DIY Gel Mani Update- 12 days later

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Well hello to all of my lovely readers!
I hope you guys have had a chance to read my DIY Gel Mani tutorial I put together a few weeks ago. If not, definitely go check it out because it's quickly becoming one of my most popular blog posts to date, and it's only been up for about a month. I've gotten a lot of positive feedback from that blog post and my inbox has been flooded with comments and questions all about doing your own gels at home. Fear not- I will be posting more on gel removal & maintenance later on and I will definitely do my best to answer any questions I've gotten from people wanting to know more. Right now I wanted to update you on my gel mani experience!

"Do gel nails really last that long?" 

This is one of the most common questions people have before they invest in a gel system. The answer is YES- if you apply the product correctly, which shouldn't be a problem if you follow my tutorial, right? ;)

I wanted to show you what your gel nails could look like after almost 2 weeks of wear. 

These are the same nails I did for the original tutorial I posted here.
{click to enlarge}

Notice that the nails on the right are still pretty shiny and are chip free after 12 days of wear. They withstood dish washing (by hand), cooking, laundry, scrubbing bathrooms, grocery shopping, etc. Not a single chip! Just a little wear on the free edge, but that's normal (and that's why we make sure to seal the free edge so well in our application, remember?!)

I'm sure someone will say "12 days isn't 2 full weeks of wear." True. But my nails tend to grow fast, and as a nail tech I can't stand to see grow out, so after 12 days I'm usually ready for some fresh nails. Could I have worn these for a few more days? Definitely.

All brands are not created equal!

In my personal experience of doing my own gel nails I've found that not all gel polishes are the same. I decided from the beginning that I'd experiment with other brands of gel and figure out which ones are worth the money and which ones don't live up to their promises. 

So far, the only brands I've personally been happy with are Shellac and Gelish. (Gelish is what I'm wearing in the pictures above & in the original tutorial). Both gave me beautiful, shiny, chip-free nails the entire time I wore them and I was very happy with them. These gels tend to flex a little with your natural nail, which results in the gel not chipping when you hit or catch your nail on something. If the gel is too hard, it will break. Make sense? I love Shellac & Gelish for doing my own gels at home. Amazon is a great place to find these.

Alternately, I've also tried a few other brands that I was not happy with.

Red Carpet Manicure and Kiss Everlasting Gel Polish are not brands I would recommend.
I found both of these brands at Fred Meyer (Kroger), and I think I paid about $10 each.

The one on the left is supposed to be black. After 4 coats it was close to a watered-down brownish grey, so I decided to give up. After going back to the store I looked at all of the colors and most of them looked very thin and watery looking- not good.

The one on the right looked OK at first, but quickly started chipping off within the first 24 hours. I had to soak them off after only 2 days of wear because they were so bad. I definitely will not be buying these brands again, because if *I* can't even get good results with them I highly doubt the average beauty DIY-er out there would be happy with them either.

Next up I'd like to try Sally Hansen and IBD, and I'll be sure to update you all on those as well. I haven't heard anything about the Sally Hansen ones yet, but IBD came recommended by a few people who do their own gel nails, so I'm curious to give them both a shot.

I hope this information has been helpful if you are at all considering doing your own gel nails!


  1. That's strange that the Kiss brand didn't work well. I bought it recently and followed your tutorial with it. I'm on day 8 of no chipping!

    1. Really? That IS interesting! I wonder if maybe I got a bad bottle, or if maybe I was just too hard on them when I happen to be wearing the Kiss brand? It makes me want to give it another try & see if I get the same results again. Thanks for the info! I'm glad you're getting good results with the tutorial! Please let me know how long it ends up lasting on you.

  2. Wow I love that your nails still look great after 12 days! :)

  3. I've heard such great things about shellac! Thanks for all the tips, def worth trying with those before and after pics!

  4. They look great!

    How long does it take to remove? And do you just soak in acetone?

  5. There's a groupon today for a 'gel haute nail polish kit with LED light' for $40 bucks. I wonder if you've heard anything about this brand? I'm so tempted, but I am trying to save my pennies ;)

  6. You didn't mention about gel polish settling. I've read in Nails Magazine that you should stir the with a toothpick to make sure the color has not separated from the true is this and can't I just put a nail polish ball in there if it's a dense clor like black?

  7. im sorry for not reading or looking harder to find but have you tryed fingerpaints gel nail polish?

  8. I read through your whole blog and wow, it's great! Have you tried Fingerpaints from Sally yet? I bought the whole kit for almost $150 and four nails peeled in less than a week. Do you think it's application (I didn't do it correctly?) or the product?

  9. Gel-Nails offers various nail products like Gelish 18G LED, Axxium, OPI UV Gel, Color Gel Nails, UV Nail Polish and different nail care products. Visit Gel Nails to get nail products at affordable prices.

  10. Hi, just wondering if you've tried any other brands yet, particularly the Ulta brand?

  11. With Red Carpet Manicure you aren't supposed to remove the tackiness from the base layer. That might be why it was such a bad experience for you. I use RCM and have no complaints so far.

  12. I use ibd just gel colors with shellac base and top coat and I'm on my 10th chip-free-super shiny day! Very pleased with both!

  13. RCM works great for me,, and I live on a ranch. So I can't imagine that youre doing much things rougher on the nails than I am. Also, I get full coverage in one coat, except with my nude polish. Application is a little tricky, but I even do my own nail art with it. I'm no nail tech and fail with most nail things.

  14. That is so great to hear! Glad you are enjoying it & finding the information useful :) Good luck on your fill!


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