Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Revel Nail Gel Polish - Swatches and Review

Press Sample

Revel Nail Soak Off Gel Polish Review

Hello Loves!  I have a new gel polish brand to show you today.  Revel Nail Gel Polish is new to the soak off gel market and was created with the goal of providing high quality, professional, salon gel polish at affordable prices.  Needless to say, I noticed a few things right off the bat that made me completely excited to try these out! As is typical for my new product reviews, this one is a bit long.  If you're short on time, there are plenty of pretty pictures and a summary at the end as usual.
Revel Nail Gel Polish Review

If you're a gel user, you likely noticed the same thing I noticed.  The gel colors come in clear bottles.  Yes, clear bottles!  This caused me to raise an eyebrow since gel polish is usually in opaque bottles to protect it from UV exposure.  I immediately assumed the bottles are coated, but the website says the gels are formulated to be "UV Stable".  Being the naturally curious person (aka skeptic) that I am, that left me with questions.  What exactly does that mean?  And will they cure in all UV and LED lamps?  Or is a specific range needed?

Of course, I emailed Keeli at Revel Nail to find out.  Her response was intriguing!
"Our gels are compatible with all UV and LED lamps. Our chemist was able to formulate the product using a special type of photo initiator that minimizes the curing in the visible light range,  which is what we see in our house or store. The photo initiator is optimized for the UV and LED absorbance level,  but minimizes the absorbance level in visible light range,  which is about 500-700 nm. UV lights typically emit about 280-350 nm range and LED typically emits 385-410 nm range." 
So, what does that mean?  It means the gels are safe in their clear bottles indoors!  They should not be used in direct sunlight, but are safe to store in a salon setting.  If exposed to a small amount of direct sunlight, a thin layer of the gel may cure to the glass walls of the bottle, but it won't hurt the gel inside.  This also means that what you see is what you get!  No relying on inaccurate dots on the label or a small window in the bottle to determine the color inside.  Clients can see exactly what shade they will get by looking through the bottle and seeing the color inside.  This is a really cool feature to me.

Needless to say, I geeked out a little bit over the bottles.  I could go on and on about it, but I have a lot more to show you.  Let's start with price, follow with application, touch on wear and customer service, and end with the swatches.

Price and Quality

When Revel Nail said they wanted to create an affordable, high quality professional gel line, they stuck to their goal.  With a price point of $6.49 per 0.5 oz bottle, these gels are certainly affordable.  The entire collection of 24 colors with base and top is only $150 with free shipping!  Not to mention the awesome trial deal that is currently available on their website.  Base + Top + 1 Color for $10.99 S/H.  It doesn't get much more affordable than that, and it would be the perfect starter set for new nail techs (or established nail techs who are looking to expand their services).  As for quality, they have you covered there too with a 3-free, vitamin E enriched formula that claims to soak off in 7 minutes.  (Don't worry, I put that to the test too).


Application was what I would consider average.  The first color coat is a bit thin and streaky, like most gel polish brands.  The second coat is where this gel wowed me.  I was expecting to need 3-4 coats based on the first, but that was not the case.  The second coat really clings to the first coat and builds beautifully.  Of the 5 colors I sampled, 3 were completely opaque in 2 coats and the other two were great at 3 (keeping in mind that my coats are thinner than average).

The brush is flat but is also a bit thinner than I prefer.  That is certainly a personal preference.  I have wide nails (aka man hands) and I found that I couldn't use my typical 3 stroke application with these brushes.  I needed 4 strokes to cover most nails and 5 strokes for my thumbs.  But for those with smaller nail beds or those who prefer thinner brushes, I think you'll really like them.
Revel Nail Gel Polish Review


This is where I found a negative, but Revel Nail quickly turned it into a positive.  Before I go into that, let's talk about the Revel Nail Base Gel since the base gel seems to be the largest contributor to wear.  The base gel is a bit thinner than many of the bases on the market.  I found that I really like this - it allows a thin application without fighting to drag the base down the nail.  I had no issues with pooling.  The application of the base was a breeze.

So, how does it wear?  For me, not well.  As you know, nail chemistry/type plays a HUGE role in how gels will perform.  There's no such thing as a one size fits all base.  My nails are naturally very smooth, even with buffing.  In addition, my nails beds tend to be oily.  I often joke that my nails are like Teflon in that nothing wants to stick.  I have to use bonder with most gel brands, including my most beloved brands.  There seems to be very little balance for me.  If it is designed to remove quickly, it doesn't stick to my nails without bonder on the tips.  If it sticks, soak off is difficult.  This is also why I started using gel to begin with - regular polish simply would not stay on my nails for more than a few hours.  So I'm not surprised that the base doesn't work well for me.  I experienced a chip a few days into the wear test that led to the polish lifting off the nail in a sheet.

