13 February 2016

Beauty | OPI Gel Nail start up kit under £100

I have done my own nails for at least 3 years, first of all I had a large UV light with Shellac nail polish and I have inspired a few friends on the way to do the same. 

I am not against going to the salon for a pamper but at £20- £25 per visit every 2 weeks, the cost mounts up. If I continued to go every 2 weeks it was going to cost £500 per year minimum. 

If you are willing to put £100 investment into a start up kit, you can do it yourself, learn a new skill and treat friends if they pop over.

I don't take appointments as I wouldn't say I am trained but I have to say I am pretty good at doing my own nails now.

In October last year my 2nd UV nail lamp broke down, and to be honest it needed alot of ongoing maintenance like the plug would stop working or buying new bulbs for it plus you had to make sure you had some stock as you could end up with dodgy nails if you are one light out. 

Shellac was OK but if I was starting again I wanted to invest into a different brand.

In December I went to a local salon for my nails doing for my friends wedding and they used OPI gel, so I had a look online and they had a lot of choice with cool names for each. So I decided this is what I was going to choose to buy next.

What do you need?
I buy everything including colours from Amazon UK, some items come direct others are from marketplace so could be sourced from USA.

Gel lamps have changed since I bought one last and now LED is what is used instead of UV and there is no replacement of bulbs and there is 2000 hours of light which is going to last ages as this lamp sets the nails much faster than UV.

Lamps vary from £15 - £50 but after a bit of research I couldn't really see much difference and its just for me, so I decided £25 was enough to spend. 

Bond Aid (£10)- this is new to me, and I only saw it used in December at the salon and was it is meant to do is neutralise the nail so a little drop on each nail before you start should allow the gel to bond more with the nail so you have a longer lasting result.

Base coat and Top Coat
It is really important (speaking from experience) to use the branded items. When I was trying to reduce costs, I bought shellac fake brand and it turned my nails yellow, so I won't do that again, so I now buy the proper OPI Gel Base and top coat, they are around £20 each.

Same as the base coat, I think its better to invest in a small amount of colours, I have only bought 2 so far as most of the time I only wear red but its nice to have an alternative so I bought a copper colour too.

I am missing a few key colours but I will buy them over time, I am happy with a couple to keep me going. The prices of colours on amazon vary from £18 - £25 each 

Finishing wipe & Lint Free cotton squares
Once you have finished painting your nails (I will tell you the process next) you are left with a sticky top layer so you need to wipe this off using a special finishing wipe, smells a bit like nail polish remover but just a couple of drops of this on the lint free cotton (so it doesn't scratch) and wipe over the nail then ta dah nails are complete. (Wipe is £10 - 15 for a bottle and cotton squares are £3 but this will last ages).

How long does it take?
It is possible for me to do both nails in under 20 minutes now. It used to take me up to 40 before with UV so getting an LED lamp has really improved the overall process and the result is faultless.

1) Prep the nail - filing, push cuticles back then add the bond aid
2) If you are doing your own, do one hand at a time - put a layer of base coat on each hand then set the timer on the lamp for 60 seconds
3) Then paint a layer of colour on each nail and set for 60 seconds  - do 2 layers
4) When you are ready for top coat double check the thumb nail is set before applying top coat so I sometimes set the thumb only for 30 seconds - this depends on the size of your hands to make sure the light fully sets all nails. Then paint all of the top coat on your nail making sure you don't get too close to the edge as this is what will lift your paint if it goes slightly off the nail. Set for 60 seconds. 
5) You are now ready to complete the hand by cleaning each nail with the finishing wipe. One nail done. Repeat for the other hand.

Nail paint for me really does make me feel fully presented and I went so many years without nails painted or lipstick, i think thats why now I can't live without either.

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