I have been a massive fan of nail varnish for as long as I can remember. I distinctly recall receiving a helter-skelter nail polish stand one Christmas (probably around the age of 7) and ever since have always possessed a vast array of colours. Despite this long-standing, ever-growing and (ok I admit) slightly ridiculous collection, it is only in the past 10 months that I have started experimenting with my own home gel nail kit. I’ll be honest, I haven’t looked back since and my poor (mere mortal) nail varishes are probably feeling quite deserted!
I think there are probably three main reasons why I have become such a convert. Firstly, I have brittle nails that are prone to peeling and so for me gel gives them strength to grow. And I like them LONG! Secondly, I don’t have to wait for hours on end waving my hands around in the air for the polish to dry before I dare touch or do anything else. Finally, I find the gel polish tends to last about a week and a half before any chips begin to appear as opposed to a day or two with conventional polish.
So, I purchased a Sensationail starter kit to begin with. This was a really great set at the time, and contained all that you need to get you started, including the Sensationail Pro 3060 LED lamp, Sensationail gel primer, Sensationail gel clenser, Sensationail clear transparent gel base & top coat, Raspberry Wine Sensationail gel polish, Pink Chiffon Sensationail colour polish, lint free wipes, two sided nail buffer and the Sensationail remover tool. There are several versions of this set available now (all of which can be found on the Sensationail website) offering different colour combinations and tools to get you started.
Once I had practiced on myself (and several brave volunteers) with simple block colour and had added a few new colours to my collection, I decided it was time to try something a little more exciting. May the nail art commence!!! And not just any old nail art, oh no, it simply HAD to match my pin up style.
This red and white polka dot nail design shown can be created using the following steps:
1. File nails to desired shape using an emery board.
2. Soak hands in warm water for a few minutes then use a manicure stick to push back your cuticles and trim any unruly cuticles using a cuticle cutter.
3. Apply Sensationail gel primer and leave a few seconds to air dry.
4. Apply one coat of clear transparent gel base & top coat (being very careful to make sure none of the polish touches the cuticle) and hold nails under the LED lamp to cure for 30 seconds.
5. Apply one coat of Scarlet Red Sensationail gel polish and cure of 60 seconds (do this on all fingers except your two ring fingers).
6. Repeat step 3 for a second coat.
7. Using the dotting tool, create polka dots on top of the red block colour using White Lilly Sesationail gel polish and cure for 60 seconds.
8. Apply one coat of clear transparent gel base & top coat and cure for 30 seconds.
9. On each of your ring fingers complete steps 3-5 the other way around, hence creating a statement nail with red polka dots on top of a white background.
10. Once all nails are complete, add a little gel cleanser and a lint free wipe to gently wipe each nail. Voila! Polka dot pinup nails!
There are just a few important things I have picked up along the way that it would be helpful to mention. Firstly, it is definitely worth investing in a cutical cutter (I got a great one from Kiko) simply to tidy your cuticles up before you start. This makes it much easier to avoid touching the cuticle with the gel polish and will prevent lifting of the gel colour and your nails will last even longer. Additionally, there are many brands of gel nail varnish out there and I am by no means an exoert. So far I have experimented with two brands; Sensationail and Red Caret. The Red Carpet gel polishes come in a slightly larger bottle but I find for simple block colour more coats are needed to create that bold effect. In addition, the Red Carpet gel polish is a little easier to remove with a removal tool, however it does ofter begin to chip a little earlier than the Sensationail polishes.
In this post I have focused on the application of the gel polish, as that’s the exciting bit right?!? If anyone has an questions about the removal…feel free to drop me a line! I also promise to keep you up-to-date on any more of my nail art creations that I am particularly proud of!