Oct 25, 2011

Review: Red Carpet Manicure at-home gel system

Hey Beauties!

It’s Halloween time again… I am seeing the beauty blogs stuffed to overflowing with Halloween makeup and nail posts and I’m here to add my 2 cents :D


I was recently sent the Red Carpet Manicure Starter kit to try and I thought it would be great to use for my Halloween manicure as it’d be long lasting (hopefully.. I’ll let you know next week!) and I have a number of different events to go to. I’ve been super excited to try out this at-home gel system, as I LOVE gel nails but don’t really want to pay to go to a salon every time I want to get them done (when my lovely friend Mai isn’t available… I don’t think she loves me any more ;_; just kidding!). I know a few nail bloggers have been DIYing gel manicures for a while now, but all those systems are really intended for professional use only and I’m far from a professional. So with the Red Carpet Manicure system being marketed as ‘at-home’ gel system, it immediately piqued my interest. Total Money Saver!

From Red Carpet Manicure:


Red Carpet Manicure is the first of its kind in the retail market bringing the professional
salon experience to the masses. With 36 different shades and a portable or professional LED
light, consumers now have an affordable, easy and safe way to have beautiful gel nails
within minutes that lasts for weeks!

A full system costs $57.94, which works out $2.90 each for twenty at-­home applications compared to an average of $40.00 for each professional application in the salon. (Note: Don’t know why it says $57.94 when the starter kit is $59.99.. maybe I’m missing something? – Ishah)

Step 1: Prep
Prep Max Adhesion Sanitizer: $3.99
Step 2: Care & Color
Structure Base Coat Gel: $9.99
LED Gel Polish (36 shades): $9.99
Brilliance Seal and Shine Top Coat: $9.99
Step 3: Finish
Revitalize Nourishing Cuticle Oil: $3.99
Purify (Pre and Post Application Cleanser): $3.99
Step 4: Removal
Erase Gel Polish Remover: $3.99
Lights and Starter kits:
Pro:45 Light: $49.99
Portable LED Light: $19.99
Starter kit with professional light: $79.99
Starter kit with portable light: $59.99
Accessories kit: $3.99

Tips for application:

  • Apply thin coats
  • Cure after each coat of polish (base coat, color, brilliance top coat, etc.)

I received the Starter kit with portable light (battery operated, whereas the pro light is plugged into the wall). It seems like a lot of steps, but if you don’t prep the nail properly, it won’t stay on as long.

First of all let me say, application is so easy.
Because the gel doesn’t dry until you cure it under the light, you have as much time in the world to apply it on the nail and correct any mistakes you might (I did) have made. I’m far from being a manicure expert, but this was extremely difficult.. to get wrong. (In other words, IT’S SUPER EASY!). Make sure you do thin coats, as if it's too thick it can run into the edge of your nail, look uneven and thick and also peels off more easily.

The first couple of times it may take a little longer than a regular manicure, but once you get more used to the differences, it’s pretty quick and painless. I did get a bit restless waiting the 2 minutes for each coat to cure, but once it’s dry, it’s hard as a rock. No smudging and having to redo your whole hand. Also, for the impatient ones, you can get the professional light which only needs 45 seconds to cure each coat. It’s a bit more expensive, but it really does cut that time down. I am seriously considering purchasing it myself, just because it’s a lot faster and I have an extremely short attention span.

One thing: since this is gel, it does not remove like regular nail polish (no matter how much it looks like nail polish in that bottle!). I made the stupid mistake of putting the Brilliance topcoat on instead of the Structure basecoat and had to remove it.. AFTER I already cured it. Took a little while, which surprised me – I guess I was still thinking in terms of regular polish. So yeah, one thing the company could do is make the topcoat and basecoat bottles a little different (for simple people like me… =_=).

EDIT: One thing to note - some of the brushes on the bottles were a bit wonky and had some hairs sticking out that made application difficult. Might just be new production issues, but I passed that info onto them anyway.

My Halloween costume this year is a school girl, so I wanted something simple and sweet looking to complement the outfit. The skirt is pink, so I used Red Carpet Manicure (RCM) After Party Playful, which is a soft, bubblegum pink. This is 2 coats.