Knowing that my nails are extremely difficult for gels, I redid the test with bonder on just the free edge.  This time it wore perfectly.  I had to cut the test short after 8 days to move on to other products, but I'm confident that I could get 2 full weeks with bonder.  If gels typically wear well for you without bonder, this base will likely work for you as well.  If you have problem nails like I do, bonder may be necessary.  (Excuse the rough shape of my Cinderella hand.  Every time I do a wear test, I tell myself I'll take better care of her, but I never follow through.)
Reven Nail Gel Polish Wear Results

So here's where Revel Nail completely blew my mind!  I sent Keeli an email when the lifting occurred a few days into the wear test.  I was expecting the standard gel company response.  If you've never emailed a gel company about lifting or wear issues, let me break it down for you.  They will usually reply with a form letter type answer that implies you're an idiot and don't know how to use the product.  The response generally includes basic gel polish application instructions.  You know, clean the nail, remove all oils, buff the nail, thin coats, blah blah blah.  Well, that is NOT the response I received from Revel Nail.  THIS is the response I received:
Reven Nail Gel Polish Review

Ok, so what exactly are those?  Those, my friends, are prototype bases.  After discussing my Teflon nails with Keeli, she spoke with her chemist and they came up with two prototype formulas for those of us with nails that don't work well with your typical quick remove base gel.  Both of these are formulated to stick a little better but still soak off quickly.  I'm testing them now - one on my right hand and one on my left - and will report back with wear results.  Seriously, y'all, this is a company that really cares about the customer!  They took my feedback and are using it to improve their product!  I know a lot of gel companies that could learn a few things from Revel Nail on this one.


Ok, ok, are you ready to see some swatches?  I thought you might be.  :)  But before I get to that, I would like to point out the shine from the top coat that is visible in the swatches.  The Revel Nail Top Coat is of average thickness, applies well without pooling, and has a very nice shine.

The first color I have to show you is a beautiful, squishy, purple leaning hot pink called Gala.  This one applied nicely but needed three coats to be completely opaque.  This is pretty common with crelly type finishes.  This is the color I chose for my wear tests.
Revel Nail Gel Polish Gala Swatch

Mai Tai is what I would consider a dusty orange shade.  Very Earthy.  This one is a cream finish and was opaque for me in 2 coats.  As usual, I swatched three for consistency. 
Revel Nail Gel Polish Mai Tai Swatch

Fierce is a medium purple with a slight blue shimmer.  This one needed three coats to be completely opaque, but this color is definitely worth the extra layer!  I'm currently wearing this one for my prototype base wear tests.  It's stunning in every light!
Revel Nail Gel Polish Fierce Swatch

Kodie is a gorgeous, bright frosty blue.  This one is a little thicker than the creams and shimmers and is opaque in two coats.  Again, I swatched three for consistency.
Revel Nail Gel Polish Kodie Swatch

Slainte is a beautiful, shimmer packed, medium green.  Like Kodie, Slainte is a bit thicker than the others but applies beautifully.  It is opaque in two, but I swatched three anyway.
Revel Nail Gel Polish Slainte Swatch

Finally, Disco is exactly what you might expect from the name.  This is a beautiful glitter topper that consists of a clear base loaded with holographic glitter.  I can only think to describe it as Gelish Vegas Nights or Gelaze Fairy Dust on steroids.  The swatch below is two thin coats because three would simply be too much.
Revel Nail Gel Polish Disco Swatch

I couldn't resist throwing one coat over Mai Tai as well to show you how it looks layered.  Stunning!  That's one coat.  One.  And I didn't have to leave it upside down to get this coverage.  This is my new go-to topper.
Revel Nail Gel Polish Disco Swatch over Mai Tai


So, does Revel Nail Gel Polish removal live up to the hype?  Yes and no.  The first test that failed certainly soaked off quickly.  It removed easily in 10 minutes with the foil wrap method with pure acetone.  I did not break the seal before soaking, so it may have removed in 7 minutes if I had.  I simply forgot.  10 minutes is still very quick for removal, so I'm calling that a yes.  The second test with bonder took a little longer to remove.  12 minutes with the foil wrap method and pure acetone after breaking the seal, to be exact.  This is in line with my expectations since I had to use the bonder.  Bonder always makes soak off a little longer.  I can say that both times it soaked off clean in sheets.  That makes me very happy.  I hate trying to remove gels that seem to disintegrate instead of popping off the nail.  I apologize for the absence of photos for the removals.  My son's birthday party was this weekend, so I was a little scattered.

