Gelish Polish Review

Saturday, September 4, 2010
Hi everyone!  I know I said I was going to post a blog sooner, but unfortunately, my mother (the DOCTOR) has expressed a deep desire for me to STOP w/ my nails!  Can you believe that?  Of course you can...I can only imagine how all the fumes and whatnot can affect the poor little dear inside me.  So, as a compromise, I've cut down...and I've dealt with the whole chipping thing with having her (yes, HER, lol) invest in a new gel polish system.  I couldn't afford it without her, and I'm blessed she still spoils me! =)

This pic here is me sporting a cute French Mani, courtesy of babsita84's Faded French Hologram Manicure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnj3evqlXGQ .  I think they turned out really cute, but it was quite tedious to do.  You are supposed to put each hologram glitter on one at a time...as you can see, I got lazy and did a few at a time, and so my fade looks a little funny. =(  Oh wellz!  I still like them!  And of course, I chose my Lakers Colors: Purple & Gold! =)  Can't wait for the season to start!

Now, on to the Gelish Polish Review!  Before actually buying a soak-off gel polish system, I did some research before choosing which brand I wanted to go with.  There are many reviews of the big 3: CND's Shellac, OPI's Axxium, and Harmony's Gelish.  The main reason I decided to go with Gelish over the others is the price.  My manicurist friend told me that you get more bang for your buck with Gelish.   LOL So yup, I brought my mom with me, and she seemed to like what she saw, so she bought me the whole system (as an investment, of course!).

*Update At ShearUp.com, there is a Gelish Starter Kit for $119.99!  (Much cheaper than the $200 my mom spent to buy all the stuff I needed, lol.)

Now, this does seem a little pricey....but, you need to look at it from the other side as well.  A typical gel polish manicure here, in the LA area, runs you about $30.  I know on the east coast, they run closer to $60.  So, if I do at least 5 manis/pedis with this set, I will have made it worth its investment.  I've already done that, actually...mani/pedi on mom, mani/pedi on me (plus an extra French mani now!), and a mani/pedi on my mom's friend.  That's 7 total...which is about $210.  Not bad for owning it for 2 weeks, eh?

To the right is how my nails looked right after I was finished with them.  The system is pretty simple.

Step 1: File/Shape your nails, push cuticles back.

Step 2: Clean nails with alcohol (on a lint-free wipe).

Step 3: Apply PH Bond.

Step 4: Apply Foundation Gel.

Step 5: Cure for 30 seconds.

Step 6: Apply 1 coat of color polish.  (In my pic, my first coat was Gossip Girl.)

Step 7: Cure for 1 minute.

Step 8: Apply 2nd coat of color polish.  (In my pic, my second coat was Water Field.)

Step 8: Cure for 1 minute.

Step 9: Apply Top Seal.

Step 10: Cure for 2 minutes.

Step 11: Remove tacky layer with alcohol (on a lint-free wipe).

And you're done!  All in all it took about 30 minutes to do one manicure.  Not too shabby!

Since it was my first try, I didn't do a great job...I got too close to the cuticles, and my top coat was too thick.  My second time around, I kept all my coats thin, and the mani looks MUCH better!

This pic to the left is from the 2nd day.  They look exactly how they did the day before.  I wish you could see how shiny my nails are...it was almost as shiny as glass.  The gels have a beautiful finish.

This pic to the right is from Day 3.  You can kinda see the shine a little better from this angle, but the picture doesn't do it justice!  The nails still look perfect...no chipping, no wear & tear at the tip.

Because I went too close to the cuticle, some of the polish lifted a little toward that end.  You can't tell in the pictures, but you can feel it...especially when running your fingers through you hair! LOL  So that was my bad...other people have reported that they stay in perfect condition for 10-14 days, even longer.

This next picture to the left is from  Day 5.  They look like I just got them done!  You can kinda see that my nails are growing out a little, but besides that, they look great.

At this point, I was kinda getting annoyed with the length of the nails...This was the longest I've kept them in awhile, and they just started to bug me.  I didn't do anything about it at this point, because I wanted to keep taking pics...hehehe.

Sorry this picture is blurry!  Sometimes you look at the little tiny screen on your camera and it looks perfect...but when you look at it on your big monitor...it's blurry as hell.  Oh wellz...

This is from the last day I kept my manicure: Day 7.  At this point, I really wanted to cut my nails to a more manageable length.  From inspecting my nails, I could tell that the manicure would last at least a few days more, but I was also bored with the color.  I mean it's pretty....but to wear for an extended period?  I would need something more my style, like... a French manicure! LOL  So that's why I removed them (soaking in acetone for 10 minutes then removing with an orange stick is the proper method), and began a new manicure!

