I am having lots of fun with nail gels.
But the concept of nail gels seems to confuse some! So here are some simple yet ‘asked about often’ questions about nail gels.
1. This gel does not dry in 2 minutes!
Your gel won’t dry in natural light, it is cured by either LED or UV light in a lamp. You need to really research your processes when dealing with gel nails or buy a kit with instructions. This is the reason why I get really cheap OPI GelColor on eBay. This Christmas a lot of people were bought sets without the rest of the kit and have no idea what to do with it. OPI is a professional only product, as well as MOST other gels. In the UK there are very few home kits available.
2. Does it damage your nails?
No. Not if done correctly but there are so MANY ways to do it wrong. Damage happens mostly with removal. The top coat always needs to be gently buffed away as it is resistant to the acetone used to remove. You will need to soak with acetone using wraps for upto 15 minutes. ONLY remove with a wooden or plastic orange stick. If you use a metal remover you WILL cause damage.
Normally with Gel you need to lightly buff the shine off the natural nail. I have weak nails so I don’t do this.
Don’t peel. This is the EASIEST way to ruin your nails.
3. Do the UV lamps give you cancer?
Yes and maybe. A professional lamp has all the nasties removed but with cheaper and even salon lamps you are never 100% sure. I wear UV protection fingerless gloves as a regular ‘geller’. Best to be safe and not sorry!
4. You said gels? Like hard gel?
No, I always mean SOAK-OFF gels. I don’t use hard gel at all, especially as an untrained DIY’er. Soon I will be trained though to NVQ L3 but I probably won’t stray from the path.
5. I finished my manicure but its all sticky!
You need to remove this and any uncured gel with isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol.
If in doubt, have them done by a professional. Even if it is to see what they DO and if you are suited to gels.
Well, I have now been doing my nails for a while and use various different brands and I am back with a review update!
Opi GelColor – I love this system however it can come though quite thick. This makes it harder to remove and damage to the nail more likely.
Orly GelFx – Similar to Opi, however goes on thinner and it is easier to remove.
CND Shellac – One of my favourites because it goes on a lot thinner and soaks off the easiest. However, it can be hard to handle. You need a bit of practise before you can get the look right and you need ALL THE STUFF in the world in order to make it right. I am still not using a CND lamp, but one day I might invest in one.
Ink Gel by Glam & Glitz - Possibly my favourite for the home nail enthusiast. Vast amount of colours and glitters, nice big bottles and a medium range price. Comes off easy and lasts well. Not easily available to the UK though, price inflated by shipping and customs.
Entity One – A bit meh, to be honest. OK but I found the colours to be lacking. Same size as the ink polish so I would go there instead.
On my review list is Bluesky one step gel which I have yet to try out, as well as a few other indie brands. A friend of mine is testing out Nail Harmony, so if she gives it a good review I will get myself a set.
It has been a while I know. I have been very busy with work as I have changed to totally freelance. This means I have to make MORE effort to go and get work as well as getting clients to pay up
I am not buying kimono things currently as I have finally after a shaky start STOPPED buying kimono and related articles.
I took this photo of my new baka-hime (mannequin) with my haori, hat and gloves as I think about my ensemble for the latest Kimono de Jack which I HOPE I can make. Suffering from the lurgy maximus.
I HAVE been wearing kimono to business events but rarely get time to take a photograph.
If I stayed away from EVERYTHING a professional told me I couldn’t do I wouldn’t get out of bed in a morning. Same goes for doing your own ‘gel’ nails. I use gel as a loose term as the gel I use is a gel/nail polish hybrid made to be removed using acetone.
My process is simple and I use the SAME process for every brand I use:
1. Buff shine off natural nail after you have gently pushed back your cuticles
2. Clean with IPA and a link free wipe
3. Apply a primer. Primers make your manicure last longer (about 2 days) but it is harder to remove.
4. Apply a thin layer of your chosen base coat avoiding SKIN! Avoidance of skin is good for longevity (less peeling) as well as for safety reasons. If you get some on your skin don’t panic, remove and just don’t cure it on your skin.
