This week something very exciting happened. Not one but TWO sets of gel nail systems arrived at Dahlia Nails HQ, the postman is on our good list forever! The first to arrive was Red Carpet Manicure which claims to be 'the UK's number 1 DIY home LED gel manicure system'. Considering we haven't tried any other systems yet we can't really compare, but were very keen to test it out against previous salon experiences!
Last time I had gel nails was this summer, just before my holiday. If I leave them bare my nails always break on holiday and I didn't want to cart a load of polish with me so I went for a Shellac mani. I made the mistake of going for a 'cost effective' option... cheap. It was all lumpy and the top coat was patchy so I kept getting unattractive bits of fluff stuck to my nails, not ideal. Anyway, it did the job for the holiday! After this experience I wasn't expecting my home gel effort to be much better, if a professional can't get it right surely I would struggle, right? I was completely wrong, the Red Carpet Manicure system was so easy that I ended up with a better at home mani than the salon 'quality' (if I do say so myself...)
We were sent the Red Carpet Manicure Professional Starter Kit* which includes - Professional LED Light (with timer), PURIFY Pre & Post Application Cleanser, PREP Max Adhesion Sanitizer, STRUCTURE Base Coat Gel, BRILLIANCE Seal & Shine Top Coat Gel, ERASE Gel Nail Polish Remover, REVITALIZE Nourishing Cuticle Oil, and LED Gel Polish in Red Carpet Reddy. So there was a lot in there, including a few other bits that I'm yet to fully understand! The only thing which was missing was the instructions card, good job we've done this before then. Oh. Wait.
Thankfully I managed to gather the instructions from the packaging and it turned out that after you'd prepped your nails it was a fairly simple three step process to apply the polish. I've listed out the full steps (as I carried them out) below. Don't be scared by the number of steps, it was super simple and actually really therapeutic!
1. Use the PURIFY cleanser to clean your nails and cuticles then apply the PREP sanitiser
2. Apply a thin coat of STRUCTURE base coat - cure under the lamp for 45 seconds
3. Apply two thin coats of LED gel polish - cure each coat under the lamp for 45 seconds
5. Apply a thin coat of BRILLIANCE top coat - cure under the lamp for 45 seconds
5. Wipe your nails with PURIFY to remove any tackiness and apply REVITALIZE cuticle oil
I used Timeless Beauty* for my first go. This wasn't included in the starter kit but Red Carpet Manicure were kind enough to send us some more shades to try. I chose this polish as it's a stunning pinky nude and I had a load of meetings this week so needed something work suitable. I knew this polish would go with any outfit and look really professional.
It's hard to comment on the formula of the gel polish as it's not something I've used before. When applying the coloured polish it seemed to have a low colour density on the first coat but the second made it completely opaque. The polish, base and top coat were all fairly thick but spread smoothly across the nail so I found I didn't need to use very much of them. As it doesn't set until you cure it under the light you have plenty of time to move the polish around the nail and make sure you have full coverage! The application is super smooth and the brushes are easy to handle. The result was an incredibly shiny and professional looking (*ahem*) manicure, I was massively impressed!
The in built timer in the lamp was really handy. I was all ready with my stopwatch but after 45 seconds it just turned itself off making things so much easier! There are just three LED lights in the Pro lamp but the edges are mirrored so it's crazy bright in there. The only issue with this lamp is that you cannot fit your whole hand in so have to cure your fingers first and then your thumb separately. It only adds an extra couple of minutes to the whole process thought so hardly a deal breaker.
Red Carpet Manicure claims to last three times longer than normal polish. Unfortunately I haven't got a wear report for you today - sorry I know that's probably the most important thing! However, I have got two volunteers lined up to test both our new gel kits for longevity so I will be reporting back with the results of those in the near future - or not so near if the gels do their job!!
From what I've seen so far I love this kit, it certainly beats paying a salon 30 quid a pop! It was amazingly simple, the polishes were all easy to use, and I've ended up with a better manicure than last time I paid a salon for it! I've been so excited to have DIY gel nails that I've been showing everyone who will listen. I will reserve my recommendation until we have the results from the wear test though to make sure it lasts as long as expected.
The Red Carpet Manicure Professional Starter Kit costs £89.95, however there are cheaper starter kits available. Additional LED Gel Nail Polishes cost £12.95 each. You can purchase Red Carpet Manicure products on their website or through various UK retailers including Marks & Spencer and Debenhams.
We were lucky enough to be gifted the products reviewed today but this post is not sponsored and all opinions are our own.