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Now that it’s been roughly a week since I’ve been exclusively working from home, my nails have definitely seen better days. Extensive hand washing, sanitizing and general use have decimated the previous manicure I had done, and it showed.
While I would normally just pop into my local salon to get a quick manicure, most beauty services like nail salons, spas and hairdressers have shut their doors in order to help contain the spread of coronavirus.
In light of the current global situation, I was curious about whether any of the at-home alternatives that bill themselves as being just as effective as a professional manicure are worth investing in. To find out, I got started with Le Mini Macaron.
What is it?
I’d recently heard about the brand’s Gel Manicure Kit, the affordable nail kit that retails for $44. The cost is slightly more than the average gel manicure at a salon, but with dozens of applications possible with a single bottle of polish, the cost per use of Le Mini Macaron ends up being much lower.
Each kit comes with everything you’d need for an at-home pampering session, including an LED lamp with USB cord, a gel polish, a cuticle stick, and a mini nail file. It also includes 10 remover wraps to take off your polish once you’re ready.
Each nail polish has a 9-free formulation (free from the most harmful chemicals often found in nail polish), is cruelty-free, and lasts for 7-10 days.
How does it work?
Following the instructions, I got started by pushing back my cuticles and lightly filing the surface of my nails. I then used an acetone-based nail polish remover to wipe off any dust, in order to ensure proper adhesion of the nail polish.
Next, I applied a very thin coat of gel polish before placing each nail under the mini LED light to cure. After 30 seconds, the first coat had dried, and I was able to repeat the process for a second coat. Done!
While it may seem like it would be a time-consuming process to have to paint and cure each nail one by one, with a movie on in the background (Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason for anyone who’s curious), it ended up being a fun and relaxing way to spend a half hour of my night. Once the final nail had been painted and cured, there was no additional time that I had to avoid using my hands like there is with traditional nail polish, so I’d say it was a half hour very well spent.
I initially had low expectations about the durability of Le Mini Macaron’s gel polish, but was pleasantly surprised with the results. My nails were left with a high-shine finish that lasted through chores, hand washing and general wear and tear without a problem.
I actually made the mistake of leaving some laundry in the wash while I got started on my manicure, so by the time I was done I needed to transfer everything into the dryer. Luckily, not a single nail was smudged or chipped in the process, even though it had been barely five minutes since I finished painting my nails.
Time will tell whether this polish actually holds up longer than a week, but based on first impressions I’ll be keeping it around while I await the day that I can head back into a nail salon.
Considering that this manicure kit is affordable, offers long-wearing nail polish and comes in a range of colours (additional nail polishes can be purchased through Le Mini Macaron’s site for $12 USD) I’d give this a resounding stamp of approval. While there is room for user error if you’re not used to applying your own polish, it’s nothing that a little practice won’t improve over time.
SHOP IT: Urban Outfitters, $44