Chillin' at CRT on Xpu Ha Beach

Chillin' at CRT on Xpu Ha Beach
How I'd spend every day if I weren't redecorating, cooking, sewing and blogging!

Friday, April 20, 2012

A DIY Paintjob - Gel Nails

Most of us ladies love to have beautiful nails but if you are constantly doing some type of home or garden project (like me), they are difficult to keep looking gorgeous decent.    For the last 10 years or so since developing a thyroid condition, my nails have been thin and weak.  I break 3 nails grocery shopping just picking items off a shelf and putting them in a shopping cart.  Don't even want to talk about what happens when I work in my yard or paint a room.

Last year I heard about the gel manicure and I was intrigued.  Regular nail paint stays on my nails about 2 days before it starts coming off, so I had pretty much resorted to CLEAR on my hands and just used fun colors on my toenails.

My baby girl paints her nails about every two days and then due to anxiety issues she picks off the polish.  She has hypothyroidism also so she has weak nails too.  So the two of us WERE working on our fingernails every other day.

When she turned 18 last year I bought her the Ulta Red Carpet Manicure set for her b-day.  I figured it was a two-fer and we could both use it and after a couple manicures each it would pay for itself.

After using the system for 5 months I can say I really love the manicure. 

The steps are (starting with clean nails)
Brush with the prep
Apply the Structure coat
Apply the Color coat
Apply a second Color coat if needed or a Glitter coat (it's fun and hides a lot of imperfections)
Apply The Brilliance topcoat
Wipe with the Purify
Brush on the Revitalize cuticle oil

And you are done!  You're nails are dry when you are done.  I know that sounds like a lot but it goes pretty quickly.

 I have only two issues with using the system

#1 I have trouble preventing a little ridge of paint at the cuticle - still working on my technique

#2 It takes a while to get this off when you DO want to to remove it - I'm getting better at that too - cotton pads and aluminum foil wrapped for 10 minutes really does work pretty well then I push off with a wood "orange" stick and buff with a filing/buffer block.  You're going to need some of these, they are cheap grab a handfull.

It takes me about 30 minutes to get the polish off and about 20 to 30 minutes to put the new layers on, but I think it's worth an hour and definitely cheaper in the long run than going to the salon.  I get coupons from Ulta on a regular basis and always use them to buy new colors. So even though the price of a color polish is $10, I use a $3.50 off coupon and pay $6.50 for a new color.  I also think you can use ANY color polish with the Red Carpet base and topcoats.

photo from

I did not buy the Ulta curing light because I wanted one that both hands would fit in at once to speed up the process.  So I purchased the UV light below from

photo from
Now I sort of wish I purchased the Ulta light because I have realized it is LED, which is safer for your skin.  But since we already have this light I purchased these nifty UV protection gloves - also from so we can feel better about using the UV light.  Sunscreen is another alternative.

photo from

So here is an example of my own DIY manicure.  Disregard the old lady hands.  Sometimes high resolution is a disadvantage.

The Night is Young

I get at least TEN days before I want to remove and repaint and it's not due to the ends chipping.  It's because it grows out from the cuticle or I've picked off the little "ridge" of polish next to the cuticle I mentioned earlier in this post.

Here's what they look like today and it's been well over a week since I applied this polish. Look closely and you'll see the unpainted area next to the cuticle that appears as the nails grow, it's less noticible when you use a light or pink color.  About ten days and no chipped polish on the tips! 


I keep an extra layer of the Structure coat on the ends of my nails to build up the thickness. I put it on continuing with the regular layers.  This has allowed my nails to grow out long enough that they stick out over the ends of my fingers!  When I remove the polish I don't go all the way down to the natural nail on the tips. When possible I leave the extra layer near the tips so that I don't need to redo it each time.

Even if I need to reapply every 10 days I think that is great - 3 times per month for awesome nails every day!  I really like this product.

Another fun color!

Drop Dead Gorgeous!
Check out how I remove the polish here!

Have a great weekend,


Linking up

 Follow Me on Pinterest


Debbie said...

I think they look wonderful! I am a biter. Wouldn't you think I would be over that by 50? I love to have the tips put on because I never bite them when I do. I think this would work just as well.

I'm going to look into this!

And the blue nails made me giggle.

Sooner Laura said...

Thanks Debbie! Glad you got a giggle. Was it the blue nails? or was it the picture? I hesitated on adding that one - but couldn't resist!

It's All Connected said...

My nails have become a disaster in the last year, so I should look into this! ~ Maureen