Seeing as I couldn’t resist chewing my own nails to save my life, fake nails are my saving grace. But here’s the thing: I get bored of my manicures after a week or two, so sturdier options such as acrylics and hard gel extensions can drive me a little mad after a while, not to mention the expense. On the other hand, super temporary albeit more affordable press-on nails can fall off of my constantly active hands after just a few days. In soft gel extensions, however, I’ve finally found my perfect fake-nail match — that’s where the Aprés Gel X Nail Extension Kit comes in.
First, let me fill you in on what soft gel extensions actually are. I could rave for hours about the differences between all types of fake nails, but the TL;DR is that soft gel extensions are more or less super-thin and transparent faux nails (they look like plain press-ons) that are attached to your natural nails with thick gel polish that’s cured under a UV or LED lamp. Unlike other types of nail extensions, these can be soaked off with acetone somewhat like your average gel manicure.
Aprés is not the only brand out there that makes soft gel extensions, but it is one that’s widely used among celebrity nail artists, in-salon nail technicians, and more than a few nail-art influencers on TikTok. For those who prefer to do their own nails, it’s more or less the gold standard of at-home soft gel extensions because the brand offers one convenient kit complete with just about everything one needs to turn out a look.
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What comes in the Après Gel X Extensions Kit, and how much does it cost?
The Aprés Gel X Nail Extension Kit includes a pH bonder, nail primer, a bottle of Extend Gel (the thick stuff used to cure extensions onto natural nails), a gel topcoat, a nail file, a miniature LED curing light, and a set of extensions in the shape and length of your choice. (You can buy any of these items individually when you run out of them, by the way.) The only thing you’ll need to complete a full manicure that does not come in this kit is a nail color — you can top the nails with regular polishes or gel polishes if you’ve got them. Once those suckers are on, what you put on them is fully your prerogative.
You can choose Short, Medium, or Long extensions, but the brand will also be introducing Extra Short and Extra Long options soon. As far as nail shapes go, the brand offers coffin, square, round, and stiletto options. And on top of all of this, Après also makes Natural and Sculpted iterations of each of these shapes and lengths, which you should select according to the natural shape of your nail beds; those with flatter nails will require Natural extensions, whereas anyone with C-curved cuticles will want the Sculpted version.
Each kit contains 500 extensions in 10 different sizes, which are categorized by numbers (00 to 9; the higher the number, the smaller the nail) just like press-on nails. If you have wide nail beds like me, you might have trouble finding an extension size large enough to fully cover your thumbs, but Eunice Park, a nail artist who is also a research and development manager at Aprés, tells me a size expansion is in the brand’s near future (in addition to the upcoming new lengths). “We do have triple zero coming out next year, and in January of 2023, we’re going to be expanding some of our [other] sizes, too,” she says.