I’ve been obsessed with soak off gel manicures for a quite a long time now, and I’m happy to see that there are more and more at-home options being offered these days, however if you’re not quite ready to make the jump to buying a UV or LED lamp and system, you might want to check out these cool new Nutra Nail Gel Perfect 5-Minute Gel Color Manicure Kits ($11.99 USD / $14.99 CAD each). I’ve got a gorgeous array of bold shades from their new limited edition Sorbet Collection for Spring 2012 to show you!
These individual gel color kits are UV-free, opting for a chemical reaction instead of UV or LED light-based curing. They come with everything you need right out of the box, including your gel color, the activator and brush cleaner. The bottles of gel color are very small, only 5mL each, so you’re only going to get a couple total applications from one kit (still being much less than a salon gel manicure).
If you know me, you know I’m an avid fan of Shellac/Gelish manicures and I do them at home regularly. These manicures leave you with a gorgeous mirror shine and chip free color for about 2 weeks. They are applied like a polish, cured like a gel, and are removed by soaking in pure acetone- so they give you all the benefits of a gel manicure with the ease and convenience of nail polish. Nutra Nail Gel Perfect systems are an alternative to this process, using a chemical activator instead of UV or LED light to cure the product, but the results are the same… chip free color with very little drying time.
The application is much different than Gelish or Shellac, so I definitely recommend taking time to watch the how-to video and read the instructions fully (visualize what you are doing before you do it- trust me, it’s the best way)!
- Apply the activator to the nails of one hand
- Immediately, apply the gel color over top
- Instead of putting the brush back into the gel color bottle, switch the brush with the one in the brush cleaner (this needs to be done every 5 nails).
- Repeat the process on the other hand
- Repeat steps 1-4 for a second coat
The whole process takes about 5 minutes, and when you’re done, your nails are completely dry, smudge-proof and super shiny. I find it harder to apply the Gel Perfect than a regular soak-off gel manicure, just because of the extra steps and applying the color on top of the activator can leave it a bit steaky. It does take practice- my manicures looked better and better each time I tried, but still never looking as good as a Gelish manicure. The shine wasn’t as brilliant and the surface wasn’t as smooth, but still not too bad.
The kit would be great for someone who wants to try out a gel manicure before committing to buying a system or if you just want to do them occasionally. The color range is gorgeous (especially the limited editions shades in this collection)… so keep an eye out for them before they are gone! The shades include:
- Bayberry: Bright aqua cream
- Raspberry: Rich magenta
- Lime: Vibrant green cream
- Tangerine: Red-orange cream
- Blueberry: Vivid medium blue
- Grape: Light purple cream
These manicures last about a week for me, and they “end” differently than other gel manicures (which usually start lifting from the tips or cuticles). These ones break.. like a thin plastic. If you hit a nail hard enough or it bends in a certain way, you might see a crack form… it’s something you can just put some clear polish over and be fine, but I just found it interesting how these actually break instead of lift. Once that happens a few times, you’ll know its time to take them off.
You can soak them in 100% acetone, but Nutra Nail also makes these really convenient No Mess Express Gel Perfect Remover($5.99 USD / $8.99 CAD) packets to make the process quick and easy. The box comes with 5 packets, each with a foam pad saturated with acetone. You simply hold your nails against it for about a minute, then rub it away and the polish comes off. Use one side of the pad for each hand (I found I had to do the thumbs separately). The pad works really well, but for the price I’d rather just pick up some acetone and soak them- so much more cost effective.
- Price: $11.99 USD / $14.99 CAD (Gel Color Kits), $5.99 USD / $8.99 CAD (Remover Packets)
- Availability: Drugstores, Wal-Mart (click here for a list of retailers)
- Overall: I think these kits are an interesting new technology that are great to have on hand if you want to try out a gel manicure or if you only want them occasionally. They are harder to apply then a UV or LED-curing system, however practice does make perfect. The effects are very similar, rock solid, shiny (but not AS shiny as gel) and chip free wear with no drying time. A good alternative to salon gel manicures, but not quite equivalent. They can be a bit streaky and messy, so take your time and make sure you understand what you’re doing beforehand. The remover pads are handy, convenient and effective… but for the cost I’d rather just buy acetone and soak them.
- Rating: B+