I've read a number of reviews of this product on various sites and as far as I'm concerned, well the Jury's still out on the Red Carpet Manicure kit.
Application is a bit long winded but I can see why the numerous steps are necessary. My first attempt took an hour and a half to do from prep to finish I will probably get it down to an hour once I remember all the steps off by heart and no longer need to refer to the instructions.
Because the actual polish needs to be applied thinly it means at least 4 coats are required for deep, dense colour as I found it is a bit transparent. A steady hand is required too but the polish can easily be removed from skin with the pointed end of the Orange sticks provided, but this must be done before curing under the supplied UV lamp.
The final results were ok, neater and more uniform than when I use regular polish. However I did find it a bit tricky doing cross strokes at the tip of the nails which is necessary for sealing so the ends of my nails look slightly worn.
The manufacturers claim a Red Carpet Gel manicure can last for weeks, so far I've redone the manicure after 5 days, not because it didn't last but because my nails grow fast and I could see the regrowth at the base.
Several reviews I've read were negative about the removal part, stating their nails were left dry and flaky. I personally think the quality of nails has a lot to do with whether or not the nails look bad after removal.
I have thick, strong nails which have never flaked so I found removal of the manicure was straightforward and easy. I used the provided sponge pads, saturated with the remover solution and stuck them to the tin foil squares provided, then placed the nail onto the sponge and wrapped the foil around the finger. The polish needs to be roughed up first with an emery board.
After about 5 minutes the polish easily lifted from my nails and no scraping was required. My nails looked pretty much as they did prior to application of polish so I do think it depends on individual nail quality and type.
For a home kit it's quite good and provides a nice looking gel manicure, but I think it would look nicer if done professionally. I would recommend this kit for people who have neither the time nor money to regularly have their nails done, but want to look groomed and benefit from something harder wearing than regular polish.
The kit provided 3 Gel polishes, a clear, a blue and a red none of which I was particularly keen on so I may invest in some other colours.
I bought the non-pro kit at ulta since I had a 20% off coupon, so I paid about 40 bucks, and it came with the base, top coat, a red polish, cuticle oil, prep sanitizer, the gel remover, and the residual remover, and the LED travel light. Seemed like a great deal.
I tried it out the night I got it, but the formulas were very thick, I applied way too much and flooded my cuticles, and so it started peeling away within an hour. It also wrinkled.
I'm used the foil method with their remover and the gel came off beautifully. I tried again, this time using SUPER THIN COATS. My results were so much better!! And I am very happy, and bought more gel colors.
I got the travel LED, instead of the pro LED and the results were great. I did the recommend time, and it cures just fine, so unless you're in a rush theres no need to pay $50 for the pro LED. The travel one takes batteries, but it also has a port for an AC adapter, though it doesn't come with one, but you probably have one for something else around your house anyway.
Overall, its a great starter kit for gels! I had never had gels done, never did gels myself before getting this, but I really like them, and will start collecting some more gel colors!
Absolutely love this system! It's dead simple to use. The light works with every type of gel polish I've used. As others have stated, there's no need to keep using Erase (just use pure acetone) or Purify (use 90+% rubbing alcohol). I get 2 weeks out of every mani. Taking them off is a snap, too. I use two of the wide bottles of acetone with bristles around the edges (again, the cheap ones you can get at any pharmacy for less than $3) and the old stuff floats right off in well under 10 minutes.
When I want to use my non-gel polish, I start with a mini-gel mani: one coat of gel foundation, one coat of top coat, and a quick swipe with alcohol. Follow up with regular polish as usual and it lasts for a week.
LOVE this system. I previously owned the CND Shellac system, and returned it for this. It's all the same... (granted, this is an LED light and CND is a UV light...)
I've been using this for over a year and have such a hard time going back to regular polish.
Once you run out of the Purify (blue liquid) you can just refil the bottle with 94-99% alcohol- it's the same thing. That also is the same thing as the "prep" (sanitization bottle). There is definitely enough product in this kit for a good 15-20 manicures. In over a year, I haven't needed new base or top coats yet! And after easily 20+ uses my light still works perfectly.
What I love is the availability of RCM. You can head down to Ulta at anytime for more colors or refills of the base and top coats.
Good to know: you can use ANY BRAND of LED/UV cured gel colors with this system. I've used Shellack, Sally Hansen, Gelish, and more and they all work wonderfully.
