An item that is often lacking attention when it comes to cosmetic reviews is the nail varnish. Whether you grow your nails long or keep them tidy and short, like bold colours or choose more natural shades, chances are you have used several nail varnishes and was disappointed by their short lifetime. So why aren’t we talking about them more?
I have been trying to find a longer lasting nail varnish, that you can use at home without any fancy processes or equipment, like a UV-lamp, and I have come across the Rimmel Super Gel series which is advertised as: doesn’t require light, easy to remove and up to 14 days of colour. When I saw this I thought “yea right”, especially considering how cheap the nail varnish was but like a good scientist I bought myself a duo-pack and put it to the test.
Does it truly last 14 days or longer than other nail varnishes? Is it worth your money and time? Let’s find out.
I bought a duo-pack which contains the gel colour (step 1) and top coat (step 2) but you can also buy them separate. This duo-pack came in a cardboard box which doesn’t look particularly beautiful but it’s still nice that it holds both step 1 and step 2 nail varnishes inside.
The actual nail varnish products come in typical bottles (12mL) with the Rimmel branding. The brushes are wider than normal but that’s because they are essentially two brushes clipped next to each other. This is sometimes useful in applying the colour quickly but also annoying when you want to control the nail varnish in smaller or more delicate applications.
Other than the double thickness brush, there isn’t anything fancy about these bottles but quite frankly it really doesn’t need to be. It’s just nail varnish!
One 12mL Rimmel Super Gel bottle retails for £5.99. However, you can often find them on offers, like 3 for 2 in drugstore shops or at TKmaxx where I bought this set for £3.99!
Overall, these nail varnishes are cheap, especially if you compare them to high-end brand ones.
Texture and Colour
The Rimmel Super Gel series has 35 colours of which most of them are different shades of pink and red. However, there is a white and some greys, an orange, some browns, blues, greens and even black so it is overall quite inclusive. As inclusive as a drugstore nail varnish range can be.
There are both glitter and matte finish options and there is also a top coat.
For this post I’ve been testing the colour 023 Grape Sorbet which is a light and natural pink shade colour with little hints of purple and a shimmery finish. The colour has been solid enough to cover the nail nicely without needing 2 coats.
Both the colour and the top coat smell strongly like typical nail varnish.
Practicality of use – user experience
These nail varnishes are easy to use, especially since the colour is solid enough to not need a second coat, if you don’t want to. However, this will highly depend on the colour you are using and I suspect that some of the lighter ones will need a second coat.
Nevertheless, these nail varnishes dry quickly and feel thin on the nails. The only drawback really is the wider than normal brush which although is sometimes useful in quickly and evenly coating the nail, it is also annoying when you want to do smaller nails or more elegant and precise applications.
The process and results
The Rimmel Super Gel series comes with use instructions when you buy the colour-top coat duo. You first have to apply 2 layers of the colour and then 1 layer of the top coat. Although this is not exactly how I would usually do my nails (I would apply a base coat and only 1 colour coat if the colour is solid enough), I followed the instructions in order to fairly be able to judge if the “up to 14 days” claims are valid.
Sadly, my nails only lasted for 3 days before the colour started chipping at the ends (see picture below).
This is exactly how long the “better” nail varnishes last me with the worst ones only lasting 1-2 days. I’ve never come across a nail varnish (unless it’s UV-cured gel) that lasts longer than 3 days without re-touching and so I am not surprised. However, I am very disappointed at the misleading claims of “up to 14 days”.
I keep quoting that because it’s a clever marketing statement. If you say “up to” you are not lying because 3 days or even 1 day is “up to 14 days”. Sure, this might be still legally correct but come on, it’s an angering marketing play. These nail varnishes don’t last 14 days, unless you literally wear gloves all day and don’t use your hands ever. Alternatively, maybe the “up to 14 days” is not a statement of not chipping but rather “up to 14 days of colour and shine” which again is technically correct, I’m sure my nails will have some nail varnish off after a week or two if I don’t take it off but it will be completely unwearable and chipped after a few days. It’s again the type of technically correct and therefore legal claim but will definitely not be interpreted as such by the customer. Companies do this to sell many products initially because of the great claims and often don’t care if no one would return for another purchase. How can these companies not see that with such claims they are only setting up their customers for disappointment?
There is so much overselling and “legally correct lying” in the cosmetic industry that angers me so much. We must stop accepting this!
Nevertheless, back to the nail varnish under testing. I don’t wash the dishes, thanks to technology I have a dishwasher, and so I don’t do anything special that would speed up the process of the nail varnish chipping. However, I was impressed that the chips were relatively small and so they don’t look bad enough to immediately have to re-do your nails on the day, if you don’t have time. You can easily hide them will a little extra colour at the ends. Perhaps for this reason alone the Rimmel Super Gel series might be worth using.
I also tried using only 1 layer of colour instead of 2 like in the instructions but the results were exactly the same. The only way to make nail varnish last longer would be to keep applying a top coat layer every day. However, that will make any nail varnish last longer and it doesn’t have to be this specific series or any other special one. Also it does beat the point a little because if you have time to do that everyday you arguably have another few minutes to re-do the entire manicure anyways.
