RED Hearts: The Best Gel Nails

gelish kitRED Hearts are guest posts on I Heart Daily from the authors of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today. Today’s RED Hearts post is from RED author Camila Henao, 19, in Chicago who test drives Gelish's nail kit (and loves it):

My nail polish collection is more extensive than I’d like to admit. Sometimes I think I must have the full spectrum from OPIEssiebutter London and Sally Hansen, and I’ve picked up plenty of random and valued polishes at the dollar store. I love painting my nails and trying new things.

Trust me on this next part: I am a smart and serious student and person with the right priorities. I know the place of chipped polish on the hierarchy of tragedies in this world.

Still, it frustrates me that it seems no matter what base, polish or topcoat I use, by the fourth day or so my manicure is looking pretty shabby. I’d heard that the answer to this is gel polishes, rumored to stick around for three weeks, but I’d never tried them in a salon -- or had any idea you could use them at home.

So the Gelish Basix Kit was a revelation, enough that I now want to buy all of the cute shades of polish in their line and leave behind the collection that took me so long to build. (I did my hands in "Up the Blue" and my feet in "Tiger Blossom," and both are near-pristine pretty ten days in, impressively past the usual tipping/chipping point.)

Going Gelish is a bit pricey: the Basix Kit is $50; the LED Curing Light that sets the gel is $70; and the polishes are $15 each. But it’s so worth it for the staying power, especially if you’re someone who pays for salon mani-pedis (do the math) or just a fanatic like me, who always needs the next new nail thing.

Plus, the whole gel process is easy, a successful at-home science experiment. The kit includes a nail surface cleanse that you prep with; a pH bond, which helps the foundation stick; and a topcoat to seal everything off.

It also comes with a remover that won’t damage your nails, but you’re not going to need that for a good long time, up to 21 days later. As long as you can get past admitting that you’re willing to invest in the beauty of your nails -- we’d never point fingers -- Gelish belongs in your collection.

RED Hearts guest poster Camila Henao is an author of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today, which is out in paperback.