Here is a pic of my mom's manicure.  This is two coats of June Bride.  I think my application was a little flawed because in the pic, the color looks darker on the tips.  But this was back when I was still figuring it out, so don't judge! LOL  She has also removed her polish, but she didn't want to get a new manicure yet...she broke two nails yesterday while cooking, and she doesn't know what she wants to do yet, lol.  She said her nails grow fast and I think she wants to wait for them to be a little longer before doing another Gelish manicure.  Two weeks is a pretty long commitment....

So this is my current manicure...my right hand.  I used Water Field as my base, and Good Gossip as my French Tip color.  Then I added some big bling in Teal & AB.  I was basically doing this to test if rhinestones stay better with the gel system.  Unfortunately, these rhinestones were too big...the top seal is too thin to have a rigid hold on the rhinestones.  I think I should use regular clear gel to secure them...

Here is my left hand...with light pink & AB rhinestones.  I think the teal stands out a lot better, but the pink does have a nice soft look.  These two pics were taken right after I finished my manicure.

Unfortunately, I lost a few rhinestones already...replaced them, and have lost one again.  This is definitely a pain in the butt....the lost rhinestones leave a ridge, so my nails aren't smooth. =( Bleh!

And also unfortunately, the camera is not picking up the gorgeous gel shine and all the sparkles!  LOL  But, as you can see from the pics, I don't look like I'm wearing anything but regular nail polish!  My coats are very thin and even, and I stayed the proper distance from my cuticles.  My top seal is a little thick on the nails that have the rhinestones, but I'll have to figure out a better way to apply those next time.  I think my mom wants some bling in her next mani, lol.

I did post a quick video on YouTube showing all the pics above.  It was just a slideshow, but here's the link anyway!

It's hard for me to compare Gelish to other brands...I've heard that Shellac actually applies thinner (perhaps easier?), but have you seen the bottles?  They're smaller than the Gelish ones!  Both are about the same price, but the Gelish Polish comes with .5 floz while the Shellac only comes with .25 floz.  Crazy!  You get double the product for the same price!  I don't know if you'll necessarily use 1/2 as much Shellac just because the product applies thinner, but I don't feel like my coats of Gelish are THAT thick anyway.  The Axxium system doesn't come in a nail polish-like bottle (which Gelish & Shellac do).  The Axxium gels come in a pot, which you need a separate brush to apply.  Each pot runs around the same price as Gelish and Shellac, but it only comes with .14 oz (not sure how that converts to floz).  I believe the Axxium system applies the thickest of the three.

I'm really happy with the Gelish system...which seems to have more color choices than the other two.  I don't think I'll be trying Shellac, but the OPI colors do interest me (I absolutely adore "I'm not Really a Waitress"!). I'm quite tempted to try it out...but I don't think that'll happen in the *near* future.  Will keep you updated if I do test it out!  Maybe I'll ask my manicurist friend if I can mooch of her, tee-hee!

Anyhoo, will have to wait and see when my next post is!  It'll prolly be a little sporadic until a few months after the baby is born, but I'll try to post stuff when I can! =)

Update: ShearUp.com is offering my readers 10% off if you use the promo code: PRINCESSTEA
(Please note that I don't get anything if you use this promo code.  This is completely for your benefit!)

Update: I posted a new video/blog on the application of Gelish: http://miniteababy.blogspot.com/2011/05/gelish-manicure-review-on-6g-led-lamp.html

Btw, happy birthday to my loving Hubby!


**UPDATE: Check out my review on Gelish Magneto!

1. I bought every product I'm showing by myself (nothing was sent to me for free). -- Exception, my mom bought me the Gelish Polish System. =)
2. No one has paid me or compensated me for this video or blog.
3. I am not affiliated with any of the companies of the products I used.
4. These are my honest opinions.


Queen Terrell said...

Thanks for the info! I love gelish. Mine were professional done on 9/5 for Labor day. Today is 9/20 and my nails are STILL going strong. I have two unnoticeable chips. My nails has grown out and I just got a similar color and filled in the growth and repainted my nail on top of my gelish... Like new once again. I will forever love gelish!!!

Princess Tea said...

Wow, that's pretty long! My last gelish mani lasted about 10days before I took it off and gave my nails a break. However, my pedi is going strong at 14 days. I heard pedis can last up to 6weeks!

andrea said...

I had a gelish mani done a little over a week ago, and i was totally bummed. It was very sloppy. Had it re-done and it was still sloppy. So I took it off. I could have done better myself! So then i came across your blog, and you say you found this product in a store? where?

(00) said...

