call” her to make an appointment, sign in when I check in and pay and tip her (usually a quarter). She brings me a beverage and magazine while she does her little thing. It’s so sweet. What really makes me chuckle is when I really do want a little foot rub or something and I call to make an appointment and she says she’s all booked up. Ha. That girl!
I’ve tried some of the popular nail wraps that are like super strong stickers that cover your entire nail. They last great, hold up to wear and tear and do not damage your nails at all. What I didn’t like about the wraps was that feeling like the edge was a little lifted so I would constantly mess with it and eventually had to remove the wrap before I went nuts. I know that application is the key and it takes practice. They work beautifully for lots of my friends and the never ending variety of patterns and styles work with most anything. I’m more of a traditional all one color kind of nail gal. I’m not really into patterns or designs on my nails so if I were to buy wraps, I’d just want the solid-looking wraps that look like more traditional polish. And again, I’m kind of a cheapie when it comes to nails. I don’t want to spend a lot of money, but I still want nice looking nails.
My mom started having her nails done at a salon a few years ago. She only has a gel manicure done on her real nails so they are all her own nails. My mom is kind of a product tester for the lady and she does a great job. If the polish stands up to my mom’s gardening, working on the pool, building an outdoor fireplace or whatever project she happens to be doing that week, then that says that is a keeper line of polish for sure. She loves the Gelish Soak off Gel Nail Polish by Harmony. She’s tried other lines like OPI and was not impressed. I love how long the gel manicure lasts on my mom and it looks great, but I just couldn’t justify spending that much money on my own nails. So I looked for a DIY gel at home. I’ve used a few that don’t use the light and were disappointed. I’ve tried different top coats and still had chipping within a few days. No thanks. A few months ago, I came across one of those too good to be true hacks and tricks on Pinterest. It was a way to have a gel type manicure, but use regular non gel nail polish and no light for curing. This was right up my alley. I didn’t want to give up all the nail polish empire that I had built all these years. So, I bought the bottle of Gelous stuff at Sally’s along with a good top coat.
You are supposed to be able to use the Gelous as a base coat and in between coats of color and then top it all with a good topcoat and the polish should last for a week or so with minimal chips. I read different comments and reviews on the product and decided to give it a try. The first time, I used the Gellous with an OPI sheer pinkish polish.
It worked beautifully. I had a chip free manicure for six or seven days. This was insane as I’m used to chips within 2-3 days. I thought I had found a little gem!
The next time, I tried a Cover Girl Tru Shine polish in a bright orange tomato red.
It looked great for two days
but then quickly started to chip, chip, chip. And once my polish starts to chip – it’s bad news bears. I will chip it all away leaving a little scrap pile of my polish until my nails are all bare. This is soooooo bad for your nails and I’m working on it. It’s better than biting them, right? So my confidence in this little Pinterest hack was dwindling. I tried a few other brands and lines of polish. Good Essie, a few Revlon and was not really impressed with the results. I may have had an extra day or two without chipping, but it didn’t last a week. I even tried the same OPI again and maybe I somehow applied it differently or messed up the order, but it didn’t last a week this time so I kind of gave up on the idea of getting an At Home Gel Manicure with the Gelous product.
For my birthday, my mom decided to get me a Gelish mini complete starter kit at Sally’s. It comes with a light, remover, cleanser, all the bottles of polish for the prep, foundation and top coat, cuticle oil, and two bottles of color as well.
The kit runs around $100, but if you have a Sally’s reward card, you can use coupons that they send in the mail or probably find some online. You can buy the kit elsewhere like Amazon too. Let me tell you – this is amazing. It’s a big hunk of change, but if you consider the cost of having your nails done at a salon every 3-4 weeks, then this baby will pay for itself in no time.
I first used one of the polish colors that came with the kit. It’s a hot pink called Gossip Girl.
This stuff lasted without one chip for 8 days. It would last much longer, but you know me and my little raccoon hands that can’t stop picking at lifted polish. And I am still learning the application so I hope that it improves so the polish stays on even longer. You want it very thin around the edges and no polish on your skin, otherwise it will lift off and can cause chipping. I worked in the yard, went to the beach, scrubbed dishes and really put the polish to a test and I was so impressed. The shine never goes away. With traditional polish, you usually have to keep reapplying top coat every few days if you really want to keep that shine, but not with this Gelish system – the shine lasts and lasts.
I bought a few more colors since it was buy 2 get one free at Sally’s a few weeks ago. I really have to refrain from going crazy and buying more colors. They are around $11-$12 each for the mini sizes. I can’t stand how the bottles are white and you can’t see the polish, but there must be a reason for it. The little sticker type label showing the color and finish just don’t do it for me and the nice employees at Sally’s usually don’t mind if you open the bottle and get a little peek to make sure it’s the color you like. Since Sally’s doesn’t carry all the colors I will look online for an actual nail swatch on a real hand before I buy a color online. That’s what Pinterest is really good for, right? Oh, how many rabbit holes I have gotten lost in by just looking up one quick thing and then – man, you won’t believe all the great ideas they have for repurposing a wooden pallet!
There’s a different line of Gelish that I tried out too. The Uno line. It’s supposed to be a one step type polish. No foundation, no top coat needed. Just the color and then cure with light and second coat of color if desired and a final cure with the light.
I tried the Uno the way it was designed with just polish and not foundation or top coat and it still lasted 9 days without any chips. I used the foundation, top coat on my other hand with the Uno polish and had great results as well. The problem with me is when one starts lifting or chipping, I chip them all. Sane people may just repair or re-do that one nail and still keep that mani going for a few more days. Not me. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.
Here’s a picture of the Uno by Gelish in Gold Rush. It lasted for 9 days until I started to chip it all off. Again- bad bad bad for your nails, especially with gel polish on them. Don’t do it. If I would have just left it alone – it would have lasted longer.
Here’s my latest color choice. It’s called It’s a Lily. It’s a pretty girly purple-pink color that is so fun for spring and summer.
Since my lighting is so bad in the above picture, I thought I’d include a better picture of the polish so you can see its true hue. Pay no attention to the broken ice cream cone. I snapped this picture and sent it to my husband because I share a lot with him in pictures. Sometimes very odd pictures. What I eat, what I see, what I need at the grocery store, cute shoes that a lady is wearing in front of me in the checkout line (I hope she doesn’t think I’m crazy trying to subtly snap a pic of her shoes). I like pictures. So, check out that color, not the cone.
Removing Gel Polish can be a little tricky. You need to really let it soak. You can do this by lightly buffing the nail to remove just the top coat and then soaking a cotton ball in acetone remover and holding the cotton ball in place by wrapping the nails in a little tin foil as the cotton ball does its magic. It usually needs to set like this for 10-15 minutes. Then, you just carefully scrape off the remaining gel polish with a wooden orange stick. So far, my nails have not had any damage or ill effects from the gel polish. If I can just keep myself from picking at the polish – we’ll be in business!
Now, one thing I do want to try in the future is to see if I can use the Gelish Foundation and Top coat and light, but with regular – non gel nail polish. I have so many awesome colors that I’m not quite ready to assign only to my toes and kids. So I will test that out sometime and let you know how it goes.