I've been a fan of gel nail polish since I found out it existed - before I even tried it. a Manicure that lasts at least a week (2 weeks for some people) without chipping? Sign me up. 

I started off using the essence gel nails at home range http://www.theblushingmaiden.co.za/review-essence-gel-nails-at-home/ and at first I loved it, but when I used up my first bottles and I bought the second ones, the formula was much harder to work with and it only lasted about 3 days. I don't know if they changed the formula or if I just got a bad batch, but it wasn't worth the effort anymore and I went back to regular nail polish. Then I found soak off gel (SOG) polish, and now I have no excuse to ever have ugly nails! 

It's so much quicker than a conventional manicure - no more waiting for polish to dry, simply cure it under an LED lamp for 30 seconds and it's dry. It takes about 1 minute under a UV lamp, but I prefer LED lamps because a UV lamp is basically like a sunbed for your nails, and we all know sunbeds are seriously bad for you.

Here are the steps to a perfect gel manicure, every time.

1. Make sure your nails are clean and free of any traces of nail polish.

2. Shape your nails and push back your cuticles.

3. Using a fine grit emery board lightly file the surface of your nail. All you want to do is "rough" the surface up so the gel can adhere, don't file away your nail.

4. Now wipe your nails with a cotton ball dipped in acetone/alcohol.

5. Apply nail primer to dehydrate your nails (you can skip this step if you don't have primer, but I recommend using primer every time)

6. Now you can apply a thin coat of your gel basecoat, just like you would apply nail polish, try not to get it on your cuticles at all because gel can't adhere to skin, and it will cause your polish to lift. If you get gel on your skin, make sure you clean it off BEFORE you cure your nails.

7. Cure your nails following the instructions on the bottle (usually 30 seconds under LED and 1 - 2 minutes under UV)

8. Apply your colored gel polish, curing in between every coat.

9. When you are happy with your color (usually 2 coats are sufficient, but sometimes it takes more, depending on how sheer the polish is) you can apply your gel top coat, I usually do 2 coats of top coat, cure in between each coat.

10. Wipe off the tacky layer with a cotton ball dipped in alcohol or gel cleanser, apply some cuticle oil and enjoy your super shiny, long lasting, professional quality manicure!

This is what my gel polish looks like just after applying it:

(products used : essence gel nails at home primer, 1 coat Ralo Cosmetics UV Gel Base Coat, 4  coats SpeedyGel in Vegas Nights, 2 coats Ralo Cosmetics UV Gel Top Coat)

After one week, I think my nails went through a "growth spurt", because this is a lot of growth for one week!


After 10 days, as you can see my thumb chipped. And the rest of my nails were starting to lift on the tips, so they were on the verge of chipping, too. I decided it was time to soak it off after this picture was taken. (Please excuse the quality, it was taken late at night)


Here is a video of me doing a dark gel manicure:




Happy Hump Day!

xoxo Adel