I love this! I was so skeptical about purchasing it because it was kind of expensive ($80 at Ulta and $10 for each polish) but they said I could return it if it did not work. So far I have only tried the black gel color and it's holding up really well. I've had it on for a week so far and no chips!I It's still extremely shiny and it made my nails hard and strong. I used all the steps in the kit. I read here that you need to use thin layers but I found that didn't really work for me. I used medium thickness and it worked much better for me. I also used this with regular nail polish (used the base and top coat from the kit) and it worked! It's not perfect but it's my toes so no one will see them that closely. I think this kit is definitely worth the money if you get gel manicures a lot!
Got the light for Christmas 2012. It took me 4 months (to be honest, though, only like 6 applications) before I really got the hang of doing my own gel nails. The trick is THIN coats of everything, and DO NOT let any polish touch your cuticles. Sounds obvious, but it's crucial. If you have the patience and coordination for this, then this light is a keeper! I actually only use all Gelish polishes/prep materials, as they are readily available at the Sally Beauty nearby. But the light is reliable and compact. It's worth buying if you do you nails at night and hate to stay up late to avoid sheet smudging. I'm only subtracting a star because in my neck of Los Angeles, I can get a fabulous gel mani for $12, so this system has yet to pay for itself.
Purchased the Red Carpet French Manicure Tips (nail art) in "Filming in Aspen", a glittery translucent color.
I generally use Sally Hansen stick on manicure sets but decided to try this brand for a change. Big mistake. The packaging is not nearly as well sealed as it should be. The nail stickers felt like just that: stickers. They were not flexible or easy to apply. I filed the edges in one direction as stated in the instructions. They did not feel like nail polish, rather a rough, dry sticker. Won't purchase again.
Absolutely LOVE this product! Best purchase of the year by far! A normal manicure usually lasts no more than a day or two on me before it's chipping and peeling and wearing at the tips. With this system, I can go a week and a half, possibly two weeks, before I need to redo my nails. And that is only because my nail have grown out so much. (I work in an office where I do a lot of typing and I have a side job/hobby where I redo furniture and do a lot of sanding/painting. This system holds up through all of this!) If you're used to doing your own nails, this system is very user friendly. Doesn't take much more time to do my nails using this versus a regular manicure and the results last much, much longer! The best part... you're not limited to the colors offered by Red Carpet Manicure! I didn't care for any of the colors offered by RCM so I decided to use their base coat and top coat that came with my RCM kit, but I used my own selection of OPI and Essie polishes that I already owned, sandwiched in between RCM base and top coat, for color. I've done about 5 manicures so far and have not had any problems doing it this way. They last just as long and you get to use up all those regular nailpolishes you already spent money on! When you're done curing the base coat with the LED light, your nails are ready to go, no drying time!!! Removal is very easy as well. A little acetone remover on a cotton pad, apply a cotton pad to each nail and wrap in a small square of foil. Let sit for 10-15 minutes and remove. Polish comes right off! Also, I use either the oil that comes with the kit or solar oil a couple times a day. It helps to keep your nails/cuticles from drying out. The only reason I gave 4 lippies instead of 5 is because the RCM selection of polishes is, in my opinion, not good at all! And the system was a little pricey, but it does pay for itself after just a couple manicures! Other than that, I cannot say enough good about this system! ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!!!!
I have pretty much kept my nails polished (using only OPI products for the most part) for the past decade and a half, and I swear by this system. I don't have the time or patience to go get my nails done every two weeks (especially since my available time is late nights), and I wear only dark shades such as black, blues, greens, reds, and greys. With dark shades, they get dull and chip within days, so I purchased this system to give me the shine that lasts longer. I -have- had gel nails done at the salon a time or two, and this system lasts no where near as long as those, but I get a week to a week and a half out of a manicure. Patience is required, and if you hit the cuticle, it will lift quickly. I have had this system for over 6 months, and I swear by it, getting compliments daily from my clients on my nails. I will say it does take three coats of the RCM color to get opacity, but it is worth it. I do also use other gel colors that I have found, and they work fine as well. I do -not- soak off the gel, but it peels right off (I don't overly recommend this, but I have really strong nails and have had no issue with doing this). Even better, the system pays for itself with two-three manicures you do yourself.
I love this. I got the Pro kit for Christmas and I applied it the first time flawlessly. After about 1.5 weeks it does start to lift a bit at the cuticles and then I start to pick at it, and make a mess of it all. But I love it anyway. I wasn't getting my nails professionally done, but always liked the look of the gels, and my friends are very impressed with my results!
My biggest con is that I wish I could use ALL of the regular nail polishes that I have. I prefer the look of the gel over my regular nail polishes, but hate to turn my back on my huge selection of regular nail polishes! I think $10 for a bottle of polish is a little steep, given it is a real small bottle. And given that I'd like more selection of colors...but I guess my selection will slowly grow!