Happy Sunday Funday!
While at Sally Beauty Supply the other day, I spotted their China Glaze section with a buy one get one free sign (ends March 31, 2014). I knew that they had come out with a gel polish collection so it piqued my interest when I saw them on sale.
I picked up a Gel Top Coat and a pink Gel-n-Base in One polish called Exceptionally Gifted. One thing you will notice with the Gelaze is they are smaller bottles than regular China Glaze polishes. These are 9.76mL while regular polishes are 14mL.
With Gel polishes, they are formulated in a way the requires a special lamp to "cure" or set the polish. Gelaze work with UV or LED light. You can purchase the lamps are beauty supply stores and drugstores. Brands like Sally Hansen have small lamps that fit a couple of fingers at a time. Mine is from a beauty supply outlet.
This is what my UV lamp looks like.
It has 2 settings, one infinity setting (meaning it will stay on as long as you want) and a timer which is set for the standard 120 seconds or 2 minutes, which is how long most gel polishes require curing under UV light for.
What makes Gel polishes different from other polishes is they last longer than regular polishes and are able to remain chip resistant for about a couple of weeks to a month. The curing helps harden the polish through chemical bonding caused by the reaction with the light. Gel polishes are known as soft gels.
I read about people using Gel polishes as a base coat to help strengthen their nail. Even Gelaze's website encourages you to use the Gelaze as a base for your nailart of regular polish. You can remove the regular polish using non-acetone remover which does not remove gel polish.
When applying the Gel polish, you will want to have a clean nail first. You will then apply one coat of the Gel polish and cure it under the light for the required time depending on the type of light. For UV lights, you are required to keep it under for 2 minutes and for LED light, 30 seconds. You will want to cure after every coat you use in order to ensure that it is completely set. You don't want the layers too thick or the curing process will not occur properly with the light not being able to penetrate. This could result in your polish chipping easily.
Here's what my hand looks like during the curing process:
You can see that my lamp is quite large and there is enough space for both hands to cure simultaneously.
I currently have a cut on the side of my middle nail and am hoping that the gel polish will be able to hold it so that it won't break just yet.
Here's how my nails look with the gel base:
They are very smooth and glossy so I may even leave them semi-naked for a while because they still look pretty.
I tried to paint over the Gelaze Top Coat with regular China Glaze polishes but it didn't quite turn out how I was hoping. It actually caused the polish to bubble and crack.
Also, it came completely off with non-acetone polish remover. I don't think this is how it's supposed to happen. I will try again with the Base-N-Gel In One polish and see if that works better. :S
Update: I finally tried out the Gelaze Base-N-Gel In One polish out. I applied 1 coat of pink colour, Exceptionally Gifted, cured it and repeated it with another coat. Then I applied a sparkly gel by Finger Paints to add a little extra. Then topped off the entire mani with the Gelaze Top Coat.