Hi, have the experience of Cnd Shellac & Gelish on natural nails. Although it greatly depends on the manicurist's technical acumen, would rec Gelish over Shellac. in my opinion Shellac seems to become discolored -- I have frecn mani's only. Again,if the manicurist is not skilled at doing the Frenchi, Shellac is much less forgiving. Thanks for your post. Best wishes for your soon-to-be Motherhood.

Princess Tea said...

@Andrea OMG, I'm so sorry I'm barely responding to your comment! I actually gave birth on Nov 6th, and have been uber busy! Anyhoo, if you're still looking for it...in the Los Angeles area, there are 3 stores I've seen gel-polish at: Spa Beauty Supply, Beauty Headquarters, and Nail Supply House. All are on Valley Blvd between Del Mar and Temple City Blvd. Spa Beauty is the one that had the sale in Sept, but I have no idea if they have a new deal or not. =) Hope this helps!

DRTishkoff said...

I just love Gelish BUT I use this product differently --and here's info about this different way to use it, like I do…millions of acrylics wearers are going to go crazy when this news gets around!

...check this out:

Genuine Gelish: performs like gel, applies like polish.

"Gelish" gel-polish (parent company is Hand & Nail Harmony) researchers developed Gelish as “permanent nail polish,” designed to stay on until removed, so that perfect manicures last for weeks.

Now, the trend is for an off-label use that’s amazing: the Gelish fill. It’s the 3-week perfect fill, the superior way to maintain gel or acrylic artificial nails, tips or extensions.

A Gelish fill looks sleek, slim, micro-thin and yet is so, so strong and durable. You can do dishes, zip-up a stuck zipper — use your nails all you want; they won’t break, crack, chip, flake or smudge…your nails look incredible for weeks.

Gelish, the first (and still best) brand of brush-in-bottle gel-polish, was invented and patented by Hand & Nail Harmony’s founder Danny Haile.

Even better: Gelish cures in seconds using LED light, when the salon has the “Harmony 6G/9G LED” Lamp.

To use as a fill: Start with Harmony’s Gelish “FOUNDATION” Base Gel, in conjunction with Gelish system sculpting products “REVEAL” and/or “STRUCTURE,” followed by genuine Gelish color in any of its 72 shades* or in one of the nude/sheer shades as the polish, and, last, applying “TOP IT OFF” as a sealer/topcoat, the entire fill and manicure dries in seconds.

Gelish is the ideal formulation for sculpted-nail maintenance fills, for use with the entire line of Gelish system products or even when acrylics, tips or extensions originally built the initial previous set of nails.

Since Gelish is odorless, it leaves the salon smelling great and the client’s hands instantly good-to-go: glossy, shiny, amazingly slim, strong, fabulous
nails — fast.

- genuine Gelish color comes in 72 colors* plus nude/sheer shades

* = the latest new Gelish color releases in the Spring will bring it to 96 gorgeous shades

Gelish is sold only to licensed nail professionals and available as an in-salon service.


Phone 562-623-4203

NOTE: Celebs and their stylists and beauty teams LOVE Gelish (it stays on for 21 days…lasts until it’s taken it off…). Gelish is odor-free, slimmer, gorgeous, so much better than acrylics for fills, too…Celeb manicurists (like Kimmie Kyees) exclusively use Gelish, since Gelish cures the fastest (10-seconds in an LED lamp; you can rummage around to grab your keys in your purse, get out the door super-quick). Gelish has the most (96 by March) colors…celebrity/artist list and photos available…Kimmie gives Gelish gel-polish mani/pedis to her clients, like Rhianna; Katy Perry; Ciara; Christina Applegate; Fergie…

Brandi said...

Thanks for the blog. I just got my first uv gels done the other day. I've been contemplating buying the system for myself to do for me and my daughter. Just wondering what your experiences are with the removal? I've read some negative feedback and it's making me wonder is it really better? Thanks!

Research said...

Just got Gelish done. Neva heard of it, but salon said it would last longer, so I was game. I thought a week. So good to know it could last more than that. Thanks for the blog.

Monique said...

A little late in the game but so worth it. I get a traditional french mani done and it lasts 3 weeks and 5 days. I love that I can polish over it early on and that polish lasts better too.

admin said...

What a wonderful and in-depth review! My name is Eva Shaffer and I am a representative from ShearUp.com. We love when bloggers post about the products we carry. Gelish is definitely one of our biggest sellers. We would be more than happy to offer all of your readers 10% Off their order of Gelish Nail Polish. Thank you for your honest review and supporting Harmony Gelish Nail Polish. Just give us a call before placing your order at 949-273-0019 to redeem your discount!

