I am a bit of a nail polish addict owning a giant collection of nail polishes. some of which you can see in my past posts So I always have an eye out for new polishes and for a long time I have toyed with the idea of buying a gel nail polish set.
I am quite impatient and keep ruining polishes by touching my nails when they are not completely dry yet. So the idea of immediately curing the polish with a UV lamp sounded like a really great idea.
Doing your own gel polish manicure?
While the idea sounds great, the high price tag has always discouraged me. For a quality gel set, the usual price lies at around £65-80. A lot of money to invest in something you are not 100% sure how you are getting along and be happy with. Your nails might be immediately touch dry bit the process quite lengthy. It includes up to 5 or 6 individually UV cured coats consisting of a preparatory coat, a base coat, two colour coats and a top coat.
Here the Sensationail instruction video:
Fuse gelnamel – is it the right compromise?
So when I then came across Fuse, Sensational’s sister brand, which is a so called gelnamel system, claiming to have all the advantages of a gel manicure with the simpleness of a normal nail polish I was quite interested. The price tag is still slightly hefty, but with the starter set coming at £35 pounds a lot lower than any gel polish set.
Currently Fuse is exclusive to Boots and while there are 12 different colours in total, the starter set appears to come only in 2 colours: a very dark purple and a relatively bright pink. I am generally not a too particular fan of either but preferred the pink over the purple.
Using the Fuse system
So I went off to Boots and got my own starter kit. I went for the pink one, simply on preference. When I opened it up this is what I found inside:
According to the instructions you should buff your nails to get rid of the natural shiny layer, apply the cleanser with the lint free wipes and once your nail have dried, apply one coat of the colour polish and immediately cure the polish for 30 seconds using the mini UV light and then give it another wipe with the cleanser. Simple enough.
And so I got started
I followed the above instructions and all was very easy and worked quite well. After 30 seconds of curing, the nails have a great shine and appear as hard as a rock.
With each nail curing only taking 30 seconds I was fully done with the whole manicure in only about 20 minutes and that with perfectly touch dry and shiny nails without any ruining of half dry nails on the way. So to a very big part it is actually really keeping it’s promises.
How long does it last?
As it was my first try I had one or two imperfections and so the nails chipped a bit after a few days, but the promise of the polish lasting at least a week is really not far fetched.
However, you really have to play close attention to push back your cuticles, properly buff your nails and also properly clean your nails before the application of the polish to make it last as long as possible.
How to get it off?
The nail polish is actually sticking so well to your nail that it is really not that easy to get it off. Normal nail polish remover; indifferent if it is containing or not; won’t do anything to it.
So I went back to Boots and bought, as instructed by the fuse website, the sensational gel polish remover (which turned out to be basically nothing else but nearly pure acetone) and a removal tool, which is used to scrape off the polish.
However, even with this high acetone remover, just wiping your nails will not be enough to remove the polish. You will need to lightly file the polish to break the top coat and then soak the nails for approximately 10-15 minutes before you can carefully and lightly (make sure not to damage your nail) scrape off the polish with the tool.
Sensationail sells special wraps for soaking your nails , but I could not be bothered to buy those. So I just cut up some cotton pads which I soaked in the remover and wrapped my fingers with tinfoil, which looked quite peculiar.
But after 10 minutes in my home made tinfoil wraps, scraping the colour remainders off was actually quite easy. The tinfoil method was ok, except for one slight problem: tinfoiling the other hand when the first hand is already wrapped is not that easy.
To avoid this problem in future I have ordered some soak off finger caps online:
Is it worth it?
Ultimately I was very happy with the product, being simple, working well and keeping more or less all its promises.
I really like the little usb curing light. It is particularly practical as you can easily take it travelling with you. I am planning on taking it with me on a trip to Germany where I will be going as a guest to a wedding, and I am sure thanks to fuse I will have great nails matching my dress.
The only downside is that price is still a bit high. This might be due to the case that there is not so much competition yet. Particularly as Fuse is still exclusive to boots, at the moment of this post being written.
If you are having a look on ebay and you are lucky you might even find a starter kit from the USA or Australia that might be cheaper even including the shipping cost. However in this case customs may spoil your plans if you want to save that way.
Ultimately if you are as impatient as I me and unhappy with how short a normal manicure lasts Fuse can be a really great alternative for you, if you are happy to pay £35 for a starter set and £15 pounds for individual polishes.
I have actually gone and bought a few more colours and as I will be putting them on and wearing them I will be posting a few pictures like the one below on my instagram and/or tumblr account to let you see how the other colours look and to keep you up to date.
So don’t forget to follow me on tumbler and/or instragram to keep up to date with my nail, fashion or beauty adventures and also any other interesting news and events of my life as plus-size Geek in general.
Upgrading to a gel kit?
Beeing happy with the Fuse kit I am now part thinking about and am actually quite interested in maybe upgrading at some point to a proper gel kit. However at the moment I don’t really have that much money lying around to invest in something like that.
Well I will keep you up to date if anything changes. In the meantime it would be great if you could let me know your experiences with Gel, Shellac and similar kinds of manicures that are out there now. What is your favourite? Have you had your nails done at a salon or do you use/consider a home kit. I would love to hear about your experiences!