Gel Nail Polish Starter Kit – CND, OPI Gel Color And Gelish

Update May 2014: Just arrived! Gelish Pro Kit, a starter kit that’s similar to Gelish Complete Starter Kit, but with larger 5-45 LED Lamp that cures 5 fingers.

You’ve read a lot about gel manicure and ready to be a do-it-yourself gel manicurist. Or maybe you are looking for a gift for a gel polish fan. Whatever your reason is, this article will let you know about three Gel Nail Polish Starter/Intro Kits from the most popular brands in the market. They are CND, OPI GelColor and Gelish.

For starter, buying a kit will cost less than buying individually. The kit also has all (most) everything you need to do gel application. It helps you starting your gel manicure without getting panic because you miss something important in the middle of your manicure.


complete gelish starter kit

gelish complete starter kit

Like its name, this kit has the most complete set including a mini (pretty small) LED lamp.  The whole kit comes in a small box that weighs only 2 lbs.

It contains:

  • Mini Pro 45 LED Light 110-240V
  • pH Bond (9ml/.30 fl oz)
  • Base Foundation (9ml/.30 fl oz)
  • Top-it-Off (9ml/.30 fl oz)
  • Nourish Cuticle Oil (9ml/.30 fl oz)
  • Nail Surface Cleanse (60ml/2 fl oz)
  • Gel Nail Remover (60ml/2 fl oz)
  • Orangewood Stick
  • Mini Wooden File
  • Plastic Pusher
  • Prep Tabs
  • Gelish Soak-Off Gel Polish in Gossip Girl and June Bride (15ml/.5 fl oz each)
  • Brochure.

The Gelish MINI Pro 45 LED Curing Light

It is especially designed to efficiently cure Gelish Soak-off Gel color and products from the Gelish MINI System for a beautiful manicure that lasts up to three weeks. Its compact design is great for at-home personal use and cures 4 fingers at a time. Cures faster than regular uv lamp.

Features includes:

  • a preset forty-five second timer and three 2 watt LED bulbs that never need to be replaced.
  • The compact ergonomic design allows for both comfort and to save table space.
  • The MINI Pro 45 has consistent power and performance from the first second out of the box through to the 50,0000th hour.

International customer needs a plug converter.

The Gelish Complete Starter Kit is $94.99. That’s the lowest among the three.


shellac nail starter kit

CND Shellac Intro Pack contains all you need to start right away. This is the only kit packed in a retail box, directly from CND. So the colors are pre-selected. Don’t mistake it with many Shellac kits that are custom selected by seller, for example on Ebay.

The starter pack doesn’t include a Shellac UV lamp (Shellac is only cured under a UV Lamp). The lamp is sold separately.

What you get in the pack:

  • 1 CND Shellac Base
  • 1 CND Shellac Top Coat .25 oz. ea.
  • 4 CND Shellac Color Coats .25 oz: Cream Puff, Negligee, Wildfire, Fedora
  • CND SolarOil .5 oz.
  • ScrubFresh 2 oz.
  • Pure Acetone 2 oz.
  • Pure Alcohol 2 oz.
  • Shellac Remover Wraps 250-pk.
  • 240/240 grit Kanga Files 20-pk.
  • Orangewood Sticks 20-pk.
  • Shellac Brochure
  • Salon Registry Card

Price is $124.99. With a Shellac UV lamp, your start-up cost comes to total of $273.99.



OPI has 2 kinds of kits, one with an LED lamp and one without.

opi gel color starter kit led lamp

The complete kit (picture above) includes 1 unit of OPI LED Lamp and 1 The Icons Intro Kit. Both LED lamp and Kit come with the original OPI retail boxes.

OPI LED Lamp features:

  • Lightning-speed services with Full Five-Finger Curing
  • Hand sensor-activated
  • Spacious, comfortable interior for all hand sizes & nail lengths
  • Adjustable “feet” for convenient pedicure use
  • 15,30,45, & 60-second memory settings
  • 32 silicone encapsulated LEDs
  • Mirror-finish interior for even light distribution
  • 50,000 hours of LED performance
  • Durable metal construction
  • 2 easy-access power ports
  • 1-year manufacturer warranty
  • World wide power adapter 110-240V 50/60Hz with 2 thin prongs (for North America). You just need a proper power plug adapter for other countries.

