This has been a popular post for me, but turns out - I really didn't know what I was doing with Gelish. I've since written other postings about different colors and an updated experience here.
Unfortunately for both of us, we ended up doing a lot of talking during my manicure, and ended up putting a few too many coats of polish on. It was supposed to be one coat of base coat, 3 coats of Sheek White (for opacity) and then a top coat. I think we got at least 2 coats of top coat on there and maybe an extra coat of Sheek White on at least one hand. We were also distracted by another salon employee who was gabbing with us at the same time. Originally, my manicurist wanted to just do French white tips but I am not a French kind of girl, and convinced her to go with the entire nail. I figured I could really test the way polish applies over Gelish and maybe get to wear some awesome neons in the process!
You may be able to tell a bit on my pinkie finger, that some of the gel got on my cuticle area. Once wet, it caused the gel to lift from the nail, but not enough to catch anything under it. I also had this problem on my index finger where some gel got on the side cuticle. To avoid this, make sure that before you cure the nails under the UV lamp, you wipe away any gel that has gotten onto the cuticles or else it will harden and potentially risk staying power of the manicure.
As soon as I got home, I started playing with colors. I found that my holographic polishes refused to adhere to the glossy top of the Gelish manicure, and glitter, while fun, did not want to come off the nail with non-acetone polish remover. You cannot use acetone polish remover or else risk removing the Gelish itself.
I ended up settling for OPI DS Extravagance which I picked up in Ulta one day as a lucky find.
By Day 5, I was getting quite bored of my manicure but wasn't quite ready to take it off yet. As you can see, the white has slightly yellowed, and you can see the failed attempts of my glitter removal from Day 1 on the middle finger.
By Day 13, I still had pretty decent coverage - no real lifting and no tip wear, so I decided to go all out and finally wear my bottle of Floam by Nail Venturous, knowing that when it was time to remove this matte glitter, everything must go.
Just one day later, I was ready to get this off. I felt like I had done my two weeks, and yes, Gelish had lived up to my standard of gel polish. Now time for removal.
My manicurist had NOT told me how to remove Gelish, probably thinking I'd come in to have the gels removed by her. Instead, I took a cotton ball, soaked it in acetone, placed it on my nail, wrapped my finger in foil, and waited 5 minutes. When I pulled the foil off, most of the Floam had been removed but none of the Gelish.
I rewrapped with a new cotton ball and foil and this time waited 15 minutes. When I pulled off the foil, I had most of the Gelish off, and I used an orange stick to scrape off the rest.
One down, 9 to go?
I let this nail soak for 30 minutes and when I pulled off my foil, I had all this flaky white mess to deal with.
In total, it took me four hours to remove my Gelish, and my nails felt like trash. What did I do wrong?!
Well, you are supposed to lightly file the tops of your nails to "break the seal" with Gelish. In not "breaking the seal", my Gelish couldn't get the acetone down into its layers to break apart the gel. This small tip was something that led to much frustration and broken orange sticks.
Ladies (and gentlemen!) if you are going to get a gel manicure, regardless of brand, ask your manicurist/nail technician what the proper removal process is! Some brands, such as Gelish, require a "breaking of the seal" to remove!
Will I try Gelish again? Currently no, only because I have another brand that I prefer, and a local salon that carries it. I do like all the colors that Gelish offers, but I do not have the need for a gel manicure, since I change my polish so often. The good thing about gel polish for me, is that it allows my nails to be protected as I grow them out.
Disclosure: The product[s] in this post was [were] provided to me by my manicurist for testing consideration. For more information, please read this post.