Final Scores

Base Gel
Application:  Thinner gel but smooth application with no pooling or shrinking.  5 Stars.
Wear:  For me, not great.  With bonder on the free edge, very nice.  Since I know my nails are difficult, I'm going with 3 Stars.  It's what I consider my average experience.
Removal:  Without bonder, it soaked off in 10 minutes.  With bonder, 12 minutes.  It doesn't get much better than that.  5 Stars.
Overall4 Stars.

Application:  First coat feels very thin, but the second coat more than makes up the difference.  The thinner brush is a negative for my wide nails and makes it difficult to get a smooth coat.  I'm  deducting a point for the brush.  4 Stars.
Wear:  Base issues aside, the colors wear fabulously.  No fading or changing over time with the two I have worn so far.  5 Stars.
Removal:  Same as base above.  5 Stars.
Overall4.5 Stars.

Top Coat
Application:  Moderately thick formula applies well.  No pooling or bubbling.  5 Stars.
Wear:  Nice shine and seems to be quite durable.  No dulling over time.  Holds studs and pieces well.  5 Stars.
Removal: Break the seal for faster soak off, but otherwise the same as above.  5 Stars.
Overall5 Stars.

Final Thoughts

Revel Nail set out to provide a high quality product at a great price.  In my opinion, they nailed it.  With an overall rating of 4.5 Stars on my scale, I'm very likely to purchase more of the colors just based on that.  But, they sealed the deal with their excellent customer service and desire to use customer feedback to improve their product.  This is truly a 5 Star company and a brand I will keep in my collection.  I can't wait to see what they come out with in the future.  I expect great things. 

Follow Revel Nail on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for great offers and new product info!


*The products featured in this post were provided by Revel Nail for my honest review.


  1. Woohoo! Love new brands! Do you know if they sell to non-nail techs/salons? Whenever I hear about new brands, I can't wait to try them, but I'm just a regular Jo-schmoe! Great review :)

    1. They are a professional brand, but they do not at this point require a license number to order from their website.

  2. I have nails like yours where nothing sticks to them. Currently I am trying the Fingerpaints bonder but I was curious as to what other ones are out there that work well. Also, the colors you have shown are great- makes it hard to choose!

    1. The FingerPaints bonder is the one I use as well. It works for me, so I haven't tried many others.

    2. I use Hand & Nail Harmony ProBond. (Not to be confused with PHbond, which is NOT a bonder.) It helps. I still get a small amount of lifting after a while, but my nails have peels that may contribute to that. I chose it because it's acid free.

  3. Gala and Slainte are both gorgeous!! Though I don't do gel, I'm always interested in your reviews to pass along to those who are interested in gel! Thanks again for a great review. :)

  4. Thanks for the review. I love the idea of the free 3 piece sample set but the disappointing part is that I can't choose the color (I'm very particular about colors I like). Just curiously what color did they send you in your free sample kit?

    1. Hi Christine. They don't have an option to select the color for the sample, but you can add your color choice to the comments section when you check out. I know of several people who have done this and received the color they requested. :)

  5. Thanks for sharing this. I have bought a few Revel colors since reading your review here. They are fabulous! I am curious how your wear test with the prototype base went?

    1. One of the prototypes was better but still gave me trouble. The other is quite nice and wore great for me. :)

  6. Thanks for the heads up on this brand. I got the trial sample today in Carouse. It's really pretty and it swatched great but I wanted to try more of a summer color. I was wondering how Mai Tai compared to IBD's Happily Ever After.

    1. Hi Sara. Mai Tai and Happily Brighter After are very similar. Mai Tai is a little bit brighter with a touch more of a pink tone, but if you already have Happily Brighter After you probably don't need them both...unless, of course, you are like me and need every color in every possible shade variation. ;)

  7. After vacillating forever I finally dove in and just bought the whole set!!! Darn it, Michelle $$$$! I'm really glad I did because this product is superb. I am having so much fun. Doesn't fit in my Robart Shaker though......could that be the only drawback??! Ha. Thank you so much for this review.

  8. Brill review. As usual we can't get them in the UK...I'm off to find

    1. I know they have distributors in south Africa and Australia now. If there isn't one in the UK, I'm sure there will be soon :)

  9. Great blog!!
    You mentioned you used Bonder. Which bonder did you use?
    Thank you in advance!!

    1. I like the one from FingerPaints. It works well without lengthening my soak offs


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