A few months into lockdown, I finally had to give in to the fact that it was going to be a long long time before I was going to be able to darken the door of my regular nail salon for a mani/pedi. After a few weeks of chipping nail polish a friend of mine suggested I try the Revel Nail Dip Powder system.
At first I was skeptical. I have been doing my nails on and off at home for years and have tried all kinds of “just like the salon” systems but I always felt underwhelmed. But with nail salons off the table for the foreseeable future, I decided what’s the worst that could happen.
So as your humble guinea pig let’s dive right in! I’ll walk you all through all the steps and give you my first impression review below.
I decided to purchase the “Bare With Me” Starter Kit. The Kit comes with (1) Pro Base; (2) Activator; (3) Finishing Gel; (4) Gel Thinner (to use in Pro Base & Finish Gel after each mani to preserve liquids), & Four dip powders: Posh, Havanna, Ensemble & Flushed. In the first time try out video below I decided to go with the dip powder “Ballet” .
In addition to the Revel Starter Kit, I used Acetone free nail polish remover to clean my nails. I also used an ELF Kabuki Brush to dust off excess powder, Sally Hansen Cuticle Remover, and a drugstore Manicure tools set with 150 grit nail file, 180 grit nail file, cuticle pusher, & cuticle clippers.
The Kit comes with a booklet that includes a list of all the colors they have available as well as the 12 step instructions. To see all the steps I did check out my video below.
Here are some of the pros and cons I noticed during my first time using the Revel Nail Dip Powder system:
- READ ALL THE STEPS FIRST. If you are like me and are not familiar with the dip powder process (or never really paid attention to how they did it at the nail salons) this is one of those things that you need to familiarize yourself with first. Especially once you get started applying the gels and the powders, you need to move quickly so its best to be really sure what steps come next.
- PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT. While overall I think my first time actually came out really good, there is definitely a learning curve. I have used the dip powder now about 4 more times and each time I find that I’m better able to smoothly apply the pro base and get even coverage with the dip powder. The first time I used this, I noticed streaking when I dipped my nails in the powder and it did come out a little bumpy and thick in places. Once thing I noticed was using the Kabuki Brush really helped to reduce the bumps and streaking and as my hand got steadier applying the gels, I was able to control the thickness of the gels.
- LONG TIME TO APPLY, QUICK TO DRY. The first time around, I went considerably slow and I would say from start to finish it took me about 40 minutes to finish. However after about 1 minute of “drying” time, my nails were completely done and I was able to go about my day. As I have gotten more practice with the system I was able to shave off about 10 minutes so I can easily finish my nails in under 30 minutes. I would say the longest part for me is actually the prep with cleaning up my cuticles and shaping my nails. Once I get started applying the gel and powders it actually moves pretty quickly. Then the filing at the end to smooth and buff takes a bit of time. Still the lengthy amount of steps still seem worth it to walk away with totally dry nails. I can’t even count the amount of times I have sat for 30 minutes just waiting for my regular nail polish to dry only to accidentally smudge it a few minutes later.
Overall I was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked using this system. Despite a slight learning curve that comes with it, I found it overall to be very easy to use. I will say that this first go around was by far the slowest I have ever been at doing my nails BUT it was probably no slower than when I go to the salon. I have used the system a few more times and now that I kind of have the steps memorized it is a lot quicker for me to move through them. My hand is getting steadier with applying the coats of gel so I am able to get more even looking nails. While I think it would *probably* still be quicker for me to use regular nail polish, I still prefer this system because I don’t have to worry about impatiently waiting for the polish to dry, and there is less chance of uneven edges and smudging that I know I would get with gel or regular polish.
If you want to see my first impressions in real time check out my First Impressions Review: Revel Nail Dip Powder video here: