ORLY's Mini Gel Lamp Review: An Affordable & Quick New Addition

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My desk has served many purposes this year. It's where I write all day, surrounded by beauty products and half-finished seltzer waters. It transforms into a lunch table around noon, or a bar top when I can convince my friends to gather for a Zoom happy hour. And when I set down to review ORLY's new Mini Gel Lamp, it turned into a nail technician's station — though I would hardly call myself any kind of pro.

However, you don't have to be a nail tech to use ORLY's incredibly handy new tool. The $24.99 Mini Gel Lamp was released on Sept. 24, and acts as a way to quickly cure ORLY's GELFX gel manicure colors and products. Though this does mean you have to spring for the entire GELFX system — base coat and top coat, at the very least — the price of the new lamp brings the entire total down by quite a bit. As in, one of the original ORLY LED Smart Gel Lamps retails for $99 on the beauty brand's website, while the GELFX 800FX LED Lamp goes for $330.

So, this affordable light is a bit of a breakthrough in the gel world. The Mini Gel Lamp has a USB cord, so I attached mine right into my desktop computer. Comparatively, it's not much bigger than a computer mouse — and it honestly looks like one, too. The legs fold up and down, in case you actually do want to take this portable light on the go.

Madge Maril
Madge Maril

I attempted to follow the GELFX instructions to a T; pushing back my cuticles, cleansing my nails, swiping on the Nail Tip Primer, layering on my chosen color (Rosé All Day), so on, so forth. From start to finish, I'd say the entire process took me about an hour and a half, though some time might've been lost switching between YouTube videos and rereading instructions to make sure I got it right.

The process is fairly standard to most nail polish applications — base coat, color, etcetera — but the extra step to cure the gel does require more time. Since curing the gel basically "dries" it, I tried to be extra careful to not flood my nail bed with product, since there seemed to be little wiggle room once the polish was cured. (Though later on, I did manage to file some of the excess product away using just a regular high-grit ORLY file.)

Madge Maril

Still, all of this time and energy created a manicure I never imagined could be pulled off at home. Mine is far from perfect, and it still looks like I went to a professional; only a tiny bubble in one spot and finicky cuticle edges might give away that I, in fact, played the role of technician.

Ahead, everything I used to create this rose gel manicure at home, including ORLY's new mini curing lamp.

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