Back to Gel Polish We Go

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The sun can’t really make up its mind, but it’s there, hovering around deciding whether to slip out and catch us all by surprise with unshaved legs, untanned limbs and unpainted toenails. It just likes to keep usguessing because it’s cool and nonchalant like that. Well sun I’m here to tell you that I’m ready – let’s be havin’ ya. My shins are defuzzed for the first time in well…I’m not sure I wish to share that information, the Xen-Tan Dark Lotion Absolute Luxe has been working overtime (still my fave tan of all, three years after I cracked open my first bottle open) and my toenails are lacquered up and ready to be unleashed from their winter boot home. Since last year I’ve employed a strict gel-only policy for my toes. Let me explain…

The Red Carpet Manicure Starter Set coming into my life last year was a big beauty moment. I’d never felt inclined to split with the £50+ for an in-salon gel mani, but was intrigued by the lure of a paint job that lasted weeks instead of the two chip-free days I usually get on my beds. RCM offers an at-home version which though isn’t exactly speedy – I timed that it took almost two hours to prep and paint both my toe and finger nails the other day – the paint/cure/paint/repeat results warrant the work. On my nails I get about 10 days of wear before I feel the urge to whip it off and on my toes I can eke it out for about a month at a time. A WHOLE MONTH. Gross, but true. And with nail painting being one of my biggest beauty bores that makes me one happy lady.

Of course there is a downside – removal – which basically involves soaking and scraping. Which feels about as nice as the bruising sensation you get before a big-ass spot makes its arrival. It’s grim and long and it feels like you’re doing the worst thing that you could possibly do to your nails, which is why I don’t tend to use it on my fingernails all that often unless I’m really short on time or heading somewhere for an elongated period. But otherwise I just use it solely on toes as they spend a good 90% of their time hidden away in socks anyway. It’s not enough to put me off and I haven’t physically seen any damage, but it’s worth noting.

But what I wanted to give a nod to today were the contents of a recent RCM-centric Beauty Bay haul. The colours I owned were lacking in the summer-friendly department and I was running low on the basics, so I thought I’d give you the need-to-know on what I purchased. First up, refills of the Erase and Purify formulas – boring but necessary. Then I plumped for three new shades: Blushful Moments, an Essie Tarte Deco look-a-like, Voiletta Darling, a grey-tinged lilac and my current favourite and what I’m donning on my nails right now – Parisian Chic. Isn’t it a beaut? A not too sickly sweet mint that at first I wasn’t too sure off, but now I’m feeling. It’s a grower, not a show-er. My final purchase was a Nail Polish Organiser which is now my new home for all of this and keeps everything neat, tidy and in order. Virgo Anna is happy.

Well I think that’s enough rambling for one day. Moral of the story: gel polish rocks, but is a pain in the arse to remove, preferably used for pedi purpose, new shades look stunning. See – could have done that in just 21 words…


  • Absolutely love this colour, I find gel nail polish so good, but I love to change the colour or design of my nails so fast, for me it is pointless.

    Jess x

  • Carina Stewart

    I would love to give gel polish a go. My nails chip super easy and I’m guilty of wearing them like that for a few days. I love the huge range of colours you can now get 🙂

    Carina |

  • Anna Blush

    This sounds like such a long procedure between application and removing, I don’t think I could bring myself to do it! It does sound great for toe nails though and would be perfect if you’re going on holiday x

  • I’d love to try gel nails at home because I never have the patience to go to a salon. I usually watch a movie or series whenever I’m painting nails. I love the organizer, a great idea for traveling too!

  • I wish BeautyBay amped up their international delivery.. otherwise their colelction is top notch!

    Lipstick Queen Saint Eden Review | TheConscienceFund

  • Beccy

    I’ve not used gel polish before, but sounds like something I really should give a go!

  • fandbtribes

    i would love to try this seems such worthwhile investment especially for someone like me who cant get enough of nail polish

  • Sounds like a pretty fail proof procedure for the nail lovers out there! I haven’t done gel before but this sounds like a good way of skipping the huge costs.

