Gelish: An Experience

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.

At the end of May, I went in for my routine manicure.  Despite being able to paint my own nails (and normally, do a decent job of it!), I'm horrible at keeping my cuticles healthy and my nail shape consistent.  For that, I go to a manicurist/nail technician in my home town.  She has been doing nails for over 20 years, I went to school with her kids, she's a super sweet woman, and oddly enough, she lives just down the street from me.  During this visit, she asked me if I wanted to try Gelish, free of charge, in addition to my normal natural manicure.  I was slightly hesitant because I am fond of another company's product, but I figured for blogging reasons, it would be good to try Gelish.

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!

Lesson learned!

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.


  1. Definitely never doing this to my nails, I think I'll stick to regular polish :D

    1. I will try it again to see if it was just application + not knowing how to take it off that was my issue.

  2. I've been curious to try this system out (not exactly Gelish, but other brands.....). I've never had this type of manicure done on nails are weak and flexible (I cannot even make my bed safely...I usually end up with a broken nail) and I usually had many issues while trying to grow them. They're not multitasking: grow them without doing any households or do my households with no nails at all. It became frustrating for me. I considered to try this new technique (I'm not a fan of proper gel mani, but this long lasting gel-like thing sounded as the right solution to my problem: doing househplds with my grown and strengthened polished nails).
    This happened last November, I haven't tried it yet (and, to be honest, being obliged to go to the salon to remove it and re-do it each 3-4 weeks annoys me a bit, as the growth edges do as well). My neighbour wears it and she's so happy with it....but there is still something preventing me. I finally found my solution. I would even bathe with this glorious product (if only it could strengthen and firm some other parts of my body as it did with my nails it would be more perfect....!!!), it did the miracle with me and my nails. I'm wearing the longest nails I ever had since my childhood, for over a pair of months, without any breaking. In addition, they're not so flexible as they were at the beginning.

    I didn't mention either its brand or its name because this is your space and I don't know if I can or if it pleases you. I wouldn't make any unwanted advertisment. It is just my experience I wanted to share! But I'm curious to hear what was your experience with other type of gel-like stuff like. Maybe it's really worth a trial!!

    1. I just did a post on Shellac this morning! You can find it by searching "CND" on my blog. I'm glad that you found something that works for you! I see you have a blog - write about your experience! I'm sure others would benefit from knowing. :]

    2. Your Shellac post is just what I was looking for, thank you!
      I have a blog.. Well, actually I locked a blogspot domain, I dind't start blogging yet. I'm only a good reader ATM. I'd like to start, just wanting to find a good inspiration :)

    3. Aww! <3 My inspiration was my buying habits, haha. Had to justify the purchases! ;]

    4. My buying habits tend to be....compulsive! I should barricade at home, that's the only way I can't end up buying anything. My room seems a salon, you can find polishes everywhere. Sometimes I find polishes I didn't even remember to own in places I didn't remember to have them put. I need some sort of therapy LOL

    5. I am okay with that. :] I spent way too much money this month buying polishes that I just NEED TO HAVE!

  3. I have the Gelish Basix kit from Sally Beauty supply. I'm not a nail professional by any means, but I do well with doing my own nails. I've been using the Gelish for 6 months and I am so happy with it! My nails are very weak and brittle. I rarely have a broken nail if I have Gelish on. :)

    1. SWEET! I definitely want to try it again because there are more colors (did you see my post on the upcoming Gelish collections?!) than other gels, and it is pretty well known. This time we just have to watch our chatting!

  4. Yes I did see the upcoming Gelish colors! Great post, and I can't wait for the new colors!! :)
    It's hard to find info and swatches of the at home gels in the blog world. I've started to show all my Gelish and Red Carpet Manicure colors on my blog.
    I look forward to more gel posts! :)

    1. Yeah I've found most bloggers do not have cosmetology licenses or the ability to buy a UV/LED lamp on their own. It would be a great investment though - they can share what's coming up! I just heard about Red Carpet Manicure today! I'll see if I can do more gel postings... the biggest issue for me is that I change my polish too much. I'll have to go check out your blog now!

  5. White gel polishes are often more difficult to remove. I also have Sheek White, and it is DEFINITELY harder to soak off than all my other Gelish colours, and I have experienced this with other brands of white gel. I'm really not sure what causes it, but it just doesn't dissolve any where near as quickly as other colours. :/