“ Brand: Nailene / Suitable for: Nails „
For the past couple of years I have been getting my nails done (gel or acrylic) on and off and despite the fact I would love to have them done all the time, I can simply not afford it. So when looking for a cheaper alternative I came across this on eBay, which is a sort of 'do it yourself' kit and decided to give it a whirl!
~~What is it?~~
This is a Nailene Acrylic Sculpture kit, which is a way to do your own acrylic nails at home. It comes complete with all the basics you need and with these type of kits there is no need for an Acrylic lamp or any extras so the only cost will be the kit itself.
~~Price and Availability~~
I personally purchased mine for £9.95 of eBay, which I was very happy with as my acrylic nails normally cost me £25 a set and with 40 tips in this set I thought I should at least be able to use this kit 2-3 types providing the sizes were correct.
I purchased mine off of eBay and haven't really seen this kit instore anywhere. I know there are other online retailers that sell it, also Amazon, but far as the likes of Boots and Superdrug I have not seen this kit being sold. They do however, have similar items which cost a little more around £15, though not having used them I cannot comment on them.
~~What's in the kit?~~
The kit is extremely simple and comes with just a few items to make the kit as easy to use as possible. It comes with 40 nail tips (20 white for the french manicure look and 20 natural -a clearish white colour- for the more natural look), a small pot of Nailene Acrylic Powder, a small bottle of Nailene Acrylic Liquid, a brush, a nail file/ buffer, nail glue and instructions.
I thought I would just quickly talk about the quality of the brush. It is in an almost fixed, curved position, yet still has some flexibility and the bristles are quite soft. On the first couple of uses I was very happy with the brush as it was really great for making the acrylic even and applying to the nail, though I found the more I used it (despite cleaning it) the worse it became. The bristles became really coarse and stuck out in all directions and also became loose, sometimes leaving the bristles in the acrylic. So although it is good for the first couple of uses when you are starting out, once you have got the hang of it I would recommend purchasing a better quality one.
~~The nailene acrylic liquid~~
The Nailene Acrylic Liquid really smells very strong of chemicals and it something that is probably not too good to inhale. It is probably best to use in a well ventilated room (but not too cold otherwise it will affect the nails.) It is not the worst smell, but is quite overpowering and it is not something I particularly likes and smells very similar to that of a nail bar!
~~Using the kit~~
Using the kit was much simpler than I would have thought it to be, that's not to say I didn't encounter a few problems on my very first use, but other than that I found it fairly straightforward to use. To use you simply need to match the tips to the size of your nails and then attach them with the glue. This was quite simple to do, though I did find that the glue took a while to dry, so I did have to hold the nail in place for a period of time before I could release the pressure. I didn't really find this the issue, but it was the trimming of the nails to the length I wanted them to be. As I don't own a proper acrylic nail cutter, I was using a mixture of my own nail clippers and scissors and I sometimes found that these weren't strong enough to cut through the nail and made it very rough on the edge, or began to lift the nail tip in the corners through putting so much pressure on them trying to cut them. This was on my first use and I have not bought some of the acrylic nail clippers (around £2 on eBay) and I now find this part so much easier and it is definitely worth picking some of these up!
The next part was to buff my nail so that the acrylic would take better and there wasn't a clear slop/ step between the nail tip and my natural nail. This was very simply to do and I just took the nail buffer over my nails and it only took a minute or so. I don't really like the feeling of this and it does feel like you are damaging your nail (which you probably are!) though as you only have to do it for a short while I didn't really mind.
Then was to actually apply the acrylic, which you do so by dipping the brush into a small amount of the acrylic liquid, then into the acrylic powder until it forms a small ball and then spread over nail. On my first go on my thumb I found this very hard! The problem was that I wasn't doing it fast enough so the acrylic was drying before I had a chance to get on my nail. I found that I have to use a considerable more amount of the liquid than I would have thought and waited til the powder turned a glossy sort of gel texture before begin to apply. Once I had figured out how to do this, I then found it so much easier as the acrylic seemed to glide on my nail and almost seemed to spread out of its own accord, yet the brush was still needed to make this look even. It says on the instructions that you can do each nail twice with the acrylic if you wish and can also buff after. I personally would not recommend buffing after as I found that this lifted up some of the acrylic and made it look very uneven, instead I would try and concentrate on applying the acrylic quite thinly and evenly as that way you will not have to worry about buffing afterwards. You can then paint on a clear top coat or a colour of your choice.
I was really pleasantly surprised with the results, admittedly the first go did not look quite as good as when you go to the salon, yet at the same time they did look need and tidy and I was very pleased. I found that the more practice I got, the better the finished results become and I can now use this kit with ease.
