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At-Home Gel Manicure: Review of Nutra Nail Gel Perfect Polish

Manicure Monday: Can an at-Home Gel Manicure Really Work?

Editor's note: see an update of how the manicure wore after seven days after the jump.

Gel manicures are all the rage at salons, so it makes sense that someone would make an at-home version. That's exactly what Nutra Nail has done with the release of its UV-free Gel Perfect Gel-Color Manicure ($12). While the brand markets the manicure as a five-minute deal, in reality, I found that the whole process takes just a bit longer than your average nail polish time.

After thoroughly pushing back cuticles and filing the nails, steps that are essential in making this manicure look clean, polish activator (which is essentially nail polish glue) is applied to each nail on one hand. Colored gel polish comes next — I used Passion, a candy-apple red — and then the color brush must be cleaned off immediately with a special antistiffening solution that comes in the kit. Then, the same process is repeated on the other hand. Once the polish sets, which takes practically no time at all, you repeat this whole process over so that you've painted on two layers of color. See more when you keep reading.

I'm not going to lie: the first time I tried the polish, my application was a failure. The layers were too uneven and thick, and because I had not prepped my nails accordingly by shaping them and pushing back the cuticles, any existing flaws were accentuated. But after putting in the proper prepainting effort during my second attempt, I found that applying thin, steady layers was key.


I've had the polish on now for three days, and have absolutely no chips. The color is pretty, dried almost immediately, and looks ultrashiny. But will it last longer than your traditional manicure? Stay tuned for an update next week.

Update: Well, it's been a week since I polished my nails with the Gel Perfect. Unfortunately, at the end of day four, my nails started to chip around the free edges, and by six, there was a lot of obvious chipping all over. While I loved the look of the nails during the first few days (seriously, they looked professionally done), they just didn't wear as well as I expected. However, the polish is quite inexpensive and can be used multiple times. So if you don't care about some chipping after a few days, you still might like this product if rich, patent-leather shiny nails are appealing to you.

Join The Conversation
D-GMomma D-GMomma 5 years
I have become a fan of the gel polish at the salon, but after 3 attempts with the "Shellac" brand being applied, I've decided to return to the salon where I first had a gel manicure using the OPI version of the product. Overall, I had better luck with OPI lasting at least 2 weeks without chipping. The "Shellac" has not held up as well. After reading your description of this at-home kit, I think I will save myself the frustration. I have never had good results painting my own finger nails!
moo2you moo2you 5 years
It is not what it is cracked up to be.Hard to put on even because of having to use the activator and the polish and having to do it in a hurry and then put the polish brush in the cleaner liquid and start the process all over again on the other hand. No at all impressed.
awise7 awise7 5 years
I was not at all impressed with the product. My nails chipped within two days and the activator was a nightmare to get off. My natural nail looked horrible afterward. I had such high hopes!
Jaime-Richards Jaime-Richards 5 years
Let us know how it turns out @beautybesties!
michellescooking michellescooking 5 years
I've always wanted to get a gel manicure. Maybe for the holidays I will take a trip to the Painted Nail :)
galepfyffer galepfyffer 5 years
Thanks a lot! I feel very informed, and now I'm excited to try it!
Jaime-Richards Jaime-Richards 5 years
Hi galepfyffer! To my knowledge the nails do not have to be filed down — just filed like normal across the free edge. And yes, you can take them off with a simple nail polish remover; it has to be 100 percent acetone, though. For Nutra Nail's version, they sell a remover, but they also say you can just wet cotton pads with the acetone remover, place on each nail, wrap in foil, and let sit for two minutes before removing. Hope this helps answer a few of your questions!
galepfyffer galepfyffer 5 years
I am so intrigued by gel mani! So this is great for me to have your input. It seems that gel manicure fragilizes nails, because I think it cannot be taken off with simple nail polish remover, bu the nails have to be filed and so made weaker. A I wrong? (I quite hope so, so that I can think about getting a gel mani or doing it myself! )
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