Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Soak Off & Manicure & Acrygel Oh My!!!

Hi NaiLovelies!

So, on Thursday/Friday of last week I totally fell out of lovewith my nails…. We had been ambling along quite nicely and then ‘BAM’ out of the blue, we came to a screeching halt in our relationship!  Things were looking dicey for a moment and let’s just say, it was time to shape up or ship out!

My nails had grown out quite a lot since their last shape up less than weeks prior and the quick growth spurt meant that I had very quickly grown to dislike the shape.  This was compounded by the fact that my sidewalls were starting to look a little raggedy with a few hang nails thrown into the mix!  

It is amazing what high definition fully zoomed in pictures of your nails enable you to see and subsequently pick fault with.

As I am not a huge fan of the sound or the sensation of filing, I toyed with the idea of cutting down my nails to neaten them up and change to squovals.  However, I have learned my lesson following my last ‘big chop’ down to nubbins after suffering months of peeling as a result of opting for clippers due to my reluctance to file down the length.  I decided to sit down (camera in hand, this post contains two videos!) and sort out my nails properly – after all I now have both the knowledge and the tools to tend to my nails properly since I attended the Manicure & Spa Manicure course last month.
Soak Off
I started by soaking off my TruGel Desert Rose manicure.  I have posted a video on YouTube to show the steps I followed.  I was really impressed with how well the TruGel soaked off, with most nails giving up their gel polish coating in one easy sheet!  Those are the best soak offs and I am pleased I was able to capture it on camera. 

The steps shown in the video are those I follow for all of my gel polish soak offs.  As the norm, I do not break the seal of my topcoat first; I just soak for 15 to 20 minutes and take it from there.

Filing & Shaping
After soaking off, I needed to tackle the length and shape of my nails by filing them down.  I decided to keep the almond shape as I do love it, although it does take a little more effort to keep the shape from turning ugly.

I used a brand new Salon Smooth nail file from Boots to take down the length as they have a sharp yet smoothing grit.  I don’t know what grit the Leighton Denny Crystal File has but it has a high grit level which seals the nail as you file.  For the times when I don’t use the LD file when taking down the length I always use it to finish up and seal the nail plate.

Feel free to click on any of the pictures to see larger images of my handy work....

Full Manicure
Next up I carried out a full 'wet' manicure to remove all the unsightly dead skin and hang nails - which seem to have magically sprouted up from nowhere!

I used products from Skin Truth which I purchased last week from Sallys, which include cuticle cream, cuticle remover, massage masque and cuticle oil.  I like how the products made my skin feel so I am happy to offer these products to clients during the Spa Manicure service I have been trained to provide.

Normally, when applying gel polish I would not do this, it is important to keep the nails as dry as possible to avoid problems with lifting.  After drying with a paper towel I let my nails air dry for a further 30 minutes before applying my soak off gel security blanket, so they should be okay and I’ve not had any lifting so far.

As this was the first time I did this process, I didn’t video it and completely forgot to take before photos but I suppose you will be able to see what they looked like before from the video I have posted. 

Since breaking my index fingernail on my blogging hand a couple of months ago I have decided that I am no longer going to have a dedicated ‘blogging hand’!  Instead, I am going to take photos with either hand and be an ambidextrous blogger!  I do not want to be constrained and limit myself to only being able to photograph one hand, besides I quite like some of my new found Cinderella hand positions.

 I applied three coats of Vitagel Recovery to my left hand.  I love this stuff, it is THE PERFECT basecoat for me and means I can wear either regular polish or gel polish with ease.

However, as I have two torn nails on my right (dominant) hand I decided to try out the ‘Acrygel’ method whilst applying my Gelish Vitagel protective basecoat.  This was my first attempt at Acrygel which is done by sprinkling a coating of acrylic powder on top of your soak off gel basecoat before curing and then continuing to cure in the normal way.  This adds additional strength to the nail and repairs.

I applied Acrygel to my ring finger, middle finger and thumb.  I accidentally buffed my index finger too which is why it looks matte in this picture - I got a little carried away.....!

The beauty of this method is that it enables you to soak off the product as you would for a soak off gel manicure.  I applied three coats of Gelish Vitagel two coats of which were sprinkled with acrylic powder and the nails which have suffered breaks/tears feel incredibly strong!

I didn’t video this process as it was my first time trying it but here is my video on how I apply my Vitagel and there is a great video by Anna which I followed.

By this stage it was getting late so I finished up by adding three coats of the palette cleansing OPI Don’t Touch My Tutu.  This was the perfect colour to opt for as it was easy to apply, dried quickly and didn’t detract from all of my hard work carried out during this marathon manicure session. 

Ciao 4 Now


  1. Wow Tracey your nail beds! Such beautiful nails :) You've also reallyyyy made me want ''Don't Touch My Tutu''!! xxx

    1. Thanks you Kamila! I really loved wearing DTMT and now I'm going to have to get the pink Are You Callin Me A Lyre from this collection as I already have the grey one, My Pointe Exactly :)

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. I have only come across your blog and I am in love, this is fantastic. You are a true talent xxx

    1. Thank you Anita for your very kind words! I am really pleased you have found my blog - if there are any requests for posts please feel free to make suggestions and I will see what I can do to accommodate.

      Thanks for commenting!

    2. I got my nails done at the salon. With gel powder n a liquid. Idk if it was liquid acrylic. Is there away u can find out for me? They used a acrylic process not the sprinkle process u blogged about... It was clear purplish color liquid....

    3. I got my nails done at the salon. With gel powder n a liquid. Idk if it was liquid acrylic. Is there away u can find out for me? They used a acrylic process not the sprinkle process u blogged about... It was clear purplish color liquid....

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I've been doing acrygel nails for about a month and i absolutely love them. Very easy to do and look really nice bare if there's no time to polish. So far I've been able to grow my nails out nicely with miner set backs so i definitely recommend this system :).

  5. Anonymous,

    Acrygel has really helped. The low tear has almost grown out thank goodness. It is proving to be a great system.

  6. Hi Tracey! I am officially addicted to your blog and YouTube channel. :)
    I had a question for you if you have the time... would you recommed vitagel strengthener for those with peeling nails? I ask because it seems that it would provide the protection they need but am worried about having to buff the natural nail and don't want to make problem nails worse. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks! Erin


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