The nails themselves looked very shiny and healthy, I chose the French manicure tips and decided to finish with a top coat. The acrylic is clear so this means it does not have the same effect as a pink and white french manicure, but I actually preferred the look that this set achieved. I must say, that my thumb on my first go was a little untidy as I was only just learning and it did seem to be quite thick and lumpy on appearance and the clear gel had also discoloured a little to become yellow. I think this was because in-between applying the two layers of the acrylic I have been doing other things, so had trapped dirt/ dust in-between the two layers, hence the discolouration. I also found that I have some of the acrylic around the edge of my thumb, but I was actually surprised at how easy I could pick this off, or if it was a little more stubborn I applied some nail polish remover over the top.
I could file the shape of the nails to any shape I wanted, so my nails were completely my own, which is what I really liked about this kit as often in salons they file them to how they think you would want them and they are never completely the way you would have chosen.
I found that the acrylics looked good for around 2 weeks and after this time they began to look a little tired and worn out, though at this point I decided to paint over the nails with a block colour and with this on, it just looked like I had colour acrylics and found that I could get away with them for another week or so!
~~Removing the nails/ Did it damage my nails?~~
Removing the nails was fairly simple if you leave them to soak in nail polish remover. I found that they became a slightly sticky and flexible texture, where you could kind of roll the acrylic of the nail. It took around 20 minutes to remove all the nails, so wasn't too time consuming, though you do need to leave them in the nail polish remove for about half that time so you do need some patience at that stage.
I would be lying if I said this kit didn't damage my nails as after the use they did look considerably rougher and seemed more brittle (though were still quite strong!), that said this seems to happen whenever I have my nails done, whether it be gel or acrylic, so I was almost expecting this to happen and to me it was quite indifferent.
-Once you have some practice, it is easy to use
-Looks almost as good as salon
-Lasts a long time on nails
-Saves a lot of money
-Can do your own nails in the comfort of your own home at a time that suits you
-Get at least 2-3 sets from one kit
-Can be a little tricky on the first use
-The nailene acrylic liquid stinks!
-Nail glue isn't that strong
-Can be hard to trim nail tips
Overall, I was really happy with this kit. I found that there were plenty enough nail tip size options to suit me and found that I managed to get 3 sets of acrylics out of this, which would have saved me around £65 at £25 a set! It was a little tricky on the first use, but when I gained more practice I can see that it is pretty straightforward and is something I can use with ease. I really like the results and like the fact that they last around the same time as salon ones would! Yes, they do damage my nails, but I do think this is only to be expected with all types of acrylic or gels we are putting on my nails. This is definitely something that I will be repurchasing and those who are looking to save some money I would suggest trying out one of these kits!
Unfortunately with my career choice there are only certain times of the year that I can have my nails looking as I'd like - and when that time comes I am normally the first down to the nail bar to get my acrylics applied. Problem being that it is an expensive thing to keep having done, and have done in the first place - so I went out on a hunt for the elusive home acrylic kit, and this is what I found for an average price. I was quite looking forward to trying them.....
~*~ Sculpting Kit? ~*~
It sounds a bit ominous doesn't it when you look at it, but it is actually a kit that you can use to create your own Acrylic nails. Some of you might not know what acrylic nails are, but basically the acrylic goes on top of your natural nails and will harden the top; most have tips added to their natural nails which are nail glued to the end of the natural nail and the acrylic brushed over the top to create a natural looking nail. Though some of the time the tips are added and painted over the acrylic so they don't look natural at all. I personally go for the most natural looking nails I can manage really, with the white tips and just the acrylic overlay it looks natural - well sort of... Since my nails don't grow square on the ends unfortunately, this is why I get artificial nails in the first place. There is a bit more to it than that, because you can have other overlays that acrylic - but this kit is acrylic and claims to be as good as a salon so we shall see...
~*~ What comes in the kit? ~*~
In the kit you get;
40 nail tips,
And a Nail file...
~*~ How do you do it? ~*~
Instructions tell you to pick a nail that fits over the top of yours - there are 8 different sizes to pick from so you won't find it too hard to get one to fit, but there are limited numbers of each so make sure you are certain which one you want on each finger. Then you need to glue the tip onto the end of your natural nail, and wait for the glue to dry then trim it down to the length you require. Dip your brush in the acrylic liquid once it's been decanted into a small bowl, wipe away the excess liquid and dip brush into the powder until you get a ball of gel that you can then brush over your new nail tip and natural nail underneath. Then apply a clear varnish to finish off the design.
~*~ How easy is it? ~*~
If I'm honest it's a really difficult thing to do, even though I have seen the experts in the salons do it so many times it doesn't make it any easier to do when you try it yourself!
