This Gel Nail Kit Has Over 64 Million Views on TikTok—and It Gave Me the Mani of My Dreams

One editor does her nails, plus those of four friends

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le mini macaron review uni 2
Dasha Burobina/PureWow/Retailers
  • Design: 18/20
  • Ease of Use: 18/20
  • Durability: 20/20
  •  Removability: 19/20
  • Value: 20/20
  • Total: 95/100

Confession: I’ve only gotten my nails done at a salon once in my life. (As a lifestyle editor, is this blasphemy?) It wasn’t even shellac or acrylics. It was a flimsy coat of regular polish that barely lasted a week. On the other hand, I’ve been giving myself at-home manicures since middle school. As a teen, I had a tub filled with somewhere in the ballpark of 50 bottles in various shades. I still love doing my own nails as an adult (Olive & June is a fave), so when I was able to get my hands on TikTok’s beloved Le Mini Macaron gel nail kit ($68), I was pumped to give it a try.

le mini macaron review: Maxi J'adore Paris! - Gel Manicure Kit.
Marissa Wu

Le Mini Macaron

How I Tested the Le Mini Macaron Gel Nail Kit

Before I dive into the review, here are a few important things to note. First, I am reviewing Le Mini Macaron’s Maxi J'adore Paris! - Gel Manicure Kit. This kit comes with a larger, five-watt LED lamp than the regular kit, which has a three-watt light. According to the brand, the LED lights never need to be replaced—already a win in my book. (I still haven’t replaced a kitchen lightbulb that busted a month ago.)

Another thing to note is that I don’t have a dishwasher, so I wash everything by hand, including my cast-iron pan that requires chain mail. Usually, a regular mani barely makes it to a full seven days before a nail chips and the edges start to recede on my tips.

To test this kit, I did my own nails, and gave four lucky friends manicures as well. I evaluated the ease of application, the drying process, scent, duration of the manicure and the removal process. Before applying, I had everyone wash their hands to remove any excess oils.

le mini macaron review comparison
Marissa Wu

My Le Mini Macaron Gel Nail Kit Review

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.

le mini macaron review lamp
Marissa Wu

As for the LED light, it’s convenient and easy to operate. I opted for the larger one because I’m clumsy and knew I’d probably bash my nail into the walls of the smaller light. I didn’t have any problems with the lamp overheating, but I did notice that it would get warm, in which case I just let it rest. Both lamps will automatically turn off after the allotted time (60 seconds for the bigger one, 30 for the smaller one). Also, you shouldn’t look directly at the lamp while it’s on as it’s pretty powerful. My workaround was having my friends wear sunglasses.

How to Remove Le Mini Macaron Gel Polish

The removal process is quick. First, file off the top layer of gel—but don’t file all the way down to the nail bed. It should look roughed-up. Then, all you do is soak the gel off using one of the removal pads. You could do one per nail, but my roommates found that one pad could easily take the polish off two or three, depending on how much of the manicure was left. After soaking, gently chip away at the remaining polish, and it flakes off. You can do this with the polish remover tool, but we used the end of a nail file, which worked fine as well. Finish up with the Nail Rescue Bundle (cuticle oil and hand cream) to replenish your tips.

The Bottom LIne

Overall, I liked this gel nail kit. The packaging and design are fun, the polish lasts much longer than traditional lacquers and the drying time is fast. (This is paramount for me because I’m a notorious and impatient smudger.) The one thing I might nitpick is that the gel looks a little translucent if you look closely, but that could also just be me needing to finesse the thickness of the coats. But with tons of fun colors, portability and ease of application, Le Mini Macaron’s gel nail kit is a good investment. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to try some new summer shades.  

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How to Make Your Gel Manicure Last for a Full Month

MW 10

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