The Icon Kit has everything you need to start a gel manicure. It has the iconic OPI nail polish colors such as I’m not Really a Waitress, Cajun Shrimp and Bubble Bath. It is the only kit from OPI that includes a Base and Top Coat while other kits have none.

opi gelcolor the icons kit opi gel color icons complete kit

The Icons GelColor Intro Kit includes:

  • 6 OPI GelColor polishes:
    • Lincoln Park After Dark (0.5oz),
    • I’m Not Really A Waitress (0.5oz),
    • Passion (0.5oz),
    • Cajun Shrimp (0.5oz),
    • Strawberry Margarita 0.5oz)
    • Funny Bunny (0.5oz)
  • OPI Gel Base Coat (0.5oz)
  • OPI Gel Top Coat (0.5oz)
  • Blank Nail Palette with Chain
  • BondAid (1 oz)
  • GelColor by OPI Tabletop Instructions
  • GelColor by OPI Instructional Brochure
  • Expert touch Remover (4 oz)
  • Expert touch Remover Wrap (20ct)
  • Window Cling
  • Instructional DVD
  • Reusable cuticle stick

OPI Gel Color also has 6-gel colors kit that  has no LED Lamp. Usually the kit has 6 seasonal gel colors but without Top and  Base coats. For example, the Mariah Carey Holiday 2013 Gel Color Kit has  6 limited edition holiday colors.

OPI Holiday 2013 Mariah Carey Gel Color

The OPI Gel Color Starter Kit with LED lamp is $329. The Icon Kit itself is $99.

All starter kits mentioned above are available at Esther’s Nail Center, your online source for gel manicure  offering brands such as CND Shellac, Daisy, Gelish, and OPI Gelcolor.

So which one would you choose among the three if you want to invest in doing gel manicure yourself? Please leave your comment below. I would be happy to read each one of them.


FREE Glow In The Dark Water Decal

free glow in the dark water decal

Get a FREE Glow In The Dark Water Decal with any purchase. Valid until October 31, 2013. No coupon needed.


Top 10 Gel Nail Polish Brands

Since the renaissance of gel soak off/hybrid nail polish a few years ago, lots and lots of gel nail polish brands are flooding the market  We used to be able to count just by hand. But now we lost count already on how many brands of gel polish are there.

So in effort to help the new/old gel polish fans on choosing the top ones,  we are making this poll to know which brands get into the list of the top 10.

Therefore, WE NEED YOUR HELP! Please fill out the poll below with all gel nail polish brands you are aware of.  You can add your answers as well. Please share with your friends as well.

By end of this year, we’ll post the result in our blog and Facebook.  Thank you in advance for your participation!! Comment below if you have any comment …


Glow In The Dark Nail Stickers

There are a lot of Glow-in-the-dark stuff around us, from toys to nail polish.  Take the idea into nail art and we have Glow In The Dark nail stickers.

The new Glow In The Dark water nail stickers are now available at These stickers are super fun to wear. They glow green in the dark while look white or colorful in the light. Perfect for Halloween or any night events.

Since they are water transfer decals, you need water to apply.  Expose them to light for a few minutes before seeing them glow in the dark. Otherwise, they won’t glow brightly or won’t glow at all.  Repeat if necessary.

How to Apply

  1. Clean the nails with nail cleanser.
  2. Apply nail polish as a background. Wait until it dry.
  3. Select your choice of sticker and cut it out. Remove the film from it.
  4. Place it into water 10-20 seconds. Use warm water in winter. It does not matter if you place it face-down or face-up. Wait until the paper backing is wet.
  5. Moisten the fingernail. Place the sticker in position.
  6. Let’s wait for 1 or 2 minutes to let the sticker fully set.
  7. Dry nail with paper towel.
  8. Apply top coat to seal the nail art.


Below are some cool patterns that are available at our store. Left picture shows stickers in the dark. Right picture shows stickers under normal light.

chanel dior logo glow in the dark nail stickers chanel dior logo-glow-in-dark-stickers

faces glow phosporescent stickers faces-white-fluorescent-stickers

zipper glow in the dark nail stickers zipper glow in the dark nail stickers

hello kitty glow in the dark nail art sticker hello kitty glow in the dark nail art sticker

gid009-glow-dark-stickers gid009-glow-dark-stickers-light gid019-hello-kitty-glow-dark-stickers gid019-hello-kitty-light-stickers gid020-glow-hello-kitty-luminous-stickers gid020-light-hello-kitty-luminous-stickers

These stickers are available at Esther’s Nail Center at $2.50 per sheet.  There are many stickers in one sheet to last for a long time.

So what do you think? Do you like it or not? Share your comment below.


Does Shellac Damage Nails?

No! According to CND, when used as directed, Shellac doesn’t damage your nails.

This claim is something new that I noticed recently on CND Shellac’s newer retail box. You can see it on the left side of the box. This new addition is not available on the older box. I believe this claim is to answer the often asked question whether Shellac is safe for nail.

