Hello friends! I’m one of those girls that loves to get her nails painted. When I was in high school and college I had pink and white acrylics. I would “click, clack” all day long in my keyboarding class and drive my teacher nuts. I finally gave up the acrylics for good around 2002 when I was out of college and realized I was poor. Since then I have dabbled with nail polish and getting manicures on a regular basis. Then about a year ago I decided to give the gel manicure a try. The salon claimed that the nail polish would last 2 weeks without chipping and wouldn’t damage my nails. I gave it a try and miracles happened. It lasted 2 weeks without chipping and did *minimal* damage to my nails. The only problem…it was $35/manicure.
Then I came across a few DIY gel manicure kits that you could buy at the drugstore. I figured I would give it a try and see if they were worth the money. I ended up picking the Sensationail brand and ordered it off of Drugstore.com.
Not quite sure what a gel manicure is? Check out this great write up and the difference between all the salon brands.
The Basic Idea
The Sensationail Gel Manicure kit comes with everything you need to complete 10 gel manicures including:
-Gel Base & Top Coat
-Gel Color Polish
The process for applying gels for the first time is a bit different from changing the colored polish. I had bare nails so this is a first time application process.
First you buff the nail. You also realize that you have been neglecting your cuticles and it is time to get back on the moisturizing train. Just me?
Next up, apply the gel cleanser to one of the lint-free wipes and wipe each nail down.
Apply a quick coat of the gel primer and let nails air dry. This drying takes no time at all. It is like It isn’t like a regular polish.
Next up is the gel base & top coat. Which I managed to take a picture of and my camera ate it or (the more likely scenario) I totally spaced and didn’t take a pic. The base coat is a clear nail polish. Once applied you “cure” the nails in the led lamp for 30 seconds.
The little lamp is small so my thumbs were cured separately from the rest of my hand. Or possibly I have enormous man hands, but either way I had to do the thumbs on their own. No biggie.
Next up was the color. The kits on Drugstore.com come with a choice of 3 starter colors. I picked Pink Chiffon because I figured it would be a good neutral color for me to screw up applying. Surprisingly the nail polish went on smooth and evenly. No messy clumps, streaking or weird brushes. After the first coat the nails are cured for 1 minute. Apply a second coat and cure again for 1 minute.
Back to the gel base & top coat for one last coat of polish and cure for 30 seconds.
The nails will feel a little tacky so the last step is to take a little bit of that gel cleaner and a lint-free wipe to wipe down each nail (especially the sides).
And then you are done! Nails are perfectly dry and ready to go.
Day 3 – No chips, peeling or other issues.
About 5 days after my manicure Boston got another snow storm and I was stuck shoveling. I noticed that night that two of my nails were chipped. I’m not sure if this is a coincidence or not. It was easy to just fix it up really quickly and be on my way.
Day 10- One hand had a nail that peeled off but the other hand was still going strong. You can see on my middle finger that there the polish is starting to lift a little near the cuticle. It was hard for me to tell if this was the polish or my application errors. I’m not the worlds best nail polisher. <—real word, right?!
By Day 11 I was done with the color and ready to change up the color. Lets be honest…removing a gel manicure is NO FUN. It isn’t hard, but it is time consuming. Unlike regular polish, you have to let the acetone sit on the nail. Sensationail sells polish remover things, but I just followed what my salon does. I soaked a cotton pad in nail polish remover and wrapped the cotton pad around my nail with a piece of tin foil. They usually put my hands in little hand warmers to speed things up so I just ran the hair dryer over mine. After about 10 minute I removed the wrap and just scraped the polish off. I followed up the removal with a quick coat of ORLY Nail Defense.
*Easy of Use & Price
Gel manicures are the perfect solution for me when I need my nails to look good and don’t have time to deal with chipping. Vacations, weddings, big meetings…you get the idea.
At around $40 for the kit, which includes about 10 manicures, this is definitely a steal compared to the prices at the salon. Plus, I can do my manicure in the comfort of my own home around midnight in my jammies.
Although I’m not sure if this polish would last for a solid 2 weeks, it did hold up for much longer than I thought it would and for the two nails that chipped, it was easy for me to fix. Like I mentioned before, I’m not sure if the chipping was due to my crappy polish skills.
*Longer manicure time & effort
This type of manicure isn’t for everyone though. It will take much longer than your normal manicure (about 30 min) and it takes a bit to get the hang of the process.
*Not so fun removal process
The removal process can be somewhat of a pain too. Acetone freaks people out and this process requires quite a bit of it. Again, typical for a gel manicure removal, but much different than a regular manicure.
In my experience, I had minimal damage to my nails when I removed the polish. Nothing noticeable, but they did feel a bit “thinner”. One coat of the nail strengthener and I felt back to normal. However, if you have naturally thin nails, this could be an issue for you.
*Would I recommend the Sensationail Gel Manicure Kit?
Absolutely! For those of you that love those shiny, instantly dry manicures…this is for you!
When looking to purchase, definitely shop around. CVS had the highest price. Amazon and Drugstore.com listed them at about the same price. I ended up buying from Drugstore to take advantage of a 30% off all beauty products special they had and also used Extrabux.com to get 10% back on my purchase.
Hope the review helped you guys out if you were thinking of giving the home manicure kit a try. If you have any questions, let me know! I’m trying the kit out using some of my own nail polish based on some tips I’ve read so I will let you know how that goes.
What beauty items are you interested in trying but not sure if you want to spend the $$$?
*Just a note…I used my own hard earned money to purchase this item. This is not sponsored at all. As always, opinions are my own!*