My journey into gel nails and polishes

Image of Mylee Gel Nail Kit including lamp - other gel nail polishes - BlueSky Sexy Mix and gdi - NYK1 builder gel - gel nails

My journey into gel nails and polishes has been super fun. I bought this gel nail kit a while ago now, but I wanted to use it a lot before I gave my opinion on it.

The gel nail polish kit that I purchased

I purchased the Mylee Complete Professional Gel Nail Polish LED Lamp kit on Amazon. It came with the Mylee lamp, 4 Bluesky gel polishes (red, black, pink and a taupe/nude colour), a Bluesky gel base coat and a glossy Bluesky gel top coat. It also came with Mylee prep and wipe solution, Mylee lint free wipes and Mylee gel nail polish remover.

Price

The price of the kit is really fair. It has everything you need to get started with gel polishes. At the time of writing this post, the kit is £64.99, but obviously that price may rise and fall.

Instructions

I felt the instructions on using the kit were rather simplistic, which is both a pro and con. If you just like to get stuck in and not waste time with instructions, then you’ll appreciate this.. but if you, like me, rely on heavy instruction, then you might want to check other sources just to be sure you’re doing it right. YouTube is my main source to check for everything and I found it helpful in this case.

When I was waiting for it to arrive

My sister scared the life out of me when I was waiting for it to arrive. I casually mentioned to her that I bought a gel nail kit online and I was waiting for it to be delivered. She then told me that she had a friend that bought possibly the same one and her nails got all infected and essentially fell off. I was terrified! I probably wouldn’t have bought it if I had known that beforehand!

The kit even mentions that you shouldn’t use it if you suffer with sensitive skin (which I do).

I decided once it arrived that to be safe I would test it on one nail first and see how I get on. A bit like a patch test when you get your hair dyed. This was in order to check I wasn’t allergic to it and to make sure my nails didn’t get damaged. I highly recommend you do the same if you plan to get started with gel nails, better safe than sorry.

Image of Mylee Gel Nail Kit including lamp - nail forms - NYK1 builder gel - gel nails

Minor issues I ran into

Fortunately, I can report that I’ve had no trouble with gel nails and the only issues I ran into were due to my own stupidity. I will briefly mention those, just so you don’t make the same mistakes.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to not get the gel on your skin before you cure the gel under the lamp. At one point I thought I had an allergy, but it was because I stupidly got gel on my skin. I cured the gel, so it solidified and was stuck to my finger and that was irritating it. Once I removed the cured gel from my finger, the irritation disappeared completely. Be vigilant that you don’t leave gel around your cuticles or anywhere on your skin before placing under the light.

I also found that I have a nasty habit of applying the gel thicker than I should. Gel polish needs to be applied thinly. If you don’t apply thinly, you will find that you get a burning sensation under the light. A pricking kind of burning.. hard to explain, but it’s not pleasant. The bottom line is to apply the gel thinly over a few coats. I think I had been so used to regular polish and being impatient waiting for it to dry that I just applied as much as possible in one go to avoid waiting for coats to dry. My own fault!

Removal

I have to say that my least favourite thing about gel polish is the whole removal process. I hate having to wrap my fingers in tin foil and wait for absolutely ages. My sister bought me some finger clips for Christmas that were supposed to make this whole thing easier.. it seems to work better just in tin foil, maybe because of the heat or something.. I don’t know. I was never good at Science. It takes a good half an hour to remove and sometimes longer, depending on the gel polish. Glitter gel took so long to remove.

After it comes off my nails, they feel super dry, so I always slick them up with cuticle oil to get some moisture back. An intense night hand cream doesn’t hurt either. My cats aren’t a fan of the smell of my cuticle oil, which is weird because it smells kinda fishy to me.. and they love fishy things normally. Weird.

Other gel polishes I own

Outside of the 4 colours that came with the lamp, I have a few other colours. I have a gdi gel polish that I bought, which is a sparkly red. I bought this before Christmas to be festive. It’s a gorgeous gel polish, the only problem is taking it off.. much like regular polish, glitter gel polish is stubborn to remove too. I also have a set of 4 Sexy Mix gel polishes that I got as a Christmas present from one of my fiance’s sisters. There’s a white, pink, glittery champagne colour and glittery pink in the set I received.

Image of gel nail polishes - BlueSky Sexy Mix and gdi - NYK1 builder gel - gel nails

Broken Nails

Now, I like having natural nails and getting them to a good length, but after a while some break. I was tired of having to file them all down because one nail decided to let the team down. I just didn’t like the look of a single broken one. Before gel I’ve tried a lot of different ways to remedy this.. for the longest time I used Orly Nail Repair Kit, which is essentially just nail glue, a fine powder and a nail file. I’ve tried just using nail glue too, which isn’t very effective. A tea bag and nail glue is probably more effective in this case. I even tried wearing false nails on the broken ones, but they looked clearly fake and often popped off.. sometimes they wouldn’t even be long enough to match up to my natural length.

I have watched countless videos of people applying acrylic nails on themselves and on clients.. and while it looks interesting, it didn’t look very newcomer friendly. You don’t get a lot of playtime before the acrylic powder hardens and becomes unworkable. There’s also the case of needing to get the liquid to powder ratio just right, which can be tricky to grasp. So, I concluded that I didn’t want to mess around with acrylic.. so I looked for other options.

