For Christmas one of my big presents was the Red Carpet Ready Starter Kit, I know my parents got it from QVC but it’s not on there any more so I’m linking to their own website because I think that’s the only place that has it at the moment. It costs £69.95 and is exactly the same as the set that I got except it doesn’t have the extra colour nail varnish that QVC offered.
The main difference between this Red Carpet Ready Kit and the normal one is the nail varnish itself. This nail varnish claims that it’s all the layers in one; base coat, colour and top coat, so you only have to do two or three layers to get an opaque finish. With each one curing for 45 seconds this would reduce the time of a gel manicure even more. This is also the new version of this ‘Pro’ lamp, the main difference as far as I can tell is that this can be plugged into a USB port in your computer making it more portable than the original. I do have the normal portable one that’s a different shape so I’m going to do a bit of comparison against that but I have never used the original Pro lamp.
The box itself is nice, it’s pretty simple and just has a picture of the products and information on what is included. Inside there was a bit of a partition to hold the lamp to one side and then the other half was split into the bottom half with all the removal extras and the wire and the top had the plug itself. It did all fit in very neatly and I was surprised at how small the box managed to me. It also did survive the postage as it was ordered online though I think that may have had more to do with the QVC packaging around it. I have never ordered from the Red Carpet manicure site themselves to know how careful they are about padding round something like this.
This set comes with a few extras alongside the nail varnish and the lamp. They’re all things you use for the removal of the nail varnish but, to be honest, I wouldn’t get a set with just these things in even though they’re available as everything can be replaced with something you probably already own apart from maybe the eraser liquid. Included in this set are a small bottle of the Eraser nail varnish remover, the foil gel nail varnish remover wraps, lint free wipes, orange sticks (not sure of any other names for these) and a buffer/file (which I somehow managed to miss in all of the photos, it’s just a purple sponge with a rough sand paper like surface on three sides). These do have their uses, the file removes the shiny layer to help the removal but I actually find normal buffers and files better as this isn’t great quality. The orange sticks can be bought easily and cheaply at any store that sells makeup and nail things, I bought some from Boots for the last set, the lint free wipes are nice but I found that an old handkerchief works just as well and is washable and reusable. The fail wraps are a nice product but I don’t find it too hard to use normal cotton wool and tin foil and it’s a lot cheaper. I don’t know about replacing the Eraser with something else, I’ve been told that normal nail varnish remover works but I’ve always gone for a gel specific one so this is a nice extra in there. They’re all nice bonuses but I wouldn’t recommend the sets available that are sold as the removal sets that contain these things.
The lamp itself is nice, it’s definitely more sleek and stylish looking than my older portable one and does look more professional. It easily covers four fingers at a time without any awkward leaning or bending your fingers but it is worth noting that it is just four fingers that fit in at once. It won’t fit in your thumbs as well so you still have to do it in three lots; one hand fingers, then the other and the thumbs last, at least that’s the order I do it in. I do like the addition of the little rubber feet on the bottom as they grip whatever surface they’re on really well, it was not going anywhere unless you picked it up which meant you didn’t have to worry about knocking it with your hands inside.
When you look underneath the lamp there are three LEDs, though they’re more powerful than those in the travel version which has a lot more. There are also mirrors on each of the walls as well as the top which I would guess amplifies the light as it reflects it around, though I’m not that sure on the science behind that. The lights have a timer themselves so they will only stay on for 45 seconds, this is really useful when it comes to the colour and top coats as they have a 45 second cure time so you don’t have to bother with setting a timer. You still need one for the base coat as that’s 30 seconds, I haven’t tried leaving them for 45 seconds yet to see if it alters the staying power but if it doesn’t then this’ll mean no need for setting the timer on my phone and being careful with wet nails.
The strength of the lights does mean that this model cures the nail varnishes faster than the travel one. The new set only came with instructions for the new nail varnish with curing times for it but I have scanned my old one for reference as I gave my old set to my sister. The base coat with the old set would have to cure for 1 minute compared to the 30 seconds with this one, the colours for 3 minutes compared to 45 seconds and the top coat for 2 minutes compared to 45 seconds. This means that overall it’s a lot faster than the travel set. I did find that there were a couple of nails that didn’t get cured as well as the others when I did mum’s nails, the edge of the little finger and the edge of one thumb though it may have been that they were angled slightly oddly, I’ll have to see when I use it more how often this happens.
The power cord with it is simple to use, and stays in place well. I like the added feature of being able to plug it into a computer if you wanted. I’m not sure I’d use it apart from if I wanted to do my nails in a power cut but if it’s hard for the power chord to reach a power plug easily then this adds the length of your laptop charger to the distance you can take it. It does also mean you could use it somewhere where your plug wouldn’t work but I think that if you were travelling most people would use adapters for technology anyway.