  • Although it’s not very quick, it sounds like the perfect manicure! x

  • Emma

    I’ve always wanted to try gel nails, as I can’t stand chipping after a few days! Although time-consuming, I may have to invest even if just for my toe nails for the summer…

  • Stephanie

    I love the look of gel nails but I like to change my nail colour far too often!



  • Em

    I’ve had a Sensationail kit nearly two years now and love it. When I can set aside an hour to do my nails properly, it really is worth it in that it lasts a good 700% longer than normal nail varnish does (i’m very clumsy).

  • I like the idea of this but only ten days wear on the fingers? I get that kind of wear-time from normal drugstore polishes! I’d be hoping for 2-3 weeks or it’s just not worth it for me. Lovely colours though x QworterLifeCrisis

  • Jessica Whitbread

    I’ve tried gel polish on my nails before, it really damaged them and took me a few weeks to get them back to normal!

  • Zazie Bibi

    The mint shade is gorgeous! x

    A Little Treat | Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

  • I just tried gel nails for the first time last week and my life feels so changed! I love them. I’m seriously thinking about buying something like this to have at home so I don’t have to go to the salon. Loved this post

  • nueyork

    The scraping and soaking in acetone is the major reason why I’ve avoided gel nails for so long, my little nails are brittle as it is! The lure of 2 weeks chip free is so tempting though!

  • amy

    have you tried using regular polishes with it? i’ve heard you can and am curious…

  • Nunca me he hecho uñas de gel, pero con lo poco que me duran puestos los esmaltes seguro que sería una buena opción.

    Kyllie | Make Up Fragrances

  • hayley

    I’ve just purchased sensationail kit! I’m very excited to try! Xxx

  • Cassie

    I’ve never tried gel polish, but I’ve always wanted to!

  • Love the sound of gel polish for toes, it sounds like a life saver! x

    Maddy from UNSTITCHEDD | ASOS or Feelunique £25 Voucher Giveaway

  • Lauren S

    i’ve never had gels but they sound great for lengevity – might be good for my split nails. The removal sounds a fuss and i hate a fuss like you Anna, it’s a real catch

    Lauren x

    Please nominate my blog for Best Lifestyle Blog and Newcomer here !

    Britton Loves | Fashion Lifestyle + Photography –

  • Not sure I could be doing with the removal process! I love that colour though.

  • Salty

    LOVE your blog

  • Jessica Thoma

    This sounds like just the thing for me. I mean thinking about all the time I spend applying and removing nail polish.. Will give this a go I think 🙂 x

  • Daniella



  • salad fingers

    I work at a spa, this is how we remove no-chips, gels, shellacs, etc.

    Step 1: Take a coarse nail file and file the tops of the nails to break through the top coat. Also, file the tips of the nails at about a 45 degree angle to loosen up the edges of the manicure. None of this filing should actually be directly on the nail itself.

    Step 2: Soak cotton pads in acetone (not sure what the “erase” formula is, but pure acetone is best). Apply the cotton pads to the nail and wrap with foil. Keep on for about ten minutes, while watching your most recent (but still really old) episode of the West Wing. I also recommend making a bit of a fist while doing this in order to keep the cotton pads against the nails.

    Step 3: Polish should be almost entirely peeled off when you slip the foils off. Whatever’s left should be easily removed with a little rub from the cotton pad, an orangewood stick or a very light buff. If it’s really bad, buff a bit, soak again for a couple of minutes, repeat.

    This really shouldn’t be painful! Anyway, in all, that should take like, 20 minutes, which, plus the re-polishing, is a fraction of the time it would take me to maintain presentable polished nails for 2 weeks (mine last that long or longer.) I stand firmly on the pro no-chip side of the fence. 😀

    And lastly, hello from Chicago! Longtime lurker, first time commenter 🙂

  • Ella

    I’m just not commited enough – I paint my nails every day or two!

    ellabooxo • beauty & lifestyle

  • I have a lamp to do gel nails and I find the best polishes are the BlueSky polishes you can get on ebay for £5 each, they last forever and are super cheap! Just make sure your not buying them from china if you want them any time soon.