In about an hour and a half, I was done with my rose red manicure, as well as my grandma's . Here's how it went down:
First I cleaned my nails with the Gelish Nail Surface Cleanser (which is basically just alcohol and acetone). The Gelish instructions specified that you must use a lint-free wipe, and I'm not entirely sure what that means, so I used a foundation sponge.
Next I applied a coat of the Gelish foundation gel and put my nails under my new Gelish mini-UV light for 2 minutes. This made my nails super-duper shiny. Note: the directions point out that your nails will still be tacky at this point. Mine were.
The next step is where the color comes in. I used the shade "Red Roses," a fire engine red (which looks nothing like the label that's more of a maroon color). Following the instructions, I cured the polish for 2 minutes under the UV light, and repeated the polish application and curing again
Finally, I applied a UV-activated top coat by Seche and cured it under the UV light for 3 minutes. This is where me not following directions comes in to play. I purchased this top coat instead of the Gelish version because it was about half the price.
The Gelish instructions say to use the nail cleanser again at this point to remove the "Sticky film," but I did that on one nail, and it ruined the results (probably because of my not following the directions), so I didn't do that step on the rest of the nails.
My nails tturned out great! Super shiny, hard, and pretty! I did my grandma's nails in the color "Light Elegance" (a semi-sheer, shimmery pink), and she loved the results too! The non-chipping factor is great for me because I'm a busy gal with a career and a life, and it's great for my 87-year-old grandma because she doesn't want to have to get her nails done too frequently.
Now, I'm not sure how this gel will come off, but I'll keep you posted. There's a special Gelish remover you can purchase, but I'm sure I'll try regular nail polish first.
Although I can't speak to the staying power of the Gelish system yet, I've got a good feeling that the color isn't going anywhere. Overall, I'd say this endeavor was a success, and well worth the initial investment.