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puttin' solar-cured gel nail polish to the test
Bio Seaweed Gel Swatches

Bio Seaweed Gel Swatches (courtesy Bio Seaweed Gel)

Ooooh! Bio Seaweed All-In-One Gel system that can actually cure properly in the sun? A shade called Bombshell that’s my kryptonite-shade of hot pink? And it’s Canadian? Okay!

Bio Seaweed Gel Bombshell Beautygeeks Review

Bio Seaweed All-in-One Gel System, the No-Wipe Topcoat & my trusty RCM LED lamp

So ya’ll know that I can rock the soak-off gel nails, right? Ya’ll know I’ve been using soak-off gel polishes (like Gelish, Red Carpet Manicure, and Artistic Colour Gloss) since it came out to the pros a handful of years ago, right? I know how to work it exactly right and I’ve had years of practice.

Bio Seaweed Gel Review Day 1 Beautygeeks

Bio Seaweed All-in-One Gel System in Bombshell

A soak-off gel manicure is how I keep my nails from breaking. They’re thin and peely and can’t be trusted to go out of the house alone. It’s not often I wear coloured gel but when this hot pink Bombshell showed up at my door, I used it because I was kinda curious to see how a gel polish that cures in the sun works. Uh.. we’ll get to that part later…

Bioseaweed Gel Bombshell Review

Bio Seaweed Gel Bombshell: Day 1

Bio Seaweed Gel Application 1

Bio Seaweed Gel Solarcure Application Steps

How do you work this stuff? Well, you gotta prep your nails ‘n cuticles, paint your nails carefully, stick them in the toaster, and then do another coat. Toast ‘em again, and slap on a top coat (or not – depending on if you wanna) and toast one more time. Then you should be done. You may or may not need 3 colour coats – I just needed two. This stuff saves me a step though because the top coat is no-wipe. That’s right – it’s not tacky after final toasting. Interesting, right?

Bio Seaweed Gel Review Day1

Bio Seaweed Gel Bombshell w/ Bio Seaweed Gel No-Wipe Topcoat

Anyhow, I used the colour then the no-wipe top coat, did all the right steps, and it wore remarkably well. I will toot my own horn and say the application was pretty much perfect – as it should be. Nothing slapped up on the cuticles, nothing stuck in the sidewalls, and a perfect cap of the free edge. Gel polish isn’t ever something to mess around with. If you’re not familiar with it, read up and learn stuff before you decide to try it out, k?

Bio Seaweed Gel Application 2

Bio Seaweed Gel Cure Times for LED and UV lamps

Bio Seaweed Gel smells a little different from my regular DIY gels, is bright and shiny, comes in a whack of colours (114!) and is 5-free. You don’t need to sand or prime your nails but you do need to tidy up your cuticles and shape your nails. If the stuff is gonna wear for 14 days, you better make sure your canvas is perfect.

BioSeaWeed Gel Review Day 5

Bio Seaweed Gel Day 5: Index Chip, scratch on middle, wear at the free-edge & still shiny

What I found most interesting about Bio Seaweed All-in-One Gel was that it can apparently be cured in direct sun for 30 seconds.*

Yeah… not here in Canada in winter it can’t. 

I had ZERO success with a sunlight cure. It ended up not dry, tacky, and on my pants. Don’t even try it. To ensure a full cure, I had to do 3x 45 seconds per layer in my RCM LED lamp – that’s 2.25 minutes. That’s 1.5 minutes longer than I cure RCM or Gelish. Not a big deal but still, longer than I really have time for when I’m banging out a gel mani.

Bioseaweed Gel Bombshell Review day 5

Bio Seaweed Gel Day 5: Index Chip, wear at the free-edge & five days of growth

And how did it wear? Well, I got all the way to five days before I had significant chippage! Five days is actually a fairly decent result just because I use my hands HARD. CND Shellac is one of those hybrid soak-offs (made of nail polish + gel polish components) that also only lasts about 5-7 days on me so if you have success with Shellac, you’ll more than likely have success with Bio Seaweed Gel.

Bio Seaweed Gel Bombshell Day 5 Review

Day 5: Index chip and free-edge wear

Five days isn’t even close to the wear I get from Gelish, RCM, Fingerpaints, Quo or ACG, though -- those take me all the way past the two-week mark and well into the 20- to 30-day range if I can stand the re-growth. Mostly I average 17 days or so before the growth gap makes me crazy. Given that single fact, Bio Seaweed Gel is not for me. 

That is not to say it isn’t for you. I’m monstrously hard on my hands. I play in chemicals at work and I play in 100% pure acetone at home. If your hands are subject to keyboards, dishes, and normal stuff like that, I’m betting Bio Seaweed Gel will work for you really well and will last you two weeks without chips.

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*Experts like Doug Schoon, who knows everything about uv-gel formulas, don't really love stuff that cures "in the sun" because -- as it happens with this brand in a Canadian winter -- results can vary wildly. When it comes to gel, you have to make sure the formula cures properly to be safe, and the only way to ensure that is to have a properly controlled curing time in a lightbox.

Manicure and photographs by Karen Falcon (she can’t believe the time!)