Beauty secrets


How about some beauty secrets?

After a friend commented on my good looking manicure while being a mom, I thought it would be a great topic to share. My absolute mani secret is gel nail polish.

Every woman wants to look great, but not everyone has time. When we add the word "mom" into the equation, multiply the lack of personal time by 100. A specialist at a local salon suggested that I try their newest Gel polish. She told me how great it is, wonderful, non-damaging, etc. I refused - I simply confused it with the gel nails  ( which is a completely different thing, as I discovered later).
Long story short - a year or so ago I gave in and tried the magic "shellac" ( another name, though brand was not shellac), and I never went back to regular polish since. And here is why.

Gel polish lasts at least two weeks.
Think : no chips, no mess, perfect looking "just barely out of salon" nails.  Since I am busy just like everyone else, I hardly ever change it until it starts falling off 3-4 weeks into it ( as I figured, then I don't have to even use time to remove the polish - once one nail loosens, they ALL are loose and a dab of acetone ( or remover ) makes then pop off in 30 sec)

It's non- damaging to the nails ( at least not any more then regular polish is)

I can use just the base and top coat without color in between, and use regular polish on top.
This is an awesome feature that I discovered by experimenting, and love it - should I wish to change colors , say every few days or so, just for fun - the regular polish lasts longer on top of gel topcoat ( though not as long as gel polish does), and as long as you use a NON-acetone based polish remover, you are cool to switch regular polish as much as you wish. I think this is very awesome.

Buy your own kit, 
unless, of course, you are not opposed to cashing out a good amount every 3 weeks or so. Although, to be honest, even if the price of a gel mani is 3 times more then one of the regular manicure, it also last 3 times longer, so in the long run you are not spending any more then you would , should you be the one who maintains nails weekly. I am not. For me, buying the at home kit was the best thing I've done. Initially a cost of 2 gel manicures, and I have saved hundreds by doing it all at home. Sure, crooked at first, while you are getting the hang of it, but I promise , you learn to be a pro very fast. Combined with a few other tools that one needs to have for a regular nail upkeep, which many have already on hand, and your nails looks perfect every day. For free.
* that said, I do recommend that you go to a salon at least once to see HOW it is done, and then mimic it at home. gel polish is different from the usual one - it's thicker, and seeing how the tech did it helped me personally a lot *

Here are a few thoughts on what I would have done differently.
ONE: I bought a regular UV lamp because it could cure 2 hands at the same time and was 2/3 of a price of the LED lamp ( here or here)  that could cure only one hand at a time. THE TRUTH: it's near to impossible ( at least for me when doing my own nails) to have two hands ready without messing one up. I typically end up curing at least the first coat of color on nails of one hand after another, and although 2 minutes per hand does not seem as a huge thing, I cannot tell you how many times I since wished I had an LED lamp that takes only 30 secs. 10-15 minute manicure is not that much, but 3-4 minutes would be so much better, right?!

TWO: You don't need to cash out on remover and cleanser, unless you want to. Plane acetone is 1/5 of the price and works twice as fast as a remover. Rubbing alcohol costs pennies and is the best cleanser ( gel nails will be sticky at the end and need a little rub. as i mentioned above, i highly recommend you go to a salon for the first time, if possible).

THREE: if possible, buy a kit of colors. I didn't want to spend much then, but I do wish I bought a set of color polishes over buying them one by one. Although Amazon offers GREAT prices, a set would still be even cheaper, and who doesn't want to save more, right?

Here is the process of application, if you cannot go to a salon: 

*clean and prep the nails by buffing them and shaping. the smoother the nail, the longer the polish lasts. a girl at the salon recommended washing your hands with soap prior to color application. i noticed if I do that, the polish stays on for a looooong time without peeling.

* apply the PH bond

* apply the foundation and cure under the light . this one I apply to both hands and cure for about 15-20 seconds under the UV light. If you buy LED lamp, read the instructions on the bottle - it tells you the time.

* apply the first coat of color and cure under the light. this one I apply and cure one hand at a time, with UV lamp for 2 minutes per hand ( it has a setting on it, so no timer needed :))

* apply the second coat if you want to. this one I do two hands at once - somehow second coat is easier to not mess up. curing for 2 minutes ( both hands at the same time)

* apply the top coat and cure for 2 minutes ( this one too I do 2 hands at the same time)

*rub off the sticky nails ( they are supposed to be sticky) with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol ( or cleanser).

*enjoy your perfect looking nails for nearly a month!

Seems like a lot to do , but it really is not. The only extra step you have is to rub your nails with alcohol cotton ball at the end, everything else is just regular nail color application + curing.

*if you wish to remove gel polish, use a nail file or a buffer to break the surface of the top coat, soak cotton balls in acetone or remover, apply to the nail and wrap in tin foil, plastic, or whatever else to secure it to the nails. this is the best and fastest removing technique that I have seen. leave for 10-15 minutes until you see the polish flaking off. Rub off with the nail file or a buffer and treat nails as usual.

* using a cuticle oil is a great idea always for the health of the nails.
*ps: there are many different brands of gel nail polish. i have tried shellac and harmony gelish, and both work equally well. my preference is harmony gelish - it is thinner and feels more like regular polish.

Here is to beauty secrets!