For a while now I’ve wanted to jump on the gel nail bandwagon. But for some reason, I haven’t tried them until recently, and I’m so glad that I did.
No matter what polish I’ve tried, it always ends up chipping and peeling around day 2 or 3. Which really sucks, because it takes a while for me to paint my nails. I mean with smudges and all, having to repaint my nails, takes forever. So I really want them to last. I’m sure a lot of people feel this way.
Needless to say that I finally went and purchased an at home gel kit. I can’t justify going to the nail salon paying a lot of money, when I can do it myself. Now, the at home kits aren’t cheap; however, by the time you use it at least..hmm.. 3 times (depending on how much you pay for it) you’ve saved money!
When I started looking into at home gel kits I knew I was either going to get Red Carpet Manicure or SensatioNail. The Sally Hansen Salon Gel Kit was on my list, but I’ve heard too many mixed reviews.
So when I went to Rite Aid and saw they had the SensatioNail Kit (49.99), I grabbed it right up. I was a little hesitant but the cashier told me that if I didn’t like it, I had 30 days to bring it back! So, that made me feel a lot better about buying it. I was so excited that I finally purchased it, that I used it as soon as I got home.
It comes with everything you need to get started!
Gel Cleanser (0.494 oz)
Gel Primer (0.12 oz)
Color Gel Polish (0.125 oz) (Raspberry Wine or Pink Chiffon, depends on which kit you get)
Gel Base & Top Coat (0.125 oz)
Lint -Free Wipes
Double-Sided Nail Buffer
Once I was ready to go, I found the instructions were super easy to follow!
“First “Prepare” your nails:
File and lightly buff the natural nail.
Using the lint-free wipe, clean nails with gel cleanser.
Apply one layer of gel primer to nail and air dry.
Second “Lacquer Up”:
Apply a thin layer of the gel base & topcoat. Avoid skin and cuticle. Cap the nail by running the polish brush along the nail tip, and cure for 30 seconds.
Apply a thin layer of the color gel polish. Avoid skin and cuticle. Cap the nail, and cure for 60 seconds.
Apply a second layer of color gel polish. Avoid skin and cuticle. Cap the nail, and cure for 60 seconds.
Apply a thin layer of the gel base & topcoat. Avoid skin and cuticle. Cap nail and cure for 30 seconds.
Finish by removing the moisture layer using the gel cleanser and lint-free wipes.” (These are the instructions that were included in the kit.)
So simple, and your hands are ready for anything!
Now, there are two different gel nail kits, UV and LED. SensatioNail uses LED technology. What’s the difference between the two you may ask?
LED lights tend to be a little pricier.
Curing time is faster, between 30-60 seconds.
It uses less energy.
The bulbs never need to be replaced.
You can only use polishes that are made for LED lamps.
UV lights tend to be more affordable.
Curing time can be up to 2 minutes.
It uses more energy.
The bulbs need to be replaced about every 6-7 months.
Any type of gel polish can be used with this lamp.
It can possibly tan your fingers if left in long enough.
Doing a quick price comparison, SensatioNail polishes range between $9.99-$11.99 for 0.25 fl oz. I actually found the polishes at Wal-Mart for $9.99, so that may be the best place to purchase them. Zoya (and other name brand polishes) start around $8 for 0.5 fl oz. So, Zoya (and other brands) are definitely more affordable than SensatioNail polishes. However, when you think about it, the gel polishes are definitely worth the price because they last about 2 weeks without any chipping or peeling. Plus the fact that you can have your nails done and dried in less than 15 minutes is definitely worth the price.
Here are the colors I purchased so far:
Now the only thing that sucks about gel nails is the removal process. To put it bluntly, it sucks! There are two ways to remove them. You can either use the foil method or the soak off method.
You start off by soaking a cotton ball in 100% pure acetone, then placing it on your nail and wrapping a piece of foil over the cotton ball and nail. Let them set for about 10 -15 minutes and then use a removal tool or a manicure stick to push-off the remaining polish off of your nail.
(Eww! Raccoon Eyes and messy eyebrows.)
All you have to do is place 100% pure acetone into a bowl and let you nails for about 15 minutes. For a quicker removal all you have to do is place the bowl of acetone, into a larger bowl that is halfway filled with warm water. Then gently push-off the remaining polish with either a manicure stick or removal tool.
I’ve tried both methods. I didn’t find the Foil Method to be effective enough for me, so I then tried the Soak-Off Method, which had my nails and fingers feeling extremely dry. I’m sure that I’ll find the best method soon.
Update: I tried again and found that the Foil Method is the best method. Just make sure that you completely buff away the shiny top coat, so that the acetone can get to the polish.
Some may be wondering if leaving 100% pure acetone on you nails for so long may be damaging to your nails. Unfortunately, the answer to this is yes. Pure acetone can leave your nails weak. So it’s a good idea to give your nails a break from gel nails every once in a while. During the down time, make sure to use nail strengtheners to help keep your nails strong.
Here are some great things to know about gel nails:
They don’t dry until you cure them. So if by any chance you mess up or get some polish on your skin, you can easily clean it up.
Gel nails are great for practicing nail art on. Simply because, if you make a mistake you can easily wipe it off with non-acetone polish remover and it won’t remove the gel polish.
They stay super shiny until you remove them.
I’ve found that my Kiss Nail Stickers last longer when I put the clear gel polish over it and then cure it.
Here are some pics of how I’ve used my SensatioNail kit so far:
I was able to wear these nails for about a week and a half with absolutely no chipping or peeling. The only reason I didn’t wear it for the full 2 weeks, is because I got bored with the designs.
I’m very curious to know if I can use regular polish with this kit. So, I’ll be giving it a try soon. I also, want to try out the Sally Hansen Gel Nail Strips.
Have you tried an at home gel nail kit? If so, I would love to hear which one you have and your thoughts about it.
BTW sorry for the bad pictures, I couldn’t find the charger to my camera so had to use my phone.