Sephora Gel Nail Kit Review & Tutorial!

gel nail kit and tutorial

I’ve been obsessed with gel nail polish ever since I got it done in China over the winter holiday. I’ve been looking for a legit gel nail kit ever since then, and finally FINALLY I found one that fulfills all of my requirements!

The Sephora gel shine at home gel color system  has everything I need to create a perfect gel nail look without having to go to the salon.

gel nail kit and tutorial

gel nail kit and tutorial

sephora by opi gelshine at home gel color system kit contents

sephora by opi gelshine at home gel color system kit contents

instructions for applying gel nail polish

sephora by opi gelshine at home gel color system kit contents

sephora by opi gelshine at home gel color system kit information booklet
The kit includes (clockwise from top left) :

(1) nail cleanser, (2) nail and gel color remover, (3) brush-on cuticle oil, (4) cuticle pusher, (5) gloves to use during gel removal, (6) gelshine base coat and top coat, and gelshine color in “I only wear vintage” (if you buy the kit you get one color of your choice for free and this is the one I chose), (7) nail pads for wiping nails, (8) sets of removal nail wraps, (9) buffing block.
sephora by opi gelshine at home gel color system contents

I really like the spray bottle Sephora by OPI used for the nail cleanser. Makes it super easy to spray the perfect amount onto the nail pad to clean the surface of the nail pre and post gel polish application.
sephora by opi gelshine at home gel color system contents nail cleanser and gel polish remover

sephora by opi gelshine at home gel color system contents base coat top coat i only shop vintage

The kit also includes: (10) GelShine LED light with power cord and instruction manual.

sephora by opi gelshine at home gel color system contents led light lamp

sephora by opi gelshine at home gel color system contents led light lamp
The LED light really sold me on this Sephora by OPI gel nail kit because I was hearing so many bad things about UV light. Although the UV curing light is a less expensive alternative to the LED curing light, UV rays are commonly associated with a higher instance of hyper-pigmentation and more seriously skin cancer. I also wanted an option that was more compact, so this LED light was perfect on both of those grounds!
sephora by opi gelshine at home gel color system contents led light lamp and instruction guide

sephora by opi gelshine at home gel color system contents led light lamp

Now for the tutorial segment of this entry!

I had previously bought some gel nail polishes before I got the Sephora kit, and I  hadn’t yet tried the TruGel color in Flamingo (neon pink) so I went with that as my color. I also didn’t end up using the glitter polish as shown in the picture below to the right of the hot pink polish, and instead I used cosmetic grade loose glitter from the MAC Wonder Woman collection in reflects pearl.

at home gel nail polish tutorial with sephora by opi gel nail polish and trugel gel nail polish
Before applying the base coat, the nails need to be free of all oil residue and the cuticles must be pushed back so that there’s a smooth surface to work on.
at home gel nail polish tutorial with sephora by opi gel nail polish and trugel gel nail polish

at home gel nail polish tutorial with sephora by opi gel nail polish and trugel gel nail polish
Then plug in the LED curing light so that the button is lit up as seen below. The other great thing about this LED curing light is that it automatically times each curing session to 30 seconds so you don’t have to guess at how long you’ve cured the polish. It will automatically shut off when the 30 seconds are up.
at home gel nail polish tutorial with sephora by opi gel nail polish and trugel gel nail polish

at home gel nail polish tutorial with sephora by opi gel nail polish and trugel gel nail polish
Here’s how my nails looked after I applied and cured the base coat.
sephora by opi gelshine at home gel color system nail tutorial
This picture shows what it looked like after I applied and cured the first coat of the neon pink gel polish in Flamingo.
sephora by opi gelshine at home gel color system nail tutorial
This is what it looked like after the second coat of Flamingo.
sephora by opi gelshine at home gel color system nail tutorial