NYK1 NAIL FORCE UV and LED Power Gel Builder

I randomly stumbled across people applying something they call builders gel.. which is basically just a thicker gel that you can use to construct gel nails out of. Some people build a nail out using tips, but that isn’t how I do it and you don’t have to use nail tips. I bought myself NYK1 Nail Force, which is a builder gel. It is on the pricier side at £21.95 (which is what I paid and the current price). In order to use it, I had to purchase nail forms too, which were £8.89.

The instructions that come with the builder gel are really good, though YouTube has countless good videos to help you out too. The builder gel even came with a brush to apply. I was surprised with how good the brush that came with it was. Although in the future, I may wish to purchase additional brushes in various sizes to help get around the cuticle and side walls easier.

Making my own gel nails was really easy and with the help of a nail file or nail drill, you can easily help shape them into what you want. I think in the future, I may want to purchase a nail drill, since I found when constructing my gel nails, a nail file just wouldn’t go underneath.

Nail forms

The nail forms were easy to work with too. You just peel them from the backing (as they are sticky). Then, simply pinch them slightly to shape and slide your finger into the nail form. Be sure you position it under your natural nail and that it is not pointing up or down too much. You can look down the barrel of your nail to check.. and then you just paint on the gel. So easy!

Shaping it can be a bit tricky and has a small learning curve to it. You want to make sure you distribute enough product down the centre of the nail, as this is where the majority of the structure needs to be. If you don’t round it out like that then it won’t be a very strong nail and could potentially break.

Images of the polishes on my nails

I thought I’d include some pictures of the gel polishes applied to my nails. I actually took these pictures randomly with no intention of showing them, but I figured I would include them anyway. That’s why they are all slightly different and under different lighting.. but you get the idea. I only tested the black Bluesky gel polish on one nail so far, but that’s my usual go to colour.. so I may have to rock that soon. These images are in the order I applied them too.

Black Bluesky

A gorgeous opaque black, that I will definitely use on all my nails (once I’ve tried out all my other colours that is)

Gel nail polish black Bluesky -image of nail with black gel polish applied - gel nails

Red Bluesky

A luscious red that is a must have.

Gel nail polish - red BlueSky gel nail polish - image of red gel nail polish applied to nails - gel nails

GDI Nails – Ruby Blitz – Ruby Red Fine Glitter Gel Polish

This polish is actually a lot prettier in person than in this image. I actually had to get this picture from a gif I made of my fingers wiggling in the light, which is why the quality is so bad.

Gel nail polish - image of gdi gel nail polish in a sparkly red applied to nails - gel nails

Sexy Mix Soak Off Gel Nail Polish Set – Champagne sparkle

This is my fiances favourite out of all the gel polishes I’ve tried so far. It is beautiful and elegant. It actually looks nothing like how it looks on the brush once it’s been cured on the nail. I just wish that it was a bit more opaque, but maybe that’s why it works so well.

Gel nail polish - image of a champagne sparkly gel nail polish by Sexy Mix applied to the nails - gel nails

Sexy Mix Soak Off Gel Nail Polish Set – White

This is my least favourite gel polish. You can even tell with my sloppy application that I had trouble with it. The gel was super thick and gloopy and for some reason it seemed to catch the smallest of particles in the air and attach them to my nail. I spent ages trying to drag out these imperfections, which just made the general appearance really bad and in places there were air bubbles, dips and goodness knows what. Like what is that on my index finger? The end looks super dirty and gross.. that just appeared in the gel and I couldn’t get it out. Not a fan. Even white polishes I’ve owned that weren’t gel had a thick unworkable consistency.. why??? Don’t think I’ll be using this one again.

Gel nail polish in white by Sexy Mix applied to the nails - gel nails

Final thoughts on Gel Nails

I am super happy with everything I bought. The white gel polish was a Christmas present, so that doesn’t count!

I really like the kit and everything that came with it. The builder gel is great, going to save me from having to file my nails off when one breaks. Extremely pleased. I really recommend gel, especially if you don’t have time or patience to wait for nails to dry.

Gel nails have been amazing too, because I used to always end up with cat hair in my nails too, because waiting for drying nails seems to attract curious kitties. Now that isn’t an issue! Except that weird white gel polish.. not sure what happened there. But, yeah, if you own animals gel polish can really help you out.

Have you built your own gel nails or used gel polish? Or will you give either a go in the future? I’d love to hear about your own journey with gel nails in the comments below.

You can check out my other beauty reviews here.

*I have provided links to products used wherever possible, please note that I may earn a small amount from any sales through the links.. but that would help me out a lot.

 

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2 Comments

  1. February 2, 2018 / 4:27 pm

    I’ve recently purchased a light and some gel polishes, and when I apply and go through the whole curing process, I find that the polish just peels right off! How long do you cure your nails for, and could you tell me the wattage of your light? Maybe I just need to cure them for longer than 60 seconds each coat. Thank you!

    Amber || mylifeinlimbo.com

    • merkitty
      February 3, 2018 / 12:07 am

      The lamp I use is 18W. What gel polish are you using? The curing time can be very different from brand to brand. I really recommend this kit that I’ve linked to in my post. I’ve had no problems with peeling and the gel stays put and makes my nails so strong.
      I cure my nails for 60 seconds.
      It could either be the polish your using or the lamp that’s making the issue. You’d need to try different polishes first and if you still have the same problem then a different lamp might be needed.
      Hope this helps!

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