Thursday, 5 January 2012

Nails Inc 3 Week Manicure/Biosculpture Gel Review

I really love a nicely manicured set of nails.  However, I am properly rubbish at maintaining my own.  I have a little ceramics company that I run on the side of my husbands business, and this means a lot of wear & tear on my old fingernails.  They get dried out by dipping glaze, chipped on pottery, and covered in clay.  Additionally I play the Ukulele, so I'm constantly chipping manicures on the strings.  Add to that housework & gardening, and well, you get the picture I'm sure.

In the run up to Christmas my nails were pretty woeful.  I tried to keep them nice, but ended up having to cut them all right down just to make them look passable.
In the knowledge that I would be visiting my mother in law & grandmother in law over the festive season, both of whom have beautiful, long, manicured, natural nails, I decided to treat myself.

I popped into the Nails Inc bar at my local House of Fraser, and plumped for a 3 week manicure.  This entails having layers of Biosculpture Gel built up on the nails, which are then set under UV light.  The claim is that this manicure should last 3 weeks.  Now, I am not normally able to splash out on manicures, and at £55 this was extremely expensive.  I viewed it as a Christmas present to myself.

I had the manicure done on 9th December, the hope being that it would see me through Christmas.

Here are my nails on Day 1:

You can't really tell from the photo, but the gel does build up into quite a thick layer.   I could see clearly that there was a thick layer on top of my own nails.  However, this doesn't really detract from the overall appearance - other people don't inspect your nails closely enough to notice this sort of thing.

Over the next 3 weeks I lived life as normal - working, peeling potatoes, grating cheese, playing my Uke, and generally treating my nails as if there were no manicure there.

It was brilliant!  No chipping, and only marginal loss of gloss with a few scratches.  I could probably have popped a layer of topcoat on to combat this should have I been minded to.

By 1st January, a little over 3 weeks later, my nails looked like this:
You can see clearly how much my nails have grown in this time - there is a large 'moon' between my nail bed & the edge of the manicure.  Noone noticed this until I pointed it out to them.  The colour had held up brilliantly - and still looked glossy.

Should I  have plumped for another 3 week manicure (at another £55), removal of the gel would have been free of charge.  Without another manicure, removal costs £30 at Nails Inc.  After spending so much on the original manicure, and being broke after Christmas, there was no way I could afford this.

I had asked the manicurist about home removal, and she told me to soak cotton wool in acetone nail varnish remover, and wrap this around the nail with baking foil, and let it soak in.  I did this...for took me almost the whole of 'Treasure Island' part 1 with (with Eddie Izzard) to get the gels off.  The edges peeled up pretty easily, but the centre was more difficult.

After removal, this is what my nails looked like:

I'm uncertain whether that is little bits of gel left on my nails, or damage to my nail from removal of the gel.  I'm pleased with the shape & length of the nails,which felt very strong, with no tendency for breaking, so I think it's probably mainly bits of gel I haven't been able to get off.  It's now a few days after this and I've painted my nails myself.  They remain strong with no splitting, so no complains from me:

  • nice colour choices
  • great glossy finish
  • chip-free Manicure for 3 weeks even with 'heavy use' of hands
  • my nails grew nicely under the manicure without breaking
  • Price - £55 is too much for me to shell out on anything but a special occasion.
  • home removal is a bit of a palaver and again price prevents salon removal for me.
  • after 3 weeks your nail regrowth is obvious.
  • you are committing to one particular colour for 3 weeks. Not so great if you like to change it up!

Overall, I would have this done again, particularly were I going on holiday and wanted a manicure that would last.  I personally can't afford to spend £55 even on a monthly basis (or 3 monthly for that matter!), but you can find biosculpture gel manicures from people other than Nails Inc for considerably less - I've since discovered a friend of mine uses a local lass who charges £30.  I'll be hunting her down come holiday season!

UPDATE: 3 weeks on, I can definately see that there has been some damage to my nails.  They are weak in places & prone to breaking, But, keeping them manicured has helped considerably & it wouldnt put me off having this done again for a holiday or special occasion.  I do wonder whether, had I had 'professional' removal of the gels, the damage would have been less.  However, I still wouldn't be willing to pay the extra £30 for removal!


  1. Jessica do a similar thing called geleration, it's about 30 quid for two weeks. It left my natural nails pretty weak but is handy for holibobs.

  2. Hiya Lady Cherry - I've just updated the post - my natural nails are definately weaker but as you say, it's still a useful treatment for holidays!