5. Cure for 30 seconds with an LED lamp (a REAL one)
6. Apply colour gel curing for 60 seconds each time. I have never done more than two layers.
7. Apply top coat and cure for 30 seconds.
8. Use IPA or rubbing alcohol (you can get standard or a branded one) to remove he sticky layer which is used for adhesion to a second layer. You don’t need this for your top coat!
9. Use a cuticle oil or balm
These are brands I have USED.
Sensationail – This was my first kit and it is great stuff. Hard to remove if you use the primer. Limited colours.
CND Shellac – The one salons are supposed to use. I like it, but your nail technician will say it is not the full shellac service doing it from home. Probably not but it lasts for 2 weeks and I will make a note on salons later.
Bluesky/CCO Shellac – These are Chinese replica brands of the shellac product. With the process I use I don’t see much difference, but it is a 1/3rd of the price.
Orly Gel FX – Review to come
Opi Gel Color - Review to come (will update)
A note on salons.
I had a bad experience with a professional. Had certificates on the wall however I am surprised that you only need to do a few hours of training to get certified and call yourself a professional. I thought 2 years at beauty school would be involved, but alas NOT.
My nails were ruined by a certified professional that had GOOD reviews and now they split vertically in some areas still after 3 years. These were gel extensions but I won’t trust a professional with my hands again and even during the process all the filing and buffing hurt.
Also check what process/products a salon uses and google them before booking. There are some great systems out there but also salons who use fake or replica brands in place of famous brands to save money. CND Shellac and Bluesky Shellac are two such cases. CND is the top end product hard to buy at around £15 and Bluesky is £4. You would expect a professional salon to use CND Shellac with ALL it’s trimmings for a £20-25 price.
A salon that uses a replica brand that can not be traced directly to it’s supplier with an MSDS could impede insurance. So if you do have an allergic reaction or other problems there is no fall back.
I have checked the MSDS for Bluesky and CND and I am happy to use the product. However, being a qualified chemist I probably have more appreciation for this kind of thing than most.
…oh yes they are and I have loved this brand for many many years. I think my first pair of irregular choice shoes I bought in Leicester while still a student!
Well, eBay daily deal served me well and even though I would have liked the purple or black pair better – I still have a lot of kimono ensembles that go with these:
A lower heel for walking as well as a ‘complete’ shoe for the winter. I just need some white tights or frilly socks to match.
I also bought an irregular choice bag which I felt would be nice for kimono outings. I went for the blue and not pink as I have two pink bags now and don’t need more!
So next year I won’t add kimono items to my collection, but will add a few choice accessories in the hime theme that will match my wafuku and yofuku days!
I decided using the power of flickr to estimate the magnitude of my kimono collection:
Informal Kimono: 65
Formal Kimono: 30
Show/Demo Kimono: 18
Total Kimono count: 113!
I have 6 odori fans and 6 date-eri as well as a few bags, kitsuke accessories and tabi.
So what does this tell me?
I have an obsession with obijime and shouldn’t have 67 of the damn things to 25 obiage! Thing is I gave away around 10 of my obijime from job lots that didn’t suit my colour palette so I have already thinned down my collection. (or so I thought)
I don’t need ANYTHING else. I wear kimono once a week at least and I can wear a different kimono and obi every time for a year.
A lot of peoples collections are mostly formal wear as they seem to be typically the most traditional looking. In the UK we are famous for being komon wearers for most part and only breaking out the tsukesage or furisode when someone gets married!
Have you counted up recently?
Well, I did quite well with last years so I am going to set similar ones this year:
1. Study Japanese at least 5 hours a week
2. Study Korean at least 2 hours a week
3. Loose a further 10lbs to achieve a NEW weight target
4. No buying
Number 4 is my most difficult one. I love stuff and even though most of the year I was good. I tailed off Nov/Dec and have been buying too much again!
Our big holiday to Japan is planned for November 2013 so I need to save money for that! A lot of money!
Hotel: £282 for 7 night
Train Pass: £205
Edo Wonderland Ticket: £40
Then spending money! EEK!