Nails are an important part of my personal self-care routine — and like lots of others, I feel my most put together when I have clean cuticles and a fresh set. Though I typically prefer to have my nails done at the salon with hard gels (and sometimes extensions), I don’t always love spending a pretty penny every two or so weeks ... especially since I work from home and am not typically out and about all the time.
That being said — typing away all day on a laptop and lifting weights at the gym most days of the week chips regular nail polish almost instantly, becoming a huge chore and time-waster when I have to repaint my nails every few days. And, TBH, bare nails just don’t bring me as much joy as a shiny color on my fingertips.
Enter, the brand that offers accessible high-performance gel polish colors and promises long-lasting DIY gel manicures with just a few swipes and a couple seconds under an LED light: Beetles.
You may have heard of more mainstream brands (like Aprés Nail Gel-X or the even pro-exclusive OPI GelColor used for Hailey Bieber’s viral Glazed Donut manicure) — but Beetles is not only accessible via Amazon, but it’s a fraction of the cost.
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- Price: $13.99 for six gel polish shades (prices may range per set by a few dollars)
- Best For: At-home nail polish users who want a long-lasting manicure
- Rating: 5/5
- Pros: You can quickly build your color collection at a low cost
- Cons: You may have to invest in other items you may not have already (i.e. an LED light lamp, 100 percent acetone polish remover, gel polish top and base coats)
Beetles Gel Polish
On the market since 2017, Beetles is a brand that puts high quality at an ultra-low price point at the forefront — and its hundreds of thousands near perfect reviews on Amazon is a true testament to that sentiment. With gel polishes available in singles, sets of six, and even sets of 20, shoppers can quickly build up their at-home color selection to that of their fave salon. And with options to purchase nail tips and nail art tools, there is an added element of playfulness and creativity.
How To Apply Beetles Gel Polish
The first step is to roll the polish bottle between your palms, warming the product to ensure a smooth application. Next, you apply a thin layer of gel base coat on clean, dry nails and cure for 90 seconds. (Curing, for those who don’t know, is a fancy way of saying to “dry” underneath an LED light.) Next, apply a thin coat of gel color, setting for 90 seconds under the LED light once more. Apply a second coat of color if you’d like, and set again for 90 seconds. And finally, paint on a thin top coat and set your nails one last time for 90 to 120 seconds.
Et voilà. It’s seriously that easy to use, and there’s no need to waste time with your hands beneath a fan.
My First Impression
While the gel was a bit thicker than your typical polish, I had an easy time applying the Beetles formula. Not only did I love the brush (which was a touch smaller than say an OPI polish), I did notice quite quickly that a little bit went a long way. And for those that are new to gel polish, a short heat spike can occur when curing the nails — especially when working with too much product.
Not only did the polish perform perfectly, but the finished product was smooth, shiny, and made my nails feel strong, without adding any unwanted thickness.
But Did The Manicure Last?
To my surprise, my Beetles at-home mani was completely chip-free, shiny, and without really any wear and tear for much longer than expected — and truly, I didn’t see any chipping until about day eight of wear. Even so, I had the tiniest chip that wasn’t all that noticeable or bothersome, and if anything, I wanted to remove and reapply a new color because I was bored of red (not because I necessarily needed to redo my mani).
Is Beetles Gel Polish Easy To Remove?
While the gel removal process is a bit tedious, I wouldn’t say that it is a huge burden or a deterrent from using the Beetles’ products. What’s more — my natural nails weren’t damaged at all, as I removed them with a proper Gel Polish Remover Kit (and didn’t just peal them off in a fit of boredom or impatience).
Aside from the kit (which I highly recommend buying in lieu of messy cotton balls and endless aluminum foil), you’ll need 100 percent acetone to break down the polish effectively.
To remove, gently file the tops of the nails with a gritty file. Drench the cotton sheets in acetone, and allow them to soak on your nail beds. After 15 to 20 minutes, check in on your nails, and perhaps use the metal tool to push the polish off or lightly buff away the gel with a nail file. Continue to soak your nails if there’s still a bit more polish, and repeat the process until they are completely clean.
The Bottom Line
While there may be a learning curve if you’re a beginner nail painter (or if you’ve never removed gel before), I must say — I was incredibly impressed by Beetles, and have continued to collect countless colors since discovering the brand. A few at-home manicures later and truly, I cannot recommend the collection enough for any nail aficionado.