Betsy said...

I bought the system and did my nails for the first time on Thursday. Three of my nails have already peeled. It was probably my prep. I didn't use the phBond but started with the Foundation and ended with the Top coat and using the 36w UV dryer as directed. If you can think of anything else I might have done wrong, please let me know. Betsy

admin said...

For those of you who are just getting started with Gelish and are a little hesitant about investing $300-400 on an LED curing lamp, we now are carrying the starter kits that come with everything you need to get started including 2 colors and a personal mini LED curing lamp. These Harmony Gelish Starter Kits come in 3 versions, Harmony Gelish Starter Kit 1 which comes with Gelish June Bride and Gelish Taffeta, Harmony Gelish Starter Kit 2 which comes with Gelish Bronzed and Gelish Light Elegant, and Harmony Gelish Starter Kit 3 which comes with Gelish Bella's Vampire and Gelish Good Gossip. As always, please don't hesitate to call ShearUp.com at 949-232-6154 if you need any questions answered about getting started with Harmony Gelish Nail Polish. We're here to help! :)

nml said...

I have thin, peeling fragile nails. Am I a candidate for the new gels, or will the gel peel with the nail?

Lena said...

What store did you find the Gelish polish?

Princess Tea said...

To everyone: Sorry for the long wait on replies! Blogger isn't emailing me when people leave comments, even though I checked that option. Weird.

Princess Tea said...

@Brandi Removing has been pretty easy. I just use Acetone, soak for 10 min, and it comes right off with an orange stick. I haven't noticed any damage to my nails from using Gelish per se, but my nails seem a little weaker because I'm not using my normal nail strengthening base coat...

Princess Tea said...

@Betsy Things I came up with that might help: 1. Are you cleaning off your nails with alcohol before the foundation gel? 2. I think the PHBond helps, but I'm not sure exactly what it does. I just use it because it's one of the steps, lol. 3. Are you "capping" the edges? Make sure when you put on each layer, you are also dragging it to the tip of your nail. I think there's a better explanation somewhere, or ask me if you want me to elaborate. =) 4. If you're using a 36 watt lamp, are you curing for the extended times? Aka Base Coat is 1 min, each coat of polish is 1 min and Top Coat is 2 min.

Let me know if any of these helped! Or if you figured it out already. I want to do an update to the review soon, so anything you learn can help others! =)

Princess Tea said...

@NMI I'm not a professional, so I don't want to give you the wrong advice. I, personally, also have peeling nails (when I don't take care of them!), and I find that it helps to use have UV Gel Polish on because I pick at them less. But, if you want to just "test" the waters, I recommend getting it professionally done at a salon before you invest a grip of $$ in the system. =)

Princess Tea said...

@Lena I'm in the San Gabriel Valley, in CA. I found them in a few nail supplies stores here: Spa Nail Supplies in El Monte, Beauty Headquarters in El Monte, and Nail Supply Warehouse in San Gabriel. Online, ShearUp.com has mentioned a 10% discount to my readers, though I haven't verified it just yet (will get on that, I promise!) I am not affiliated with any of these companies and don't get any money for telling you about them. Just a neutral bystander. =)

nml said...

Well, readers, I had my first Gelish manicure Thursday morning and, as of Sunday night, no chips, no peeling, no lifting! I love this product. If it lasts even just 10 days, I'll be a happy girl. I asked my nail tech to include Structure and, even with that extra layer, it still looks like a normal polish manicure! I hope the extra strength will give my nails a chance to get some length without the buffing I normally get to eliminate ridges. I love the look! I am a convert.

admin said...

I went back to place my order and Teresa at ShearUp.com who helped me out the first time was kind enough to give me a coupon code for Harmony Gelish Nail Polish. I thought I'd share this coupon code with you guys to save 10% off your order. Use coupon code: JEALOUS at checkout. Thank you, Teresa you have been so helpful. I will keep coming back for Gelish! By the way, their phone number is 949-273-0019.

TB said...

I tried the shearup.com code and it actually worked! I pre ordered the mini kit, I CANNOT WAIT FOR IT TO ARRIVE!

This is going to be my first time using Gelish. Does anyone here have and Gelish for Dummies tips?

Kaitlyn said...

just got my GELISH done yesterday at the nail salon I go to.. I am liking it so far.. just a bit ify on the removal.. They said they soak my nails in acetone to remove it and I dont know how much I am going to like that.. so we will see..
but as of right now I am enjoying the fact my nails havent chipped yet..

kristen said...

Hey! I'm a nail tech in south carolina and i decided to do some research b4 investing in a gel polish system and your blog has been a great help!!!! GELISH it is!!! Thanks hunn!

