Right off the bat, I’ll say I’m impressed with this kit. As of writing, I’ve had my manicure on for nine days and it pretty much looks exactly how it did on day one. (See photo above: left day one, right day nine.) With non-gel polish, I often notice that it begins to recede from the edges of my nails after a few days, but that’s not the case here. Nine days in and I’m only just beginning to nitpick over the tiniest chips. (One is because of user error; I painted over a cuticle that then lifted and took some polish with it.)
If you’re new to gels like I am, there is a learning curve. My first mistake was not buffing the entire surface of my nails prior to polish application. I lightly brushed over two of my friends’ nails with the included nail file. That will not suffice. One friend’s manicure chipped badly after a few days. The other friend’s barely lasted 18 hours. So, learn from my mistakes and make sure to thoroughly buff the entire surface of each nail before you start polishing them because the gel needs a rough surface to adhere to. (Note: When you do this, don’t use too much pressure. When you’re done buffing, use a cotton round or a clean cloth to wipe away the dust.)
The other thing I learned is that when they say to apply the polish in thin coats, they mean it. I’m used to glomming on polish generously, but that will backfire in this case. In fact, I believe that’s the reason my second friend’s manicure lasted less than a day—I gave her three gloopy coats! The first layer you apply should be thin. The polish is also a tad translucent, so you’ll see your nail bed underneath, which is OK. The second coat can be a little thicker (but not by much) and gives pretty good coverage. Less is more with the top coat, too.