Friday, August 31, 2012

SensatioNail Classic French Manicure (& Using Regular Polish With The Gel System)

One of the most common complaints I have seen about the SensatioNail system is that you "can't" do a classic French manicure, because SensatioNail does not currently have a white gel polish in their line.

But you do not need a white gel polish to do a classic French manicure with the SensatioNail system!

If you really want a full gel polish manicure you can always buy a white gel from another brand. (Gelish for example, has some whites you could use.)

But you can still achieve a classic French manicure even without a white gel polish, and I'm going to tell you how to do it. I didn't get pictures of the process for any step by step pictures - it's simple enough that I feel no pictures are needed.

What you will need to do a classic French manicure with the SensatioNail system:

You will need all your usual suspects for a gel manicure (not all are pictured above): LED lamp, lint free cotton pads, gel cleanser (rubbing alcohol), gel primer, base/top coat and a white polish of your choice. Again, it does not have to be a gel polish. I personally like the Nailene french tip pen because it's fast and easy to use and it dries quickly, but you can use any good white polish in your stash, preferably a quick drying one.

Start your manicure as usual: remove any old nail polish, file, push back the cuticles etc. When you're ready to start, wipe your nails clean with the gel cleanser. Apply the gel primer and let it air dry for about a minute. Then apply a thin coat of the base/top coat, cure in the LED lamp for 30 seconds. Use your white polish of choice to make your French tips. You can free hand, or use tape, French tip guides, whatever floats your boat. If you use tape or guides you may need to use the cleanser to remove the tacky layer so that they will stick to your nails. Now let this dry completely - this is why I suggest using a quick dry polish for this step! Once it's dried, apply another thin coat of the base/top coat and cure for 30 seconds. Use the gel cleanser to remove the tacky layer, and you're done! See, it's fast and easy and does NOT require a white gel polish, but you will still have the same lasting power as any gel manicure!

If you want your French manicure to have a little sheer color to it (rather than a clear manicure such as the one I did for this post) you will also want a sheer gel polish in the color of your choice. If you don't have a sheer gel color but do have a light gel color you would like to use, you can get a mixing palette and a nail brush and mix some of the colored polish with the base/top coat till you get the color you want. Just be sure to mix enough to do all your nails if you do this. If using a color, after primer apply your base coat and cure, then apply color and cure, do the tips and let dry, then top coat and cure. Or if you want the color to go over the white tips so the white is not as bold, base coat and cure, do the tips and let dry, then apply color and cure, top coat and cure.

You can also use any other color you want for the tips for a "funky French" manicure like this. Just be sure that you let the regular polish dry completely before applying the top coat and curing. Art polishes work well for this because they dry quickly, making your wait time much more bearable.

You can add any nail art you may want before applying the top coat if you want the design to last with the manicure. If you want to use Konad or other stamping systems to stamp designs on, you can. Just remove the tacky layer after you cure the final layer of color (otherwise the images will not transfer from the stamper, I know from experience!) and stamp your designs. Use small dots of clear nail polish to adhere any rhinestones you may want. The same rule applies: just always be sure the polish dries completely before you add the top coat and cure it. If the polish does not dry completely, the top coat will not cure properly.

This is also a good method to use to make any regular polish you may have last longer. After curing your base coat, apply thin coats of regular nail polish and let them dry completely between coats and before applying the gel top coat and curing it. I've read that you should use the cleanser to remove the tacky layer from the base coat before you begin applying the regular polish. I've tried both ways, and to me it didn't seem to make a difference but you may want to try both ways to see if one way works better for you. I do not like to do this often as I do not have the patience to wait for most regular polishes to dry on their own. But if there's a color in your stash that you LOVE, and you want to make a manicure with that color last as long as possible, it may be worth the waiting to do it this way. In my experiments with this, these manicures do not seem to last as long as a straight gel manicure, but they did last longer than just using regular polish alone. I have gotten an average of one week of wear before the polish begins to chip and wear off, which is quite significant wear time compared to the one or two days most regular nail polishes last for me. A straight gel manicure usually lasts about three and a half weeks or so for me. Of course, your mileage may vary for all of these things!

I've heard so many people say that gel manicures are nice but they "have to be boring" - but they really don't. Your options are as endless as with regular nail polish. You just have to be willing to experiment a bit to find what does and does not work and some minor tweaks to your methods may be necessary when working with gels, but you still have a lot of room to be creative with your nails when using gels!

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