Friday, August 22, 2014

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel: A Road Test

Gel nails are an established thing. But who wants to go to a salon every two weeks (also, who wears one color for two weeks?!) to get their nails done? Apparently not many folks, because a thousand brands came out with at-home gel systems over the last few years. The kits can be pricey though, since you need special polish, toppers, tools, and a light to cure it all. To answer that, Sally Hansen has come out with a no-light gel system. I decided, since I was going on a long family vacation, that this was a perfect opportunity to test them out!

My vacation was going to be cross-country for 11 days. I did not want to have to drag nail supplies (beyond a nail file and hand lotion) or polish on the plane. I had $5 in CVS extrabucks, and this set was $15.99...so I figured it was a sign and grabbed B Girl, a lovely minty blue color.

freshly applied. HOWEVER, this is not the "before"

picture. I am an idiot and forgot to take pics.
did I mention this was my "meeting Amanda" mani?

How boring of me...
Application and dry-time
The instructions say "no base", so I didn't use one. They also said "two coats" but I laughed at that and applied three. Two coats left me with streaks and sadness. This particular shade was, for me, far too thin at two coats to be wearable. I can't abide streaks, so I added another coat. The polish itself doesn't feel very self leveling, but that could be just this color in particular. You definitely need a thick topper to smooth over the troughs.
There were no instructions (that I noticed) regarding when to apply the top coat, so I treated it like Seche Vite and applied it while the polish was still wet. It dried to-the-touch within about five minutes, but it was still easily dented if I wasn't careful. But it sorta fluffed itself back up, so the imprint of my jeans wasn't super noticeable. It was very glossy, and I wonder if this would have a similar effect over regular polish? That is a test for another day! (I totally did try it. It is a great top coat over regular polish, but I didn't test out the longevity.)

Wear
I guess this stuff did well? I mean, it was still on my nails after thirteen days...for the most part.  I only had one big chip on my right hand, and that was because I caught my fingernail on my suitcase and tore the polish (but not my nail. Woooo!). I didn't have any trouble with lifting or peeling either, which I sometimes do with polishes that are thicker. I didn't have much visible wear at all until about six days in, when it seemed to start wearing away at my tips. Have you ever worn the Sally Hansen Color Foils? You know how they kinda buff off a bit after a day or two? These kinda did that to me. I'm not delicate or careful with my nails though. There was a ridiculous amount of hand washing, swimming (salt water pools are awesome), and sun screen application over these thirteen days. I'm unsure if it was user error, or if this polish has some major dulling. It was definitely a demi-matte (very close to some neon polish finishes) by the time I took it off. That was a major bummer for me, because I like shiny things.

Removal
This stuff was almost too easy to remove with acetone remover. I gave myself a pedicure after applying this, and ended up having to re-do the first three fingers of both hands because the polish wore right off. Generally when I remove my polish, I will saturate a cotton ball in remover, and place it on my nail for 30-90 seconds, depending on the type of polish I've got on there and how many layers. Most polishes remove easily in one swipe using this method. I expected, because this is a gel-ish sort of concoction, that I would need a longer soak. This was most definitely not the case. It removed as easily as any regular polish, if not easier. There is no foil/scrubbing required for this stuff. 

 13 Days of Wear

almost made it to 14, but planets called me...
I think my ring and pinky nails grow faster than

the other three...
Tl;dr
It seems ok. I don't think it wears all that much better than normal nail polish that has been carefully applied. I think if you are going on vacation and can't be bothered to polish, then it is a fabulous option. I'm not sure it would really dazzle if you had a special occasion during that time though. I'm not throwing it out, but it may be my last bottle.



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