You know I just had to get my hands on these! After seeing many amazing nail techs using this nail system, i was immediately intrigued. It so innovative and watching many tutorials, it looked so easy to work with. What has got to be the best part about the system is the whole thing is soft gel! I ordered the full Gel-X Extension kit with the Sculpted long Coffin tips. Continue reading to see my full review!
The kit includes
15 mL APRÉS PH BONDER
15ML APRÉS NON-ACIDIC GEL PRIMER
15ML APRÉS SOAK-OFF EXTEND GEL GOLD BOTTLE EDITION
15ML APRÉS NON-WIPE TOP GELCOAT
2W MINI LED LIGHT
100/180 hand file
All nicely packaged in their PATENT LEATHER APRÉS CASE. The case has a handle at the top and inside has slots for each of the bottles, the LED light and the box of tips. Each box of tips comes with 50 pieces of each size 0-9, totaling 500 tips.
When ordering you get to choose which tips you want to come with it. You can choose between short, medium, and long for length, round, square, coffin, and stiletto for shape, and sculpted or natural for C-curve. The sculpted tips are more curved and have a higher apex compared to the natural tips. These are better for people whose nail beds are more curved. You can use the sculpted tips on any nail beds, you will just have to build up more when applying. You can order the box of tips individually as well as refills for each size. The tips don't come in very nail shape, length, and curve combo. For example, the Square shape only comes in the medium length.
The kit comes with a quick set of instructions as follows:
Prep nails using a gel manicure prep method on the natural nails
Apply pH Bonder to fingernail
Apply Non-acidic Gel Primer to fingernail
Apply a thin layer of Extend Gel onto fingernail
cure Extend Gel on fingernail with Led lamp for 30 sec (2 mins for UV lamp)
File underside contact surface of Gel-X tip
Apply Extend Gel (enough to cover natural nail) to underside contact surface of Gel-X nail tip
Use thumb to press Gel-X onto fingernail gradually from base until the gel flows to the free edge of nails
Keep thumb pressed down on Gel-X tip and nail. Cure with mini LED Light for 10 sec. Rotate thumb and Mini LED light around Gel-X tip to ensure all sides cure.
Cure entire hand in LE lamp for 30 sec (2 mins for UV lamp)
After applying my full set, there are a few things I learned that aren't mentioned in the instructions.
First, the instructions assume you have both a e-file and a LED/UV light. You cant file the underside of the tip without and e-file. You can, theoretically, so the final cure of the whole hand with the mini light provided in the kit, but IT is a little impractical and would take longer. This was not an issue for me since I do have both but if you do not have either one, it makes applying a little difficult.
The extend gel is very thick so it can build it underneath the tip and on top of the nail. I can be a little harder to work with especially applying the initial thin layer. This could take practice to make sure you don't over-apply it.
Filing the underside of the tip is important because it will allow the gel to adhere better and last longer. The instructions don't specify this, but you should file as far up the tip to cover the natural nail. Since the tips are all soft gel, you can easily file it to thin it out closer to the cuticle. You can also reshape the base of the tip to match your cuticle.
When applying the extend gel underneath the tip, you have to make sure to apply far up enough to cover your natural nail. If you are using sculpted tips with more natural shaped nails, you will have to build up a little bit more of the extend gel to make up for that space between the nail bed and the tip.
When pressing the tip down onto you nail, you have to press fairly hard to make sure that there aren't any bubbles in the extend gel. this step can be difficult if you have any length on your natural nails as there is more surface area that you have to apply pressure to. The first time I attempted it on myself, I had many bubbles on my nails that curve down more (my pointer and thumb). Since the tips are meant togo straight, any curve in the nail makes it harder to stay down. Another thing I noticed, is when holding the tip down, some of the excess extend gel comes out passed the end of the natural nail. I've seen nail techs take the extend gel brush and level out the excess under the tip. This is very difficult to do when you are applying on yourself.
This next step is also very difficult to do on yourself. When doing a clients nail, you would take the lamp in one hand and cure the tip while still holding it down with the other hand. When applying on yourself, you don't have another hand to cure the tip. I've seen some videos where people will hold the tip down with their thumb and place it under their LED lamp rather than using the mini light provided. I attempted this but the process of rotating my hands so that I can put it underneath the LED lamp cause me to not hold the tip on with as much pressure as i originally applied causing air bubbles. I think this is something I could learn to do but it would definitely take practice.
This is where the instructions stop. Another important step for after applying all the tips is to gently file away the top shiny layer of the tips so the color you apply after will adhere better. You will also want to file the edge of the tips because most of them have a tiny piece of soft gel where it looks as if it was attached to something.
For removal, it is very simple since it is soft gel. Just cut down the tip and soak off. I also filled down a bit of the top to make the soak off a little quicker. After 20 or so minutes, you can gently push off most the gel. There is still a thin layer of gel on the nail but that is expected. I usually keep a thin layer on ( most of the time the base coat) when I remove my gel.
Overall, I really like the whole system. It definitely take practice to get it perfected just like any nail enhancement. It is quick, easy to apply, and has easier removal than acrylics or hard gel. I want to try other tips mainly the natural tips to see the difference. I have a feeling another one of the reasons I had so many bubbles was using the sculpted tips on my nails which probably need the natural tips. I cannot wait to try these out more!
It you liked this tutorial, please share or like my post in my instagram page! let me know what you think!