The Clock Stops Here...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Red Carpet Manicure Review :D.I.Y. gel manicures, are you handy?

Red Carpet Manicure a DIY Gel manicure kit
Timing is everything...You know those bottles of nail polish stacked up in your medicine cabinets that you never use? Well despite their pedigree, Chanel, Trish McEvoy, Dior, if they have been there to the point where they are fermenting, pitch them.

I brought an old, but never used bottle to Cozy Nails the other day.  I should have known something was awry when they just wouldn't dry.  Since they were less than perfect, by any standard, I figured it was the perfect time to sample the at home, (gel)  Red Carpet Manicure kit I was sent.

Launched in September of 2011, Red Carpet Manicure is a clever idea.  The developers noticed the popularity of long lasting, gel manicures, and set out to create an affordable, Do-It-Yourself  kit, complete with a portable LED Light. The average salon gel manicure is in the $40 range.  Red Carpet Manicure is $57 and promise 20 applications that can last "up to three weeks".  Nice math.

All I was missing is my manicurist...

In fairness, I am not a handy Girl.

The directions seemed quite straight forward.  After having to go out and purchase 4 AA batteries,  my LED Light was good to go, (I don't know how well equipped your house is, but "fresh" batteries are not part of my junk drawer repetoire).  I cleaned and prepped my nails.  I used the RCM Structure Base coat and "cured" them for 30 seconds for each hand and another 30 seconds for both far so good.

The directions explained that my nails would be tacky through the whole process and to resist touching them. I did.  I followed with the LED Gel Polish.  Though I requested a light pink shade, wagering my mistakes would be less noticeable, I was sent a gorgeous red, aptly name Red Carpet Ready. Dicey, no question about it.

I was pleased how cleanly this polish applies and sat back admiring my handiwork for a change.  The "package insert" said to follow the same pattern, but this time for 45 seconds for each round.


Ditto for the RCM Brilliance Seal & Shine Top Coat.  Brilliant indeed, this was about to be the shortest manicure on record.  All in, 18 minutes and 42 seconds.  Glossy and gorgeous!  Voila!!!

My problem arose during the "Finish" lap.  It was promised that any sticky residue that remained would wipe away cleanly with the RCM Pre & Post Application Cleanser, but, "no color will be removed".


Where did 1/3 of my Red Carpet Ready go???

I think there is a serious disconnect between the instructions and the package for the "curing time" under the LED Light---ie.

Inner Package Instructions- Prep and base coat-30 seconds, Polish coat-45 seconds, Top coat-45 seconds.

Outer Package- Prep and base coat -1 minute, Polish coat- 3 minutes, Top coat- 2 minutes


I guess I was undercooked.

Discouraged that there was no salvation, I prepared for removal. 10 cotton balls soaked in  "Erase" Gel Nail Polish Remover, wrapped in tin foil for ten minutes, to activate some heat for easier removal.

Fortunately, I did have a bottle of Sally Hansen's Complete Salon Manicure in Shall We Dance? in my stash.  It's a perfect creamy nude, that is quite forgiving to the

So, in summary, if you are a handy Girl, who is patient and thrifty, you may love Red Carpet Manicure, (available at Ulta) .  Just be prepared to allot at least 45 minutes.

Timing is everything...



  1. I have been getting my nails done professionally with the Gel systems in the salon for years and absolutley love the way it looks on my nails. I read about this kit online and figured for the price of 1 1/2 salon manicures then why not give it a shot and see what the results would be like. I purchased the same kit from ULTA beauty and couldn't wait to get it home and try it out. I found out first thing that when you use the lighter colors of polish you can follow the instructions to the letter...But I found that the darker colors like the Red Carpet Reddy(which comes in the kit with the LED light) need to be cured for about 15 seconds longer than the light colors for a total cure time of 1 minute...Believe me, I had the same problem you experienced with my first use of the RED color...Another thing you ...I then painmay want to consider doing is a technique I tried...
    #1...I paint the base coat from cuticle to end of nail, wrapping the clear polish over the end of the nail and cure for 45 seconds to 1 minute.
    #2...When applying the colored polish, I start about a milimeter from the cuticle and apply across nail to the tip end and over the tip of the nail and cure for 1 minute under the LED light. This leaves room for the final coat of sealer to contact completely across the color and seal the edges.
    #3...Then I apply the fianl Top Coat to the entire nail, from the cuticle to the tip and across the tip and cure for 1 minute. It is VERY, VERY IMPORTANT to make sure that ALL of the colored polish is covered over by the clear top coat gel, because this is the layer of polish that "Seals the Deal".
    #4...I then wipe the entire nail down with the cleanser to remove the tackiness and apply the cuticle oil. I also like to apply the oil over the entire nail and underneath the tip then buff the whole nail with a soft cloth(like a piece of old T-shirt material) This produces a glossy shine.

    My last RED CARPET manicure has lasted me going on 3 weeks with NO CHIPS or PEELING. Just takes a little bit of practice...Dont give up yet. When you get it down pat you will never buy another bottle of regular nail polish again.

  2. Actually, you just didn't read the directions properly or they weren't explained properly, the shorter cure times are for the pro light and the longer, for the travel kit you have.

  3. Well, I was reading them from both the instructions included IN the box and what was written ON the box.

    Did you have better luck?


  4. I did read the instructions and cured my nails for longer than what it called for and the Red Carpet Reddy polish came off when I did the last step. I am thinking this is a ploy to get consumers to go buy the pro light to see if the polish really works.

  5. I used the travel light and everything was fine, The only problem I have is after spending $10. for a bottle of polish I want the color I bought not a surprise this is the after you cure the polish color. Oh and my nails last 3 weeks which is great because I am hard on my nails, but, I get bored with the color after about 5 days. I am use to adding a new layer of color when I do touch ups every few days with regular polish so I have to get use to waiting for a change in color. Love the toughness though and yes it takes me the length of a movie on Netflix to do my nail.



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