5 Minute Gel Manicure: A Review

My friend (and fellow blogger) Courtney (check her out here!) decided to give a gel manicure a go. We have both heard so much about these manicures and how long they last, that we wanted in. We did not go to a salon (ain’t nobody got time or money for that! Well, we don’t at least) but instead we picked up this nifty kit from Walmart.

DSCN1082

For just about $10, Nutra Nail Gel Perfect 5 Minute Gel-Color Manicure supposedly gives you a gel manicure without fancy lights or other equipment. Unlike other kits like Sally Hansen, you must purchase the light for at least $60 in order to get the manicure, not to mention buying any subsequent colors you want.

The Nutra Nail kit (we picked the shade “True Romance”, a soft, rosy pink color) comes with the Activator, Gel Polish, and Brush Cleaner – everything you need to get your gel manicure. The packaging claims the following:DSCN1089

  • Sets rock solid in 5 minutes
  • Lasting patent leather shine
  • No UV/LED light needed
  • Ding-free protection

**We do want to note that we did not prep our nails as suggested, so we have taken that into consideration for our review. We didn’t have files or nail polish remover to prep with, but neither of us had polish on before doing this. Our hands/nails were clean and we did not have lotion on…as you can tell by our dry hands!**

DSCN1084Courtney went first, and her first reaction was in regards to the smell. Upon opening and applying the gel color she stated, “This is potent – my eyes are watering!” She realized that she should go slower and be more careful so that the gel activator and color polish do not get on the skin because it hardens and sticks to everything. Within a couple of minutes, she said she was impressed because her fingernails felt hard.

First Coat

DSCN1104

After my first coat, I observed much of the same. Towards the end of the first hand, the color became kind of stringy and the brush hardened. I honestly believe that the “activator” is just a glorified term for “nail glue” – it smells and dries much like nail glue. The first coat is very sheer – this may depend upon the color you choose.

We also both were annoyed at how terrible our right hands turned out; the most plausible reason is because we are less coordinated with our left hands, therefore it takes longer to polish them and so the polish dries before we get through each nail.

Comparison

We both noted the annoying number of steps in order to completeDSCN1124 each step of the manicure. The directions give you a simplified as well as a more in-depth (with tips) version of the directions. We constantly forgot to switch the gel color and brush cleaner brushes, a necessary step in order to keep the brush from hardening with the combination of activator and color polish. It was cool watching the color just kind of clump and fall off the brush inside the cleaner bottle.

The second coat definitely got rid of a lot of the streakiness; they looked fine from far away, although close inspection revealed many flaws. Courtney noted, “If you put too much activator on, it will pool and that’s where all the gel polish will want to go. You have to find a balance.” We both ended up going for a third coat which simply built the color up and continued to cover streaks. Courtney asked me to apply her third coat and she was happy with how it turned out.

FotoFlexer_Photo

So our overall first impressions were not too bad. We only ended up using half of the activator and polish after both of us applying 3 coats, so there is plenty of product. It was interesting the next morning seeing how all the color had settled in the bottom of the brush cleaner bottle.

DSCN1147

DSCN1158

We planned to do a 2 week update post because that is usually the time frame that gel manicures are supposed to last. However, mine lasted less than 24 hours. We completed these manicures on Friday evening around 10:30. By about 12 in afternoon the next day, I already had some big chips (see picture). Later that evening around dinnertime, I had even more chips and after texting Courtney about this she responded that she had the same problem.

I decided to pick off any that I could because my nails looked terrible with so many chips. Needless to say, I ended up picking every last bit off of my nails. Maybe we would have gotten better results if we had prepped our nails beforehand, but either way it was super disappointing.

Pros:

  • Dried and hardened within 5 minutes, as it claims
  • Very shiny, as it claims
  • You get a lot of product – we only ended up using about half of everything for 3 coats each
  • Price

Cons:

  • Streaks were very difficult to avoid
  • Must be fast but precise
  • Number of steps and things to remember (for example, swapping the brushes after each hand)
  • Smell
  • Chipped within 12 hours

Did you try these and have better luck? Have you tried other brands that worked better? Let us know in the comments below!

Advertisements

My Secret (until now) Obsession

About three years ago, I stumbled upon the world of YouTube beauty videos. My first video, How To: Miley Cyrus Inspired Curls by a username juicystar07 (reminds me of AIM days…to which I admit, my first username was sweetcuddler88; don’t judge, I’m sure your’s wasn’t much better).

blairAnd this was only the beginning. From here, I looked through a bunch of Blair’s other videos. These videos included makeup tutorials, Outfit Of The Day videos (OOTD for seasoned veterans), and random talk-y videos. (Blair is juicystar’s actual name, although not her birth name; just one of the many things I’ve learned over the past 3 years. Creepy? Maybe. But she puts it out there for all to know, so there.)

Needless to say, I became obsessed. I started searching for certain makeup tutorial looks, began subscribing to other beauty gurus, and even used my roommate’s face to try and recreate the looks (Note: A huge thanks goes out to Becky: for enduring my cheap and sometimes painful non-makeup brushes, and later buying me actual ones for Christmas!). They show you step by step what products they use, how they are applied, and explain everything in between. There are super natural looks and crazy dramatic looks. Colorful or neutral. The list goes on and on. And not just makeup, but nail polish, clothing…EVERYTHING!

Since I began watching, my makeup collection has grown, as has my respect for these young women who use it on an every day basis. Even more respect for filming yourself doing it and having it come out looking amazing!  I contemplated starting my own channel to create such tutorials, but I realized I’m just not as obsessed with or dedicated to makeup, the latest trends, and fashion as some of these girls are. So I’ll leave it up to them.

Three years later, I am still subscribed to Blair. Although her videos feature less makeup tutorials (I mean, I guess there’s only so many color combinations AND the fact that there are hundreds of girls like her doing the same thing now) I’m still a fan. My subscription box has grown to other beauty gurus; here’s just a few of my favorites:

  • juicystar07 – Blair with her brown hair and brown eyes (twinsies!)
  • AllThatGlitters21 – Blair’s older sister, Elle, who has blonde hair and blue eyes
  • MissJenFABULOUS – she does amazing nail polish tutorials!missjenfabulous
  • shaaanxo – she’s from New Zealand, so her accent is great
  • kandeejohnson – she not only covers fashion and beauty, but she has a super sweet and loving heart as well
  • TheStyleDiet – she has an Irish/American accent that’s simply garjuss. Her older videos feature color combinations based on your skin/hair/eye color – it’s fabulous. And she now has an incredibly adorable 6 month old named Emilia, whom I watch on her and her husband’s daily vlogs (video blogs) on LeFloofTV

It’s crazy thinking that this started 3 years ago. Here I was, a junior in college, sitting in my dorm room, just wanting to be pretty and learn how to have hair like Miley (this was around the time when The Last Song was coming to theaters, so her long, luscious (albeit fake) locks were everywhere). And now I am a first semester grad student, sitting in my dorm room, wanting to be pretty, and writing about it. Well, I guess not all that much has changed.

Question: What is your secret (or not so secret) obsession?