Hello fellow quarantinees,
Seeing as currently all the nail salons, hair salons, lash bars, gyms and tanning salons are closed until date unknown, I have been scouring the internet for at home solutions to try in the meantime. I’ve been reading product reviews and doing some research before picking and ordering the products I want to try. When I ran across this polygel kit, I was excited about the price point and the positive reviews so I decided to check it out. Now that I have used it on myself a few times, I think I’ve learned quite a bit. I am by no means a professional or anything along those lines, just a sucker for a good DIY hack and want to share what worked for me!
Before I get into it, I should mention that I’ve had a lot of practice doing my own nails at home using shellac for several years which I feel gave me an advantage with polygel. If you aren’t very familiar with doing your own nails, this may not be the best option for you. I discovered pretty early on in the process that there would be a learning curve (as most of the reviews suggested), but it’s absolutely worth the effort and patience if you like doing your own nails. For the amount of product and what’s included in the kit, I was excited about how many uses I could get for such a great price. However, don’t let the low price point completely sell you on this kit as in order to get the polygel to be shaped correctly and be applied more easily there are a few additional items I ended up purchasing that I would consider necessary for this process. I will link everything I purchased at the end, but first I’ll outline it here and then go into details about the process and share a few tips and tricks that I learned along the way.
- LED lamp (not included in the kit, but if you do your own gel/shellac nails at home you already probably have one of these)
- Polygel kit (mine came with 2 nail files/buffers, 1 base coat, 1 top coat, 1 clear polygel tube, 1 white polygel tube, 1 light pink polygel tube, 1 dark pink polygel tube, 2 sets flat dual forms, 2 sets curved dual forms, and an application brush)
- Electric nail drill kit with multiple drill heads
- Nail clip (for holding down form)
- Rubbing alcohol and cotton balls
I started with prepped nails (filed, buffed, shaped, cuticles pushed back, and cleaned), and then began reading the instructions. First, try each of the dual forms over your natural nails to find which ones best fit each of your nails. I personally used the flatter dual forms for all of my nails and it worked out that the same 5 forms that worked for my left nails also worked for my right. With this process, you do one nail at a time. I learned the second time I went through the process that it was a bit easier to start with each pinky, then do both ring fingers, then middle fingers, pointer fingers, and lastly both thumbs. Once you have all your forms picked out, you’ll put on a layer of the base coat provided in the kit and let cure under your LED lamp for 90 seconds. Then put a bit of the polygel at the base of the nail form, dip your brush in the rubbing alcohol (I used this as my “slip solution”, this seems to act as a barrier between the brush and the polygel so that your brush won’t stick to the polygel it’s easier to manipulate and get a more even coat), and finally put the form with gel on your nail, put the clip on (this isn’t absolutely necessary, BUT highly recommended as the clear clip holds the form in place while it’s hardening and it doesn’t lift up and create bubbles while curing), and hold under your LED lamp for 90 seconds.
Once you take the clear plastic form off, you can begin filing the nail to your liking. The 2 files included in the kit were really great, but just not enough for me so I ended up ordering an electric file that has made this whole process so much quicker and easier. It came with a couple of smaller pointed attachments that I found worked better than anything else at reaching the hard to get to areas right around the cuticle, it has a more rounded attachment for any excess underneath the nail that piled up by the tip of the finger, and several for shaping and smoothing the top.
After this, you can choose to leave it the color of the polygel and just top with the clear coat or add color. I ended up leaving them the light pink the first time (both pinks in the kit are so pretty on their own!), then I started topping with my usual shellac colors and have had no issues with that.
I have done the process 4 times total, 2 of them I started with natural nails and 2 of them I just did a “fill”. The “fills” took significantly less time than starting over. Now that I have some practice, I don’t anticipating having to do anything other than a fill unless I decide to take them off. For a fill, I just took the color and top coat off the polygel with my electric file and reshaped them to my liking. Then I put a TINY bit the polygel from the tube on the bare part of my natural nail and gently pat and blend into the existing polygel nail with the rubbing alcohol (my slip solution) and brush. I have been able to do multiple nails at once this way as well which also saves me time.
A couple of other things I’d like to add:
- The 4 polygel tubes that came with the kit were each one ounce. I don’t know how many uses I’ll get out of them, but after doing them 4 times I haven’t even made a dent in the tubes I have used so I imagine it’ll be quite some time before I run out.
- As far as the top coat goes, I found the one in this kit was a little bit more watery in consistency than I’m used to and kept getting on the skin around my nails, so I just started using the clear top coat I normally use for shellac and that has worked well.
- The polygel is very strong, I would compare it to acrylic nails. Mine have survived housecleaning, countless dishes, and an extreme excess of hand washing (due to our current COVID-19 ordeal).
- You might consider setting aside 2-3 hours for the first time trying this, it takes a little while to figure out. Now that I have had some practice I can do a fill on myself in 35 minutes or so.
- I did have one nail break shortly after the first time I tried this and it was only because I wasn’t yet familiar with the product. Just anticipate it to not come out perfect the first time, although I was still pretty pleased with the results the first time anyway.
Overall, I am really happy with polygel and will definitely continue to use it. I really like that you can add length to your nails instantly. There is definitely a learning curve, and if you are patient and willing to put the time and energy into figuring it out, this would be a good product to check out! Below I’ll link the products I used. I do receive a small chunk of change if you choose to make a purchase from one of the links below at no extra cost to you, which I would likely use to purchase more fun things on the internet and hopefully create more fun content. Thank you for stopping by!