Nicely-painted nails have the power to make a girl feel instantly more glamorous, put-together, sophisticated and confident.
Chipped nails, on the other hand, make a woman look cheap in my opinion
I'm not going to put it softly: I detest chipped nail varnish. It looks awful, as far as I'm concerned. Sorry, I know a lot of girls are OK with it, but this is just the way I feel.
I adore having painted nails, and of course mine aren't always perfect - sometimes you're out and about and your nail varnish chips, I get that. But then I always try and take the varnish off as soon as I can, even if I don’t have time to repaint my nails. I always say naked nails look a million times better than chipped nail varnish. And I hate having naked nails.
In fact, it's pretty rare to see me without nail varnish on.
But isn't it just the absolute worst when your nail varnish chips sometimes mere hours after you've applied it, base coat, top coat and all? Serious first world problems.
So I am super excited about what I have to share with you all today: DIY at-home gel nails to solve all your chipped nail varnish woes!
Some people call them shellac, others call them gel nails… All I know is that they’re my new fave thing.
Despite marvelling at the pretty gel nails friends have occasionally flaunted after a trip to the salon, I’d never actually had shellac nails done myself. So when NYK1 Secrets got in touch to ask if I’d like to try out their at-home gel nail set, I unsurprisingly jumped at the opportunity.
They let me pick two colours to try and I went for Rosebud (seen in all the pictures here) and Peach Perfect (which is freshly-painted as I type and will undoubtedly be instagrammed in the very near future.)
Despite the slightly daunting UV nail lamp, it turns out doing your own gel nails is really rather simple. I actually find the process rather relaxing and therapeutic and have taken to doing it whilst watching TV.
The whole process does take about 45 mins to an hour though, depending on whether you go for two or three coats - I'll get to that shortly.
You start by pushing back the cuticles, buffing the nails and cleaning them with lint-free wipes and a special liquid. It's great that all these bits are part of the set, but I don't think I'll have enough wipes and liquid to see me through very many applications.
Then the nail painting begins - first a base coat, then two to three layers of colour, then a top coat. It's best to build up thin layers, and you simply put your hand in the UV lamp for two minutes in between each layer.
Super handily, the lamp even has a timer so that after two minutes it goes off.
Once you've done all your layers you give the nails a quick wipe with the cleaning liquid again and you're done - shiny nails a-go-go!
I am basically in love with mine. Srsly. And I adore the fact that they're set and dry straight after! How many time have you thought your nail varnish was totally dry only to discover smudges and marks afterwards? SO. ANNOYING.
I kept looking at my nails expecting them to have chipped but they remained perfect. The colour is solid, they look really professional and they're so shiny! I must say I've received an awful lot of compliments on my nails, both on instragram AND real life.
Granted, my right hand wasn't as neatly done as my left, but everyone has one hand stronger than the other right? I
It also seems to me that it's actually better if you don't have really short nails - if there's some finger exposed at the end of the nail it's pretty impossible not to cover the skin in the varnish too.
As someone who has for a long time suffered from flaky nails (resulting in flaky nail varnish) gel nails seem perfect for me - they stay stuck down no matter how weak your nails are underneath.
So how well did my nails last?
Amazingly so! This is what they looked like a week after painting:
And this is two weeks after painting, with a smoothie because, mmm smoothie:
They didn't chip one bit, which is mind-blowingly awesome. However I decided to re-do them after a fortnight because of the regrowth of the nail.
I hadn't realised until I went back to the instruction booklet that the removal process was going to be such an effort. So, ever the rule-breaker that I am (ahem), I decided to just peel mine off instead. While that may not have been the best for my nails, it seemed to work fine and hey, it's kinda fun to do, am I right?
And then it was time to get Peach Perfect!
It turns out quite a lot of my friends actually have their own kits too, and I feel like more and more of us are going to jump on the bandwagon.
I am so pleased with my gel nails and am definitely going to be buying more colours. While it may take twice as long to apply as normal nail varnish, shellac nails also last twice as long so I think it's totally worth it. And I don't have to worry about my nails chipping and looking awful (a real concern of mine, I kid you not.)
If you can't tell already, I'm seriously impressed and may never go back to normal nail varnish. Awks that I have such a huge collection.
Gel nails make me feel even more fabulous than usual and I can't recommend them enough. At £100 or so, a kit (with four colours) is a bit of an investment, it has to be said. But I think, perhaps as a birthday present or something, it's definitely a worthwhile one. What do you think?
Thanks to NYK1 Secrets for kindly sending me a kit to review, but as ever, this review contains only my honest opinion.