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.|
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.