Thanks to the pandemic induced lockdowns, the world of DIY has diversified way beyond just home maintenance. Everything that you once did outside your home now has a handy solution to Do-It-Yourself in your own home, from cocktail kits to home haircuts, and DIY beauty is no exception.
According to Red Carpet Beauty, the sale of at home nail kits has risen 200 per cent since the pandemic began, and after testing three of the best at home salon certified gel manicure kits it’s easy to see why. Although seeing your manicurist on a fortnightly basis may seem like the epitome of a luxury lifestyle, it’s sometimes just not that convenient, especially when you can do it yourself at home. A one-time investment with the odd seasonal gel polish colour purchase allows you to perform a salon-worthy manicure from the comfort of your own home.
Gel nail polish differs from regular nail polish since it is set or cured with an ultraviolet light that comes from either a UV or LED source. UV nail lamps can cure all LED nail polishes, whereas LED nail lamps only cure polishes that specifically work with that lamp. A UV lamp will take a few minutes to cure the nails whereas an LED lamp will be much quicker – each of the three we tested use LED light.
Although all three ‘starter packs’ that we trialled are pretty bulletproof, after a few uses you really get the hang how the system works, tweaking where you made a small error last time and eventually having a manicure that would give a professional a run for their money.
LLM contributor Caroline Cooper gives them a try, read on to see how they fared.
Mylee The Full Works Complete Gel Polish Kit
Any nail salon regular will have heard of Mylee as many salons use their lamps. The clue is in the name with this one and you really do get everything you could possibly need to create an at home manicure. From prepping and maintaining the health of your nails, to all the utensils you need for removal, it’s simple to use and the lamp cures all the hand or indeed foot at any one time. The innovative technology cures gel in a fraction of the time, with curing thin gel polish nails in as little as fifteen seconds – to which I can confirm works.
The lamp has three separate pre-programmed timers 15, 30 and 60 seconds – it couldn’t be simpler or more fool proof to use. With a 50,000-hour lifespan, this LED lamp is a soundly investment and suitable for nail salons, freelance technicians, and home use.
I’ve used the lamp for both manicure and pedicure – the removal tray at the base making pedicures that fraction easier. My manicure lasted for around two weeks and my pedicure a little over six – incredible!
Where to buy: mylee.co.uk
BLUESKY starter kit
Simple and quick, the BLUESKY starter kit is efficient and effective to use. The process took no longer than 15 minutes (excluding prep) and I was surprised at how easy it all was. The kit comes with an impressive large file and buffer to ensure the nail is shaped and prepped before any process happens. I would suggest this part is done properly and not skipped or missed to ensure a longer lasting manicure.
The LED/UV lamp is a generous size, with plenty of space for all fingers, including the thumb. The light also has a timer for the 30 or 60 seconds meaning you can set it and no brain power is required.
The kit is great value and comes with everything you need, including a nice selection of three colours to suit all occasions (or moods – who doesn’t love black for cold wintery days!). I’ve used the kit a few times now and each time, as my nail technician skills improve, my gel manicure lasts longer. My record so far is two weeks. This is a great kit to start you off on your quest to salon quality nails, whenever you want them, in the comfort of your own home.
Where to buy: blueskycosmetics.co.uk
F&P Pro Starter Kit
Compact and lightweight, the F&P Pro Starter kit includes everything you need from prep to removal. The Buffer Block was fantastic at prepping my nails before application, ensuring any excess residue was removed for a longer lasting manicure.
Complete with Vitamin A and Biotin to help protect, Red Carpet Beauty have really thought of everything when it comes to maintaining the health of your nails. The lamp itself is smaller than most and only cures four fingers at a time, but with curing time at just thirty seconds it’s still a speedy process.
Only one miniature colour is included in the kit but it’s an inoffensive pink meaning you’ll get plenty of use – many other kits on the market include more colours but not necessarily ones you’d regularly use. My manicure lasted around two weeks and their removal wraps are simple and easy to use, without damaging your nail.
Where to buy: redcarpetbeauty.co.uk