It's a mixed bag, folks.
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I'm a bit of a gel nail fanatic. Even though, almost without fail I'll break a nail while wearing them because I get a little cavalier with their strength. I can't help but get the most of that extra loud tapping. PSA: gel nail polish isn't actually armor for your nails. But, when the whole MelodySusie One Step Gel Nail Kit and caboodle landed on my doorstep I was ON IT pretty much instantly. I just can't resist a gel nail manicure.
The thing that instantly intrigued me about this whole setup is that instead of a three, four, or five step kit, this only takes one step. So it basically cuts your gel nail polishing time in half. My little pessimistic brain instantly said there was no way that it would last but I had to road test it never the less.
Okay so the one step system is, unsurprisingly pretty easy to do. Basically every gel nail kit on the planet is going to tell you to buff your nails. To buff or not to buff, that is the question. I choose not to because I have very thin, weak nails that need every little layer of keratin that they can get.
So, if you are in the nail buffing camp, start off by buffing your nails to get a nice smooth surface. Either way before applying polish file your nails to the shape of your choosing then clean off any nail dust, oil, germs, whatever with isopropyl alcohol. This will make sure that the polish adheres to your nails and not to something on top of your nails that could make it peel off more easily.
Then just paint your nails with the colored polish. Make sure you don't hit the skin or your cuticles, Glob forbid, and cure under the lamp.
So I have very, very mixed feelings about the 12 watt pro lamp. First off it's giant and easily fits all your fingers and thumb at the same time. And on that note it even has little finger guides to make sure you have your hand in far enough, and there are lights that go all the way to where your thumb is, so it gets the same cure.
This is huge because I've tried other gel nail kits where you have to do the thumb separately because the light can't reach it properly. If it doesn't get the light it won't cure. Bummer.
But, and this is a big but, this light is hot as hell.
It's seriously so hot that I thought I was going to burn myself the first time I used it. That's some pretty hot light. I think it's partially to do with the fact that the lights are pretty close to your fingers (again, better cure) but holy Lawd I was sweating curing this manicure.
It's a pretty standard light otherwise besides the fact that the top pops off and magnetically attaches to the bottom. I don't know why but I was really taken with that minor little extra.
Oh, I totally forgot the buttons. So there are buttons at the top for 30, 60, and 90 second intervals to choose how long you cure your polish. It also has a countdown clock and this nifty on/off feature that turns the lights on and off when you place your hand inside, or take it out. I don't know why but I LOVE this feature.
When I opened the package and saw the UV shield gloves I literally laughed out loud. Like who in their right mind would actually wear these things while doing their nails?
Um, me. Apparently.
Remember how I said the light is really, really hot? It's really hot. It's so hot that I did one coat of the polish without the gloves, thought I burned my fingerprints off, waited the whole time for the gel to cure under the light, then immediately put on the gloves for the rest of my polishing experience.
They're totally necessary, just totally ridiculous.
I'm so aware that you aren't going to feel like a pretty lady in heat-proof UV filtering fingerless gloves but if you want to use this high powered light you'll need 'em. Especially if you are someone who does gel nails a lot, these gloves will ideally keep your hands from aging from the light. Between that and the extra security that you aren't actually going to burn yourself makes the silly gloves worth it.
I'm even tempted to keep them in the car to wear while I'm driving. I want baby smooth hands forever.
Okay we finally get to the meat.
Even though it's only a one step kit, it took me two coats to get this lilac (#5) shade up to full opacity. I also tried the blue (#1) on my toes, opaque with two coats, and my mom tried the dark pink (#2) same thing, opaque with two coats. I also tried the light pink (#4) after removing the lilac which took three coats to get to full opacity.
First go around with the lilac shade my nails looked downright flawless for a week. One full week of perfect polish? Yes please and thank you.
But on day eight, tragedy struck as the polish started to chip, nail by nail. It started out as one tiny crack on that middle nail there that eventually broke off the whole tip of the nail. From then on all the tips were fair game. On day ten I took a long bath which was the death blow to this manicure.
A solid forty five minutes around water and the gel was cracked off the tips of each and every nail. That's some garbage for day ten of a gel manicure. And, after the tips lost their gel polish protection I broke a nail. Surprise, surprise.
Right now I'm wearing that light pink and as I type I'm on day five with not a single crack. We shall see how they go.
As for the toes, I'm on day fifteen and they're looking pristine. No real shock there as gel polish on the toes always lasts ages. I'd bet they'll make it the full month with no problems at all, exactly the same as my normal four step gel.
Here is possibly the easiest part of this whole manicure. Normally when I do at home gels I use the Sensationail kit. It's a four step kit with a nail adhesive, base coat, color, and top coat. When I remove gels I do the foil wrap method and it usually takes a solid half hour (even with scratching the surface first) to remove 'em. It's a huge time suck and I always feel like I'm damaging my nails as I do it.
I only wrapped this manicure for ten minutes and it probably didn't even need that long. I took the foil off and the polish basically lept off my nails. I imagine five to seven minutes would probably do the trick too depending on how thick you layered up the polish.
That's basically nothing for gel nails.
And it's kind of the redeeming factor in this whole thing. Way less time wasted and what felt like less overall damage to my nails in the removal process.
Is It Worth It?
The saved time alone in application and removal pretty much seals the deal for me. Having pretty much perfect polish for a week and some change isn't ideal for gel polish, but I am wholly unsurprised by the wear time because it's just one polish without base or top coat.
Will I continue to use this getup? For sure.