Monday, July 7, 2014

My thoughts on two different gel polishes

You've probably noticed that gel polishes (sometimes called no-chip polishes) are HUGE right now. They've gone from a professional-only service to being available in every drugstore.  I've never been interested in them because I just don't like wearing the same polish for more than a day or two, and with gel polishes you either have a four week commitment to a color, or you have to endure a 30+ minute removal process.

But one day, as I was gazing down at my disappointingly short-lived pedicure, it dawned on me that I could use these on my toes too.  I mean, I always knew I could, it's just that I had no desire to actually do so until that very moment.

I had a couple different gel polish sets sitting around waiting to be tried, so I decided to compare a no cure gel with an LED gel.

Jessica Flash Fusion 2-5-2

Jessica Flash Fusion Colour Activator in High Velocity

This system is super simple. It's only two steps: Primer and Colour Activator. You prep your nails by cleansing them of all oil and moisture, and then you apply the primer to all nails on one hand. You immediately follow with the Colour Activator (which is the polish part).  A final coat of Primer seals the color and you're done. No curing. No dry time.

The texture took a bit of getting used to, but application was very simple. The Primer is basically superglue or nail glue. The Colour Activator is the tricky part- it spreads out really fast when it touches the primer. I eventually learned that I could just apply a drop of Activator in the center of my nail, on top of the primer, and it would spread to cover the entire surface.

The end result was a bit lumpy (hey, it was my first try) but looked and felt great. Smooth, glossy, hard. Unfortunately, it chipped right away.


Luckily for me, removal was easy.  Five minutes in foil with Jessica's Flash Off remover and it was done. It has the texture of nail glue, so it just dissolves with the remover. 

I would definitely use this again as a pedicure since it was so fast and easy. It has its downsides, but I really liked the quick removal compared to LED gel.

This set was sent for review, but it can be purchased online directly from Jessica here.

Red Carpet Manicure LED Gel Polish

Red Carpet Manicure Cinder-Ella

The Red Carpet Manicure LED Gel has more steps, but it also has a much longer lasting end result.

You prep your nails with a sanitizer, apply base coat, cure, color, cure, color again, cure, topcoat, cure, and then wipe away the sticky layer and you're finally done. It's not complicated or difficult at all, it just takes longer.

I like the texture of the products. They're thick but they don't set so you have some time to play around with them and get your glitter placement right before you cure it. I think I applied my glitter a little too thick, but I was trying to get it opaque in two coats so that's my fault. I don't think Cinder-Ella was meant to be an opaque glitter. 

The gel polish in this system cures with an LED light that has a timer built in. You place your hand under it, hit the button, and then it turns off after 45 seconds (there's also a portable version of the LED lamp that takes a little longer, but I have the plug-in one.) 

This gel polish was extremely sturdy and chip-proof for as long as I wore it. I only had it on for a week because... why would I want to wear this color for more than a week? I can't fathom it. Hah!

The huge downside for me was the removal. It takes FOREVER. You need to file the shine off the nails, soak them with remover for 20-30 minutes, and then they're supposed to slide off, but they don't. You gotta scrape a little, and then sometimes soak a little longer to get down to the bottom. Removal was such a pain for me that I'd be hesitant to use anything but clear gel if I used these again.

I bought my Red Carpet Manicure supplies from Ulta

If you like wearing the same color for a really long time, these at home soak of gel systems are really user-friendly. I don't think gel polish is for me, but I can see why people like it.  I liked both of these types of gel polish, but I preferred the easier removal of the Jessica system.  Maybe there's another brand out there that removes just as easily. Do you know of one? I'd totally try it.


  1. This glitter manicure is beautiful! I am a huge fan of gel polishes, just not the removal... ;_;
    I now apply just the base & top coat for a super shiny neutral manicure and over it I just do my nails as I would normally do... it lasts a bit longer this way.

  2. I don't think I'd do this for myself, because like you I am fickle with my polishes and I don't like long removal times...the only reason I would leave a polish on for more than a week is because I didn't get a chance to change it or something...

