August 8, 2012

Gel Polish Review

So, in preparation for a photo shoot I took part in (as a model) for Agent 18, I decided to take the opportunity to try out gel polish.

I had heard about it for a while and it's starting to get really popular now.

For those that don't know, gel polish is different from gel overlays. Gel polish is not recommended for those with weak or brittle nails as it adds no strength or structure to the nails and therefore will chip rather quickly (or so I hear.) Gel overlays are kind of like acrylics, it needs to be filed off of the nail. Gel polish can be soaked off (that remains to be seen for my polish at this time.)

Anyway, my personal experience with gels has been overall positive thus far. I went to a place called The Nail Bar in Irvine. The nail technician started by trimming and shaping my nails and then soaking them in water. She then applied a base coat to my nails and put them under the UV hand lamps for a minute or so. Then she applied the color, in my case, OPI gel polish in Samoan Sands, a nice peachy nude color. She had to apply three coats to get an overall opaque coverage. In between each coat, I went back to the UV lamps. After that she applied a topcoat and then again UV lamped me for around 3 minutes.  I was a little surprised at the weird heat/stinging sensation I felt on my nails every time I put my hand under the lamp, I assume it was just the polish heating up. It was nothing too intense though. Then it was done! She applied rubbing alcohol to each of my nails, I think this had something to do with the topcoat, but they went from SUPER shiny to regular shiny. My nails needed no drying time after the UV bake and she went on to give me a nice hand AND neck massage. All in all, it was 24 dollars and took about 45 minutes total.


  • quick, easy, no drying time.
  • LOTS of colors to choose from.
  • my nails feel stronger and LOOK AMAZING.
  • at this point in time, absolutely no chips. Which is really nice because I chip my nail polish within 24 hours.
  • relatively cheap for this particular salon and they did a really nice job. Other places can be expensive though.


  • stinging feeling when you put your hands under the UV light
  • speaking of the UV light...I was a little creeped out by it. Exposure to UV rays is never a good thing. I suspect if I was going to make this a regular thing I would take steps to protect the skin on my hands from the lamps.
  • I have to go back to the salon to have the gel removed. I've heard bad things about picking it off yourself.

I did the shoot earlier this morning in West Hollywood, and the gel is still going strong. And check out my sweet new phone case I got from the awesome people at Agent 18. The floral print is right up my alley and it's super well made! Thanks again, guys!


  1. There are gel soak off removers you can buy at a drug store. They aren't as good as the nail salon, but they are much safer than picking them apart. Also, a lot of salons will put fingerless gloves on you when then start a gel manicure- so less UV for your hands. And for stinging- that's just odd! I've had gels for months now and I've never felt a stinging.

    1. Thanks for all the info! weird about the stinging! maybe I'm just special.

  2. Thanks for all the info! weird about the stinging! maybe I'm just special.

  3. a) $24 for a gel mani is an amazing price.
    b) let us know how you get on with removal; whether you went back to the salon, or whether you did it yourself- that's the part I'm most worried about with gel mani's.