Gel Nails and My Quest to Have Non-Hobbit Hands That Won’t Break the Bank:
Some time ago I was wandering my local CVS and I saw a Sally Hansen Gel Strips nail kit. I was intrigued. I loved the look of gel/shellac nails, but didn’t feel like paying salon prices for all the upkeep. The kit was around $30 (bottom right pic). Long story short, the strips were awful. I’m kind of a pro at the normal SH polish strips, so I was surprised that the gel strips lacked the same tackiness, and bubbled like crazy. I followed the directions to a T, applying each strip, and then applying the gel topcoat and setting with the LED light. Sadly, the color from all ten nails popped off the very next day, and my dreams of glossy gel nails were dashed.
Fast forward to this weekend. My nails had been sans polish for about two weeks and were in ROUGH shape. Janky cuticles, bitten nails…not attractive. Again, I found myself wandering CVS and saw a display for Sally Hansen Gel Polish. It paints on like regular polish, so no strips to worry about, and cures with the same LED light from the strips kit. Deciding to give it one more go, I chose a bottle of Red My Lips (bottom left pic) and a base coat, which my strips kit hadn’t included. The full Sally Hansen Gel Polish Starter Kit with a larger LED curing light that does four fingers at once is around $70, which is a bit steep for me, but would definitely save time, and would still be cheaper than salon prices if you used it regularly.
I prepped my nails and cuticles, used the alcohol wipe on each nail bed prior to application and went at it…one slow nail at a time, since that’s all my bitty light can handle. Overall the process took somewhere around 45 minutes to paint on base coat, two coats of color, and top coat, with a LED light cure between each layer. With a final swipe of alcohol wipe to remove the tackiness after the final step I was left with ten shiny, dry, perfectly red nails. The photo above is taken on day 4 and I still have no chips! I’ll update at a later date on full staying power and removal. At $12.50 per bottle for the color, it’s slightly more expensive than an OPI or Essie regular polish, but a 14 day, chip-free manicure just might make it worthwhile in my book.