essence cosmetics have just released their brand new 'Gel Nails at Home' trend edition in Australia and I'm excited to be able to share my thoughts with you today!
Gel nails are really popular at the moment so it's no surprise that more and more brands are releasing their own gel nails systems, this means you can get the gel polish look for a fraction of the price of regular salon visits.
The cool thing about the essence Gel Nails at Home system is you don't need to buy and use any special gel polishes, you can just use any of your favourite regular Essences nail polishes. Another great thing about this system is the peel off base coat, yep that's right you can just peel the polish straight off! Regular gel manicures require you to soak your fingers in acetone for 10 or so minutes before the polish can be easily removed, this peel of base coat means no more soaking and no more wasting acetone, yay!
The lamp that is used with this system is a mini 'one-nail-at-a-time' LED lamp that connects via USB. You can plug it into your computer or into your phone charger (if it has a USB connection).
The 'Gel Nails at Home' gel system consists of a nail cleanser, a primer, a peel off gel base coat, three gel topcoats (a clear, a french finish and a 'special effect' finish), a gel corrector pen and a mini USB LED lamp.
HOW IT WORKS
First you need to prepare your nails, gently push your cuticles back with a cuticle pusher or orange stick (don't cut them!), this will help reduce the risk of cuticle flooding. Next you need to soak a cotton pad with the essence cleanser and wipe over each nail, this removes any oil, dust and dirt from the nail. This is an important step as the gel polish sticks better to a clean oil free nail, oily nails may cause the gels to peel off sooner than you'd like. Now you need to prime your nails with the essence primer, this also helps create a nice base for the gels to stick. As the main ingredient in both the cleanser and primer is isopropyl alcohol, they have quite a strong smell.
The cleaner and primer both retail for $4.60 AU.
Once your nails are cleansed and primed, it's time to apply the peel off base coat. One nail at a time, apply a thick and even coat of base coat over the entire nail, making sure to wrap the polish over the tip/free edge. It's important to do a thick coat or else it may not cure correctly. In saying that it can be difficult to do a thick coat without it flooding into the sides of you nail, if any gets on your skin use a toothpick, orange stick or the gel corrector pen (I'm not exactly sure how the corrector pen works as I don't have one) to scrape it off before you cure it. Now you need to cure it under the mini LED lamp for 10 seconds. Repeat for each nail.
Now this is where is gets a bit confusing, the box of the base coat says to cure for 60 seconds (now that seems a bit excessive to have to cure each nail individually for 60 seconds!) but the box of the LED lamp says 10 seconds. I clarified with the Australian distributor and they confirmed that you only need to cure each nail for 10 seconds, which makes sense as the mini LED lamp only stays on for 10 seconds when you press the button....The 60 seconds is for a larger lamp that Essence are not releasing in Australia.
Once you have cured the base coat, wipe over your nails with some of the cleanser to remove the sticky residue. I found that my nails were still a bit sticky no matter how much cleanser I wiped them with. I just went on to the next step anyway....
Now for a coloured look, paint you nails with your favourite Essence nail polish. Let it dry completely (not under the lamp) before applying the top coat. I used Essence Colour & Go in 'Naughty and Pink!' and found that it actually dried quite fast, like within 10 minutes it felt pretty dry, not even dentable! I left it 40 minutes or so though just to be extra sure (that and because dinner was ready lol).
Now it's top coat time! Like the base coat, you need to apply a thick and even coat of top coat for it to cure correctly. I must have done a too thin coat on one nail and it cured a bit pitted looking...the rest of my nails came out nice and smooth though. You also need to make sure you wrap the tips/free edge of the nail to seal in all the polish. Cure each nail for 10 seconds (yep, the box says 60, but it's actually 10), then remove any sticky residue with some cleanser. Like the base coat I found my nails were still a bit sticky, but after I washed my hands a few times the sticky-ness went away and I was left with shiny smooth gel nails!
The base coat and top coat both retail for $5.50 AU, the mini LED USB lamp retails for $35.95 AU.
The finished product:
To remove the gel polish, it should simply peel off. Mine peeled off pretty much in full, there were some little bits still left around the very edges of my nails but they're easy to just pick off. My nails were left pretty much undamaged, I had some very very slight peeling on some of my nails, but nothing too noticeable. They certainly fared better than when I have peeled off some regular gel nail polish in the past (I know, I'm bad! But it was lifting at the edges and getting caught on everything, it just had to come off! Maybe my nails were too oily when I applied it?) my nails were peeling all over, it took a good few days and lots of cuticle oil for them to recover.
Removal: (the staining was there before I applied these gels, I guess I change my polish too often? lol)
Essence say that your gel manicure should last up to 10 days, I believe a regular gel manicure should also last this long, if not longer, so I decided to see how long my gels would last before they started to chip/peel off.
I work in an office, so I'm not doing many things that are too strenuous on my hands/nails (although I do do quite a bit of typing). By day three I had some tip wear on my index and middle fingers, the rest of the nails seemed to be holding up alright. On day 4 I had few more little bits of polish chip off the tips.
I ended up peeling the polish of on day 8, a few of the edges had started lifting up slightly along the sides of my nails. They didn't really chip too much more than what they had at day 4, although half of the polish on one finger on my right hand did peel off when I was opening a box at work.
The polish didn't dull at all and remained smooth and glossy for the entire 8 days.
The essence 'Gel Nails at Home' trend edition is a great and affordable gel polish system for someone who is just starting out using gel polish at home and doesn't want to outlay a lot of money for a more professional system. The products are all really affordable and the fact that you can just use regular polish means that you don't need to keep buying gel polishes whenever you want a new colour.
At first I thought the application might take too long, the great thing about gel polish is not having to wait for anything to dry, however this system just uses regular polish that has to dry in between...But it didn't actually take too long. The polish was dry within 10 minutes and the fact that you don't have to buy and use gel polishes might make up for this (regular polish is certainly a lot easier to work with and to clean up if you get it on your cuticles). The one-finger-at-a- time LED lamp didn't take too long to cure all your nails either, 10 seconds is pretty quick so it only adds up to 50 seconds for each hand. That's actually faster than my large LED lamp, because I have to cure my finger for 30 seconds, then do my thumb separately.
The wear time wasn't bad, but it certainly didn't last intact for 10 days. It may be alright if you're going on a nice relaxing holiday where you won't be doing much with your hands lol (in saying that the last time I used a regular gel system it lifted off my nails after just one day!). At least when you're finished wearing it or sick of the same colour you can just peel it off! I quite like the peel off base coat, it's sooo much easier than soaking your fingers in acetone for 10 minutes.
Overall this is a nice, easy to use and affordable gel system. It's definitely worth picking up some of the products, I'll certainly be using it again and maybe even mixing and matching some of the products with different systems.
What do you think of the new essence 'Gel Nails at Home' trend edition? Will you be trying it?
I hope you enjoyed this post, thanks for reading!
*Products in this post were sent to me for my honest review, please see my disclosure policy for more information