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Despite all the recent hoopla surrounding gel manicures, we confess to being a bit weak in the face of their seductiveness. They're shiny. They don't chip. And they last a full two weeks (at least). Somehow it becomes easy to justify exposing your nails to UV rays and dipping them in an acetone bath when you consider the upsides. So when we were invited to test out Haute Polish's at home 10-minute gel manicure, we said yes. Also Lisa Logan, aka Beyonce's personal manicurist, was there to show us how it's done—and according to the Haute Polish PR, Logan heads over weekly and cleans up Jay Z's cuticles before moving on to Beyonce (no word on Blue Ivy's nail regimen yet).
Here's what we learned. For those mani/pedi regulars who love the look of a gel polish, the good news is the process is simple and pretty affordable: Home kits—which come with the light, a sample polish, the cleansing packets (more on those later)— are $39 and individual gel polishes (there are 20-plus color options) go for $16.
Step 1: The application process is a zip. No bottom or top coat is necessary and only one layer is needed for lighter shades. The shade we chose is a practically non-existent pink (we were going for that au natural look), but check out that sheen!
Step 2: Every time a nail is painted each finger goes individually under the UV light included in the kit for 5 to 10 seconds. Kind of annoying to have to do it after every paint job, but with a 10 second drying time, we'll hold off complaining.
Step 3: That was easy. Now, wipe each nail individually with the "cleaner and finisher" packets to remove any film that's hanging around and off you go in a jiff with no fear of ruining all the hard work. The manicure reportedly lasts up to two weeks, which is more than we can say for our regular home manicures.
Step 4: Finally, removal involves an acetone wash you can get at your local drug store. Common sense recommends that acid and UV are two things that should probably be avoided on a bi-monthly basis, but, again, did you see that sheen??
So our final thoughts on at home gel kit are "A" for ease, practically instant drying time, and beautiful finish and "D-" for cancer. Enjoy!