Saturday, February 16, 2013

CND Brisa Lite Removable Gels. Application& Removal

I must say I waited very impatiently for the new Brisa gels. They arrived mid week but I didn't have a time to "play" with them till today.
After a busy day at the salon I locked the door and with another snow fall outside there was nothing better to do then to make myself a green tea and finally try the gels on my nails.

First of all.... what IS Brisa Lite?

Brisa Lite is a UV cured enhancement system... actually it's two systems:
#1 Brisa Lite Smoothing system
#2 Brisa Lite Sculpting system

The main and the most exciting difference between Brisa Lite and the original Brisa is that this system is the first removable enhancement system on the market that doesn't require filing/removing shine from the natural nails. The prep is the same as for the Shellac!

Another difference is that this product can be safely removed from the nails by soaking off (wrap method). There is also an option with this system of rebalancing/maintaining the enhancements.

Brisa Lite is also more flexible then original Brisa

More info and pictures after the jump break:
I received both systems in pretty silver pouches (the pouches are limited edition I've heard)
Brisa Lite Smoothing system came with a 1/2 oz Brisa Base Coat (bottle), 1/2 oz Brisa Lite Top Coat (bottle) and 1/2 oz Brisa Lite Smoothing Gel- Clear (jar) as well as a brush, 2 files, Solar Oil, Scrub Fresh, Remover, informational booklet and a DVD

Brisa Lite Sculpting System came with an identical content but instead of 1/2 oz Smoothing Clear gel it contained 1/2 oz Sculpting Gel Neutral Pink (semi-opaque) and 1/2 oz Sculpting Gel Pure White.

By the way, the base coat and top coat are identical in both systems. The packaging is very similar to original Brisa with the exception that Lite version is packaged in white jars/bottles

What is the difference between Brisa Lite Smoothing and Brisa Lite Sculpting?
Brisa Lite Smoothing can be used under Shellac Color to add little more strength or to even out imperfect nails.  You would use it in following way: Brisa Lite Base, Brisa Lite Smoothing, Shellac Color, Shellac Color and Shellac Top Coat.
It can also be used on it's own to create a very thin, flexible and very natural looking enhancement that is easy to remove (Brisa Lite Base, Brisa Lite Smoothing, Brisa Lite Top Coat).
I would imagine that this enhancement would last about 3 weeks and it can be removed by soaking (foil/wrap method) in 15 min

Brisa Lite Sculpting is designed to create an enhancement that is little stronger, it can also be used to extend the nails using either sculpting or tipping method as well as natural nail overlays of course.
To soak off this system the enhancement has to filed down to an even thin layer and then wrapped and soaked for 30 min instructions say (it took me way less but I will explain later).
This system can also be rebalanced and maintained... as long as needed.

There are few very good CND videos showing you how to use the system so I'm not gonna repeat what's already explained.

Why do I need Brisa Lite?
I like the "no file" concept. I have to say that I'm gentle with the file anyway but no filing is WAY better.
I like the remove-ability (?). I often cringed when people wanted to get gel enhancements just for one occasion. Sure, I was always very gentle while prepping the nail but the removal process was tedious and very time consuming. Not because the enhancements were thick but because I would file the most of the file off with e-file and then hand file the remaining part with a higher grit file and then follow with a buffer.
I was excited to hear that Brisa Lite Sculpting system can be rebalanced.
Sure, we've had soak off gels for a very long time but I found many of them either too flexible, not strong enough for extensions or too rubbery to file, not to mention the yellowing :(
Soak off time of those was quite long too.

Base Coat like I mentioned reminded me of Shellac base. Easy to work with. Must be pressed into place.
Brisa Lite Smoothing gel (Clear) has a viscosity similar to original Brisa. It levels without being runny or shrinking away from the free edge etc. It should be applied very thin, esp if you are gonna be applying Shellac Color on top. At first you will be tempted to try to apply it smoother but after few seconds the gel just smooths itself out to a glass like surface. I'm consciously avoiding the word "self levels" because true self leveling gels feel different.
I was afraid that the Shellac Color will not apply as well on top of this gel but no worries, Shellac Color applies over this gel just fine. The end result is a tiny bit thicker surface but nothing too obvious.
Word of advice: don't try to apply 2 coats and then filing the surface into shape. This is NOT a sculpting gel.... and it files like HELL LOL. 1 coat and soak off. Trust me!

I found Brisa Lite Sculpting to have a wonderful viscosity. Light, fluffy, easy to place and work with. Little less "movable" than Smoothing gel. The interesting part is that (just like Smoothing Gel) neither the Pink Sculpting gel nor the White Sculpting gel were runny. but both "melted" to a smooth surface after few seconds on the nail. So word of advice: don't overwork them, place the gel into place, smooth it and leave it. It will melt to a smooth surface without "self leveling" too much.
The Pink gel is semi-opaque and is quite light and neutral in color. It's not very pink. I actually like this kind of pink because it can be applied over the whole nail without discolouring the white part of the nail (the free edge)- pink
The White is quite dense so it allows for a crisp smile lines. It reminds me of the original Brisa Pure White, but when Brisa first came out. I find that Brisa Pure White changed a little over time. It's less "stiff" now.