Then I applied the MAC reflects loose glitter in pearl directly onto the cured gel. Since the surface is sticky with gel residue the glitter adhered to the nail, and I tried to concentrate the glitter on the tips of my nails, and letting the rest fall loosely up towards the cuticle area in a subtle gradient. I used a q-tip for applying the glitter, probably not the best idea because a lot of the cotton fibers from the q-tip stuck to the gel residue as well. Next time I’m probably going to use a sponge or something to pick up the glitter instead.
sephora by opi gelshine at home gel color system nail tutorial

at home gel nail polish tutorial with sephora by opi gel nail polish and trugel gel nail polish

at home gel nail polish tutorial with sephora by opi gel nail polish and trugel gel nail polish

sephora by opi gelshine at home gel color system nail tutorial
After I finished the glitter application, I applied the top coat to seal in the glitter and cured my nails for the last time.
at home gel nail polish tutorial with sephora by opi gel nail polish and trugel gel nail polish

sephora by opi gelshine at home gel color system nail tutorial
Here’s the end result!
at home gel nail polish tutorial with sephora by opi gel nail polish and trugel gel nail polish

Tips on gel polish application:

1. Don’t put on too much at a time, the gel will run onto the edge of the nail and create a puddle which will invariably harden into a weird chunk once you cure it.

2. Apply thin coats and try not to touch the surrounding skin on your finger, keep the polish on ONLY the nail.This way the end result will look super neat and professional.

3. Make sure to clean the edges of the nail BEFORE you cure just in case of spillage to avoid creating weird chunky bits on the sides of your finger.

4. Apply polish to one hand, and cure that entire hand before moving onto the other hand, this prevents the polish from getting smudged off before you get a chance to cure it.

5. Make sure to wipe the nail with the nail cleanser only after you’ve applied ALL layers of polish and cured the top coat. ONLY clean the nail AFTER you’ve applied and cured the top coat.

Overall Consensus: 

The Sephora by OPI gelshine at home gel color system is DEFINITELY worth the $159 investment.

Other than my Clarisonic, this is definitely my best purchase from Sephora. If you think about how much you’re saving by using this at home system compared to going to a salon and getting a full set of gel nails for $60 a pop, it totally pays for itself in less than three salon visits. Even if you only use it every other time, and alternate between this kit and salon visits you’ll still be saving a crapload of money.

I actually prefer to do my own nails because it’s more sanitary and I think it’s fun and relaxing. I personally didn’t get the kit because of saving money at the salon per se, but I think this is a great investment piece even if you don’t usually go to a salon to get your nails done. After doing many searches for LED curing lamps, this Sephora by OPI one is still the best value, even compared to options on Amazon or Ebay. I feel a lot safer going with brands that I know than some random brand I find online. All in all, I’m super happy with this purchase, and I will most definitely be doing many gel nail tutorials from now on!

Have a great rest of the week!

~ Deb ~

18 Comments

  • Reply July 24, 2012

    KSW

    this was thorough and informative. The pictures and your nails are stunning. Thank you.

    • Reply July 25, 2012

      DHa

      Thank you for visiting my blog!

  • Reply July 26, 2012

    KB

    Thanks so much! I really appreciate your tutorial and all the great information on this product. I’ve decided to purchase this kit and I’m looking forward to having great nails for a few weeks at a time!

    • Reply July 29, 2012

      DHa

      I’m excited for you!! I really love mine :) I finally did gel on my toes and it still looks perfect a month later!! ~ Deb

  • Reply September 7, 2012

    Stella

    Thank you for this informative tutorial!!! You’ve convinced me to buy it!!! :)

    • Reply September 15, 2012

      DHa

      I’m glad I helped in your decision making process! Thanks for visiting my blog!!

      ~ Deb

  • Reply October 21, 2012

    susan mcreynolds

    I am looking for a gel nail DYI kit for my daughter for Christmas. The Mally Roncal kit has gotten a lot of attention but every review complains about removal. How is removal with this Sephora kit? The manicure looks lovely on you.

    • Reply October 21, 2012

      DHa

      Hi Susan!

