Tried & Tested: Red Carpet Manicure vs. Sensationail

Posted by Lipglossiping On July - 25 - 2013

The lure of a manicure that delivers long-lasting wear, minimal fuss, and one that can be done in the comfort of your own home is a strong pull.  Once upon a time, the only way we could have achieved something like this would have been to visit our nearest nail technician for acrylics and gel overlays (I used to love Bio-Sculpture).

Nowadays technologies have moved on and things have become a lot let fussy since the advent of Shellac and Gellish-type polishes… and even more so, now that we can use similar UV-cured polish technology at home!

I’m not a newbie to at-home gel polish systems, having previously trialled and reviewed Red Carpet Manicure’s major competitor in the UK market: Sensationail, infact… I’m in a priviliged position where I’m able to deduce any differences between the two systems.  So, without further ado, let’s get down to it.

Red Carpet Manicure_1

Red Carpet Manicure

The first point to note between the two at-home nail systems is that of the two… the Sensationail Kit is slightly cheaper at £60, compared to the Red Carpet Manicure Starter Kit at £65.

The Red Carpet Manicure kit contains pretty much the same product as the Sensational in terms of: prepping products, base coat, colour, top coat… the systems both work in a similar way when it comes to application and use.  The major difference between the two kits is the lamp.

Sensationail’s kit comes with a “pro” lamp as standard.  In this instance, you can take that to mean… a lamp with a timer.  The Sensationail lamp cuts out after 1-minute and “chirps” after 30-seconds.  Red Carpet Manicure’s smaller footprint lamp… doesn’t do this, you need a clock handy.  No real problem for those of us with our smartphones glued to our fingers anyway but curing time is also longer after each step with the Red Carpet Manicure system.

Red Carpet Manicure_2

Red Carpet Manicure

In terms of value for money… the Red Carpet Manicure system provides you with larger-sized bottles in your starter kit.  Over double the amount of base/top coat, something that is fundamental to the system working… and generous quantities of nail cleanse and remover.  Sensationail’s offering, at around 3.6ml is pretty stingy… it won’t be long before you’re buying topups to be fair.

Back to the lamps for a moment… although the Red Carpet Manicure’s lamp has the convenience of being able to be powered by USB (laptop powered nails yeahh!!), I did find the design a little awkward.  My longest, middle finder had to contort in order to fit under the UV bulbs.  It’s no biggie… you don’t have to keep your hands locked in position for hours but it’s worth mentioning as a point of difference.  Red Carpet Manicure also do a less-portable lamp (with timer) in one of their more expensive kits.

Red Carpet Manicure_3

What’s included in the Red Carpet Manicure kit

Lamps compared, quantity of product and price compared… things are working out to be pretty even between the two contenders for the at-home manicure crown.  But wait… because I’m about to blow this thing apart.  The Red Carpet Manicure system is easier to apply on the nail than the Sensationail kit.  And for a novice, this is an important distinction.

In my previous Sensationail review, I complained about the shoddy packaging of the Sensationail bottles… and it’s only after using superior packaging that I can appreciate how much more smoothly the product applies.  Now, don’t get me wrong… I got on “ok” with the Sensationail during application, a little pooling at the cuticles that I was quick to clean up… but…

The Red Carpet Manicure products apply like a dream.  The brushes are cut more carefully and I found it remarkably easy to apply each layer thinly.  Don’t underestimate the importance of applying this type of gel system in super-thin layers.  Thickly-cured gel on your nails is u.g.l.y.

Red Carpet Manicure_5

Applying the base coat

The polish stays complete wet and workable right up until the moment you begin to cure it, leaving you ample time to push the product around the nail… capping the tips, keep the polish clear of the cuticles.  It’s almost therapeutic.

Red Carpet Manicure_6

Applying the colour

You can see my funny finger contortion in the picture below… this was taken mid-cure.  You can also see how teeny-tiny the lamp is – it looks like a stapler!  Two minutes later and my colour was cured and ready for a top-coat.  All in all, it took around 25 minutes to complete a full manicure.

Looking back, I see that this is less time than it took to complete with the Sensationail kit.  Considering curing times are slower with this kit, I’m surprised at the difference.  I can only put it down to the speed at which I was able to apply the product to the nail thanks to easier application.

Red Carpet Manicure_4

The curing process

Ta-da!  Here’s how the finished manicure looked.  My one complaint is that it was a little sheerer than I would have liked after two coats as my nail-line is still visible but in all honesty that’s my fault.  I was asked to choose a colour to receive with my kit and I didn’t look closely enough at the Pinterest photos linked on their colour range page (nice touch btw) that would have given me a better idea!

Red Carpet Manicure_7

The finished result

Red Carpet Manicure_8

The finished result

And so… manicure down… how did it last?

Well, really well actually!  I didn’t experience any of the “lifting” that I occassionally experience with the Sensationail kit and after 12-days (see picture below, please excuse the eczema), you’ll see that there’s no chipping of the nails.  The same does apply to all the other nails, I promise – I just didn’t think when I took the photo that you might want to see all of them, sorry!

By the way, check out my amazing nail growth!  I’m putting that down to Dr. Lewinn’s Renunail (review coming soon, it’s taken me a very long time to discover what it actually does!)

Removal was easy… I previously complained about the removal for the Sensationail system but I got the hang of it in the end.  Both are very similar… you simply need to buff the surface of the nail first, do the tin-foil trick (with pure acetone) and scrape off any remnants.  Give it 10-minutes with the foil on your fingertips first.  I will say however, that I didn’t need to buff my natural nail after removal with the Red Carpet Manicure kit… there were no remnants at all.

