Review: I Tried The Gelish Mini At-Home Gel Manicure Kit

I let someone else paint my nails, but that still counts as trying it, right?
Publish date:
May 24, 2013
kits, gel manicures, Gelish, Gelish Mini

There’s nothing better than having your parents’ closest friends living just a neighborhood away when your real, beloved family is miles and miles away in A WHOLE OTHER COUNTRY.

Which is why I was so thrilled this past weekend when said parents’ friends invited and graciously welcomed me into their beautiful home overlooking New York Harbor and Lady Liberty herself, feeding me salmon and quinoa and Magnolia cupcakes. (To be fair, I brought the cupcakes, and, to be honest, I ate two of them).

The peak of the entire afternoon, however, was at the end of the meal when the lady of the house brought out her Thermal Spa UV Auto Gel Light Nail Dryer (mouthful, anyone?) and was like, “Wanna do your nails?”

DO I?!

Best part of it was, she practically did it all for me. She was like, “I love these kinds of things.” I’m like, sign me up and pass me another cupcake!

OK, so this is what I learned as a gel nail polish newbie: Gel nail polish is a hard, long-lasting nail polish that requires slightly more time to apply than an average manicure. The total process lasted around 15 minutes, as opposed to my usual five-minute at-home manicures, but lasts up to two weeks.

The particular gel line I used, Gelish Mini, involves four products (the pH Bond, the Foundation, the Top it Off, and the Nourish), and you need a special UV lamp machine to “cure” them.

Cue the Thermal Spa UV Auto Gel Light Nail Dryer, a gel nail polish dryer that dries your nails each step of the way in two- and three-minute intervals. This particular edition has its own timer, so the lamp turns off on its own after the designated time has passed.

Basically, it’s idiot-proof, so knock yourselves out, all you idiots out there.

So first I obviously removed the nail polish I already had on my nails from, seemingly, the worst manicure ever--check that out!

Then, I filed my nails using my blurry right hand. LOL!

Thirdly: let the gel manicure begin! I applied the first product, the pH bond, which prepares the nail plate by dehydrating it to bring it to a neutral balance.

Then, I placed my hands under the lamp and set the timer for three minutes.

Next, I applied the Foundation Base Gel, a thick, globby gel that creates a double covalent bond (shoutout to Mr. Goldstein, Honors Chem 2005) to the nail plate, allowing for an adhesion between the natural keratin in the nail plate and the product.

Bonding time.

Cure for two minutes, and then, I applied the Gelish Top it Off, which seals the gel to prevent it from chipping or peeling, and gives it a glossy shine.

Cure some more; then comes the polish! I chose bright pink, because I felt like it.

Cure for two minutes...

And voila! Strong, sturdy, shiny, glossy, chip-proof nails!

Typically, gel nails last for around two weeks, give or take a few days, and to remove then you soak them in nail polish remover for--wait for it--TEN TO FIFTEEN MINUTES!

It’s been four days and my nails remain bright pink and shiny with not a chip in sight.

Ever tried this? At home? UV-Ray lamp horror stories (ahh no, I don’t want to hear those!)?