I make no efforts to hide the fact that I love having gorgeous long painted nails.At first I had tips to make my short nails longer but they have grown I have my own nail with a layer of gel to strengthen them and a slick of gel polish which lasts a great amount of time - the longest I have gone is 4 weeks between getting them done again and I didn't have a single chipped nail. The only downside to getting your nails done at a salon is the price - it is definitely a non-essential luxury with a fresh set and polish costing me around £30 and infills and a polish change for around £20. The good new however is that now there are a great range of at home gel polish kits so you can give yourself longer lasting gel manicures without the salon price tag!
One of the companies offering these kits is Semilac who kindly contacted me recently to see if I wanted to give one of their kits a go. They sent me the Starter Kit which costs £60.00* and includes a UV LED Lamp, polish removing wraps and removing fluid, nail cleaner, two different grade nail files, a filing block for matting the nail before application, a polish stripper, bottles of base coat and top coat plus a bottle of My Love pink polish. As you can see this is everything you need to get started, you then just build up your nail colour collection as you go.
As my nails are already done my beautiful friend Penny came over for a gin and tonic and a chat and to help me test the kit by painting her nails. We started off my cleaning her nails with the fluid and then applying the base coat before curing it under the UV lamp, followed by a layer of her chosen colour that was then cured, a second layer of colour and then finally after that was cured a layer of top coat before a final curing under the lamp.
The lamp has two settings, one that lasts 45 seconds and another that lasts 60. The instructions advise that one session of curing is required for each layer of polish, however we found that two or three were needed for the base and colour coats to stop them being wet and tacky, whereas the top coat took much much longer I think because it was such a thick formula presumably to give a good chip proof finish. I also think the fact that there were only three small bulbs in the lamp meant that it wasn't that powerful so it took much longer than the ones you see in salons.
I'll be honest, I didn't find it quicker than using regular polish, especially not after having to cure the final layer so many times. It probably actually took longer than normal polish would to try and it was only the next morning when Penny got up that it had stopped being tacky. The results however look very nice with the top coat giving a great shiny finish (as long as you don't accidentally smudge it while it dries) and the colour range looks great. Penny chose a shade called Night in Vegas which was black with multi coloured glitter, very glam!
Overall I think it's a nice idea, but I would probably go for one of the most expensive kits which come with a much better professional style lamp to make the process quicker. It is a lovely thing to have though and longer lasting polish is definitely a wonderful thing, so I'd recommend giving one a try if you're on the hunt for a better polish too!
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