Shellac doesn't damage nails

Buffing the nail bed, drilling the shellac on the nails or soaking nails with acetone for removal are among the improper ways and can ruin the nails. You should stay away from these steps or nail tech who does that to your nails.

So what is the proper instruction? Visit to find it or you can click “ CND Shellac Application Removal”, downloaded right from CND website.

Any thought or comment about Shellac damaging nails? Please share your experience with Shellac below.


Fall for Vinylux Forbidden Colors

This fall 2013, CND has released a new CND Vinylux Forbidden Collection  in mini bottles. The colors are more to the darker shades, which are pretty for fall.

What is CND Vinylux

cnd vinylux nail polish

Before getting deeper in the color, let’s talk what CND Vinylux is.

VINYLUX™ is a breakthrough polish system that endures a week of fashion perfection…without a base coat! Exposure to natural light secures the patent-pending Pro-Light technology, creating an enduring, long-lasting polish. While ordinary polishes become brittle and deteriorate over time, VINYLUX dries naturally to a flawless finish and strengthens its resistance to chips over time. VINYLUX is available in 62 fashion-forward polish colors and 47 colors that match popular CND Shellac™ shades. Quotes from

For more about Vinylux read “New Manicures Last a Week with CND Vinylux

Is Vinylux similar to Shellac? No, these are totally different type of polish.

CND Shellac:

  • is a hybrid gel polish
  • needs UV Light to cure the polish
  • needs a base coat
  • stay for up to 2 weeks
  • long lasting shine till the end of the 2-week
  • longer application and removal time

CND Vinylux:

  • is air-dry just like regular nail polish.
  • no need of a uv lamp
  • no base coat needed
  • stay for up to 1 week, hence the name ‘weekly polish’
  • getting dull or dents over the week
  • shorter application and removal time


CND Vinylux Forbidden Collection

For you who are interested in trying out CND Vinylux, Vinylux Forbidden Collection Mini set is a perfect starter kit. It comes with 6 colors and 1 top coat. No base coat, as it’s not needed.  The polish comes in mini bottles of .125 fl oz / 3.7 ml size.

cnd vinylux forbidden collection mini nail polish

The colors are:

  • Burnt Romance
  • Tinted Love
  • Dark Dahlia
  • Blue Rapture
  • Night Glimmer
  • Steel Gaze

This set is also perfect for a gift. It includes all you need to do Vinylux manicure or pedicure.

Most Vinylux colors match Shellac colors. So if you need matching polish for pedicure, you can dig into Vinylux color collection.

So where to buy CND Vinylux? You can go to for CND products (including Shellac) and Gelish and other nail supplies.

What do you think about CND Vinylux? Have you tried it? And what is your Vinylux favorite color? Please share in the comments.


CND Vinylux Review and Swatches

Hello everyone!  I am Andrea from, a nail blog that mainly features gel polish swatches and nail art.  I was excited when Esther’s Nail Center contacted me to see if I’d be interested in reviewing CND Vinylux and writing a guest post because I’ve been wanting to try this brand since I heard about it.  CND Vinylux is marketed as a “weekly polish” that has long-lasting wear of up to a week.  I typically only get a couple days wear out of regular nail polish before it chips or peels, so this seemed almost too good to be true!

CND Vinylux does not require a base coat, only two coats of color and one coat of the Vinylux top coat.  The top coat is formulated to get stronger with exposure to natural UV light (sun light).  No special lamps are needed.  It applies just like regular polish, and dries quickly in just 8 1/2 minutes.

The colors that Esther’s Nail Center sent me to sample were Purple Purple, Scarlet Letter, Cityscape, Locket Love, Regally Yours and Black Pool.  I swatched all of the colors and decided to wear one of them for a full week to test the longevity.  I chose to do this with Purple Purple because I also own the CND Shellac version of this color and it’s a favorite.  I conducted this test on my right hand, which I don’t typically show when blogging.

CND Vinylux Wear Test

The photos above show the wear of this polish from days 2 through 7.  If you click on the image you can see a larger view.  Day 2, still looks as fresh and new as Day 1.  On Day 3 you can see there is a little tip wear beginning to show, and that becomes slightly more evident on day 4.  On Day 5 a small chip incurred on the ring finger, and Day 6 still looks almost exactly the same.  On Day 7 though, I spent several hours in the garden and the polish finally broke down and chipped off in several places.

