Don’t Be Gelish of Me

March 12, 2012 · 60 comments

in Good Things, Hildie Likes, Makeup/Beauty, Nails

It’s Makeup Monday! Which means it’s time to talk about makeup! Or in this case, nail polish. Women seem to fall into two camps: fake nail afficianodos and people who don’t really care all that much about their nails. Before I had children I loved to get my nails done and, being a life-long nail biter, usually stuck to fake acrylics.  But once your money is being spent on things like diapers and babysitters, things like nails are the first casualty.  I tried keeping my nails polished but you know how it is: smudging, chipping and peeling polish are unavoidable. It’s not even worth bothering.

Last year I heard through the grapevine that there was some new kind of nail polish that stayed on natural nails for two or three weeks. I did my research and found that there are several brands such as Shellac, Gelish and Geleration. Unfortunately these were all “professional only” products that still meant going in for an expensive manicure every two weeks. This gel polish theoretically didn’t damage nails either, unlike acrylics. It sounded like some sort of nail miracle!

As a woman who’s motto is “I could do that myself for cheaper”, my interest was piqued. I belong to several online makeup forums (admit it, you probably had no idea there were such things) and got people’s opinions about whether it really is that great (verdict: it is!) and which product line was the best. I decided on Gelish. It provides a little more strength for the nail as well as staying on for 1-2 weeks.

I’ve talked about Gelish before but things have changed quite a bit since I last wrote about the subject. Namely, these products are much more consumer-friendly. Meaning that the average person who does not have a nail license can now buy these products. Here’s how it works:

This nail polish has a gel base that does not air-dry. It will stay sticky unless it’s cured under a special lamp. Here is the extremely cool thing: Once you’ve cured your nails, they are completely and unbelievably dry and hard. There is zero possibility that your nails will get smudged or ruined. You take your nails out from under the lamp and you can immediately dig around in your purse for your keys, or go straight to bed without getting sheet prints, or do the dishes or whatever. This alone makes this nail system completely worth its weight in gold!

You need to have a special UV or LED light. These are made especially for nails. Please don’t ask if you can use a tanning bed or an LED flashlight or some wierd thing like that. I have no idea. Just spend the money on a real lamp and stop being such a cheapskate. I got mine on Amazon. I have been super happy with it and you can get the same one here. They run about $60 and can do two hands at once. Or you can get one at Sally Beauty Supply or Ulta. Do your homework before you go and make sure you get the kind that will cure gel polish.

Gelish is now sold at Sally Beauty. There is also a version made by the same company but sold exclusively at Ulta under the name Red Carpet Nails. The colors are almost identical but Red Carpet is about $10 for a bottle of polish vs. $15 for Gelish at Sally. The stores also sell a tiny little LED light that will do four fingers at a time. It’s quite a bit smaller but cures the nail faster than a UV light, so I doubt the small size of the light would be a huge problem. It’s about $50.

You also must have the foundation gel base as well as a special topcoat. Each of these is about $13-$18.  So you’ll probably end up spending about $125 to get the entire system including a couple of colors of polish. I do my nails, my mom’s and occassionally my daughter’s. I’ve definitely gotten my money’s worth.

It really does work fantastically well. My polish will easily last for 10-14 days without chipping. And conequently I have entirely stopped biting my nails. I do my mom’s nails and her polish lasts for about a week. Her nails are incredibly bendy and peely, though. Even still, Gelish has gotten them so they’ll grow longer than they ever have before. Gelish also won’t damage your nails when it’s removed.

I’m so spoiled about having nice nails now. To me there is simply no excuse for having ugly fingernails. But that’s because I have Gelish and can have nails that look perfect for a week or two at a time. If I had to rely on regular polish again, I’d be one of those women who just couldn’t be bothered.

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UPDATE: I have been receiving so many questions about gel nail polish. Read through the comments or check out my latest post with answers to FAQs here.

I get no money for raving about Gelish. But if you click through my link on Amazon to buy that lamp I do get a tiny smidgen of money.