I have used this light twice, once on my nails and once on mum’s and so far I am very happy with it. I used the old method of a base coat, two or three colour coats and then a top coat and it lasted as well as it ever had with the travel light while taking less time. I used three different colours and a glitter so three different finishes and all worked well. Mine lasted around two weeks before the nail varnish started coming off my middle nails and mum’s is still going over two weeks after applying it. I think my main problem was I tried to include some nail transfers which were less successful and I had to reapply a top coat on the four nails I did this with so it was definitely not this product or the nail varnish’s fault. Here’s a link to the Instagram photo I took as I only took one on my phone and I’m not sure how you embed it in here.
One thing that I did find was that this light did make my nails feel that quick hot feeling stronger than the old ones did. It only happens on a few nails for me and mainly on the top coat but it was there and a bit hotter feeling then before, it went away within a second or two though and it’s not unbearable but something to know in advance so it’s not a nasty surprise if it happens to you! Mum gets it a bit but my sister doesn’t so it’s only some people who seem to get this feeling but it’s mentioned in a few blogs I’ve read for all gel nail varnishes so thought I’d mention it.
The nail varnishes themselves I can’t really review as I only used this lamp with the old style of using a base, then colour, then top coat as I wanted the colours I had in them. The red that comes in the set, Headliner, is a nice red cream and is a classic standard red. It’s pretty bright and looks like it’ll be opaque in a couple of coats. The other colour that came in the option I chose on the QVC site is called Walk of Fame and is a metallic nude I’d say. I thought it looked more gold online but it’s a pale yellow champagne type colour that looks like it’ll be another that’s pretty easy to use with few coats which is unusual for colours like this. I’ll be using them both and writing a review on them when I’ve been wearing them long enough to see how they turn out in comparison to the older way of doing it. If the reviews on the QVC site that were up at the time are to be believed, then they weren’t very successful.
Overall I am happy so far with this set. As I haven’t tried the nail varnishes themselves I can’t comment on this new way of doing it yet, I am planning on doing that next Monday as I’m doing my nails tomorrow and a week will give me a pretty good idea if the reviews were right or not. The main reason I went for this set was the light as I already have all the bits from the original style having had that travel light for a year. This set cost £60 (if I recall correctly) on QVC and the sets with all of the bits needed for the original method along with the light were £90 – £100 and as I didn’t need all those extras it didn’t seem worth the price difference to get that set.
If you like the idea of being able to do a gel manicure at home then I definitely recommend the brand, Red Carpet Manicure seem to be pretty good and they have a really nice range of colours available. I have never seen them in a physical UK store but M&S have them online now so maybe they have them in their larger stores. I would also say that it is definitely worth getting the Pro style lamp over the travel one, whether it is in this set or in the more expensive one.
At the moment I can’t say whether I recommend this set over the more expensive one purely because the main difference is the nail varnish and I haven’t tried it. If you want to wait and see what I think then there will be a post next Monday (when I’ve posted it I’ll add a link in here if I remember!) but going by the reviews on QVC, as I said, I don’t feel that I can recommend this set because of the poor reviews of this new method.
If you already have all the bits for the old method and want an upgrade from the travel set then this is worth it unless you can find the light on its own for a good price. We aware though that the older Pro lights don’t have the USB cable so if they’re going cheap then maybe check for that if you want the option of being able to plug it into your laptop.
I feel like there are a lot of ifs in this post so it might seem like I don’t like the set which isn’t true. I love the light and I am quite happy with the extras, especially as at the time this set cost the same as the light on its own on sites I trusted so they were just bonuses along with the new quick method of gel nail varnish they’ve released. I am hoping this new method works, it’d be nice to have an even quicker way of doing it, and even if it only lasts as well as normal nail varnish to me the short setting time will still be worth it. I hate that feeling of not being able to do anything for the whole time your nails are drying and I always underestimate how long it’ll take and end up smudging at least one when I do something too soon so having a nail varnish that sets immediately is still good to me, just not maybe worth the price tag with the set if you don’t have the original method for longer manicures.
Have any of you tried this new method? Did you find it worked? I’ve mainly found poor reviews but there seem to be the odd positive one so I’m keeping my fingers crossed but opinions from any people who have actually tried it would be good.
Also, any questions about this or things you think I’ve left out then please comment below. I think I managed to cover everything but as I had the old travel one too maybe I’ve missed something in this that someone who’s never used one would want to know.