We should start by saying that giving yourself a gel manicure at home isn’t as hard as you might think. A whole world of gel nail kits, polishes, and accessories are readily available to help you get the nails of your dreams—and keep them even longer than you thought possible—without ever leaving the couch. Using a gel nail kit at home not only reduces the amount of time you have to spend getting manicures, but it also saves you the time you’d spend in the salon as well, making the investment in a good at-home gel nail kit more than pay for itself over time. So which is the Best at home gel polish kit? and which kit is the right choice for you?
For many, gel nails manicures are a lavish treat. It feels like the ultimate form of pampering to go to a salon and walk out with stunning, chip-proof nails that will last for weeks at a time. But regular salon visits get time consuming and expensive. Luckily, you don’t have to go to a nail salon to have perfect gel nails — you can DIY the salon service yourself.
Plenty of at-home nail kits exist that bring the salon to you and virtually pay for themselves after one or two uses. These kits range from professional quality to beginner friendly, and many of them even come with fun extras like glitter, gems, and trendy colors to heighten the experience. Use a hydrating cuticle cream or oil and a top-rated hand cream for a luxe salon experience, and when you’re done, be sure you know how to remove gel nails at home. Below, the best gel nail kits, according to reviewers:
Best at home gel polish kit
Best Overall: Red Carpet Manicure Pro 45 Starter Kit
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This manicure system gives weeks of gorgeous color in minutes and comes complete with LED light, polish, and soaking gel. While the bottles are small, reviewers say that they last and last (especially as gel polishes cure best when applied with extremely thin coats anyway) and the primer, base coat, and topcoat really replicate the look and feel of a gel manicure at home. The lamp works best a few fingers at a time, with the thumb done separately, but it’s still a relatively small add-on to a surprisingly fast and effective process.
Best Budget: Le Mini Macaron Starter Kit – Choose Your Own Polish
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This miniature starter kit is a perfect way to dip your toe (or, ahem, finger) into the world of at-home gel. This dessert-inspired mini nail kit includes a macaron-shaped LED light, a nail file, and a pouch.
A single coat of the polish cures in about 30 seconds, and it comes with a USB cord and adapters so you can use it anywhere, including plugged into a laptop, which makes it perfect for traveling. This kit does not include a color, so make sure to choose that separately.
Best Drugstore: Gelish Complete Starter Mini Basix LED Gel Nail Kit
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The Gelish Complete Starter LED Gel Nail Polish Kit is one of the best sellers in this space, and the package has everything you need to get started with gel polish. Gelish applies like regular polish and cures under an LED lamp in 45 seconds, or under traditional UV lamps in 2 minutes. Reviewers say it stays on nails for up to three weeks with no chipping or peeling and soaks completely off in only 10 to 15 minutes. Results are better with the LED curing lamp, which comes included in this kit, so give it a try for a true at-home salon experience.The All-Time Best Drugstore Nail Polishes
Best Polish: Essie Gel Couture Polish
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Essie’s Gel Couture line immediately changed the game for gel fanatics, as the legendary Essie shade range was something that was hard to give up when making the switch from regular polish. There are a huge number of signature Essie colors available anywhere Essie polishes are sold, and they make an at-home gel manicure as simple as painting your nails.
Just two coats of the lacquer applied with the platinum grade finish top coat last for up to two weeks, and the formula is paraben- and phthalate-free. Essie invented a whole new brush shape to make coverage easy when painting your own nails, and it glides on beautifully, as does the top coat that gives an authentic gel-like glossy shine.These Are the Best Gel Nail Polishes, According to the Internet
Best for Beginners: Sally Hansen Salon Gel Polish Starter Kit
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The nail experts at Sally Hansen have put together the perfect starter kit for at-home gel manicures. One kit comes with an LED lamp to cure your manicure, base coat, top coat, and gel polish, along with other essentials like nail cleansing pads, acetone remover, cuticle sticks, files, and buffers. Reviewers praise the instructions for being clear and easy to follow, and they’re happy with the array of colors available that work with the LED lamp.
Best for Removal: Red Carpet Gel Manicure Removal Kit
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The gel polish that goes on must eventually come off, and that’s where this gel manicure removal kit comes in clutch. It includes a buffer, liquid remover, foil wrap, and an orangewood stick—everything you need to remove gel polish safely and effectively.
Best Value: ROSALIND Gel Nail Polish Starter Kit
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For the price of one gel manicure (at some salons), you can get this entire starter kit including six gel polish colors, a top coat, curing LED lamp, and various nail tools—think: buffer, file, brush, cuticle brush, cuticle pusher and more—for the perfect gel mani at home
Best Transformer: SensatioNail Polish to Gel Transformer Kit
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If you don’t like picking between gel polish colors and would prefer to use your own, now you can, thanks to this transformer kit. All you have to do is mix your favorite nail polish with the included true gel system to transform it into a long-lasting gel formula that won’t chip, peel or fade after just a few days.
