Hands up if you have noticed a huge number of gel nail kits out ATM! Walking in to a Priceline makes me think of a nail salon, and every brand seems to be bringing out their own, with prices to match the popularity. So, when Essence announced they were bringing their own kit to Australia, the majority of fans were excited. The long wait we had, however, has not been so exciting. But it's finally here!!
The Essence Gel Nails At Home kit is a set where you use your normal Essence nail polishes (you can also get a french top coat), with a special base and top coat, plus an LED lamp. It comes with easy to follow instructions, and you can buy the different products separately when you need more. The lamp is the most expensive part of setting up, at $35.95 (which is still a lot cheaper then some brands, i've seen some going for $80), then you can either buy a starter kit ($17.95 for all the products needed-comes in colour or french), or you can buy each product individually (the starter kits are slightly cheaper all up). It is supposed to peel off, for easy removal, although i have heard people say it doesn't remove easily (which really doesn't bother me, i want longevity).
The LED lamp comes with a USB cable, you either plug it in to your computer or use a phone charger that takes USB cords (i tend to paint my nails at my computer desk, so i've plugged mine in to the computer). It's nice and compact, making it easy to carry if travelling, and feels fairly strong.
The starter kits come with 4 products, cleanser, primer, peel off gel base and a top coat (mine is the french kit, so it came with the french gel top coat). These, along with the lamp, are all that's needed to do a manicure (oh, along with a coloured nail polish if you plan on coloured nails). Each product is sold separately, which means you don't have to buy a kit each time you run out of something (i can see things like the primer lasting a while, however things like the cleanser are going to run out quicker).
Starter kit $17.95 Cleanser $4.60 Primer $4.60 Base coat $5.50 Top coat $5.50 (it's slightly cheaper to buy a starter kit to start with, plus i haven't actually seen the french top coat sold separately, only the clear)
1) you remove any old nail polish, file nails and push back cuticles.
2) soak a lint free cotton round in the cleanser, and wipe each nail over (i saved the round for later on, as you need to do the same again)
3) paint primer on to each nail (it's almost like water, so dries almost instantly)
4) paint 1 nail with base coat, and cure under the lamp (each time you press the button on the top the lamp goes for 10 secs). Make sure you completely cover the nail, and take any of the base coat off your skin/cuticles. do each nail in turn, curing as you go (i found this stage my nails still felt really sticky and wet, and had it been normal polish i wouldn't have called it dry. don't worry, it doesn't effect the end result)
5) same instructions as step 4, but this time with the top coat (this is for the french top coat, i'm assuming the other requires a coat or 2 of normal nail polish). Finish by wiping over with cleanser again.
And voila! nails that look amazing! It only took me 10-15 mins to have a completely dry, set, cured (whatever!!) manicure. It looks nice and natural, it was so easy to do, and the whole system doesn't smell bad (i have a faint baby powder smell to my nails, but nothing over powering).
I don't know about longevity yet (i promise to update when i do), but honestly so far i can't fault the system. I do have to fine tune my technique (the polish has had a tendency to pull back from the tips of my nails slightly, and i think it may have been something i did. the french top coat is extremely hard to see), but that's something that comes with practice.
Have you tried this kit? Or do you prefer another?