Three weeks ago I wrote a review of the Red Carpet Manicure gel manicure starter set and one of the duo sets of gel nail varnish, you can read this original review here. Two days ago I decided to remove the varnish after over three weeks and see how easy it really was.
Overall the wear and look of the nails was above what I actually expected after the three weeks, definitely think the two weeks advertised should be achievable for most people as I wasn’t exactly careful not to break them and wanted to see how they survived everyday tasks. They passed the bath test, where many normal varnishes fail for me, multiple times, survived opening boxes and being nipped a few times by an overly curious gerbil.
No obvious change in the first week, the growth does show at the end of the week but I think that was partly as I was being a bit over cautious about not touching my skin or cuticles when applying the varnish.
It was 13 days after doing it my first nail chipped, the index finger on my right hand, though it wasn’t too noticeable and not enough missing to catch on anything. Other than that the growth was acceptable to me, some may find it too great a gap between the cuticle and colour but it didn’t bother me. I decided it was worth trying for another week to see how long it’d last without problems. It is advertised as two weeks so anything after this was just a bonus and at the two week mark I was still very pleased with the look.
A couple of days into the week the nail on the middle finger on my right hand caught on something and the top of the nail had a tear in it by the edge. After about half an hour the whole covering of nail varnish had come off in the shape of the nail. It didn’t hurt and although there was a bit of flakiness on the nail underneath it disappeared after washing my hands. Towards the end of the third week a few of the nails started to peel off round the edge. I tried to photograph it but it doesn’t really show that well.
Removing the gel varnish
After the three weeks I decided to remove the varnish. I was pleasantly surprised by how simple it was. As well as the ‘Erase’ gel varnish remover that came in the set I needed:
- Cotton wool, or as I used torn up cotton wool pads
- Orange sticks or something similar to push the nail varnish off with
- Tin foil
These are all found easily around the house even if you didn’t buy them especially for removal after getting the kit. I think most people using this will already have some kind of cotton wool for either makeup or nail varnish removal and may be able to be replaced by kitchen roll or tissue as long as the nail varnish remover is soaking the nails. The orange sticks could probably be replaced with something like ice lolly sticks though I would recommend the orange sticks or similar manicure equipment. I think tin foil is the only thing that can’t really be replaced and most people will have that in the kitchen probably.
There were three obvious steps; buff the nail to remove the shiny surface (I used a normal file as the buffer part didn’t seem to work for this), soak them in the remover that came in the set and then remove the nail varnish with orange sticks.
I tried my Stylfile and used what I think is the buffer part and there was no obvious difference with it so decided to try the nail file side like I’d seen on a couple of blog posts about it. It was easy to do, just a quick file on each nail though it looked scratched rather than making it matte. It’s so the remover can soak in and remove the varnish so either method works as it penetrates through the scratches rather than the matte areas as it would with a buffer.
When soaking the nails you have to put the remover on cotton wool balls, I used pads that I tore up, and then wrap tin foil around them. I tried to use strips of tin foil and wrapped around like a bandage but that didn’t really hold it very well. I think using a larger, more square piece and scrunching it around the top of my finger would work better though it’d use more foil.
When I removed the foil a lot of the nails were already peeling off without me touching them and it took a bit of a poke on the area where it was still attached to remove it. I did read that it may take two or three attempts as you shouldn’t scrape the nails much. I don’t know if it’s because it was on for 3 weeks and already coming off slightly but it was definitely a lot easier than I was expecting to remove the varnish, especially as on my two little fingers the varnish came off with the cotton wool in the tin foil.
After removing it I was also happy with the conditions of my nails, there wasn’t any obvious flaking and they didn’t appear any more dried out than they normally are. I did apply the cuticle and nail oil that came I the set straight afterwards and it seemed to help though was a bit of a mess as it says to massage it in so I’d do it when you don’t want to do anything much straight after. Even after washing my hands my fingertips felt a bit oily so seems like it’s good for moisturising and may sit on the skin for a while if you don’t rub it in well or wipe off the excess.
After removing it I left it a day and then applied the blue ‘sapphires and ice’ that came in the touch of bling duo. I’m not often a fan of blues or greens and this is a bluey green though it doesn’t wash out my fingers and make them appear paler than they are. The picture makes it look a lot bluer than it actually is, in real life it’s more a dark turquoise, it just doesn’t seem to photograph that colour. I really like it, it’s a sort of denim blue with sparkle in it of the sae colour meaning it isn’t too obvious and adds a bit of depth. My nails have grown quite a bit since the first application of purple so the area I could apply it to was larger and the distance from my fingers meant that it was easier to cap the ends without accidentally touching the skin. I also think I was less worried about the varnish touching my skin so I applied it a lot closer than I did before, hopefully this will make it less obvious with the regrowth.
Overall I’m still very happy with this set, I’m definitely going to be getting other colours though as these aren’t my favourites.