With Valentine's day around the corner, red nails are all around us, and if you are like me, with brittle and thin nails that never really grow out much, you will understand why the idea of red nails sends me shivers down the spine. Sure, I own the cutest and brightest red polishes, but too often spend one hour perfectly applying it, then another to fully dry them, only for them to start chipping within 24hrs. Waste of my time and patience.
So I have been eyeing the Boots counters for better alternative this Valentine's day, because red nails, I will not give up on you! I remembered the times when I had gelish done in salons, and how wonderful the colours stayed put for a long time, but can you really recreate this at home?!
After buying the Sensationail starter kit, and a Royal Ruby colour (would describe it as a Louboutin red), I did not know if I just solved my problem or wasted yet more money in my quest for the perfect candy nails.
The kit came with a UV Lamp, a gel cleaner, a primer, a base and top coat, some lint free wipes, a small file, a small wooden manicure stick and a colour (I picked the French Manicure Set) so had to buy the Royal Ruby colour separately.
It comes with instructions but basically, you want to clean you nails with the cleaner (although I have now tried acetone or any other nail polish remover instead and it works perfectly fine too), apply the primer all over the nail and wait 30 seconds for it to dry. Then follow by a base coat that you hold under the light for 30 seconds or until the light beeps at you.
Then you apply one coat of colour (here is the tricky part... unlike normal nail polishes, you cannot wait until you are done with all your nails to put them under the lamp.. the first coat of colour 'shrinks' a little on your nail if you don't put it under the light straight away. So I did my index finger and middle finger together and quickly put them under the light, two by two and the ring finger and pinky together). That way, you don't let the colour shrink (once under the lamp the colour is sealed and does not move anymore).
Then you apply the 2nd coat everywhere and the second coat doesn't shrink like the first one so you can take your time and really perfect it before you put it under the lamp.
And finally, you apply the same base and top coat and wait 30 seconds under the lamp.
Once your 30 seconds are done, you have to wipe the excess, so take the cleaner on a cotton pad (or any other acetone or nailpolish remover) and wipe your nails one last time to clean the excess. And you are done! No drying time, so smudging, no time needed walking around fingers in the air like a diva. Nada, you are good to go on with your day as planned.
After about a week, tiny little chips were on my index and thumb (see picture) although I cook everyday and usually manicures don't survive even 2 days in my routine. However overall after a week it was still very clean looking so I kept it until day 12!
A great thing I noticed is that the sensationail manicure protected my nails from breaking and hence at the end of the 12 days when I removed it, my nails were much longer than they have even been. A bit of filing was needed and then I quickly reapplied my protective red layer because without it, I felt naked. I'm very happy I bought the kit and can't wait to get more colours for spring and summer! Let me know if you want reviews and swatches of different colours I get.
You can get your Sensationail Starter Kit for £69.99 here and here and the Royal Ruby colour for 12.50-£15.00 here and here .
For US/Canada readers: you can find Sensational here.
TIP: The UK sensationail website now has a deal of 12 colours for the price of 8!
or ebay has a lot of deals on colours and UV lamps.