Nothing went wrong during the manicure itself — or so I thought. I prepped my nails accordingly; I applied a base, three coats of polish, and a top coat, curing each layer under my LED lamp. They looked good, albeit slightly thicker than usual.
Fifteen minutes later, I hopped in the shower, and that's when I started to notice the bubbles. You know how sometimes regular polish can cause bubbles on the surface of your nails? This wasn't that. These were significant air pockets under the layers of my manicure. It was almost as if the heat from the shower was warping them in some way. I tried to smooth them down, but the air would just migrate to another area of the nail.
It was weird, but not altogether noticeable if you're not already fixated on the problem. I had already dedicated two hours to perfecting this manicure, so I just left it.
Two days later, the air trapped under the polish on my thumb found a way out; the outer side of the manicure had essentially broken open, and the polish was still gooey. I was on a trip that weekend, and I had to borrow a nail file and remover from the hostess to get off the gel entirely. On the flight home the next day, I peeled the gel off every nail, and half still had wet lacquer trapped under the surface.