Saturday, 19 April 2014

Gel polish at home - Red Carpet Manicure Review

Before I became a mummy I used to love doing my nails.  I don't have the nicest nails (they tend to split and peel very easily), so I found keeping them polished made them look much better.  However, if you read my blog you'll know I'm quite partial to a bit lots of cleaning and tidying and I can be terribly hard on my hands and nails, so I would always find my nail polish would chip really easily and quickly, even when I used really high quality polish.  I didn't mind that too much though, as I always had plenty of time to re-paint them. Or I could go and get Shellac or Gellish which lasted weeks.  Now I'm simply too busy to either do my own nails repeatedly or even to go and have them done professionally.  So I started looking at a variety of at home gel nail kits. However I found most were so expensive I couldn't really justify the cost,  I was really staring to think I would never find an affordable one. Until recently that is. I think I may just have found exactly what I was looking for. The best of both worlds. Affordable, at home gel nails that actually last! So like me you are a thrifty lady in need of a money saving manicure or  just a no-chip nail polish solution, read on...

 I'd like to introduce you to...Red Carpet Manicure.

The Packaging


"Red Carpet Manicure allows you to achieve salon quality gel manicures at home. This professional brand features a wide range of on trend nails colours for beautiful manicures that last weeks without chipping!"

Imagine my excitement when I saw this! I was straight onto the website choosing my kit!


There are 2 different starter kits to choose from.  Both contain exactly the same products:

  • Portable LED Light (requires 4 x AA batteries, not included)
  • PURIFY Pre & Post Application Cleanser (59ml)
  • PREP Max Adhesion Sanitizer (9ml)
  • STRUCTURE Base Coat Gel (9ml)
  • BRILLIANCE Seal & Shine Top Coat Gel (9ml)
  • ERASE Gel Nail Polish Remover (59ml)
  • LED Gel Polish (9ml) in Red Carpet Reddy

 the only difference being the LED curing light.

The Professional Kit (£89.95)  - Contains a professional quality LED light which has a timer function and is powered by mains electricity. This LED is designed to provide rapid curing.  Curing takes 45 seconds for each coat of polish.

The Portable Kit (£59.95) - Contains a smaller, less powerful LED light, which has no timer and is powered by AA batteries (which are not included). Curing with the portable kit takes 2-3 mins per coat of polish.

As the products in each kit were exactly the same I opted for the cheaper portable kit.  I didn't mind using a less powerful LED light, it just meant my manicure would take a few minutes longer.  I don't mind the extra time if it saves me £30!

Portable LED


When my kit arrived and I couldn't wait to get started!   I set out all the products in the order I would use them. I made sure to read the instructions a few times just to make sure I understood the process.

The process is very easy and fairly quick. 

I used the Purify cleanser on a tissue to remove any excess dust and oil. The next step was applying Prep, a sanitizer that dries the nail surface out for better adhesion.

I then applied Structure, the basecoat. The first thing I noticed is that it is thicker than actual nail polish and had a very sticky consistency so it was a little difficult to achieve the thin coat the instructions recommend. It takes 1 minute to cure but you have to do it in three steps (four fingers right hand, two thumbs together, four fingers left hand), as 5 fingers of a hand won't ideally all fit in the LED curer at once Apart from that, the LED worked fine, the light even has a swivel feature to angle whichever way best suits you and little grooves to rest your fingers (or toes) on. It was very easy to use.

The next step was applying a thin layer of the colour. I cured the first coat for 3 minutes because it's a darker colour (lighter colours take 2 minutes). I then repeated this process for the second (thin coat) coat.  The colour I used was RED CARPET REDDY, the colour supplied with the kit.  This is a lovely bright shade of red.  I was slightly worried that the polish might be the same consistency as the basecoat, but it was fine.  The polish applies smoothly in a few strokes of the brush.  It didn't appear streaky, but you definitely need 2 coats to get a nice deep red.  A word of caution though, if you aren't confident in applying nail polish a red probably isn't the best colour to start with as any mistakes you make will be clearly visible!  I would recommend in that case you buy a pale pink or nude colour while you get the hang of it.

Once I was done I applied the Brilliance topcoat and cured again for 2 minutes. The nail polish remains tacky through the WHOLE process, right up until the very end so be very careful not to touch anything while doing your nails (you really need to set aside the time to do the full manicure in one go). After I'd cured the topcoat I put some more Purity on a tissue and wiped the nails smooth. I'm not sure how, but after this step the tackiness magically vanished. Initially I had been a bit dubious as to whether all the prep and finishing products were truly necessary but it seems that you definitely need to use the Purify with your manicure. You cannot skip this step, or ANYTHING you touch will stick to your nails!

Et Viola! The finished nails were super shiny and smooth!


Despite the LED being so easy to use and being able to angle it, I found that where you had applied polish to seal the free edge of your nail (to further minimise the risk of chipping) wouldn't cure as well on some of my nails. The LED either wasn't reaching it properly due to the angle or perhaps the LED was not strong enough?


Obviously I currently have no idea how long my finished manicure will last, but I will update the review in a week or so to let you all know the verdict.  I will say now though that I am very impressed with the kit.  The manicure easy to apply and the instructions were very thorough too.  The whole process was relatively quick even with the slower portable LED ( 15 mins at first attempt which I think isn't bad and I should get faster with practice).  The finished look is just beautiful.  My nails look super smooth and glossy (when in reality under the polish they are in awful condition)! They feel super strong too, just like a salon job! Overall I think this kit provides excellent value for money.  The purchase price is covered in what it would have cost me for 2 or 3 salon gel manicures!  Even if the finish doesn't last quite as long as they claim I'll still be pleased as I don't think I'd get a better alternative for this price.  Also, I'm hoping to try the top coat over some of my favourite ordinary polishes to extend the wear time, so if that works I'll be over the moon!  At home gel manicure?  I THINK I'VE NAILED IT! My best beauty buy this year so far! Thank you RED CARPET MANICURE!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this write up, its made my mind up that RCM is the one for me :-)

Sam roy said...

Nice Blog...
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