Red Carpet Manicure_9

…and 12 days later!

So… all being said and done… yes, I do have a clear favourite out of the two systems.  The Red Carpet Manicure performs better for me across all levels except one, I’m not a fan of the ultra-portable lamp.  But I will happily trade a contorted finger for easier application and a better shot at being able to create some funky nail art with the system(!), greater value-for-money, and a wider range of colours.

The Red Carpet Manicure Starter Kit* is available to buy online from redcarpetmanicure.co.uk, priced at £65.00

* press sample

* please find my Sensationail reviews here and here.


6 Responses to “Tried & Tested: Red Carpet Manicure vs. Sensationail”

  1. Annick says:

    I loooove doing gel nails at home! I already have a little lamp that looks like the Red Carpet Manicure you have, and I also have to do the middle finger contortion. Actually, I try to fit in my thumb to save time which makes my hand look REALLY messed up. A drugstore close to where I live sells Red Carpet Manicure colors on their own and I’ve been dying to try them. Love the soft pink color you’ve used!

  2. Alicia says:

    OMG!!! I need this!!! I love doing my own nails and I think this is the right one for me. Easy and simple to use. This will def be in my purchase list.

  3. Maureen says:

    I bought the Pro system in May and love it. It is an easy to use system with excellent long-lasting results as long as you apply thin coats of polish (as you noted). It beats the expensive Shellac manicure and doing it in the comfort of your own home takes not longer than 20-30 minutes.

  4. Vicki says:

    Can you use the Sensationail lamp with red carpet varnishes? I already have the Sensationail kit but your post is slightly converting to Red Carpet haha xo

  5. I am sure It beats the expensive Shellac manicure :) My sister Loved the soft pink color you have used!

Leave a Reply

RANDOM

Scented Nail Polish? Count me out…

So, it seems that the UK is gearing up for the Spring release of Revlon‘s scented nail polishes… something that our cousins across the pond …

Silky Skin? LUSH Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner

I’m not a body lotion type person but I have about four bottles open, each at various stages of emptiness… I slather them on and …

Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Serum for Redness

Skin redness and hyper-sensitivity is a cause for concern in many women’s lives.  Whenever I announce something dramatic like that… it always makes me think …

Sensationail, gel nails at home - 14 days later...

Fourteen days, that’s approximately 336 hours, or 20,160 minutes.  In other words, a fair amount of time.  In the world of long-lasting manicures, just what …

Spreading the festive cheer…

…this year are two great homegrown brands.  Both The Body Shop and LUSH have commissioned their own festive videos for interwebz consumption. If you haven’t …

Lipglossiping New Year Giveaway – The Winners Day 11-15

Day 11 Winner (Shiseido Maquillage Dramatical Gel Liner in Gold) – Stavroula Plag Day 12 Winner (Monu Home Spa Set) – Eileen Day 13 Winner …

Estee Lauder Daywear BB (Beauty Benefit) Creme

Firstly, I’d like to say a big hoorah for a “western” BB Cream with a decent SPF rating.  The Estee Lauder Daywear BB Creme* comes …

Body Shop Baked to Last Bronzers

It was the the Body Shop Summer Baked to Last bronzers that caught my eye in store before anything else when they were released at …

Five reasons why your hairdresser hates your guts

1. You say you want it short.  You moan about being bored with the same style.  They cut it, you cry. 2. You bring in …

Monday’s hypothetical question…

…picture the scene.  You’re getting married today. You open your makeup bag and discover that from your entire amazing collection, you’ve managed to somehow bring …

POPULAR

CLOSED: Competition Time: Givenchy Very Irresistible L'eau en Rose Perfume!

Want to really spoil Mum this Mother’s Day?  Or perhaps you just want to spoil yourself?  It’s ok… I won’t judge… there are plenty of …

CLOSED - Win it! The Body Shop Expert Brush Collection

I don’t know about you, but I woke up this morning with a distinct “Hello Monday morning, I’ve been expecting you…” kinda feeling.  Maybe it’s …

Win a gorgeous "glow" trio with prizes from Urban Decay, New CID, & Arbonne!

COMPETITION NOW CLOSED! WINNER IS: “IZABELLA” (COMMENT #96045) – WINNER HAS BEEN EMAILED!   It’s still January, the MET office have just issued yet another …

Hello? Is this thing on?

Phew, that was a little unexpected. For those of you who haven’t had the misfortune of reading my hand-wringing tweets and woe-ridden facebook updates, let …

Big savings on French Pharmacy brands, win my Escentual.com top picks!

I’m of the firm opinion that for the money, French pharmacy brands offer some of the best solutions for diffcult skin-types. Escentual.com have long been …

Avoid the brush off with Oral-B Pro-Expert

There’s a new toothpaste in town. It’s lean, mean and err not very minty as it happens.  Featuring the revolutionary bacteria-busting ingredient Stabilised Stannous Flouride, …

Win it! 3 EcoTools Bamboo Bronzer Brushes to win!

I’ve written about these before, you know I love them, I want you to love them too! So why not have a go at winning …

FOTD Busting out of the comfort zone!

You may recall my bitter moans last week about how when presented with a rare opportunity to spend an indecent amount of time playing with …

Dear Obesity...

We have been together for over 20 years, our lives so entwined that I’ve never been sure how to live without you.  I would like …

Urban Decay The Black Palette - Photos & Swatches

The soon-to-be-released Black Palette from US eyeshadow maestro’s Urban Decay is an altogether darker affair than the recent Naked set… The Black Palette includes 6, …

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Admin

  • Ads