How to Choose Quality Makeup Brushes
It’s not just the quality of your makeup you have to worry about — if you want to look your best, you also need a good brush!MONICA RODRIGUEZ/LIFESIZE/GETTY IMAGES
Are you a cosmetics aficionado? Do you know the difference between liquid foundations and pressed powder? Do you know how to make your eyes pop? If you own the perfect shade of lipstick and blush for every dress in your closet — well, you probably know your makeup. According to the Global Cosmetics Industry Magazine, cosmetics generate approximately $230 billion in global sales every year, so it’s clear that women buy makeup even in tough economic times. And why shouldn’t they? Makeup helps boost ladies’ confidence, highlights natural features such as eye color and cheekbones, and can enhance a mood with a simple sweep of a sexy lip color.
Whether you like to buy drugstore cosmetics or spend your dollars at higher-end makeup counters, the products you buy won’t help your skin glow if you don’t have quality makeup brushes. The right brushes bring your cosmetics palette to life, and they can mean the difference between a flawless face and a clowny mess.https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.439.0_en.html#goog_452088278LoadingEnable
So, how can you tell if you’re buying a winning makeup brush? There’s one simple test to find a durable and high-quality brush: Rub it against your skin. The bristles should feel soft, not rough or scratchy. To test the strength of the bristles, run the brush against your hand to see if any fibers fall out. If they do, don’t buy it. If the bristles stay intact and feel soft, it’s a keeper.
Finding great makeup tools goes beyond testing for bristle strength, however. Let’s take a look at how to recognize a quality brush that can tackle your makeup case.
You can own the most expensive makeup on the market, but if you don’t use a quality brush, the difference will show all over your face. A good makeup brush consists of densely packed bristles, a solid handle made from wood or plastic and a shape that applies and blends makeup smoothly and evenly. It should transfer makeup effectively, meaning the brush shouldn’t lose a lot of the makeup in transit to your skin. Sturdy brushes will allow you to work cosmetic magic for years to come.
While it’s tempting to buy a professional set of 32 makeup brushes, hold off! The unspoken rule when building your collection is to purchase brushes a la carte. As you perfect your makeup application routine, you’ll quickly figure out which brushes you need daily and which specialty brushes might also be added to your kit. If you travel a lot or like to reapply makeup during the day, think about keeping an additional set of basic brushes with you as well. Makeup artists recommend seven standard brushes to help bring your face to life. These include:
- liquid foundation brush
- powder brush
- blush brush
- concealer brush
- eye shadow applicator
- eyeliner brush
- lip brush
The price for makeup brushes is generally based on their size and the material the bristles are made from. They can range anywhere from $8 for a small eye shadow blender to $60 for a large foundation applicator. Prices can be even higher for brush bristles made from delicate animal fur such as squirrel or sable. They can cost as much as $150 — for one brush!KEEP IT CLEAN
Makeup brushes are sensitive items. Oil from your face combined with makeup residue will hinder brush performance over time, not to mention harbor bacteria. Wash your brushes with a mild cleanser (such as baby shampoo) to keep them clean and oil-free.
Goat hair makes surprisingly good makeup brush bristles.DIGITAL ZOO/DIGITAL VISION/GETTY IMAGES
Makeup brushes come in endless shapes and sizes. The major difference with brushes for cosmetics is the bristles, the part of the brush that transfers the makeup from the palette and applies it to your face. Choosing which kind of brush is right for your skin is often a matter of trial and error. Some brushes may be too rough when applying makeup, and some may not stand up well to frequent use. If you’re an animal lover, you should also pay close attention to what materials the bristles are made from.
Natural brushes, whose bristles are made with various hairs from animals, are more expensive than synthetic brushes. Natural bristles tend to hold color pigments better than synthetic offerings and create a softer, more natural look on your skin. If you’re an adamant animal rights supporter, however, you’ll want to find out if the brushes were made humanely before buying. Natural makeup brushes include bristles made from the fur of various animals, including squirrels, goats, badgers, horses, minks or sable, and the condition the animals are kept in is often less than ideal.
Synthetic bristles are man-made and are usually either nylon or polyester filaments. They can be created to increase their color-carrying ability by blending fibers. Often, synthetic filaments are dyed and baked to make them softer and more absorbent and are less prone to damage from makeup and solvents. They’re easier to keep clean than natural hair brushes because the filaments don’t trap or absorb pigments, and they’re better suited for layering powders or concealers since they hold up more solidly to makeup. Also, synthetic-fiber brushes are a great fit for people with allergies to animal fur.
Just remember that regardless of your budget or the kind of makeup you use regularly, finding the perfect brush is a matter of personal preference. Yes, chances are that a brush that costs $50 will work much better than a cheap, bargain-bin buy, but, like makeup itself, what works for you is all a matter of personal preference. If you find a quality brush that makes you look your best, buy it and don’t look back, and as long as you take care of it, it should serve you for years to come.