An Intro to Gel Nails with Hi-Shine

Here's an embarrassing confession of a beauty blogger - the truth is, I never REALLY knew what gel nails were. I couldn't get my head around the fact that they weren't just your standard nail polish but that they came in the same little bottles. I didn't understand how a gel could possibly work on your nails , and I didn't understand the benefits over normal nail polishes. So don't even get me started on Shellac.

Anyway, so when I was given the chance to book in for a Hi-Shine gel nails treatment at the Lash Bar on Marshall Street I thought - why not?

My nails in Dark Secret

Oh and I LOVE the effects - they're so flawless, polished and shiny that I can't stop staring at them, and most of all - they dried so fast and nothing I do seems to dent them! Although I'm a clear newbie at gel nails, I'm very impressed with Hi-Shine so far.

Hi-Shine has 13 colour choices, which in my opinion is slightly limited, but I found love in their shade, Dark Secret, which is this dark, near-black plum. It's perfect for the winter, and a shade that will go with anything and that I wont get sick of wearing. I saw this on Lauren who was introducing me to the range, and with her black and grey ensemble, this looks very vampy and classy - thought I'd have a shot at it myself! :P

I had lots of questions before I started, so I thought I'd do this post by going through several questions that I had before. As usual, if you have any more questions please do let me know and I'll get the answer for you.. somehow!         

1. What is the process like?
First, your manicurist will add some texture to your nails by slightly buffing them, because gels need something to grab on to. Then a base coat is applied, and you stick your fingers under the UV light for 30 seconds while the other hand is done. Then two coats of the colour are thinly applied, of course with the UV light in between. After two coats, a top coat is applied and again, 30 seconds of UV. Then a Before and After 2 in 1 is applied, where the sticky texture of the gel is removed and gives you the "touchable" typical dry feel. After a slick of cuticle oil, you are good to go - as in, you can stick your hands in your pockets, rummage through a box of whatever, you name it - your nails are actually dry! (Yes, I walked around for a few minutes with claw hands cuz I just couldn't get used to the fact!)

2. Why does the bottle look like any other nail polish?
For those of us who are used to acrylic nail treatments, it may seem odd that gel nails look like something you could do at home (it is now, actually - keep reading til the last paragraph!). However, it's only similar insofar as the product is applicable with a brush and is contained in a bottle. The layers have to be much thinner than normal polishes, and the product doesn't dry like a varnish does. Apparently, it doesn't get gloopy inside the bottle and you need a UV light to dry it on your nails. And even when they're considered "dry", it wont feel like the "dry" you're used to. It'll still feel sticky and it will dent, but wont transfer onto your fingers. That's why the Before and After 2-in-1 must be applied to remove that sticky feeling.

3. How does the gel make a difference to the final result?
* It has a very glossy, wet, jelly look. It's absolutely stunning and I wish all my polishes would do this!

* It smoothes out the ridges on your nails and gives it that high quality, polished look. This makes it great for special occasions and holiday seasons like now.

* You aren't likely to get dents or scratch it because it dries instantly. This is probably my favourite thing about gel nails - I am an impatient brat with a perfectionist's expectations, which makes gel nails ideal!

* Hi-Shine claims their nails last up to 3 weeks. If this is true, this would be perfect for holidays, a time with a string of parties (like now!) and busy periods of time where you wont have time to do them yourself.

There's no question that the results are gorgeous and worth the costs in the right circumstances. My nails look so glossy, polished and just perfect! Hi-Shine charges £45 for a full set, and while I adore the results and learned so much about gel nails, I did get a few nips on the cuticles that bled and is still quite sore, which I don't mind personally but I think I would have done if I'd paid £45 for it. They're highly reputable though so I'd be surprised if I wasn't just unlucky. The staff were lovely, and the application, formula and results, I couldn't complain about. Although it's too early to say about the lasting power, I think my Hi Shine nails look fab!

Whether they foresaw my love for gel nails yet my simultaneous tight budget, I'll never know, but the exciting thing about Hi Shine is that they've created an at-home kit called the Hi Shine Nails Nail Bar in a Box which retails for £120, but is currently on sale for £99, and a smaller kit called the Travel Kit for £75 (Christmas list alerts!). I personally love the effect of gel nails, but I couldn't justify £45 for every time I want to change my colour so these sets are perfect as they contain every single thing you'll need! With the set, the wait under the UV light is slightly longer at 2 minutes, but I'd happily wait that if it means I can get 60 applications per bottle of gel for the cost of under 3 manicures! A perfect middle ground is what I like! :)

I am super excited to be able to try the set as being a lucky sod, I went and won one in a competition, so keep your eyes out for a review! Thank you to Hi Shine for hosting this competition and teaching me so much about gel nails!

 Have you ever tried gel nails, and if so, what were your thoughts?
If not, would you consider getting some?


*The treatment was complementary at a press event.


  1. They look so cool and shiny! I love the effect. I get bored of polish so quikly though, and I quite like taking 10 minutes to paint them every other night or so xx

    1. I'm exactly the same, which is why I think the at home kit is such a good idea for the beauty obsessed! :)

  2. These gel nails are gorgeous!!!!! Looks very even. Your nails look fantastic!! Love how they will outlast conventional ones ^_^

    1. Yeah they're pretty nice and even, thank you! I hope they last the 2 or 3 weeks :)

  3. Your nails look lovely, Yu! I love the colour - it's perfect for Autumn/Winter. I never really understood what gel nails were either, so thanks for your post! x

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  5. Looking so cool ! Really your post is really very good and I appreciate it. You write very well which is amazing. I really impressed by your post.

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