Yesterday was my 18th birthday, and typically I asked for some nail tech bits and pieces. I've recently become really interested in gel polish, and I wanted to know how I could do my own gel manicures at home, since getting a gel manicure where I live is £20 upwards! I thought that getting a DIY kit would be more economical in the long run.
So, I asked for the Red Carpet Manicure at-home gel polish kit. I had a go with it yesterday, and I'm very happy with it indeed!
First of all, here's some pictures of what you get in the kit:
This is the box that everything comes in. It's all safely packaged inside so that nothing gets broken or tipped over.
This is the LED lamp! It's a 6 Watts lamp. As you can see there's enough room for all 4 fingers underneath. The button above the RCM logo switches the light on for 45 seconds, after which it automatically turns itself off. The lamp plugs into the mains socket directly, so no batteries are required!
I've heard that you can get stronger lamps and I know that there's also UV lamps available. I've yet to try out any UV specific polishes with my LED lamp - I'll probably stick to the RCM nail system for the moment. However, I did see someone on a nail tech forum saying that you can use Gelish with the RCM system.
These are 59ml bottles of Purify and Erase. Erase is RCM's branded gel polish remover, Purify is used to cleanse the nail plate of tacky gel residue before gel application, and also to remove the sticky surface of the Brilliance topcoat after it's cured under the lamp.
Prep is a nail plate dehydrater that removes excess oils from the nail and prepares it for the base coat.
Structure is the base coat for this system. After it's cured, it's sticky so that the gel colour can adhere to it beter, so it's important not to touch it when you've cured it! Also, it's best to apply this in as thin a coat as possible, otherwise the base coat tends to shrink away from the nail tip.
This colour came with the kit; it's called Red Carpet Reddy and it's a jelly-based bright red. I use 2-3 coats on each nail to get a bright, slighty translucent red. Again, I cure each coat for 45 seconds. After curing, the polish is still sticky, so you have to make sure that you don't dent or wipe your nails on anything before sealing the colour with Brilliance topcoat.
The Brilliance topcoat seals in the coloured gel polish. I cure this for 45 seconds and it's ready to go, provided I use Purify to wipe of any stickiness.
Revitalize is a cuticle oil which you can apply every day to keep your natural nail hydrated. It smells really lovely, sort of like flowers!
In short, the process of actually doing a gel manicure with this system is as follows:
- Apply Prep to nails liberally.
- Apply Structure to nails, using a thin coat.
- Cure Structure under the lamp for one button-press, i.e. 45 seconds.
- Apply a coat of colour.
- Cure the colour for another 45 seconds.
- Apply a second coat, making sure you don't touch the sticky layer on top of the first coat of colour. Also, make sure to swipe the brush along the free edge of the nail to prevent the nail tips from showing and to improve longevity.
- Cure the second coat for 45 seconds.
- Apply Brilliance topcoat, again making sure to swipe it along the free edge of the nail. This seals in the colour and prevents the gel from peeling off of the nail / chipping.
Provided that you follow these steps, this is what you'll end up with:
It's incredibly shiny and looks almost jelly-like. Best of all, it looks identical to the gel manicures that I've seen done in salons, but you can do it at home yourself!
You can buy this kit on Asos.com, and you can also buy additional colours of RCM nail polish on their website or at Sally's Beauty Supply.
I hope you've enjoyed this post, if you have any questions about the RCM gel polish system or any tips/pointers for me, please comment below!