Japanese Gel Nail Kit [For Starters]

Japanese Gel Nail products: Is there a one brand fits all starter kit, or should you just buy an entire line? In today’s video, I’ll be taking you through Kokoist, Leafgel & Vetro product must-buys.

One of the most common types of communications I receive is regarding products… and product lines.

In a previous video, I did months ago, I asked you all to let me know if you would like me to introduce a Japanese Gel Nail kit. Many of you responded, so I thank you for being patient with me putting this long-awaited video together for you.

Today I wanted to drop in and share what products you should buy from Japanese Gel Brands to get started.

Now, I don’t have an interest in developing my own product line any time soon, or ever perhaps, instead I’ll just rave about the Japanese gel nail brands I’ve worked with for years and that I, therefore, know, like, and trust. To keep this video short and sweet, I’ll be talking about Leafgel & Kokoist.

Now, last week I created a comparison video among Leafgel, Kokoist, & Vetro, so if you haven’t checked it out make sure to do so after you are done watching this video. I also created a chart comparing all 3 brands, and I’ll link you in the description box again if you didn’t get it last week.

Since that video, plenty of you have been raving and more than ever intrigued by Japanese gel.

I want to help you zero in on starter kits, specially selected items for beginners, curated by me; because, I don’t want you trialing and erroring your way through these great brands, and then hating one or the other because you got started with the wrong products. Deal? Let’s do this.

Japanese gel brands Leafgel & Kokoist are both soak-off, they are soft gel, not hard gel.
Now Kokoist clear gels finish with a semi-hard finish, almost like a hard gel, but without the bulk. It still wears thinly and very naturally.

To get started with Kokoist I’m going to break things down into 2 kits.


Kokoist Kit #1

This kit has the bare minimums. It favors the DIY community especially or If you just want to try Kokoist products.

  • 1 or 2 colors. I recommend any of the “toffee” labeled colors and micro glitters.
  • Ultra Glossy Non-Wipe Top Gel
  • Base gel. I recommend Platinum Bond DUO.
  • Now with Platinum Bond Duo, you have an option to buy it in a pot or a bottle. If you are strictly buying to do it on yourself, friends and family, I would go with the brush-on bottle. If you are a pro or even on the road to becoming a nail tech and perhaps specializing in Japanese gel, get used to the pot, and buy the pot.
  • Now you’ll need brushes. Buy both Kokoist’s flat and/or oval brush. You’ll need one for your colors, and another one if you opted for potted Platinum Bond Duo. If you will be doing art consider adding the thin liner brush also.
  • Files: The 180g Emery Board and the sponge buffer.

OK, so that’s it for kit #1

Kokoist Kit #2
These items I recommend if Kokoist is the main Japanese Gel brand you have in mind to use.

  • Platinum Bond Duo in a pot for short to medium-length nails.
  • Excel Builder to go over a thin coat of Platinum Bond Duo for medium to long-length nails.
  • Flat Brush, Oval Brush, and a thin liner brush.
  • Blackest Black Color #E148
  • Bluey White Color #E56
  • Ultra Glossy Non-Wipe Top Coat
  • All files & buffers
  • The Kokoist curing unit

Now for Leafgel the same thing: 2 kits, for the bare minimum.


Leafgel Kit #1

Again For DIY or those just getting started with Japanese Gel.

  • Extreme Clear Plus gel base, it is a little thicker and longer wearing.
  • HOWEVER, if you like to change your nails often and will be therefore soaking them off often, consider Sanding-free base or Quick-off base. These are meant for FAST and easy soak-off but they may last a few days less than Extreme Clear Plus.
  • 2 colors to start with, one of my favorites is K01 it’s like an off-white, and the new Dark Wine Red #517.
  • Sculpting Gel II, to create thin and natural extensions as well as to overlay long natural nails. This gel needs to go over a base gel. It can go over any of them, sanding-free, quick-off, or extreme clear.
  • 2 brushes, one strictly for your builder gel, Sculpting Gel II, and another to use for your colors and base gel.
  • Files: 180g board file and 220 sponge buffer.
  • Lastly, Glossy Top Gel.

Leafgel Kit #2


Great for those strongly considering Leafgel as their go-to Japanese Gel line, whether pro or on the road to being pro.

  • Extreme Clear Plus
  • Sculpting Gel II
  • Colors black and white #001 and #002, plus 2 additional colors of your choice, again my recommendations are k01 or 517.
  • Oval, Flat, and Liner L
  • Glossy, Non-Wipe Top, and Matte Non-Wipe Top.
  • All of the files and buffers.
  • If Leafgel is your brand of choice, buy the Leafgel Curing Unit

I would not recommend you just buy an entire line just because it’s on sale, you need to use your kit’s products consistently for 1-3 months before you even decide to make that commitment. Also, I recommend you have some clients and a business before making such investment, and some sort of product training for sure.

Now, the items from both brands I recommended, are assuming you haven’t taken formal training on either brand; which means, you will be doing a little bit of trial and error on yourself. These product recommendations are to keep you a little safe while doing so.

However, I cannot recommend enough, some form of formal Japanese gel nail training. I’ve trained with Leafgel, Kokoist, and Vetro brands and also have instructor certifications with Vetro & Leafgel. So perhaps you’re wondering, do I have to take each individual brand’s training?

You can, but not necessarily. I created a Japanese Gel Nail online course to take you, step by step through the application of Japanese gel manicures, gel overlays, and gel extensions; as well as extra bonuses lessons like efile removals, rebalancing, troubleshooting, and even nail art. You can find all of the course details at mastergelnails.com
BUT in the meantime do check out my free masterclass in the description box below, it is indeed free and it is a great class to structure your mindset in regards to your nail business. I also briefly take you through my journey and how I eventually got hooked on only using Japanese gel, and if you are indeed interested in my paid program, I break down each lesson briefly towards the very end of this free class. You don’t want to miss it.

In next week’s video, I’ll show you which gel from each brand I like to personally mix and match for the longest wear, so make sure you are subscribed and hit the bell icon below to be notified as soon as that video is published.

If you enjoyed watching this video, I post videos on Japanese gel and other quality soft gel nail systems, like this one weekly, and sometimes I also throw in a bonus video for the week.
Thanks so much much for joining me and if you have any questions post them below.
See ya next week.


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5 thoughts on “Japanese Gel Nail Kit [For Starters]”

  1. Can you mix soft gels? Like using leafgel base and builder gels with Kokoist color gels? I really like white-based colours and I change my nails every week of so. Therefore, I feel like Kokoist colors gels and leafgel sanding free base would be the best for me.

  2. Melissa Langeman

    Thank you for sharing this info, and the detailed information elsewhere on your blog and in the videos. This was posted some time back, so I hope all is well with you. I have a question about the potted Japanese gels. Would you know approximately how many applications/sets would be in 1 pot of Kokoist colour gel? Obviously it depends on the nail length etc. etc., but a rough estimate would be great. Basically, if 1 pot has roughly 10 applications, then it gives an idea how often I need to shop. Cheers and thanks 🙂

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