Today I have the full Essence Gel nails at home kit review that I mentioned last week. In order to achieve the desired manicure you will need the mini led lamp (€24.99), a nail primer (€2.99), cleanser (€2.99), peel off basecoat (€3.99), clear topcoat and a glitter topcoat (€3.99). You can buy all of the items separately or in a starter kit that is exclusive to Pennys which includes all of the above abar the led lamp which you'll need to get aswell. You do not need a special polish for this system. Any polish will work with it but I urge you to use the peel off base coat. Removal will not be pleasant unless you have a peel off basecoat. Trust me, I tried it with a regular one and it was not pretty!
First things first you have to push back your cuticles and clean you nails with the cleanser. Then you add on one coat of the primer. Next you apply a thick coat of the Peel off basecoat making sure it is even on each nail before placing it under the led lamp for 10 seconds (the light atomatically shuts off after 10 seconds so no need to worry about timing anything). Once that is done you have to cleanse your nails with the cleanser again to get rid of the residue. As you can see I had a few hiccups with this step and I was left with some indents where the base coat wasn't even or thick enough (this was my first go at using the kit so I'm not entirely sure what the problem was)
Now it's time for some colour. You can use any old polish with this system which is a bonus so I went with Essence Happy Ending from the regular colour and go line. This is a bright barbie pink creme. I have on two coats. You need to let the polish dry on its own before adding on a topcoat. Just like the base you need to apply one thick even layer of the Gel nails clear topcoat in order to get a smooth glossy finish. Finally you wipe the nail once again with the cleanser to get rid of any residue and you are good to go!
Seeing as I had a glitter topcoat from this range I added on an accent nail using the Essence gel nails at home wow! effect gel topcoat in 4 Glitterland. I love this glitter! The colours are beautiful, the size of the glitters is just spot on and it spreads out in a lovely even layer without the need for any dabbing.
I also switched things around a bit on my thumbs. I chose Essence Dopey for the base with a coat of Glitterland on top. Apparently this wasn't a great combination seeing as the entire nail popped off within 4 hours of applying the polish. Disappointing.
Day one of the wear test went fine. Nothing else popped off and the nails stayed perfectly glossy. I do think the finish is a bit too thick for my liking. Obviously not everyone will notice it but when you paint your nails as often as I do it is pretty noticeable. It's not so bad looking at them in the pictures but if you see them from the side the thickness is incredibly noticeable.
I decided to try something different. I took off the basecoat and redid the whole manicure on my other hand with a regular basecoat. I wanted to see if a regular basecoat would extend the life of the manicure even further. Peel off basecoats just sounded like a waste of time to me. In general they are used for glitter polishes for easy removal so I figured it would impede the length of a gel mani rather than improve it.
Day 2 of the test. Still no sign of any chips or tipwear. They still look glossy which is something I was worried would fade as the days went on. Nothing else really to report!
The other hand is doing just as well. I would say the finish is a bit better given the fact the basecoat I used is a lot thinner compared to the peel off base on the other hand. No chips or tipwear over here either,
Day 3 and I'm starting to have some issues, First off when you apply the base and topcoat you have to make sure you don't get any on your skin. If you do you need to wipe it off with polish remover before putting your nails under the lamp. I didn't do this because I didn't notice it (sure they are completely clear like, how in the name of god would I see it) and it stuck to my skin like glue. Now this is grand until you eventually notice it and try to pick it off. Seeing as you cured it, the excess bits are still connected to the base coat so once you pull at them you end up chipping off the basecoat on your nails too! I had 2 gouges on my pinky and index finger because of this which resulted in me picking at the rest of the nail constantly unbeknownst to myself.
See that big lump on my middle finger (sure how could you not see it in fairness!) I have absolutely no idea what happened there. If I was to guess I would say I was either trying to scrape off a label of open a lid on something. This bugged me a whole lot! It was so obvious and really affected the look of the manicure.
Day 4 and I must admit I'm bored of the manicure. You can see the chips on my pinky finger now. This finish isn't as glossy as when I first applied the polish but not noticeable tip wear which is pretty impressive!
This was the last day of my wear test. The lump on my right hand peeled off and I decided it was time to move on to the next manicure.
Overall I'm really in 2 minds about this kit. It definitely has its pro's and cons. I can honestly say I doubt this would last the 10 days they claim. Sure no manicure would that long and still look good. Removal is pretty easy with the peel off basecoat. Just pick at it and it'll be off in a minute or 2. With a normal basecoat it is horrific and I would not recommend it at all. It took me a fair while with plenty of polish remover and me basically scratching off.
It is one of the more budget friendly gel kits that you can get which is good to know if you are looking into doing your own gel nails at home. I'll leave it up yo yourselves to decide whether or not this is worth buying as it really depends on what you are looking for. I like to change my nails a lot so this isn't practical on a day to day basis. For a once off / special occasion who knows! I will give it a couple more goes just to get the hang of it and see if I can improve on any of the mistakes I made the first time around. I'm thinking of trying it over some textured polishes to see if it will smooth them over completely instead of wasting time adding on 2-3 coats of a regular topcoat. If that works out I will definitely let ye know. I'll also be doing a comparison of the Essence Gel nails at home kit and the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel polishes next week so stay tuned for that. Hopefully it won't be as long as this post!