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----- General Information -----
I studied Beauty Therapy at college, and did a nail course on the side too. I am qualified in acrylic and gel nails, along with nail art and manicures in general. I find it really important to use high quality products, that will cause as little damage to your nails as possible. Obviously, by putting gel or acrylic on your nails, you are going to cause some damage, but there are brands that include quality ingredients in their products that reduce the damage that will be caused. Unfortunately this is the price us women have to pay!
----- The Product -----
Within this kit is:
A UV lamp
The kit comes with a very good DVD manual on how to achieve the perfect manicure. I must give this product points for that, and it would be fabulous if the quality was as good.
It is claimed, by Rio, that their nails can last up to three months.
----- My Experience -----
I have tried this kit four times now. The first time, I found the gel very difficult to work with. It was gloopy, and bumpy when set. The light isn't strong enough, so it takes longer than it should for the nails to set.
I thought that maybe I was stuck in my ways with how I do nails, so had another try, this time following the instructions step by step. Still no better, but I did keep the nails on, which was embarrassing as they didn't look good at all, and lasted about two days. Three of the nails pinged off, and the rest were already lifting so I took them off.
I do my own nails normally anyway, so this wasn't anything to do with it being difficult to do your own false nails. I few months later I had another two tries, with the same results.
----- Overall -----
I feel this is a low quality product, that does have potential. The instructions were very well out together and a lot if time and effort has obviously gone in to designing the kit. I just wish this had reflected in the quality of the kit overall.
One star from me, due to the brand design and instructions, all other stars lost due it quality.
I love having my nails looking nice, it makes me feel more mature and I hate my hands when there not done. I hate actually going to the salon, making the appointment and sitting for an hour bored out my mind. It costs £35 where I used to get them done. I have French gel overlays. I used to have them done at Enhance in Grantham. I don't mean to complain but I literally hate going to have them done, not because there not friendly people or anything, I just feel uncomfortable there. So when the latest Argos catalogue came out I was looking through it at the all the beauty products. I find it interesting, sometimes you find things you never even thought existed. I was going through it when I came across this product. I read the description and thought it sounded great. I really wanted it but it was £90. So my boyfriend said he would buy me it for my birthday. He is so lovely. As it got closer to my birthday I started shopping around seeing where I could get it cheapest. On Ebay the average price was around £70 brand new, including delivery. I then found it on Amazon.co.uk for £66 including delivery. A few days later I bought it. I was really shocked that it came the next day, free delivery usually takes longer.
The delivery came and I was so extremely excited. I was smiling all the way to the door when I heard a knock. I was still in my dressing gown, I opened it straight away. I was surprised how big the box was, much bigger than I expected. It was really well packaged. When I opened the whole thing the first thing I noticed was how huge the lamp was. Much bigger than the ones they have in the salon. It was 36watts. (4 x 9watt bulbs). The first thing I did was take all the things out the box and look at them all and see what they were for. It included:
1 x Rio UV hand & foot lamp
3 x stage buffers
1 x extension cutter
1 x finishing wipe
1 x acetone solution
1 x grit file
1 x nail primer
1 x sanding block
1 x cuticle oil
1 x nail glue
1 x hoof stick
1 x pink UV gel
1 x clear UV gel
100 x natural tips
100 x white tips
1 x application brush
1 x step-by-step DVD
1 x user guide
After looking at everything it came with, I put it all back. I read the instructions thoroughly. It explains two different ways of doing your nails, extensions and French tips. It also explains about after care and taking them off. I wanted to read it through because I wanted some idea of what I was doing before just going for it. I did have some small idea by watching the nail people at the salon.
