[beauty] “Gel” nail varnish review: Collection Lasting Gel Colour and Avon Gel Finish

Two beauty posts in a row, you’re thinking, what is going on?

It’s Christmas soon, and I will be going to see my aunts, where I can’t really start taking photos of nail polish and what not so I thought I’d do two in a row then do my next beauty/hair post in the new year.  Between now and then, of course, I will do travel, rabbits and wellness posts.

Today I’m going to look at two nail varnishes that claim to give you “gel” nails.  Gel nails have been heavily marketed this year as the next big thing in nail polish, and it seems that nail varnish companies don’t even have to make a product that remotely resembles an actual gel finish in order to put “gel” in the title.  I’m not reviewing ones like that which I’ve tried out, because I don’t really have the money to waste on buying them to do a proper review, and I don’t think it’s right to do a review from the shop’s testers that you see in drugstores (although I’m sure some people do).  The two I’m reviewing both offer an above average shine finish, which I would say at least looks a bit like a gel.

Collection Lasting Gel Colour and Avon Gel Finish Nail Varnish

First of all, let’s talk colour.  As you probably know, Avon is a mail order company so their products can be a bit hit or miss.  The colour I got was called Candy Apple, and in the brochure it showed a nice pinky red – I thought it would suit me because my skin tone doesn’t suit orangey reds at all.  It turned up and was orangey red.  So I went to the shop and bought the Collection Lasting Gel Colour in Raspberry 7.  This was exactly the same colour as the other one was advertised, and I really love the Raspberry colour, it’s a very grown-up seductive pink in the bottle.

Going on my nails, the Lasting Gel Colour Raspberry stayed true to its bottle colour and the Gel Finish Candy Apple got even more red.  I definitely was happier with the Raspberry shade and wish Avon would be a bit more forthcoming with key information when they advertise products, such as more accurate colouring (perhaps they could photograph the bottles of nail varnish from the front rather than doing the computer-generated splodges of colours).

Avon Gel Finish in Candy Apple (left) and Collection Lasting Gel Colour in Raspberry 7 (right).
Avon Gel Finish in Candy Apple (left) and Collection Lasting Gel Colour in Raspberry 7 (right).  This is without fake tan but I still think the one on the right works better for my skintone.

Drying time was about equivalent – a light coat of both nail varnishes took maybe 90 seconds to dry.  Neither of them took very long and I was walking around on my newly-painted toe nails in no time at all.  Neither of them used a fancy drying light they just air dried to a nice shine.
The shine was superior on the Avon Candy Apple.  It was definitely the shiniest product once they had dried, although the Collection Raspberry wasn’t far behind – I tried to show the light reflection in my photos.  Both could legitimately claim to have a gel-like finish to them.  I examined them again two days later and they just didn’t look as shiny – I suspect they use waxes to get the shiny finish.  The Avon one looked like it had been smudged over the last two days, which is impossible because it was totally dry after 90 seconds.  The Collection one had faded to the same amount of shine as a normal nail varnish.  The colour of both nail varnishes didn’t fade at all though.

This photo is to show how shiny they were in normal lighting (with a ceiling light with an energy saving bulb).  I think the Avon Gel Finish one came out shiniest.
This photo is to show how shiny they were in normal lighting (with a ceiling light with an energy saving bulb). I think the Avon Gel Finish one came out shiniest.

In conclusion, I liked the initial super-shiny finish of the Avon one better, but I preferred the colour and the duration of the Collection nail varnish, which also happens to be significantly cheaper at £2.99 a bottle, whereas the Avon one is £7 a bottle.  If I was buying a red-like nail varnish again, I’d go with the Collection Lasting Gel Colour because I scoured Avon’s listings and they just don’t have any other colour that looks anything like Collection’s Raspberry 7 and I just really love that colour.  I’ve never had a gel pedicure so I can’t say how it compares to a professional finish, but then I don’t think these nail varnishes would ever really replace salon services, they’re more of a DIY option for people like me who like to do things at home (or on the road).  They’re both nice Christmassy colours though and at the end of the day it totally depends on your skin’s undertones as to which one would suit you best – I hardly ever wear colours this bright (and never on my fingernails, they’re always done in neutrals) but I was very taken with the pinky-red colour I saw in the Avon catalogue in the first place.

Which gel nail varnishes have you tried?  Do you think you got a salon finish?  Let me know in the comments or on my twitter @InvokeDelight  xx

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