The gel nail craze continues, so I soldier on in my quest to find the best at-home system. I’m happy to report, I’ve found it!
The Couture Gel Nail Polish Kit is an at-home alternative to salon services like CND Shellac, OPI Axxium, and Gelish. If you’re not familiar with gels, what makes this different is that you ‘cure’ the polish with a UV lamp—which results in a long-lasting, shiny, chip-free manicure for as many as three weeks. Who wouldn’t want that, right?
- Your choice of 3 Couture Gel Nail Polish colors
- Plus base coat and top coat
- A professional 36-watt UV Espree Salon Lamp
- Instructional DVD and brochure
- Zippered carrying case for easy storage
- A bonus salon nail care kit
Right off the bat, I was impressed by the ability to customize your product configuration. Some of the systems I’ve tried were very limited on color selection or didn’t have the ability to be customized. Couture Gel allows you to pick three shades for your kit—and they have a great selection of shades! Glitters, shimmers, sparkles, creams—they’ve got it all. They’re also full-size polish bottles, a few of the systems I’ve tried had very tiny bottles for the price. I really appreciate the thought that went into this kit, right down to the girlie-patterned carrying case for your nail implements and polishes.
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I applied a gorgeous aqua shade, Spa Day, with a sparkly nail in Make an Entrance for an accent. I had no troubles applying! You’re basically painting your nails several times in one sitting, and curing the polish in a lamp for in less than two minutes per coat. I know my manicure could have made it longer than 10 days—I thought it looked fantastic for 10 days when I had to remove, so it broke my heart!
As a licensed cosmetologist, I can tell you that similar professional-only grade lamps to cure UV polish can cost several hundred dollars alone. The entire Couture Gel system is less than half the price of one of the leading professional-grade UV lamps I’ve spotted at a licensed pro-only supply. In that respect—if you’re someone who likes to do a lot of gel nails, this is a great buy. For the occasional gel wearer, you’ll have to weigh out the pros and cons of investing in a system like this. If you’re comfortable painting your own nails at home, and you get at least 3-6 gel nail services done a year, this should pay for itself quickly. I say 3-6, because I know different parts of the country charge different prices. Where I live, the going rate for a Shellac mani is about $45, with Gelish running about $20.
The only real issues I can think of here, are that you have to start by slightly roughing up your nails before applying base coat, and that you have to soak them off with acetone. The same rings true for other gel polish systems, so it can’t really be helped.
I can’t believe I’m doing this, but I’m giving something pretty pricey a perfect score! I think this is the most professional grade at-home gel nail polish system I’ve tried to date. I probably could have gone more than 10 days without any chips too, in fact—I’m sure of it (but I had to remove to swatch others). As long as you follow the directions, you should get a great result. You also need to make sure to work with very thin layers of product to prevent chipping.
Price & Availability…