There are few things more satisfying than leaving a salon with gleaming, glossy, instantly dried nails and knowing that they’re going to last.
Less satisfying is the expense and, with manicures often costing at least £25 a pop, maintaining gel nails can be a pricey habit.
However, there are now plenty of ingenious kits out there that allow you to create perfect gel nails from the comfort of your home. They include LED lamps and everything else you need for a great mani.
So steady hands at the ready - these are the best kits to help you make shelling out at the salon a distant memory…
SensatioNail Gel Polish Starter Kit
Best for: The Full Works
When it comes to achieving professional-standard nails at home, this is the real deal. SensatioNail starter kits include everything you would expect in a salon - base and top coats, polish, nail files, cleanser, lint-free wipes and, of course, the all-important LED lamp. The lamp cures in just 30 seconds, making it the quickest around, and it also features an automatic sensor and grooves for finger placement. The starter kits are great value and come with a free polish.
From £49.99, Sensationail, Buy it now
Red Carpet Manicure Gel Polish Pro Starter Kit
Best for: Glam & Go
This kit lives up to its name by creating red carpet-worthy glamour and a professional finish that doesn’t chip or peel. It comes with everything you need - a portable LED lamp, base and top coats - and also includes a nail varnish in a ‘Red Carpet Reddy’ shade, plus a nourishing cuticle oil, which is a nice touch.
From £89.95, Red Carpet Manicure, Buy it now
Fuse Gelnamel Starter Kit
Best for: Great Value Gels
This is the perfect choice for a cheaper shortcut to gel nails. The little lamp is surprisingly powerful and, although it only fits one finger at a time, it can be flipped around for pedicures. The range of colours is quite small but includes some fabulous shades, plus it only requires one coat and 30 seconds of curing. Great for quick but long-lasting pedis.
From £19.99, Sensationail, Buy it now
Rokit Homedics High Gloss Gel Polish Kit
Best for: Gels in a Flash
The ideal kit for anybody in a hurry, this one-step gel kit requires no primer, no base coat and no top coat. Simply swipe on the non-running colour formula with the neatly shaped brush, pop nails under the timed lamp and bingo - perfect nails. The varnish needs a one minute curing time but gives a glossy finish that lasts.
£63, Debenhams, Buy it now
SensatioNail Polish to Gel Transformer Starter Kit
Best for: Miracle Transformation
If you love the idea of gel nails at home but want to use your favourite nail colour, this is the product for you. The miracle liquid in this kit transforms any nail varnish into a gel polish. With zero drying time, you don’t have to worry about smudging freshly painted nails and the effect is better than ‘gel-like’ or ‘gel-effect’ polishes. A ‘Transformer Base’ layer is applied, which, when cured by the LED lamp causes layers to bond to each other and harden. But who cares about the science - this just works.
From £49.99, Sensationail, Buy it now
Leighton Denny Top That Gel System
Best for: Nail Colour Collectors
This system adds a gel-like top coat to any nail varnish. The portable LED lamp included is a good size, easily fitting all 5 fingers, and leaves a glossy and long-lasting finish. The kit also includes tools to buff and shape your nails. Another good option for those who already have extensive nail colour collections.
£60, Marks and Spencer, Buy it now
Ciate Geltox Starter Kit
Best for: Top of the Top Coats
You can also transform any nail colour into gel polish with this great kit from Ciate. After painting over your chosen colour with the Geltox top coat provided, the sleek lamp will dry and cure your nails in 60 seconds. The kit also includes cleanser, a four-way buffer and a cuticle stick, so that you can prep and finish your nails perfectly.
£99 Ciate London, Buy it now
Elliona Gel Off
Best for: Taking it All Off
Whilst having your own gel manicure kit makes for speedy, convenient and bargain manicures, when the time comes to have them taken off it’s another story. Instead of having to spend £10 for the pleasure of someone scraping off the top layer of your nail at a salon, or worse, picking them off yourself a bit of a time, you can now remove them safely and comfortably at home as well. The Elliona Gel Off is a safe and easy to use gel that will quickly wipe away unwanted polish. All you have to do is buff the surface with a file, apply the gel for 45 seconds then remove it with the specialised tool. Not only will it save you money in the long run, it also allows you to work as gently as you want, so your nails will still be in tact at the end. What’s not to love?
From £11.75, Tesco, Buy it now