Friday, March 1, 2013

Breaking all the Rules.... with Gel Polish

I seem to have this little problem with rules.

 I like rules. I follow rules. Most of the time.
Except when you tell me I have to do something. Or that I can't do something. But other than that....hehee.

Take gel polish systems, for example. You have to use their primer, their base coat, their limited selection yet expensive colors, and their top coat. You have to use their lights. And for heaven's sake, you can't use regular polish! 

I've used a couple of different systems, and while I like the durability of gels, I don't like the limited selection of colors, and let's face it, I like my nail art! And if you always follow rules, you can't do that with gel polish systems.

Want to know what happens when I break the rules? This pretty, ultra-feminine mani lasts for at least 6 days with no chipping or tip-wear. And only came off when I said it was time!
A Lacy Blue French Mani with a gel topcoat!
Step 1: clean, dry nails. I wish I had spent a little more time on the old polish around the cuticles. Next time. 

Secret Ingredient: This stuff
is great. And cheap. Like, Family
Dollar cheap. $2-3 max

Step 2: Apply and let it dry. 5 minutes is about right for me.

Step 3: base color, with regular nail polish. What you see here is a creamy pastel blue I got from Avon. Not the beauty supply store, not the department store.... Not. Gel. Regular polish. It was a bit streaky after one coat, but perfect after 2. I'm not great at applying the tips perfectly, but I learned a quick and easy way to clean up those lines. Another day, if you are interested. 

Step 4: Stamp it up! Got my Konad on... Konad white, and stamp plate M60. I think, but I don't want to walk all the way upstairs to check. It's late, and I'm lazy tonight. 
A little closer on that accent nail. 

Now for the Gel part. I've tried 2 brands: SensatioNAIL from Walmart (LED light) and Gelish from Sally's (UV light). It works with both.

For Step 5: use ONLY the topcoat. No gel primer, no gel base, no gel color.... Only the topcoat. Make sure you coat over the tip. You do that, right?Seal the edge? 

Step 6: Cook it under the lights. UV or LED, whichever floats your boat.

Step 7: Use the cleaner from the kit, and the lint free wipes.

An extra step: A little cuticle oil. You use that, too, right? I use mine every night at bedtime, and usually once more during the day. I think that's why my nails are so strong and happy lately. Homemade oil.  

This was one of those manicures that made me smile every time I looked at my hands. I knew how crazy-busy this week was going to be, and that I wouldn't have time for a mani from Saturday to Thursday night. I average 4 a week. 
Even more when we are swatching for Naild'It. 

My last word on gel polish is on removal. Be. Careful. The first time I wore gel polish, I peeled it off. Mainly because I put on way too much and it flooded the cuticles, which made me crazy. And when I picked off the polish, I peeled off a layer or two of my nails with it. Later, I bought a metal scraping tool that is made for gel removal. I soaked my nails in acetone and then scraped some very deep gouges into my nails. Never. Again. 

I promise you a post on gel removal. It's important! 
And the same technique works on glitter polish, so Yay!

Questions? Comments? Try it, and let me know if it works for you!

*Heart my Nails* - Heather 


  1. I have purchased the hardener at Walmart and at Family Dollar. You can also get it here.
    *<3 my Nails* Heather