Kaitlyn said...

So I have had GELISH on my nails for almost a week now and I do love it! I was soo excited to get out of the shower the other day without any chips!!
The only bummer is that I had a bandaid on my thumb and when I went to take the bandaid off the adhesive part got stuck on my nail and ripped off a big piece of the corner of my nails =/ so now that spot has no color to it.
I ended up just putting another bandaid over it to cover it because i love how my nails are looking with the Gelish! =)

Tracey said...

I live in New Zealand and had my first Gelish mani & pedi on March 17th and Im still happy with them.You can see regrowth but as have such a light colour on it's not too noticable. I love this product.Am I able to buy the product from here?It's too expensive to have it done very often. This blog is very helpful. Thanks. Tracey.

Kaitlyn said...

today marks a week officially with my Gelish nails and they are peeling on the sides a lot! i am thinking it was the lady that did my nails.. like maybe she didn't to a great job on them? I am going to back to the salon today and see what they can do for me..

Ms said...

I am on my second manicure with Gelish. The first one lasted about two weeks. The salon did not use the Probond the first time, but I noticed the second, they did. I am using it over my natural nails.

About removal - I have been doing A LOT of reading on this... You should remove the top coat with a file, first. Scuff it up... THEN soak a cotton ball in acetone, and wrap your finger nail with foil. This way you are not drying out your cuticles / hands. This should make the polish come off quickly and with little scrapping from the orange stick.

I love them and have gone out and bought the system. I wish I had read this blog before for the starter kit would be AWESOME!

Thanks for the review.

nml said...

Hi all,

I am still loving the Gelish! The first one lasted 10 days, the second a full two weeks. I'm now ready to make the investment and am wondering if the discounts are still available? Plus, has anyone received their mini-kit? Are you satisfied with the smaller lamp and how long does it take to cure each step? I'm torn between the two lamps. Thanks for any insight you can offer.


Plug said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rachel said...

I started getting my nails done at a salon that uses the Gelish products! I was so impressed that I have returned faithfully ever since! I am thinking about buying my own system and doing my own. Still looking for a reasonably priced 36 w light, though. Gelish is really a great product!!!

Princess Tea said...

@Nancy I haven't tried out the mini-kit, so I'm sorry I can't offer any insight!

@Rachel I bought my original 36 watt lamp for $55. I'm not sure how it compares to the rest of the market because I didn't shop around. (I know! It's terrible!)

nailsxpo said...

Did you use 99% alcohol because it would cleanse the residue better which would makes the gel polish shinier

Princess Tea said...

@nailsxpo No, I just used the regular 70%...what I had lying around, lol. But that's good to know...I'll have to pick some up and try it out for my next mani! =) Thanks for the tip!


How do you remove gelish?


How does one remove Gelish?

Thresa said...

Hi, thanks for making video tutorial on Gelish. Just want to let you know that I post that in my article because your video is much better than reading the instructions :-)...Thanks again.


Princess Tea said...

@Cheysbaydelta Hi! Sorry for the slow reply! You remove it by soaking your nails in acetone for 10 minutes and then using an orange (cuticle) stick to remove. It comes off easily and should not damage your nails, though your nails won't be shiny for a few days. Hope this helps!

spanglish family said...

Gelish is my favorite!!!! I love seeing your manicure pics - thanks for posting! I got lots of my stuff at Sallys, have since found alot more at Bella Beauty in Montealegre Mall www.montealegremall.com Just typed in gelish under nails and found a bazillion colors - like nail nirvana lol!

the3mchick said...

I bought a gelish kit yesterday in Sally's beauty supply. My first try wasn't too bad but didn't look like when I got it done in salon. I got polish on cuticles important not to get too close. I used star burst. When I put the final top it off some of the polish came off leaving streaks. I don't like that. Maybe because I bought the mini UV light ans its not curing the polish too well. Maybe I'll get a better light. Otherwise very easy to put on and really does last.

Jake Gourd said...

Gelish is generally preferred by my clients at GelMe. However shellac is being asked for more and more.

FallenSerendipity said...

Does your Water Field gelish polish look yellow in the bottle? I just picked up the gelish mini's starter kit yesterday, with two of the mini colours, but when I got home and opened my bottle of Water Field, it looked really yellow, as if it was discolored. I was confused as on the swatches at the store, it was not yellowish but silver :/ Maybe I got a dodgy one? Pretty sure the place I bought it from won't accept returns since I opened the bottle. When I layered it over Up In The Blue (the other colour I got) it looks silver...maybe curing it made it turn silver and not yellow? I'm just really confused haha :/