As I said to many of you recently I was going to stop getting my nails done in the shop. I love getting my nails done but the Summer holidays always makes it near on impossible to get there child free and I like to change my varnish a lot which means mucking them up a bit after a few days. I was finding it was a waste of money, not for the talent of my nail tech! She’s fantastic, but for me personally I could spend the money elsewhere (Say on more makeup or more opi nail varnishes LOL).

I was about to purchase some acetone again to take my overlays off (I have done this numerous times but it is something you should see a professional for if you don’t know what you are doing – you could do more damage than good to your nail beds!!) when I happened too see a nail system I’d not seen before. A further search showed it on sale in Argos for £17.99! It got me thinking, could a home nail kit be as good as a salon one? Or maybe close? My infills cost more than the whole kit so I felt I’d got nothing to lose.

The kit in question is the Rio Quick Dip Acrylic Nail Extensions Kit. I have had Rio UV Nail Kit before too and I’ll be honest I didn’t like it very much – they have since updated the kit and improved it. Still the Acrylic Kit was cheap, cheerful and if it did what it said on the box I would be happy.

I am not going to go deeply into how you apply the Quick Dip Kit. If you want instructions for that you can look at Rio Nails website where they have more information and also a video you can watch. The benefit of this review is to tell you how good the kit is, whether it was easy to apply the nails, their look, feel, lasting power and whether I think it matches a salon finish. I will also be including some photos of when I did mine so you get an idea.

The kit comes in a small box, looking at it I couldn’t believe they had could fit everything in there! But amazingly it comes out and goes back in comfortably and easily for storage. Something that was a nightmare with the other Rio system I had.

The box clearly shows what it has in there. What it doesn’t tell you is that you will also need a pair of Tip Cutters for cutting the tips down (If you are adding the nail tips – you don’t have too and could use the system to strength your own nails).

Here’s the contents of the box; a dvd tutorial which you can watch, the acrylics set, smoothing files (1,2 ,3 system), a detailed how to leaflet and re-order form for items in the kit (Surprisingly they aren’t too expensive from Rio now, they used to be terrible!). All this fits neatly in the box (Please not the DVD is not bigger than the kit!! It’s just where I took the photo of it separately as I’d forgotten it was there!!)

As with any good review of a product here’s a before of my nails. Please note they don’t usually look this bad but I have just taken off my overlays and this is what’s left underneath. For the purpose of this review I have also cut them down as I applied the tips too so I could judge how good they were.

From start to finish I would say if probably took me about 50 minutes to do them. Possibly a little less but I was watching Pretty Little Liars and got side tracked (Damn that good TV viewing!!). It does take an element of knowing what you are doing, I am by no means qualified! But having worked with several nail techs over the years, through advise and help I do have a bit of a clue. However, with the help of the dvd and with the detailed how too leaflet I think anyone could do this. As long as you read the instructions first fully and take your time!

All the items in the kit were of reasonable quality. I wouldn’t say they were the ‘best’ in the world but I wasn’t expecting professional standard tools. However the nails look good, were smooth and feeling them they felt strong. Above is the set I applied to my right hand. I always go through the nails first to sort out which size for each finger (I have pretty small sized nails and usually have to file the sides to get them too fit – but didn’t have a problem with these. There was plenty of sizes and generous tips for all nails I would say).

Here is a picture of the tips on before I cut them. It gives you an idea of how long you could have them. I would not recommend having them this length as they will just break and won’t be very strong. I’ve found this with the other Rio system too. Getting to this point and glueing the tips on my nails probably took about 5 minutes per hand. I tend to apply the nails, trim one hand and then put the nail tips on the other hand and trim them for easiness. Otherwise I can’t work around the huge tips!!

The rest of the process is pretty easy; apply 1 coat of resin to all nails, then a second coat. Dip the nails into the acrylic powder, wipe off excess with some toilet roll (Yes seriously it works, just lightly dust it over the cuticle area to remove the excess powder), apply a third coat of resin (Make sure you wipe the resin brush VERY well when you apply this coat as you need to remove the acrylic powder residue from the brush!!). Wait about 30 seconds and then spray with the activator. Wait 30 seconds more and they are hard. You then just need to buff in the corners, file and smooth the nails with the 1,2,3 buffing kit and they are finished.

Here’s a picture of my finished nails. I think they look pretty natural and could be left like this. I however prefer to leave them like this when I have used white tips. You can buy the white tips from Rio – or you could get them from another shop or even eBay.

One thing I hate about these kits is getting the tips to blend well to your own nails, you can get nail tips which are pre-blended. This can save a lot of work and mean you have a more natural looking nail. These are not the ones that come with this kit but if you did want to invest in this kit I would recommend getting some.

The nails felt strong, the same as when I had been to the salon to get them done. The looked good and blended fairly well. Mark thought they looked good too. I left them bare for 3 days as I wanted to see what people thought and got a good response about them. My friend thought I had been to the nail bar too have them done. So that was a good compliment.

I did have a manic weekend and will admit to being a bit hard with my nails and broke one. If I hadn’t of being cleaning like a fiend and decorating I don’t think this would have happened. This is the only break I have had and we are now over a week in. They still look great, there’s no peeling corners, lumps bumps or anything. They look just like I had them done professionally still. I repaired the nail I broke by repeating the process with the resin/powder and activator and its fine again now. I have also changed my polish 3 timed and the acetone based polish remover hasn’t caused any issues (You can get acetone free remover for acrylic nails and I’d recommend this too!!).

Over all for £17.99 I think this kit is fantastic. The nails look great, feel good and are strong. They have lasted well and in another week I’ll probably do my infills which is also explained in the how to leaflet that comes with the set. Everything you need is in the kit (Bar the nail cutters for the tip) and I would take a guess you’d have enough things to do 3 sets before you would need to buy something (Probably nail tips if you chose to use the tips). I probably will grow my tips off and just you the acrylic powders on my own nails as they grow pretty well on their own. But for those who do use the tips I don’t think you will have any problems.

Easy to do, quite relaxing for a pamper evening while watching a DVD or your favourite tv program and it could also save you some money if you usually go to the nail bar. I like this system and will be using it in the future. Would I go back to having UV gel nails? I’m not sure. I may purchase the kit but to be honest I’m more than happy with the acrylic kit! £17.99 money well spent. You can purchase this set from Argos, Boots and other online retail stores including Rio Nails themselves and the price ranges from about £17.99 to £19.99.

Will you be trying this kit? Have you already got a kit yourself?

Lots of Love,

Mel xxxx