Thursday, 31 May 2012

A First Attempt With The Gelish Soak-Off Gel Polish System

A few weeks ago, when I was in the midst of my 31 Day Challenge, I got all the supplies necessary to do Gelish soak-off gel (SOG) manicures. Seeing as I was changing my nails every day, it was not very practical to try out a manicure system intended to last about two weeks. I finally got to play with the stuff a couple days ago!

After the jump there will be photos and detailed comments on my experience!

This whole system seemed rather complicated to me, so I looked at a few different sources and guides in preparation. I found this thread on the Purse Forum to be particularly helpful. My first attempt was definitely not perfect, but it was a learning experience - at the least, I learned some things that I will do differently next time.

I got the Gelish Basix Kit and the Gelish MINI Pro LED Curing Light  from Sally's. Here are all the supplies I used for the application:

After nails are clean, shaped, etc. (and make sure your cuticles are pushed back), you rub them down with Cleanse - you are supposed to use a lint-free wipe, but I just used paper towel. Then brush just the nails with pH Bond, followed by a coat of Foundation, and cure for about 30 seconds. With this coat, and the other ones, it is important to paint thinly, cap the free edge and MAKE SURE THE CUTICLES ARE CLEAN before curing. Cannot stress this enough. Then do a coat of colour, cure for 45 seconds, and repeat. The really tricky layer for me was Top It Off - I just couldn't keep this stuff from flooding. I was good on the clean-cuticles until this step. Next time, I will use a cuticle stick with paper towel wrapped around it to REALLY clean the area before curing.

It is much more orange-leaning than in this photo...

Tiger Blossom is a very pretty orange-leaning red, that wouldn't get entirely opaque in two or three coats. I was still left with Visible Nail Line, which I hate but some people, I'm sure, can cope with. It did come out insanely shiny, though.

And in the other direction, this one makes it look a touch more orange than real life. Left hand, two coats of colour; right hand, three coats.
Due to my issues with the top coat flooding, there were some bits of plastic-y gel polish that I had to pick off on the edges. Even in the close-up photo, they aren't really visible, but on close examination (by me!) in person it was apparent. I've read that this will lead to early lifting, but four days in this is still going strong. It still looks and feels perfect; it just feels more secure and solid than regular nail polish.

This is tricky stuff for people like me that like to paint our nails every few days, frequently with nail art. Next time I use it, I think I will try using a base of Foundation and Top It Off alone for regular nail polish, which I've read will add some strength and longevity, but you can still easily change the polish on top with non-acetone remover.

Regarding the Basix kit, I'm not sure it was worth it. Most of the things in it do something that can be accomplished with supplies you already have; the Foundation and Top It Off are the essentials, and you'll use more of them so it would probably make sense to get them in a full-size version. The colour and light don't come with the kit, so you just need to buy those (and have alcohol/acetone/cuticle oil) already, and you're good to go!

An update on the removal process will be coming soon! If there are any questions on anything I mentioned here, please feel free to ask.


  1. Love Gelish. Hate the tiny expensive bottles they sell at Sally's. It really is outlandish. You can order from Amazon and get huge bottles for the same price. I had the same problem with the top coat. This looks great.

  2. I have been considering buying a gel kit but wasnt sure. I look forward to hearing your review on removal :)

  3. If this is your first time.... very well done :) If I could advise on the cleaning around the cuticle area, an orange stick on its own will do the trick. Like Stephanie will wait for the removal post :))


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