The colour varnish lasts for 30M and the top coat for 24M. Both are reasonable times, you will go through the top coat faster than the colour, as you will probably use it more, and if you don’t use up the colour in 2.5 years it’s time to declutter!
Here’s what the brand says about the Rimmel Super Gel series:
“A Two-Step Gel Colour System For Salon-Style Nails
- 2 Simple Steps
- Step 1 Gel Colour
- Up to 14 days of gel colour & shine
- No UV lamp needed
- Apply 1-2 coats of Super Gel colour, followed by Super Gel Top Coat to activate curing
- Dries like a regular nail polish
- Easy to Remove”
The Rimmel Super Gel Series has quite a high rating in Influenster of 4.4/5 with most people commenting on that it chips easily and almost no one, except 1 review that I came across, said that it lasts more than 3 days. Many people commented on how fast they dry and that the colours are beautiful.
Nail varnishes don’t often contain nourishing ingredients and the ones that do are not really worth the extra cash. Nails are essentially made from dead cells and you cannot change them. You can only help nourish the cuticle, which is very important for future healthy nails and I’ve always been mind blown about so many people, especially all nail salons, pushing it back and therefore, physically damaging it!
Nevertheless, because there is very little to no nourishing value I will not be fully analysing the ingredients here. There are definitely some interesting ingredients in this nail series, like vitamin E, oils and even Kelp extract but none of that matters for dead cells!
On the other hand, if there are some ingredients that you’d rather avoid, like for example parabens which these nail varnishes contain, it doesn’t matter either! Remember that nail varnish is going on your dead nails not on your skin (unless you let a youngster paint your nails) and therefore, you really shouldn’t worry about the ingredients as much as with other cosmetics. Similarly, there is no value in paying a lot of money for fancy “nourishing” nail varnishes. You can’t change dead cells! Not to mention that even if you could nourish dead cells, most ingredients, if not all, will not be able to go through all the layers of nail and will also not be able to reach the skin underneath either.
The biggest hazard that nail varnishes pose is from inhaling them and you definitely know how bad they smell. Limit nail varnish inhalation as much as possible and use them in open spaces with plenty of ventilation. If you have pets remember that their sense of smell is much better than ours and keep nail varnishes away from them. Also wash your hands after the nail varnish dries, before you pet them, as they will still be able to smell it strongly! Perhaps take painting your nails as an opportunity to sit outside and enjoy the outdoors.
Full list of ingredients:
Butyl Acetate, Ethyl Acetate, Nitrocellulose, Acetyl Tributyl Citrate, Isopropyl Alcohol, Tosylamide/Epoxy Resin, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Stearalkonium Bentonite, Triphenyl Phosphate, Glycidyl Neodecanoate/Phthalic Anhydride/Tmp Crosspolymer, Adipic Acid/Neopentyl Glycol/Trimellitic Anhydride Copolymer, Aqua/Water/Eau, Isosorbide Dicaprylate/Caprate, Silica, Diacetone Alcohol, Etocrylene, Kaolin, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Ipdi/Ppg-15 Glyceryl Ether Copolymer, Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer, Phosphoric Acid, Lithothamniom Calcareum Extract, Cetyl Peg/Ppg-10/1 Dimethicone, N-Butyl Alcohol, Mannitol, Dimethicone, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Polyvinyl Butyral, Solum Diatomeae/Diatomaceous Earth/Terre De Diatomees, Benzophenone-1, Corallina Officinalis Extract, Trimethylpentanediyl Dibenzoate, Polyethylene, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Butylene Glycol, Zinc Sulfate, Macrocystis Pyrifera (Kelp) Extract, Hydrolyzed Conchiolin Protein, Methylparaben, [May Contain/Peut Contenir/ +/-:Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), D&C Red No. 6 Barium Lake (Ci 15850), Fd&C Yellow No. 5 Aluminum Lake (Ci 19140), D&C Red No. 7 Calcium Lake (Ci 15850), Manganese Violet (Ci 77742), Fd&C Blue No. 1
The Rimmel Super Gel series has been a bit of a mixed bag for me. The claims of “up to 14 days” have been disappointing and angering at the same time, as it is a classic legally correct but factually deceiving claim. This nail varnish didn’t last me more than 3 days which is both good and bad. On the plus side, this nail varnish looked and felt nice and although it chipped in 3 days the chips were not huge or very obvious and so it was still easily wearable until day 4-5.
I can’t say that I would recommend this series, just on the basis of disagreeing with supporting such marketing exaggerated claims but on the other hand, they did last 3 days and chipped very discretely. I have very mixed feelings about the Rimmel Super Gel series and so I’ll leave it at that.
I am not affiliated with any company or brand. These are my views and experiences.
Beauty is a very personal thing, we all have different skin, requirements and biological build which can influence things. What worked for me might not work for you and vice versa. Have you ever tried these products? Did they work for you? Let me know your experiences below!
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