Note that I purchased the above-pictured system with my own money. I am not compensated in any way to provide a review of the Gelish dip products. The opinions expressed in this review are my own, based on my personal experience with the product. Thank you to my awesome photographer for the photos.
The system starts with 5 bottles of product, which are:
- Prep – which is essentially your primer. This is applied after nail plate preparation.
- Base Coat – This is the “sticky” coat, that will adhere the powder to the nail. The first ingredient is cyanoacrylate, and it smells like it (fair warning!)
- Activator – this is applied on top of the base/powder coats to aid in curing.
- Top Coat – The final step is the top coat which, again, is cyanoacrylate-based. But it is very smooth. Two coats of the Gelish Dip Top Coat will leave you with a smooth, shiny finish, nothing else needed.
- Brush Restorer – if you’ve worked with dip systems in the past you know that this little bottle is a huge helper! The Base and Top Coat brushes will end up with gummed-up product on the ends of them by the end of each full set. The brush restorer is a bottle and a lid, no brush. You’ll remove your gummed-up Base Coat or Top Coat lid/brush and put it on this bottle, while putting this lid on your Base Coat or Top Coat bottle for the time being. Leave the brush in this bottle for a couple minutes and then -voila! – it is clean! Wipe the bristles with a clean, lint-free cloth and then switch the lids back to the appropriate bottles. (Don’t leave the lid off the base or top coat bottle, as the product will start to cure in the bottle!)
The other component to the system is the powder.
I purchased the “Clear As Day” powder because I intend to use my Gelish nail polish on top of it. However, you can buy the powder in over 30 Gelish shades currently, and I’m sure more are forthcoming. Note that I did not purchase buy any of the colored powders, so I am only reviewing the clear powder in this post.
Before I begin offering this service to others I did a set on myself, and here are the results:
They came out beautifully! I left them just like this for a few days because I was so in love with them just like this (which is odd for me because I am rarely without polish).
The application was easy and fairly quick. The results are a light yet strong overlay! I can’t say enough good things about the application process. As I mentioned earlier, I did not need to use any additional top coat after applying two coats of the Gelish Dip Top Coat. It was shiny and beautiful and smoothed the entire surface of the nail.
There are just a few things to keep in mind when applying a set of these.
- There is an odor to the Base and Top Coat. It smells just like nail glue to me.
- When applying the base coat, leave 1/16 inch clear around the eponychium (cuticle) and sidewall areas. The base and top coats are low viscosity and will spread towards the skin quickly. Actually, after testing with a few nails, I would recommend leaving a 1/8 inch gap on the first coat and then 1/16 inch gap on the second coat to help feather the transition. I neglected to do this on mine and a few of them have a very big “step” and look quite thick at the cuticle area.
- You may notice a slight graininess, or crystal-like appearance, to the acrylic upon close inspection of the finished set. I believe this is normal, and is simply a by-product of the combination of chemicals in the base coat and powder. Here is how mine looked:And here is a macro shot of the “crystals”: This is an effect I have always noticed when working with similar products over the years. Cosmetically, it is hard to see, so the nails are still very beautiful. Structurally, it does not seem to make a difference. I’ve always had great application and wear results with this type of system, even with this effect in the acrylic.
So, the initial verdict on the Gelish Dip system – is it worth it? Yes! You get a lot of product for the price, application is easy and looks great, and the wear time seems good so far. This is a product from a trusted brand in the nail industry, so you know they’ve done the R&D when creating this system. I think clients will love this product.
In my next post I’ll be discussing the wear time for the Gelish Dip system, as well as my results in using it with Gelish Gel Polish.