For the accent nail I used RCM Candid Moment (from their Bridal collection) as a base and then used a dotting tool and one of my Color Club unnamed pink polishes for the flowers. The dot in the centre is Konad white and red special polish mixed together…. don’t ask. I was having a hard time finding the right colour.


I noticed some patchiness here and there and not sure if it’s just my newbie application… The box says only 2 coats of colour are needed, so maybe it is user error? Or maybe the lighter colours just turn out like that? Not sure, but it’s not really noticeable in real life, only on camera. I’ll have to try some of the darker colours and see if it makes a difference.

I wanted to try something a little more ‘hardcore’ Halloween, so I pulled inspiration from my favourite TV show (The Vampire Diaries) and did dripping with blood ‘Vampire’ nails. This would work a lot better with long nails, but I recently had to cut mine down ;_; As it is I think it looks pretty cool! I used RCM Candid Moment as a base and RCM Glitz & Glamorous (from their Holiday collection) for the blood drops. I think next year I’ll be Katherine (The Vampire Diaries) and have long talons dripping with glittery blood! Hey, you could still do it, I won’t be mad at you ;)


Some Halloween suggestions from the red Carpet Manicure team:

  • For a spooky and trendy look, try a reverse French manicure with our “Black Stretch Limo” shade.

  • Dressing up in an 80’s themed costume this year with friends? Check out Red Carpet Manicure’s hot pink shade “Paparazzied”. 

Red Carpet Manicure products are available at ULTA who are having a 20% off sale now thru Saturday Oct 30, with free shipping on purchases over $50.

They also have a Facebook page where you can see lots of photos and posts from people that have tried the products.

I'll be doing another post on the Red Carpet Manicure system and Autumn/Winter nail trends next week, so stay tuned!

What are you dressing up as for Halloween? Are you dressing up your nails as well?

Ishah xx

Disclosure: This product was sent for review consideration by PR representative of the company. This in no way influences my opinion of the product.


  1. That sounds like a very good kit to use at home :)

  2. It definitely is! The fact that it is nail polish-like bottles makes it very easy to use.

  3. Currently finishing up cosmetology school. USED the cnd and was looking for an inexpensive home kit. THIS IS GREAT. Will recommend to classmates and friends! Dries shiny. Only complaint is light colors are sheer and much lighter than bottle lets on. Check polish before buying. If you want polish color to "show" use darker colors. Get the professional plug in light. ONLY 20 MORE DOLLARS.

  4. Torriehoskins1/06/2012 12:13 PM

    what a beautiful job...I tried using the RCM color in Take a bow (I posted a pic on facebook) and for some reason the color streaked....I don't know what that was from...but it's still looks better than nothing at all...I am using the gelish system at home and luv luv luv it :) I was getting it done at the salon for $21 every few weeks, but they weren't all that thourough in applicaton...plus it adds up after a while of having it done...so i bought everything and am doing it at home...what did u use to get that design on your ring finger? it's soooo pretty :)

  5. thank you! Yes it's definitely more cost effective doing it yourself. I had some streakiness as well, I guess doing 3 or 4 super thin coats might work better. For the design I used a dotting tool with regular nail polish.

  6. Have you tried other brands of uv polish? I am thinking about getting the kit because I love gel nails but cant afford to get them done every week. I really like the shellac and the OPI gel colors. I cant find anything on the light in this kit whether it is versatile with other polishes. Also have you tried regular polish in between the gel base and top?

  7. Hi Rskonwerski, I haven't yet tried other brands, but I'm sure it would be fine with them. You may or may not need to change the curing time a little bit, depending on the polish. If I were you, I'd go for the Pro light as it's faster and more likely to work better with different brands. I have done a coat of glitter polish between a base, one coat of colour and under a top coat and it has been fine. I also did some nail art designs using regular polish between the base and top coat and it didn't make a difference. I'd say you would be fine to do regular polish, but to make sure you wrap the tips or it may peel.


Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment! :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...