I would say that overall Vinylux lasted very well only showing minimal wear for the majority of the week.  It’s not as evident in the photos because this color has a shimmer to it, but the shine of the top coat dulled over the course of the week and some minor scratches could be seen.   Here is a summary of my observations of Vinylux:

  • Long-lasting wear
  • No base coat required, which is a time saver during application
  • Top coat gets stronger over time
  • Good coverage with just 2 coats
  • Fast-drying
  • Applies & removes with ease
  • Good selection of colors available

Below are swatches of the six colors that I sampled.  You have already seen a sneak peek of Purple Purple.  This color is a blue-purple, and it looks different depending on the lighting.  It looks more blue in my photos, but it does sometimes take on more of a purple look.

CND Vinylux Purple Purple

CND Vinylux Purple Purple

This is Scarlet Letter, a gorgeous shade of red.

CND Vinylux Scarlet Letter

CND Vinylux Scarlet Letter

This is Cityscape, a pale shade of grey.  I love the soft, subtleness of this color.

CND Vinylux Cityscape

CND Vinylux Cityscape

Locket Love is a metallic gold.  This is a polish that needs to be applied very carefully because it shows the brushstrokes.  When applied properly, it has amazing metallic effects.

CND Vinylux Locket Love

CND Vinylux Locket Love

Regally Yours is a very deep, dark shade of purple.  It’s so dark, it’s almost black.  This is a great color for fall and winter.

CND Vinylux Regally Yours

CND Vinylux Regally Yours

And finally, this is Black Pool.  The name is pretty self explanatory… it’s black!  As with all of these polishes, this had great coverage with just two coats.

CND Vinylux Black Pool

CND Vinylux Black Pool

Since I normally wear soak-off gel (SOG) polish, I also couldn’t help doing a quick comparison of Vinylux to SOG.

  • SOG hides most nail imperfections and fills ridges very well, leaving the nails looking perfectly smooth.  With Vinylux the nail ridges are visible.
  • SOG has a high gloss shine that lasts the length of the manicure.  Vinylux polish dulls with wear and shows surface scratches.
  • SOG lasts 14-21 days without chipping or peeling.  Vinylux lasts up to 7 days, which is actually great for a polish that applies and removes like regular nail polish.
  • SOG has to be soaked off with acetone, and the removal process can be lengthy.  Vinylux removes with ease just like regular nail polish with a cotton pad/ball and polish remover.
  • CND Vinylux is much more affordable than SOG polish.  :)

I hope you enjoyed my review and swatches!  Esther’s Nail Center sells Vinylux and many other brands of nail polish and soak-off gel polish.  So whatever your needs, you can find it at!  And don’t forget to visit me at for more swatches!


3 Simple Way To Get Rid of Callus on Feet

Over this summer I am happy to say that my feet has overcome the callus problem that often occurs during this dry and hot season.  How I get rid of callus on my feet and keep them smooth is what I want to share with you in 3 simple steps:

1. Moisturize Your Feet Daily

Very important to moisturize your feet every day. I usually do that after shower. Be selective on choosing your body lotion. After trying this and that, I have come back and been using Jergens Ultra Healing Extra Dry Skin Moisturizer for a long time now. It keeps my skin moisturized for the whole day so I don’t need to re-apply within 24 hours.

Jergen Ultra Healing Lotion

2. Scrub Callus with Pumice Stone

I noticed once during summer that the skin on my heels started to get harder and had some calluses. The longer I didn’t get rid of them, the more the calluses built up. Thinking I need to get rid of them before the situation got worse, I grabbed my pumice stone and Sooo Smooth Callus Dissolver.  I tried Pumice Stone first. Thankfully, it worked right away and the skin got much smoother afterwards.

pumice stone for feet

In my opinion I don’t like foot scrub (sugar or salt). I find that it’s too easy to dissolve in water. So it lost the scrubbing power in a short time unless I use it on dry feet or hands.

3. Use Callus Dissolver/Remover

If you never treat your callus and it get thick even cracked, get a Callus Dissolver or Remover to help you remove the callus. This product will help you do the work and you simply buff them away.

Esther’s Nail Center has Sooo Smooth Callus Dissolver and Be Natural Callus Remover. They have been around in the market for a long, long time and both work wonderfully.

Sooo Smooth callus dissolver Be Natural Callus Eliminator

How to use Callus Remover

  • Wear gloves or rinse finger well after applying.
  • After soaking, liberally spread Callus Dissolver over callus.
  • Allow it to penetrate 2 – 3 minutes depending on callus buildup.
  • Then use a file or pumice stone to gently remove callus.
  • Wash thoroughly with water after use.

Caution: Always wash off Callus Dissolver within 7 minutes of application. Avoid contact with skin other than callused area. Do not apply to broken skin.

Apply it as necessary or when needed.  Below is the video how to use Be Natural Callus Eliminator.

So how do you get rid of the callus? Do you have any special treatment or callus product? Please do share below.

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