Sunday, August 26, 2012

Nailene SensatioNail kit – success!

As you may recall, I finally bought the Nailene SensatioNail LED Gel Starter Kit, and a week ago I tried it out.

This kit will run you $95 at Shoppers Drug Mart, which seems quite pricey to me, but I suppose it makes sense if you already get your nails done at a salon, where a gel nail manicure will run you at least $30, and they charge for removal as well. Unlike some other at-home LED gel kits I've seen, you get everything you need to get started in the kit:
  • LED lamp – This is a 7-watt lamp with a power adaptor. It's a good size, you could even put your toes into it if you wanted. Stays lit for 60 seconds when activated, with a 'chirp' at 30 seconds.
  • Cleanser – Self-explanatory. Smells like rubbing alcohol, that's probably what it is actually, so I think when it runs out I'll just use that.
  • Primer – This goes on first after the cleanser, helps the manicure stick. Online it's suggested to only apply around the outside of the nail, leaving the centre bare, to make removal afterwards easier.
  • Base/Top Coat – This is the stuff you have to be careful with, not to get it on your skin. Not that something bad will happen, just that it will make it easier to chip the manicure because it breaks its seal with your nail.
  • Colour – I chose Scarlet Red (the kit comes with either that or a shimmery pink). Not really my style, but I thought a classic would be good.
  • Lint-free wipes – These really are lint-free, and super thin. All stuck together so you have to peel them away.
  • Cuticle-pushing wooden stick – Also to be used for getting base/top coat off your skin before curing, if you get it everywhere.
  • Emery board – With a pink side for roughing up your nails a bit before your manicure, and a harsher grey side for breaking up the top coat before removal.
  • Full instructions and a quick reference guide.
So last Sunday afternoon I nervously sat down to give it a try. Instructions suggest doing both thumbs completely first, then one hand, then the other, so I did my thumbs first. And guess what, it was pretty easy! Took me longer than it should have because I was super nervous to do it wrong. Rough up the shine on your nails, cleanse, prime and air-dry (like 30 seconds or so, really fast), then base coat and cure for 30 seconds, then colour and cure for 60 seconds, then a second colour coat/cure, top coat and cure for 30 seconds, wipe with cleanser, done! And OMG so shiny and hard and awesome!

That evening I did the rest of my nails and they're still amazing a week later. I got some up on the side of my thumb, so when it was cured I just used my cuticle trimmer to remove the excess. I only have one bit of a chip so far – and that's where I caught my finger on a drawer on Monday and would have easily torn my whole nail if not for the gel.

Overall, I'm super impressed and kind of in love. The scarlet colour is even growing on me. Kinda wish I'd used three coats of colour though, it's a bit sheer.

My two cents: if you have money to burn, definitely get it; if money is tight, you can still swing it with Optimum points. Did I mention that I got the kit, and an extra polish, for $12.40 that way?

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UPDATE: Tuesday, August 28 – Well, I got a chip yesterday, if you don't include the teeny one from the drawer trying to tear my nail off the day after I applied my gel nails, this is the first damage. Eight days, not bad at all. The rest of my nails are pristine, so I've just trimmed and filed that nail and it's good to go.

I think I'm going to remove it tomorrow night and give my nails a day or so without polish before I reapply – I would leave it for the full two weeks to see what the damage is like, but I want to do it before leaving town. The regrowth I'm seeing is also quite pronounced, I had no idea my nails grew that fast!

I'll let you know how the removal goes...

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UPDATE – REMOVAL: August 29 – This was actually easier than people have been making it out to be. Took some time of course.

First you have to scuff up the top of your polished nails – you have to break the seal of the gel topcoat or else the remover won’t do any good. Then you soak cottonballs with acetone and let that eat into the polish – I got some fun fingertip clampy things to hold the cottonballs to my nails. I left it on about 10 or 15 minutes.

Then you get out your orange stick and scrape, scrape, scrape! Seriously though, it’s not all that much ‘scraping,’ really more just pushing the loosened polish layers off.

Once done, it’s not overly pretty, but so much better than I was led to believe. Nothing copious amounts of hand cream won’t fix. Overall, I’m quite happy!

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