I didn't go completely bonkers, but I did see a display that intrigued me.
Nutra Nail Gel Perfect UV-Free Gel-Color (phew!) kits. There are 10 colors available (the Nutra Nail website lists 12; but there are clearly 10 in the display. I'm not sure which ones are missing). Also featured in the display are several packs of No-Mess Express, the remover kit that is suggested to go with the polishing kit. The gel color kit was $11.99 and the remover kit was $5.99. However, there is a tear-off pad on the display with coupons for $1.50 off either product. That sealed the deal and I had to buy it.
I've been thinking for a while about doing Gelish at home, mainly for pedicures. It's a not-insignificant upfront investment, but it would pay for itself after a few pedicures. I'm pretty boring when it comes to pedis - I like dark pinks, classic reds and the occasional vampy shade. Maybe a purple sometimes. But mostly I just don't like to change it very often. The Nutra Nail kit seemed like it might present a good option for my lazy woman's pedi and even for the occasional manicure.
Most of the shades in the Gel Perfect line are pretty safe - reds, pinks, neutrals - though there were two that stood out: Moonstone is a pretty blue shimmer and Torenia is a vibrant violet shimmer. I chose the Orchid shade, a medium red-purple creme. It's exactly the kind of shade I'd choose for a pedicure most of the time.
Don't worry, by the way - I'm not going to show you my feet! I decided to do my fingernails for the sake of experimentation. Besides, I'm much better at painting my nails than my toes.
Here's what comes with the kit: A bottle of cleaner (you use this to clean the color brush), a bottle of activator and a bottle of color. The color is .17 ounces, so it's quite small. For reference, an Essence Colour & Go polish is .16 ounces.
There are also two coupons inside the instruction booklet, which is nice. One is for the color kit and one is for the remover.
You can read the how-to on the Nutra Nail site. I read it through a couple of times before I applied the color. It's really not difficult at all. Basically you apply a layer of activator (which smells exactly like nail glue) followed by a layer of gel color. You do five nails at a time, cleaning the brush in between every five nails, repeating the activator-then-color process for the second coat.
So this isn't hard, but there is a bit of a learning curve. If you're the type of polisher that just slaps on color and then relies on a lot of cleanup afterward, this may not work for you. However, if you tend to be neat and precise in your application then this shouldn't be a problem. This is because the color goes where ever you've applied the clear activator - so if you flood your cuticles with the activator, they're going to get flooded with color too. The color doesn't sit on top of the activator, it blends with it - so you definitely want to keep the activator out of your cuticles.
Here's what the bottle of cleaner looks like after you switch the brushes a few times.
Overall, I didn't have any problems applying this, and I did go back and clean up a little with a small concealer brush and pure acetone, which worked fine. For removal, Nutra Nail tells you to use the No-Mess Express removal kit, but as an alternate they suggest the foil method. So I'll try that and let you know how it works.
Anyway! Enough blabbering. Here are the finished results.
The claims that you can "dig in your purse" and "step into your shoes" in five minutes seem to hold true. Immediately after I did this manicure, I fed the dog, washed my hands and put on lotion, pushed a cardboard box into the trash, did some typing and just generally went about my business. I didn't get any dings, smears or dents.
I also like that there is a troubleshooting guide on the back of the how-to guide. There are Facebook and YouTube logos on the instruction sheet included in the box, but I couldn't find Nutra Nail on either site, and there are no links to videos for this product on the Nutra Nail site. You can order Gel Perfect online though, just click "order now" under the color you want.
After one day of wear, however, I think it's safe to say these are not a great fit for my fingernails.
To be fair, I was hard on my nails on Sunday (the day after I put Gel Perfect on). I cooked, I cleaned, I bashed them into things. Because Gel Perfect cures so hard on the nail, when the gel cracked, my nails cracked too. I had two large chips on Sunday that took a layer of my nail with them. I did patch the chips, which worked fine, but I had several more chips that afternoon and evening...even on one of the nails I had just patched!
My nails are having a brittle moment, and as I said, I was unusually hard on them. But the drying effect of Gel Perfect is hard to deny. If your nails are better hydrated, perhaps you'll have better luck. And if you typically you wear your nails short, you might not experience the breakage that I did.
I'll still try Gel Perfect on my toenails, but I think I will steer clear of it on my fingernails, at least until I feel they are better hydrated.