After reading it all, I put on the step by step dvd and followed it. I had to keep pausing it to do the sections. I got out all the french tips and sized them to my nails so I was ready and layed them out in a way that I would know which one goes on which finger. You get 100 tips in 10 different sizes. The have teeny weeny numbers on the other side indicating which size it was. 0 being the largest, 9 being the smallest. I used sizes 2 for my thumbs, and 9 for my little fingers. The first bit on the dvd is showing how to prep your nails. So I did that. You have to use the hoof stick to push your cuticles. It advises you to cut down your nails and shape them to a 'C' shape. You then use the sanding block to buff away all the shiny off your nails. They do that so that the UV gel sticks better. You then use the finished wipe, and put some on a circle pad (which is what I used, bought a pack from Asda for £1). And wipe down all your nails. It does also say on the dvd you should do your thumb separate to your fingers. It says on the dvd that if you touch your finger nails any time after this point with your fingers then your should use the finishing wipe again. After the preparation of your nails, its time to stick the white nail tips on. This bit was slightly difficult. I kept sticking my fingers together. You put nail glue on the end and stick it on. Sounds simple! Push it down on to your finger so it feels tight, hold it for 5 seconds. It dry's extremely quick. Then use your nail clippers to cut them down to your desired size. I always leave my a bit longer than what I actually want so I can file them after I've done. I like my nails short anyway. The tips are really long to start off with. After doing this you put a thin layer of nail primer on. This is to do with keeping the UV gel on your nails. It warns you on the dvd if you put to much on you may feel it burning, this have never happened to me. After this its time to use the UV gel. You should switch the lamp on so it can warm up before using it. Get your brush and get some gel on it, then paint it on your nails as if you would with nail varnish. Although you may want to use a bit more than a thin layer. I used the pink gel because I was going for the French look. After putting a layer of gel on all four nails you put it under the lamp for three minutes. This lamp has a timer on, 1, 2 or 3 minutes. You can also just have it constantly on. After three minutes are up, take your hand out put another layer on and do it again. Then do it again. So after the gel part, you should have 3 layers on. After all this your practically finished. You just need to get some finishing wipe on a pad and wipe all your nails. This makes them feel hard. Then use the cuticle oil on your fingers. Then all you need to do is shape your nails with the nail grit file! And your done!
For after care, it says in the booklets you should avoid using things with acetone in, and try not to use washing up liquid. So I just use rubber gloves when washing up. Try not to be too harsh on them. At the end of the day, there an accessory, treat them how you would any accessory. Nails are not made for working!
If you wish to take them off, then that's what the Acetone is for. You soke your fingers in it. I've not done this yet so I cant tell you my experience doing that. Then if you want natural nails use the 3 step nail files.
I think the price for replacing the things are great. You can find really cheap stuff on Ebay or Amazon. Gels for about £3, files for cheap. Tips for about £2. You can also get an amazing range of colours and different things. I would love to get stuff to use. Like different colour tips and gels. I would love to get some black tips and try them out. You can get red, purple, orange, all types of colours and glittery colours. I would really like to get a white gel so I can do my own tips rather than using the fake tips. This was how they did it in the salon I used to go to. You can get loads of brushes, a pack for about £7. I think the pink you get with this set is too dark. The tips look slightly pink. I noticed straight away that the one in the salon is a lot lighter.
Other than doing my own nails, my mum said I could experiment on her nails. So I took the set round her house and gave it a go. I did everything by the instructions again. I actually found it harder to do someone else's than my own. I didn't watch the dvd that time, I just referred to the instructions if I forgot anything. I used the clear gel on my mum instead of the pink to see how they came out. Obviously the white tips looked a lot whiter which was great. My mum kept moaning about waiting for the lamp... the 'long' three minutes! She was really happy though with the end result.
A couple of my nails fell off within a few weeks. It says these overlays can last up to three months which I completely believe because I've redone the nails that fell off and there now much stronger and lasted a lot longer. I think the more I do them the easier it will get. I prefer to do an individual nail rather than the whole lot in one go. I'm glad they came off because I wanted to re do them and make them look better. They came off for stupid reasons like opening cans of pop and things like that. I think there looking a lot better these days. I also much quicker at them now. The first time I did them it took around two hours which is really long but now I can do one hand in about 15 - 20 minutes.
Ive already saved loads of money by buying this instead of going to the clinic. This is well worth it. Good price. And you can get a whole range of stuff to go with it! 10 out of 10!!!