With the lure of an instantly-dry, long-wearing lacquer finish, gel nail polish is gaining so much popularity lately! What started out as an in-salon solution to frequently chipped nail polish is now becoming an at-home venture that isn’t very difficult to accomplish. If you can paint your nails, you can pretty much use the gel systems available on the consumer market. Red Carpet Manicure offers two such kits, the difference between them lies in the light that you use to cure the product with. Being such a nail polish devotee, I tried out their kit with the “pro” light, let’s take a closer look…
The Pro starter kit arrived with:
- Professional LED-Gel Curing Light with AC power cord/adapter
- Prep — Max Adhesion Prep
- Structure — Base Coat Gel
- Brilliance — Seal & Shine Top Coat Gel
- Red Carpet Manicure LED Gel nail polish (red)
- Revitalize — Nourishing Cuticle Oil
- Purify — Pre & Post Application Cleanser
- Erase — Gel Nail Polish Remover
More photos and details…
Right out of the box, everything you need is literally at your fingertips with this RCM kit. But what this kit doesn’t arrive with, is patience! You’ll need to work diligently through several steps, applying thin coats of product, and curing each layer as you go along with the included lamp. Each curing session lasts about 45 seconds, and it took me about 45 minutes to complete my first successful gel mani. It took me two sessions for each hand; one session with my first four fingers, with the second for my thumb.
After 10 days, I had plenty of new-growth and a little tip wear.
RCM states that their product is good for about two weeks of wear, but I found it was time to retire mine after 10 days. That’s still substantially longer than a regular polish job for me, I’m pretty rough on my nails and had a little bit of lifting where my pinkie nail rests on my keyboard (and some tip wear). I have a hunch that this was an error on my part! You MUST seal the tips from end-to-end with the product, and that’s something I omitted on that finger accidentally. I still think 10 days with an at-home system is pretty darn impressive!
If there was one thing I could change, it would be the configuration of the kit. While Red Carpet Manicure offers an impressive array of shades available for individual purchase, the kit comes with their standard red polish. If you’re not a red person, or just want another shade to start with—your initial investment may be more than you had intended by about $10. And of course, you’ll need to purchase replacement product as time goes by.
While somewhat labor intensive (and a little costly) for the casual nail polish wearer, this definitely wore longer and better than traditional nail polish for me. It was on day 10 that it finally started to give out and I had to call it quits, but I still recommend the system. Make sure you get the pro kit with the LED light, the less expensive version with a lesser quality portable light might be a little disappointing durability-wise. Through word-of-mouth and reading a few reviews about the alternate light source, people consistently remarked that they wish they would have sprung for the nicer light. Removal can be a little time-consuming. I had to lightly scuff the surface of the polish, then soak my nails in the Erase polish remover when it was time to remove. This is pretty common with a gel mani, though!
Price & Availability…