So I got myself organised and decided to work out which one of the nail sizes I wanted for each finger and placed them out on the table - took me a little while to find a small bowl to put the acrylic liquid in, in the end I picked an old shot glass as it was probably the smallest thing we have in the house. But be warned this liquid smells, it is advised that you do this in a well-ventilated area, and with good reason to be honest because it's such a potent smell - that gets in your nostrils and doesn't want to go anywhere. I did it in the front room of our house and had both windows open despite the cold, and about five hours later I came back in the house and could still smell it. So it's potent stuff unfortunately! They suggest only putting half the bottle in the bowl you use as in theory you have enough nails for more than one set - so don't use it all up, and you definitely won't need even half the bottle for one set of nails, I used about a quarter of my bottle for all ten fingers.
So sticking on my tips on, was a little bit fiddly for the first few fingers because I was getting glue that had seeped out all over my fingers and sticking them to my other fingers. It was getting all stuck up for first couple, and even though the nail glue they provide is meant to be a quick drying one it's not. Unless it is sticking your fingers together it does that in a matter of seconds, gluing your tip to your nail, takes a fair bit of patience if I'm honest and even though they say to only apply a small amount you'll need a line on the inside of the tip to keep it attached while you cut and file down your nail. Which is actually a bit easier than it sounds; although the kit doesn't come with the proper nail clippers designed for these tips, you can just do it with normal nail clippers but be prepared to spend some time filing them into the shape they need to be. Thankfully the nail file you get in the pack is brilliant for filing them down, but make sure you use the white side for the tips because it is a bit coarser than the black side which is meant for your natural nail.
Once you have your tips on it is time to try and apply the acrylic on top of your natural nail. Now I started on my right hand, so did it with my left hand, I am right handed so figured if I could do it with my weak hand the strong hand would be fine. So I dipped the brush that comes in the set into the liquid and drew up a ball of gel and applied it to the first finger nail (Check Photos) only problem being the brush is absolutely useless the bristles separated, and just made an absolute mess of the nail and given that the gel formed from the powder and liquid combines dries pretty quickly you haven't really got any time to do anything about it. So to be honest the first nail is a bit of a bad looking one. As I went across each nail on my right hand it got a bit better, but that was because I changed brushes to a make-up brush I'd been given, but the problem being the bristles were made from the wrong material so the acrylic was bunging them up.
By the time I got onto my left hand, so therefore applying the acrylic with my writing hand I'd just about got it down to a fine art.... Well as good as you can with a semi hard brush, but never mind, it was initially quite difficult to work out how to get the thickest application of the gel so that the nail tip didn't look out of place, but by my left hand I'd got it about right so my left hand is a lot smoother than the right! My complaint with the gel that forms is that it does become a bit grainy on the nail and in patches looks a little bit like icy patches on a pavement after a cold night, you know the sparkly concrete I mean - so you definitely need to apply a coat of clear nail varnish over the top. Well I say one coat, I've got a Barry M clear varnish which is normally fantastic - however the dried gel seems to drink the varnish and it took me three coats to get anything of a shine off my nails at all. The bizarre looking patches were getting on my nerves so I got a nice sparkly coloured nail varnish to put an even nicer shine on the nails, and now I can say I am quite proud of my work, despite it being the first time I've ever tried to do it myself.
Since putting them on I've done a few things to test how strong they are, the first being buttoning and unbuttoning my jeans that is normally the first thing to flick fake nails off my fingers, that and cleaning out my hamsters cage. Both of those have been done to great success, that and filling the car up, and in general living, showers, hair washing, doing the washing up - and so far we haven't had a nail in any of our dinners. So I think they are staying put for the time being. Which impresses me, either way it's not too bad the nails are on, can't pull them off, so I am very impressed with this kit apart from the dodgy brush - which I can replace now I know I am capable of doing the nails on myself and others if they fancy it! Also these nails are quite comfortable the acrylic isn't too heavy so isn't weighing on the nail bed or hurting my nails at all, which I have experienced from salons in the past. Not struggling to open my cans of coke either and that is a sign of a good nail, almost forgot to say that!
~*~ Price and Availability ~*~
I went round all possible places I could get hold of one of these kits in my town and only found it in Savers. On the Nailene website it only offers American shops to buy it from so if you don't have a Savers, eBay or Amazon will probably be your best bet, there are other similar kits about but they are almost twenty pounds where this one was only eight. Considering going to the nail salon to get them done will cost upwards of twenty pound it's a bargain if you've got a steady hand. Now to eBay to get all the extras so I can keep on doing it for myself!