Saturday, April 6, 2013

Sally Hansen Salon Gel Polish Starter Kit Review

This is a long time coming, I was supposed to write this review weeks awhile ago, but I've been lazy. There is a whole list of things I have been meaning to blog about, but haven't. I totally copped out with that Wordless Wednesday post too. -__- There just has been a lot going on at work and hopefully when it's all done, I can share with you, but just know good things for sure. Back to the review!

I have been looking into these gel kits for a little while, but I was slightly skeptical. I had only gotten gel done a few times, years ago. Even then they just used it as a top coat for my acrylics. Since I vowed never to do acrylics or anything remotely damaging to my nails, I've had to deal with a cycle of growing out and breaking until my nails were strong enough to be on their own. I had read up on gel manicures and the pros/cons and cost. I decided it wasn't something I needed. Enter the Sally Hansen Salon Gel Polish Starter Kit. It looked interesting, even if it was wildly expensive by my standards. So I sat on it, did some research and read reviews on the various at home kits out there. Finally I decided to go with Sally Hansen. I've used their nail strips, top coats, and nail polishes before and they haven't disappointed me. They must know their stuff right? It definitely helped that there was a super sale at Target and I got the kit for $61.99! They usually retail anywhere between $64.99 to about $72.99, depending on store and location. You can get these at most Walmarts, Targets, Duane Reade/Walgreens etc. I was super excited and just picked it up right away. It was a sign from above that I had to have it. I was a little disappointed that they didn't have the color I wanted, only Wine Not and Shell We Dance. I had really wanted to try Red My Lips. No biggie. I took up Wine Not (Shell We Dance looked to pale for my tastes, although it could be pretty on others.) I will admit it still took me a few days before I broke it open and used it. I felt a little intimidated by it, as silly as that sounds.

This is everything that come in the box, full sized polishes and nice size acetone
I can tell you that once I read the directions, it wasn't that bad. I dove right in and went at it. Surprisingly easy, if not a little tedious, steps. Shape and clean nails - the nail wipes are just alcohol pads. Base coat, cure, one layer of gel polish, cure, second layer, cure, top coat, cure. Final wipe with alcohol and done. Just be careful to not get any on your cuticles or skin. I learned the hard way when I let it all cure and tried to peel it off afterwards. It ended up lifting it off my nail and I was left with a horrible mess. Some reviews I read, people were complaining that it was still sticky or wet when cured and never dried. Yes it is sticky when you finish curing, but that stickiness is what you wipe away with that final swipe of alcohol. After that, luxurious shine and hard to touch nails. Also one coat had pretty good coverage, at least in this color. I probably didn't need 2 coats.

First attempt - color is not true to the bottle/box

 Since a lot of the polish peeled off when I was trying to get it off my cuticles, I took it off after a few days. Take off was not as bad as I was expecting it to be. No where near as horrible as soaking off acrylics. I soaked some cotton balls with acetone, put it on my nails with the foil and watched some TV. I actually forgot about it and left it on for about 20 minutes instead of the 10-15 you're supposed to. But when I unwrapped them, the polish all flaked off. No scraping or buffing. I was shocked. It was a nice and welcome surprise! I used the kit again, but experimented. I used it over regular nail polish to see what would happen. I used the gel base coat, then applied 2 coats of my nail polish and 2 coats of the gel top coat. It didn't come out as nicely as I wanted, but I think I would try again using only the top coat.

ELF Smoky Brown. Excuse the ashy skin
It lasted about a week before I took it off. I got sick of the color. LOL but it lasted pretty well with minor chipping. Definitely longer than regular polish alone. It definitely wasn't as strong as the gel polish either, as 2 of my nails broke :( After I took it off, I tried the gel polish again. I wanted it to last because I was leaving for Easter weekend and I wanted my nails to look good and last through the weekend. I took my time and got it down, wrapped my edges and everything! I was so proud of myself. It lasted a good while too. I did my nails Tuesday night before Easter and took them off the Monday after. That's about 6-7 days? Minor chipping, I could have dealt with it, but the color gets tiring. And my cuticles were getting really bad from not keeping up. I will never win! But I for sure will continue to use this kit and buy more gel polishes here and there. I will figure out the best way to use my regular polishes as well.

2nd attempt. Much better. Trying out watermarks
slight chipping. horrible cuticles.
  • Easy to use, clear instructions
  • LED light is less harmful than UV light
  • Removal is painless, doesn't require scraping
  • Long lasting, doesn't damage nails
  • Color was not true to the color on the bottle cap, or on the box
Other than that, I can't really come up with any other cons. That my friends is a good thing. I am in love with this, and am not letting it go.

Have any of you tried any at home gel kits? Got some tips and tricks?



  1. That was great, I wasnt sure if it was really worth the money. I may invest in it one day. Thanks for this awesome review!

    1. No prob! Thanks for reading <3 I try to make these as helpful as possible, we can't all be beauty pros lol.

  2. I've been thinking about getting one of these. I just started back letting my natural nails grow out a few months back and regular polishes just don't last long. Might give this a try.

    1. It won't damage your nails, and I really thought it helped mine to grow, and offered a little more protection than regular nail polish. I'm obsessed with it now, and want to buy all the colors. Let me know if you get it!

  3. Thanks for the post. I get here Very helpful information. Excellent blog right here! I was just searching for this information for a while. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also.

    - Jane
    Shellac kit


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