Review & DIY Drugstore Gel Nails w/ leopard print nail art {Cosmar Gel Kit}

Hello Beauties!

Ok, brace yourselves… this is a long post! Last weekend I went out in search of a polish or gel to repair a broken nail. As I was walking around the aisles of CVS I found this Quick Nails Brush-On Gel Kit. It was $11.49 and I thought, why not! It beats paying $30+ at a salon to have them done. Plus this product doesn’t require UV lights to dry.

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So let’s get started… first off here are some of the tools I used for this look. The gel kit {I know… obviously, right?}. Any black nail polish. I used Wet n Wild in ‘Black Creme’. Toothpicks {not to be used for the teeth} & a dotting tool. Orly nail polishes in ‘Sterling Silver Rose’ & ‘Crushed Mauve’ and lastly Orly Top 2 Bottom Basecoat and Topcoat (pictured at the end, but any base and topcoat will do).

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Next… what in the world comes in this gel kit?? Well I’ll tell you… An instruction sheet, 2-sided nail buffer & shaper, manicure stick, 24 square nail tips & 26 petite nail tips, pink nail glue, brush cleaner, gel overlay and finally the gel activator. BTW- I LOVE that this nail glue comes with that little red piece. It has a sharp needle inside so you can cover the top of the glue when finished and it leaves a hole for the next time you use it… I know… genius right! No more finding something sharp to stick in there when the glue hardens.
Ok, so a little inside scoop on the gel activator (the smallest of the three). You’ll notice that it doesn’t have a brush attached to the cap like any normal “polish” would have. Well, that’s because this stuff is so powerful it mutates the brush… don’t ask how I know, lol! Ok, ok… I’ll tell you 😉 I accidentally left the brush from the brush cleaner in it and the brush started curling into a C within 5 minutes! Yikes… so needless to say, that brush stays in the brush cleaner!

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Alright already… let’s start with the good stuff!

1. Give yourself a little mini manicure by cutting your nails down, but not too short. You’ll want the nail glue to attach to your nail not your skin. File the tops and the edges with the nail file provided. Be careful not to file them down on the top too much otherwise your nails can become thin.
2. Find the right size nail tip and add a drop of glue to the backside. Press the nail tip down onto your finger nail while it’s still attached to the wheel and squueze onto your nail including close to the edges. Use the nail tool if necessary. Add some more glue on the top where the fake nail meets your real nail making sure there are no air bubbles. You don’t want water to creep in there because it can cause mold… gross! Once it’s on there twist the wheel, it comes off really easy.
3. Finish with the rest of the nails and file down any rough edges.
4. Now comes the fun part.
a. First unscrew all the caps to the three bottles so you can go back and forth between them easily.
b. Start by applying the gel overlay to the nail. I applied 4 coats.
c. While the gel overlay is still wet take the brush from the brush cleaner and dip it into the gel activator and sweep it over the wet gel. (also 4 coats).
d. Wipe off the excess gel activator from that brush onto a paper towel in between dips and then dip the brush back into the brush cleaner and again wipe off the excess on the paper towel. You basically want to keep that brush as “gel free” as possible so the activator doesn’t harden it.

IMG_6385Once the gel was completely dry (I waited about 15 minutes just to be sure) I filed the tops down a bit and repeated the steps above until I had the desired thickness I wanted. This is what mine looked like after 2 rounds of gel application.

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Next polish the nails with Orly Top Coat

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Followed by Orly Crushed Mauve.

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You can end the madness here, OR…. add some cool leopard print… This step is optional, but I thought it was kinda fun and trendy. Using the flat end of the toothpick, take the Sterling Silver Rose and randomly place dots on the ring finger (or whichever finger your little heart desires). I also did my pinky finger. Then take the small dotting tool and the Wet in Wild black polish and carefully place brackets (  ) and C shapes around the pink dots. Fill in any empty spaces with random shaped black dots.IMG_6388

This is what it should look like:

IMG_6390[1]and finally… paint only one finger with the Sterling Silver Rose (I chose to do the pointer finger this color) and finish with the top coat. Voila… The finished product!!

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So overall… I really like this product! It is super affordable and they last! I haven’t had one nail chip or come off. They feel like real acrylic nails and I’ve gotten tons of compliments which makes me feel like they don’t look like an amateur did them (AKA: ME). The only thing I will say is that doing them on yourself is a bit tough, especially doing my right hand and I noticed the gel layering was a little uneven because I guess I wasn’t consistent in how much I put on each nail. Also, I wish the nail tips didn’t have that funky heart shape at the top. I think it would be hard to do a pretty French tip because you could see the shape under the gel. Other than that, I’m very happy and impressed with this product and would recommend it to anyone looking to do their very own gel set!

I hope this helped you in some way shape or form! Catch you on my next post 😉 Till then Laugh often & Love always ❤

Xoxo,
Cristina

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