My Red Carpet Manicured nails: say hello to Star Power with an accent of Dress for Success

This is a nifty idea: an at-home gel kit which comes complete with LED light, one LED colour and all the other bits you need like prep, base and topcoats so you can get that plump-looking salon finish at your kitchen table.

It’s from Red Carpet Manicure, it’s €95 – there’s a smaller version with a less robust looking light for €65 – and while that’s an initial outlay, once you’ve handed over the cash, you get to keep on using it.

So while this is pricey initially, it’s probably one for firm devotees of Shellac/Gelish/Artistic Nail gloss or any combination of two-to-three week manicures and those devoted nail nuts who really enjoy doing their own manicures. In that case, it’d pay for itself pretty quickly.

Red Carpet Manicure nail colour range

Plus, you can buy new colours (and there’s a decent enough selection of them including nudes, darks, brights and glitters) for €13.50 each, so you’re unlikely to get bored on that score.

Red Carpet Manicure LED Light

So lookit, how does this doofer work? Exactly the same as an in-salon job. The light’s a little more compact so unless you’ve leprechaun hands you can’t quite fit all five digits in there at a time, which slows things down a little, but at 45 seconds curing time as opposed to Shellac’s two minutes, it’s still faster.

Red Carpet Manicure steps

It’s the same process you’ll be used to with any gel mani: nails are prepped, a dehydrator is applied, then basecoat, a thin layer of colour and nails are cured

It’s the same process you’ll be used to with any gel mani: nails are prepped, a dehydrator is applied, then basecoat, a thin layer of colour and nails are cured. Repeat to finish. You don’t need to clean them in between, that’s just done at the end.

So here’s where it falls down a little: some of the colours are sheer and may need to be applied over a darker shade to really show up, like the glitters for example. Two colour coats is the recommended amount too, but I could see some patchiness post-curing with my nails and I think three might honestly be better, as it would help with longevity as well.

Because that’s the other thing: while this absolutely gives you that plump-looking, super-glossy salon finish you expect from a two week manicure, the downside is I didn’t find that this lasted that well.  It was fine on nails where the gel looked and felt thicker, but where it was thinner, it peeled and lifted from the tips and sides in two-to-three days.

This might well be a prepping thing or just a matter of needing more practice to get it right – I also have really soft, flexible nails which don’t take any polish well – so I’m keen to try this again myself, and I’ll definitely be trying a third colour coat to see what sort of impact that has too. Watch this space!

Red Carpet Manicure Gel Polish Pro and starter sets plus a remover kit and polishes are available now from stockists like Arnotts, independent pharmacies and online from cloud10beauty.com.

PRO TIPS

Elle, Red Carpet Manicure’s celeb manicurist, has worked with a huge slew of ‘slebs like Miranda Kerr, Blake Liveley (she did her intricate Met Gala mani) and Jennifer Lopez. She gave me a few key tips on how to get the best from the system.

  1. Numero uno is, RTFM. As in, read the instructions. Don’t dive in there thinking you know best: you don’t – the instructions guide you, so use ’em.
  2. Apply thin coats of all product and allow them to properly cure under the light.
  3. Never skip the topcoat – the mani simply won’t work without it.

PLUS if you’re heading to the Frillseeker launch party and you win the best nails prize, you’ll be taking a pro kit home. Yay!