Product Type: Elegant Touch makeup
Newest Review: ... rely on a steady hand to apply my white tips. This has taken a lot of practice but I got there in the end! The Elegant Touch Rapid Dry ki... more
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Elegant Touch Rapid Dry French Manicure
Member Name: redhead78
Elegant Touch Rapid Dry French Manicure
Advantages: Easy to apply, looks really good, very economical way of achieving the french manicure look
Disadvantages: Sticker guides are unnecessary for me, don't trust the rapid dry claims
I've had this particular one for ages so can't remember where I bought it (although at the time I bought it I was living in a town with a Savers, so the chances are it was from there) but a quick Google shows that it's available in most pharmacies including Boots and Lloyds for around the £6 to £6.50 mark (obviously buying at Boots will gain you advantage points too).
The kit came packaged in a box which I don't normally like with cosmetics as it's usually unnecessary, but in this case it wasn't done for mere extravagance but actually to keep the several items contained together so I'll let them off for that. Inside the box you get three bottles of nail polish - a base coat which is a pale pink/peachy colour, a white 'tip' coat and a clear top coat. You are also provided with little half moon shaped stickers to use as guides to get the shape of the french tip accurate. I don't remember if this kit came with instructions inside or not, but I'm sure there would have been some on the box (long since thrown away I'm afraid, so I'm unable to give any further information as to what was on it). As I'd done many french manicures on my nails prior to buying this I didn't need instructions anyway.
Applying the french manicure is very easy. First you apply the base coat, covering the entire nail. Then you stick one of the little stickers to each nail so that it's underneath the white of your nail and leaves exposed the section you want painting white in your manicure. You then apply a layer of the tip whitening varnish to each tip, remove the stickers and then apply the clear top coat. Obviously you need to wait for each coat to dry before moving on to the next step, but apart from that it really is an easy process.
Years of practice have taught me that a) I prefer a different way of doing it (details following shortly) and b) it's best to do this the night before I'm going out and when I'm already in bed so that my nails have plenty of time to dry properly when all three coats have been applied. Many times in the past I've tried doing something soon after applying a french manicure only to smudge the tips and had to start all over again, so now I make sure that I have nothing left to do that day and then try to sleep with my hands on top of the cover for good measure!
So, my way of applying the french manicure kit is this: Instead of applying the base coat first I always apply the white tip as the first step in the process. I find that if I apply the tip second and only have a layer of clear topcoat covering it it's too harsh a white for my liking and I find it looks more natural when I use the tip whitener first and then apply the base coat over the top of it. It really helps to tone down the brightness of the white and I much prefer this look. I then apply the top coat over the pink colour. I also never bother with the sticker guides either. I did try them a few times but when you take them off again it's much like peeling masking tape off when you've been decorating and few of the kits I've tried have ever managed to get that part of the product right so I just don't even bother trying anymore. Either they're too sticky and rip half of the white varnish off with them or they're not sticky enough and the white bleeds and you don't end up with a nice crisp line. So I now just rely on a steady hand to apply my white tips. This has taken a lot of practice but I got there in the end!
The Elegant Touch Rapid Dry kit is one of the nicer ones I've used. The bottles are all the usual size of nail varnish bottle (holding 11ml) which is slightly annoying as, obviously, you use more of the base and top coats than you do the tip whitener so it would make sense so have less of the tip whitener. The brushes inside the bottles are all a good size so with the pink and clear coats you just need the usual three sweeps down the nail for good coverage, whilst the white one is slightly thinner, allowing you to achieve a greater level of precision if you're applying it free-hand like I do.
I usually get around 2-3 days from a french manicure before it starts to look a bit tatty and this is no exception but I've found that if I apply an extra layer of top coat each evening before bed for extra protection I can usually make it last for 5 days, which is really good staying power as far as I'm concerned. Removing the manicure is easy enough to do using my regular nail varnish remover. Although by the time I get around to removing it I usually have about 6 coats on my nails and so have to hold a cotton wool ball soaked in varnish remover against each nail for a few seconds to loosen it all first and I generally end up using 4 cotton wool balls to remove everything.
As for it's quick dry claims I'm in two minds about this. Yes, when you apply it each coat is touch dry rather quickly so you can apply the next coat, but when the manicure is complete I just don't trust that it's going to be smudge proof for a good long while afterwards and would never test it by doing the washing up or anything for at least a couple of hours afterwards and, as I said, I prefer to err on the side of caution and applpy this last thing at night so it has plenty of time to dry properly.
I've had this set for so long that I can remember neither where I bought it nor how much I paid for it and I'm just getting to the end of the basecoat and topcoat bottles now. It has definitely seen better days and rather than try applying it when the varnish has dried out slightly and it a bit too stringy to be able to apply properly I think I'll be investing in another set before my next night out. But I'm more than happy with this set, how easy it is to apply, how long it lasts, both on the nail and in the bottles, and the effect that I can achieve with it. So if I can find it in boots for £6.50 I would happily buy another Elegant Touch kit. Buying a kit is much more economical than buying the separate elements individually, although I do find the sticker guides to be a waste of time. Unless I was bought a voucher for a manicure as a gift I can't see me ever splashing out for a professional one again, as this kit is WAY cheaper, easy to apply and looks good when finished.
I don't think this kit is perfect enough to give it the full five starts and really wish I could give it 4.5, but as I can't it will have to be a 4 star rating from me. The rapid dry claims could mislead you into using your nails before they're really ready and having to reapply, but apart from that I would highly recommend this kit.
Summary: A decent french manicure kit that provides everything you need to achieve the look at home