    Anyway I hadn't considered it for a pedicure before, that's a fantastic idea! I hardly ever change my polish on my toes anyway so it works well, I just have to choose something pretty "neutral" and I'll get it done professionally...I am definitely not investing in a whole setup...

  3. I like the CND gel polishes - both the Shellac and the Vinylux. Removal is super easy. The Vinlylux lasts at least a week, the Shellac for 2-3 weeks.
    The process of the Red Carpet reminds me of the original OPI Axxium gel polish. So many steps to apply, so long to remove.

  4. Gelish and Organic Nails are really good but yeah, personally I don't keep the same many for more than 2 or 3 days. I have used both that I mentioned and they claim to be "soak off" but I had to do lot of scraping and foiling so the state of nails and cuticles after was disastrous. The last time I used any of them was over a year ago and I don't think I will use again.

  5. Well I don't want to try the Jessica one now - how disappointing it chipped right away! Looks gorgeous but forget that noise. The other method I wouldn't use because I change polish every other day anyway. Thanks for the great article!

  6. I haven't tried gels yet. Just the gelous top coat sold at Sally's Beauty. I change polish too often.

  7. Like Tamara above, I also do clear gel (Gelish) but sprinkle clear acrylic over the gel before curing, then add the shiny gel top coat (Gelish also) & curing again. My nails are bulletproof.

    Then I can polish over the clear gel & change colors daily if I want as long as I use a non-acetone remover. Soak off is a PITA as also stated above, but I only bother if I'm too lazy to do a fill or want a break from gel for a bit. In between I use Gelous as a base coat instead of a top coat for that nice smooth fake Gel look.

  8. I also use gel + acrylic powder as a base, but I put Gelish Dry Armor as a top coat, it's a hard gel so I can use acetone to remove my polish. It must be filed off before removing the rest. Doing this, my polish doesn't chip, so I remove it when I want to, not have to lol. It's great for holographics, I don't have to put topcoat on them to get them to last, so they shine like they're supposed to. I've never had a hard time removing soak offs, maybe you're not using enough acetone? I put glycerin in my remover, so it doesn't eat up my cuticles.

    I use a generic gel from china, Cristina (before they went crazy with their $20 shipping) and Ms. Keiko. I have some gelish in the same colors, I can't tell the difference between the Gelish and Ms. Keiko. Same application, wear, and removal.

  9. I wear gel polish all the time and I love it! I always use the foil method for removal and most of the time it works like a charm! I've never used the red carpet brand though, but I am curious to try them! Also, want to try the new sally hansen no cure gels.

  10. If you like to change your polish regularly just use nude or clear gel and then wear your normal polish over the top (don't cure it - just wear it as if it was over the top of your bare nail) and it will make your polish last much, much longer. As a case in point I did this with GOSH Holo (notorious for chipping really, really fast) and it lasted well over a week with minimal tip wear to show for it. Just use acetone free remover when you want to switch polishes as acetone will start to break down the gel. Once your polish starts to chip or get a bit raggedy near the cuticle just break out the glitters. They fill the gaps nicely and, well, if you've got to soak your nails with acetone you might as well kill two birds with one stone right? :D

    1. Yes this is a great suggestion. Also, this makes it really easy to practice your nail art stamping. If you mess up, you just remove the stamp with non acetone and try again!

  11. On me gel polish lasts 3 days with luck and to remove the rest that is left is a pain. Not for me too :)

  12. I've gotten good use of these type polishes by using just the base and top coat over bare nails. For a color manicure, I just put regular polish over it, and remove as needed with non-acetone remover. (If you work quickly, you can use acetone, but it does break down the gel polish eventually. Using non-acetone gives longer wear for the gel part of the manicure.

  13. Bioseaweed Gel has a polish called Unity-all-in-one Polish that's a one step system. The best part is it takes 5-7 minutes to remove and they have over 100 colors! I don't own any of my own yet, but a friend of mine uses these on my toes! You should so try it!


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