Brisa Lite Top Coat reminded me of Shellac Top Coat.
It has to be shaken quite a bit before use otherwise it feels "grainy" on the nail. If you mix it well before the first use it's good to go again with just a little shake.

Here are few pictures I took:

Brisa Lite Smoothing Gel (click on the pictures to enlarge them). Once finished the nail looked super natural and thin. I would say it had the thickness of Shellac and the same flexibility/strength.

Brisa Lite Sculpting Pink (Base/2 thin coats of Sculpting Pink/ shape file and Top Gloss). The gel filed well, not very rubbery. I would say it files better then any soak off gel on the marked (that I tried). Once finished the nail felt quite strong, not very rubbery but still little flexible.

The removal
I must say that was impressive.
I wrapped both Smoothing Gel and Sculpting Gel and waited 5 min. and I took a peek:
Here is how Smoothing Gel looked after 5 min

And here is how the Sculpting Gel looked after 5 min

Another 10 minutes (15 in total)

Sculpting after 15-17 min (in total). There was a little part of the gel still bonded so (for the sake this experiment) I forced it off a little and it did peel a little of my nail with it. So lesson learned: do NOT force the gel off.

I would say that Smoothing does take about 15 min to soak off completely and Sculpting would take about 20 minutes. The interesting part is that I didn't even reduce the thickness of the Sculpting Gel, I didn't even scratch the top surface. How amazing is that??!!
I'm curious if the gels soak off as well after 3 weeks of wear.

I will report back soon.

Have an awesome weekend!!


  1. Exciting to see this, can't wait to get to check it out at Pro Beauty next week.

    Thanks for the post, really helpful.


  2. Thanks for the info...very helpful review! Just wondering if you can apply regular polish over these like traditional acrylics?

    1. Apparently you can apply nail polish over Sculpting.

    2. Is it only the Sculpting that will wear under traditional polish?

  3. Hi Shannon!
    I would say you can put polish over both (Sculpting or Smoothing) but the Smoothing breaks down faster so during the polish removal process it can start breaking down
    Also I think Smoothing was designed to be used under Shellac color.
    Sculpting can be used on its own (or with polish I guess)

    1. Thanks! I used the Smoothing on my nails under Shellac Monday, and last night I did a sculpted p/w set on my daughter with (obviously) the Sculpting, and it looks beautiful! I found the process in the CND video on YouTube to be different than what I've done previously, but the finished set looks so nice.

      I noticed on the tutorial for the Smoothing product they suggest a 20% price increase to add that under Shellac, but I haven't found a suggestion for the Sculpting, and I don't know if you've seen one. It's definitely a premium service, but I always like to know the manufacturer's suggestions for pricing, just to get a feel for the market on a large scale, even though certainly our own geographic areas have their own market.

    2. Hi Shannon!
      I would price the Sculpting gel service like any other gel service. I found that it takes me about the same time to apply it as my regular gel. Currently I use En Vogue sculpting gels which are also expensive products so cost per service is not higher then CND. I priced Smoothing gel (when applied under Shellac color coat) extra $5

  4. Can you Use an LED light or is this UV only?

    1. I've heard that CND is coming out with their LED lamp so for now they recommend using it with a regular UV lamp.
      By the way, LED lamps also produce UV rays. There is no such a thing as LED light"

  5. A great idea. I'm curious if this product won't change nail color?

  6. Can I use Shellac over sculpting gel?

  7. Hi,
    I have suddenly developed an allergic reaction to CND Retention+ and I am now on the mission to try and find an enhancement that I do not react to.
    I have done a skin test with the Brisa Gel this morning and I am hoping that I do not react to this.

    My question is, after being used to the strength of acrylic nails, in your opinion do you think the Brisa Gel would be 'stronger' than the Brisa Lite Gel?

  8. Hi Can you use Shellac over Brisa Lite Sculpting Gel?

  9. Hi,
    I came across your blog while looking for reviews for the CND enhancement kits. Loved your post! =)

    Which system would you recommend for thickening weak nails?

    I've never had any official training, I just like testing out new things, and learn quickly on myself (nails, hair, etc).
    My nails are weak, thin, and they chip/split/break very easily.
    I want something to thicken the natural nail. Not actually build anything, just thicken and strengthen the nail.
    So.. what would you recommend?

    I'd appreciate your input.


  10. Finally, Ive been asking my beauty supply "whats the difference" and they didn't know. Thank you I now feel more confident in using this product. I will book mark this blog page for further advise............Mahalo, Lisa Magno Owner Kilauea Nails on the Big Island of Hawaii.

  11. Hi Lisa,

    I just got my nails done in Houston. The salon used solar nails. What is the difference between solar nails and the cnd sculpting gel

    1. The "solar nails" you got are probably just plain acrylic (proper term Liquid and Powder system), also the product you got I would guess is *NOT* made by CND. The product this post is all about is gel (soak off type)