      Removal for the Sephora kit is really easy and effective. It comes with gel removal wraps that have a cotton pad on the inside to soak up a lot of acetone, and they’re very easy to wrap onto any size finger. I prefer the Sephora gel removal wraps over any other method of gel color removal, including the DIY cotton ball/aluminum method. I think both you and your daughter would love the Sephora Kit! Have you tried CND shellac?? I’m going to do a review soon, but their gel-like polish is really great as well! Thanks for visiting my blog! If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

      ~ Deb

  • Reply January 19, 2013

    Marsha

    I wish I’d read your wise and wonderful post before I tried my first DIY gel manicure!
    I used the same kit (I think it’s great!) — BUT I applied the polish too close to the cuticle and “sidewalls.” I thought I’d cleaned it up well enough before curing… but apparently not, since now I have very shiny (and very durable) cuticles.
    So now I know that next time, thin-thin-thin coats, and don’t go anywhere near any skin — just like you said! :)
    Any ideas how to fix my cuticles for this time? I’d rather not remove it all and do another manicure right away…
    Thanks!
    ~ Marsha

    • Reply January 25, 2013

      DHa

      Hi Marsha!

      Your comment about durable cuticles made me laugh so hard! I had the same problem when I applied it the first time. Two things you can do to make sure the gel does not adhere to your cuticles is (1) to use a wood stick or something similar that has a straight edge to clean the edges of the polish before you cure it. If you don’t have anything at hand, you can also just use the free edge of a nail from your other hand to clean the boundary between nail and cuticle before you cure. (2) After the nail polish is cured and you find that there is some excess gel accumulated at the edges of the nail, something like a cuticle trimmer may also be used to cut off some of the excess gel polish so it does not stick out so much. Or you can also try and file the excess down a little bit, although this does result in a dull finish due to the abrasiveness of the nail file. Thanks for reading my blog, I really appreciate your time and interest :) Come back soon!

      ~ Deb ~

  • Reply January 22, 2013

    Stephanie

    I have this OPI Sephora nail kit. It has worked great for the past few months, but recently I have been having some problems. Sometimes a nail looks fine and a few hours later the layers under the top coat become loose and bubble. Almost like the under layers did not cure. The top layer is hard and dry, but the nail looks like there is a huge air bubble under the top coat. This has been happening a lot recently. Is it something I am doing differently? Or is my lamp dying? The kit always worked great, and I have not changed anything. Any advice would be appreciated!

    • Reply January 25, 2013

      DHa

      Hi Stephanie!

      I have found with certain formulations of gel polish the bubbling effect that you describe occurs. Have you tried applying very thin coats and curing it for a longer period of time between each coat? When this happened to me, I found that curing thinner coats for a longer period of time results in a bubble-free manicure. If that doesn’t work come back and we’ll figure something out together :) Thanks for reading my blog!!

      ~ Deb ~

  • Reply February 23, 2013

    Darcy

    Does anyone have trouble with the polish being sticky after you have cured it? I thought the first time I just put too much of each coat on, but now tried it a second time and still have the tacky nails after all steps. What am I doing wrong?

    • Reply May 21, 2013

      nicole

      I have the same problem .. would love some help

  • Reply April 9, 2013

    Joy

    I’ve just started trying to do my own gel nails. I first bought a UV lamp which had really good reviews but when I opened it was flimsy. I then purchased the new Finger Paints LED lamp and I haven’t opened it yet. Do you know if it will cure the OPI gel polish?

    I LOVED your posting. It is the most informative I’ve seen in all my searching!!! Way to go!!!

    • Reply April 19, 2013

      DHa

      Hi Joy!

      Thanks for reading my blog and for your kind words! The Finger Paints LED lamp you purchased should be able to cure the OPI gel polish. Just make sure that you apply the coats as thin as possible and that you cure for the entire duration of the time (approx 30 sec). Let me know if you have any other issues or questions!! Have a good weekend :)

      ~ Deb ~

  • Reply May 19, 2013

    nicole

    i did my nails and they still feel wet, like super sticky, i have been under the lamp for a while, dont know what else to do? any tips?

    Thank you

    • Reply June 2, 2013

      DHa

      Hi Nicole,

      Great question! I have been having similar issues with certain formulations of gel nail polish as well. In particular, CND’s shellac colors with any kind of shimmer in it do not cure properly even with multiple passes under the LED light. In my opinion it’s either got to be (1) the power of the LED light being inadequate, or (2) the layer of polish is too thick. When I come up with a solution I’ll definitely do a followup post! Sorry if this doesn’t really answer your question. Please let me know if you have any other issues with gel polish!

      ~ Deb

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