Overall this is a great product, nails last a week and look great.
At the time I bought this a couple of years ago, I had sworn off all regular nail polish because I have no patience for drying time and several of the top coats just don't cure for me (now I've found some like Essie Good to Go that are fabulous). After having a few very successful gel manicures at the salon I did the research and found RCM to be the best out there at the time. I bought the entire kit on a Black Friday for 60% off or some ridiculous deal, online. So price wasn't really an issue for me, but either way it was far less than the cost of one salon visit. I recieved the red color with the kit and purchased an additional light cream nude color.
The first time I did my nails it took me well over an hour. Reading and re-reading the steps. Making sure I had the bottles correct. The results were worth it, I loved it the very first time--looked just like a gel manicure from the salon, super glossy! The biggest time waster was the light is so small I was doing four fingers; thumb, other four fingers, other thumb, and at 45 seconds a crack and like three layers, that's just a lot of waiting around. I can actually squeeze my thumb in there too, but its prone to bumping another finger and after all the time I take to this, I just didn't want to risk it. Plus when you jam your fingers in, the light might not hit all the corners of your nails and it won't cure properly.
Avoid your cuticles or skin at all costs, as other reviewers stated, that is the death wish for your manicure. Which was another reason it took me forever, I had to keep wiping off the mess-ups. But I found that even if I wasn't careful with the red color and didnt' cover those blobs with a clear coat, it all wiped off in the end anyway since it wouldn't cure properly. (now I'd go back with small liner brush to clean up to a salon-like "gap" before the final cure). Also, a must do is to seal the tips of your nails with cross-strokes. Between the thin layers and the "tip seal" it resulted in significantly better wearability.
I do like that it's a small light so that I don't expose the rest of my hands to any unnecessary light. Although since this is an LED light the UV exposure is less than industrial salon UV lights.
That first manicure only lasted a few days before I picked it off -- signicantly better than any regular polish manicure I've ever used (if I get bored I go after my nails). It peeled off fairly easily. I read some more reviews and it's really important to do thin, thin layers (as it is with regular polish) for lasting wear. That did actually help significantly and I could no longer peel it off so easily, but it did only last about a week for me before noticeable chipping occured (salon gel manicures last me forever-ever, so still not as good)--but I'm hard on my hands and will aggravate any chip I find. I don't think I ever did soak it off, I picked it off back then, but I have super strong nails and they can take it--although I think now I wouldn't do that and probably would stick with the acetone soak.
I was disappointed with the cream color because it required about four coats and it still didn't look great and I haven't used it since. I've used the red color about 4 or 5 times, but I found it such a fussy process and I lost interest in my nails all at the same time so I haven't used it in a long time. I've recently reverted to regular nail polish, but am suddenly drawn to using my RCM again really soon! I've gotten alot better at applying polish so perhaps I'll be happier with the process and it will go quicker.
Oh, and I love the Revitalize Cuticle Oil that came with the kit. That's currently my go-to. I think it has some extra nourishing vitamins because it's better than some of the other oils I've used.
I have always loved painting my nails. I first experienced a gel manicure at a professional salon and fell in love. I indulged in gel manis only for special occasions since they're pricier. I knew the process from seeing it in the salon and thought I'd be capable. After doing research, I figured RCM was the best choice for me. I bought the starter kit and a few polishes used from EBay for about $40. The portable light was easy to use and I loved the results! I have since upgraded to the professional light (also from EBay) and I love how fast it is! I highly recommend to anyone! I remove and reapply when there is significant growth at the base of the nail. I have not experienced chipping or dulling at all. Watch some YouTube videos to get the technique down pat. As long as you take your time and go thin, it will look amazing!! Plus, my nails are super strong now which was never the case with regular polish.
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!!!!