Gel Nails at Home?

by Jane Wangersky | June 1st, 2012 | Women's Beauty, Women's Fashion

Nutra Nail Gel Perfect promises you can give yourself gel nails — long-wearing and extra shiny — in five minutes at home. Since the kit costs just slightly more than a salon manicure and contains enough product for three or four jobs, it’s a real deal if it works. So does it?

For me — only sort of.

Of course, it’s not as simple as just putting on nail polish. First, you have to brush all the nails on one hand (or foot — and it’s not a bad idea to start on your feet, where it’s easier to hide mistakes) with the “activator.”  This sounds like a wannabe superhero, but I hear it’s really essentially nail glue. Anyway, after this you’re supposed to brush on the color “quickly” — I knew I was in trouble when I read that — while the activator is still wet.

Words to the wise: you don’t so much brush on the color as dab it on top of the activator and let it spread. Also, don’t let your fingers or toes get too close to each other, or anything else, till the nails dry. I had a few Krazy Glue moments.

Then you clean the brush in special solution, do the other hand and wait two or three minutes for the color to set up “like a rock.”  To be fair, it did, more or less, except on my left middle finger (some significance there?). The instructions helpfully informed me that I’d probably done something wrong on that one.

Now, I’m really not good at doing precise things with my hands, and adding that to slapping color on a wet surface, I knew it was going to be pretty messy. Unexpectedly, though, my right hand, painted of course by my left hand, ended up looking better — more subtle, less like I’d dipped my fingertips in semi-gloss paint. Maybe a light touch is key. After all, my dentist once told me I was brushing my teeth too thoroughly.

Time for the second coat . . . wait, I thought you could do the whole thing in five minutes. Oh well. This time I knew what I was doing, somewhat, and the color did look smoother and no longer streaky when I was done.

It held up well for a day or so. Then we came to the really annoying part. This stuff chips like any ordinary nail polish, but when you try to take it off, it’s immoveable. Unless  you have the company’s special remover, or 100% acetone. Well, that’s not quite true — remover with acetone as the main ingredient will soften it up enough that you can scrape it off after a while.

Is it worth it? Maybe if you’re a good amateur manicurist with plenty of patience. Otherwise, give this a miss.

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