Friend Recommends: Hand and Nail Harmony Gelish

Early last month Beth gave us a great primer on the DIY at home manicure using traditional polish.  But what about gel polish manicures? They’re more complicated, and require more products. reader Karen sent in the following email:

Hello – I am an avid gel manicure user (at salons) and am intrigued, but nervous about trying the at-home systems.  Both the Red Carpet System and the Lomasi Systems get great reviews – but, I really need some expert advise to see if they really work and which one is better!  Any chance you would try these out and tell us what you find?

Well Karen, neither Beth nor I have used an at home gel system, but I have a friend that does, and she’s been kind enough to depart some wisdom on the matter.  Kelly, a medical sales rep, personal trainer, and manicure aficionado, is avid about good manicures, and likes to keep her nails in pristine condition at all times.  She, and her stylist Courtney, decided to go in together on a gel manicure system, and every other week get together to give each other a manicure (and usually share a bottle of wine).  So far so good, so I asked Kelly some questions about the system she uses, and what you’ll need in order to get the best results from an at-home gel manicure.

A sample of some colors, click on the picture for more

What is the name of the product, and where can you get it?

Hand and Nail Harmony Gelish.  You can find it at Professional Spa Service stores (if you have a friend or stylist who is certified and willing to buy for you), or you can buy a limited amount of product (but enough to get you started) at Sally Beauty Supply, and on Amazon.

What items are needed to get started?

UV Light – $51.19
pH Bond – $.50
Foundation- Base Gel – $11.29
Top it off- Sealer – $10.89
Gelish Cleanser or Isopropyl Alcohol – $4.55
Soak off Remover – $16.95
Cuticle Stick – $4.04
Lint Free Wipes – $6.80
Buffing block – $1.10
Polishes in your favorite colors! – $6.95

*full clutch note: all prices shown are from

What is the hardest part about doing your own gel manicure?

It can be a little time consuming at first until you get the hang of it.  You can buy a faster curing light to save time, but it’s expensive.  Also, soaking the polish off takes a little bit of time.  I recommend pouring the cleanser or Isopropyl Alcohol in a small bowl and letting your finger tips soak for about 10 minutes.  Then use a cuticle stick to gentle push off the polish.

What do you love about this product?

I don’t have a lot of free time and the idea of having to get weekly manicures (or do them myself) just is not an option for me. I am super harsh on my nails, and super obsessive about them if they don’t look good. Not a good combo. If I have a chip in my polish, my eyes will be drawn to it until it gets fixed! And for work, my nails must look groomed.

Regular manicures at salons last about a day for me if I’m lucky. A few years ago my nail tech found a soak off polish and wanted to try it on me to see if we could extend my perfectly manicured nails a few days longer. It lasted 2 weeks! The only issue was it was spendy to maintain, $60-80 a month. It was worth the cost to me though. One day my friend and hair stylist happened to comment on my nails and I told her about the soak off polish. She went to have them done and came back and said, “We could totally do each other’s nails!” I was hesitant at first, but agreed we should try it. She was able to buy everything at a Salon Service store to get us started. And we’ve been doing each other’s nails bi-weekly ever since.

Why is it different from other products you’ve used?

We tried OPI soak off and Shellac products as well.  They are both good options, but we found that Gelish was easiest to use.  The pricing for Gelish is also a little more affordable than the aforementioned.

Do you think the product is worth the price?

The upfront cost was a little expensive. We started out with 4-5 colors and have continued to add as the company keeps coming out with amazing hues. I think we have over 30 colors now.  It has helped to split the cost of everything with a friend and the money I’ve saved from not getting professional manicures has evened out now.  We’ve been using the polishes for over a year now and they have not run out or changed consistency.

Any final thoughts?

Cheat a little!  It’s super easy but if you are feeling intimated, pay for a soak off manicure and take mental notes on what the manicurist is doing.

Great information Kelly!  If you like the idea of the durability of a gel manicure, but don’t want to take the time a make the effort to give yourself one, another friend, Patty, recommended Perfect Formula Gel Coat.  She uses the pink version without any polish under it, and she said it stays on her nails 10 to 14 days without any chips.  It also strengthens her nails and helps them grow.  And, it can be removed with regular polish remover.

Karen, I hope this information has been helpful.  Ladies, if any of you have used either the Red Carpet system, the Lomasi system, or the Gelish system, and want to comment on it, please leave them below!

4 Responses to “Friend Recommends: Hand and Nail Harmony Gelish”
  1. Karen says:

    Thanks so much – I think I am going to start soliciting a few friends to get a nail polish party started – – the wine will indeed be flowing!  

    With Warmth, Karen

    • Sarah says:

      Sounds like a good time Karen!  When you’ve had the chance to try it, drop us a line to let us know what you think.  

      • Karen says:

        Hi Sarah – I actually bought the Sephora by OPI system and did my first DIY gel mani last night.  I am pretty impressed on how well they look for my first time and how easy the process was.  As for the system I chose to purchase – it was on the pricier side ($187), but it included everything you needed.  I will keep you posted on how the polish withstands.  

  2. Ckhairartist says:

    Love the gelish harmony! Great interview and information!