When gel polish first came out, I was so psyched. The application – buffing, dehydrating, bonder – I knew it wouldn’t help my nails. The buffing alone would destroy them. I tried a Shellac manicure once, and while it was pretty, when it came time to remove the product – dear Lord. Pure acetone? Ugh. Forget it – might as well just take a grinder to them and be done with it. So I stayed away.
I have seen Gelish’s Vitagel all over the place on the internet – YouTube, blogs, forums. I still cannot find a definitive review on whether this stuff helps peeling nails or improves over all nail condition. From what I have seen, the jury is still out and for good reason. Some people couldn’t get the product to adhere for longer than a day or two, others experienced lifting, some complained that it made their nails worse than they were before application. There were reviews that gave it a huge thumbs up – said it made their nails awesome, stronger, more durable. The consistency is off-putting to some, as it is thick and is unlike other soak-off gel products in its consistency and application.
I decided to give it a whirl after my husband bought me the Gelish LED lamp for Mother’s Day. Also, in all honesty, I just get sick of feeling like I have to constantly coax my nails along – put this on, rub this in, use this product, sacrifice some chickens – ok, well maybe not that bad but you get my point. I love painting my nails and I love doing nail art. I cannot express just how much I WOULD LOVE to have longer nails and be able to keep them at a nice length during the winter. However, I just don’t think it is in the cards – at least while I live where I live. In short, I had nothing to lose by trying it.
I took the Vitagel plunge… so if you have peeling nails, and you want to try Vitagel, here are my thoughts. When I looked up ways to apply to Vitagel I stumbled across Tracy’s blog and her YouTube channel – Simply Into my Nails. Tracy does not buff her nails nor use the bonder – rather, she has her own method and in my opinion, a better one. She also uses Gelish’s Structure gel which is also a soak-off, but it offers a little more strength than just the Vitagel. I would also like to mention that she is a licensed nail technician so I felt a little better about trying the product and using her method.
I purchased both products, Structure Gel and Vitagel (Strength Formula). So first things first – FOLLOW HER INSTRUCTIONS PRECISELY. I tried doing several variations and even tried using the pH bond on just the tips of the nail – if your nails peel don’t use the pH bond. If you follow Tracy’s instruction you won’t need to and I have found that the bonder really does
cement lock the product to the nail which makes the removal a pain in the arse (takes a lot longer than when you don’t use it). DO NOT USE A SCRUBBING motion to apply Vitagel – I found that it caused air bubbles and in my opinion, it didn’t cure right. Use the products she uses to cleanse and degrease the nail – alcohol and acetone. Yes, they are dehydrating. Yes, your nails may look ashy prior to application – they won’t afterward so crack on. If you have any areas on your nails that are delaminating, I recommend either filing, trimming, or growing those areas out and then applying the Vitagel. The Vitagel will come off with the peeling section of the nail – no bueno. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT PICK at any lifting. Tracy also covers how she handles air bubbles and lifting and if you follow her instructions, it most likely won’t be an issue. If you vary from her instructions like I did, expect varying results. Also, for removal use a conditioning soak off remover. ASP and CND have one and they are a lot better than pure acetone – Tracy recommends using them as well.
Final thoughts? So far, so good. My nails are certainly more durable. I don’t think it necessarily does anything that makes my natural nails any different in that – they aren’t miraculously cured of their issues. However, I could say that of just about every treatment I have tried. I would classify Vitagel as an enhancement, but a far better one that acrylic or regular gels. I also think that it will allow my natural nails to get some length due to being reinforced. My nails are not damaged when I remove the product. I typically give them a couple of days in between applications, but get a steady three weeks of wear from the Vitagel. I still do the olive oil soaks every day for ten minutes. I also use my Burt’s Bees Lemon Cuticle Balm too. So, is it a cure for peeling nails? No. Is it a good enhancement that doesn’t damage your nails? Depends on how you apply it, the condition of your nails prior to application, and how you remove it. For me, it does offer some added protection. I will keep everyone posted on the progress but I give it a thumbs up thus far.