Product Review: Sally Hansen Salon Insta-Gel Strips Starter Kit | ageistbeauty

Product Review: Sally Hansen Salon Insta-Gel Strips Starter Kit

Let me start by saying that I am a long-time Sally Hansen fan and I was waiting with bated breath (as my mom used to say) for their new gel nail color products. I loved the idea of being able to do my own gel manicure at home, plus I am a huge fan of the Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips.

The Salon Insta-Gel Strips Starter Kit comes with a mini LED lamp, 16 gel polish strips, a gel top coat, 2 nail cleanser pads, cuticle stick and file/buffer. The starter kit is available in three different color options Red My Lips (classic red), Shell We Dance (light pink) and Wine Not (shimmery burgundy/purple).

If you have used the Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips before the process is the same for applying the Insta-gel strips with the addition of the gel top coat, curing and the use of the nail cleansing pad. After removing any existing nail polish, clean nails and apply the appropriately-sized gel polish strips by placing it at the nail bed first and then smoothing and stretching over the nail tip. Use the included cuticle stick and file/buffer to remove any excess nail strip. Next, apply gel top coat and cure under the mini LED lamp until the light goes off. Finish by running the nail cleansing pad over the nails to remove any gel residue.

Sounds easy right? I have applied the Salon Effect polish strips numerous times and have had no problem applying them on both my fingernails and toenails. Each time I get a very neat and professional-looking result. However, I found that Insta-Gel Strips were a bit thicker and less pliable than the polish strips. As such, they did not adhere to my nail very well. While I ended up with a decent result on my thumb (I say thumb – as in singular – because I only got through one hand before becoming frustrated and deciding to return the kit!), but on my other fingers I ended up with edges that would not stay down. I think the problem was exacerbated by my very short “chic-length” nails. With longer nails, I think it may be easier to use the file/buffer to remove the excess strip and create a seal on the nail tip.

The best of the bunch — and that’s not saying much.

This nail chipped within 30 minutes of me doing them. Booooo!

Frankly, for the price I would rather pay my local salon for a CND Shellac. The starter kit costs $27.99 and only has enough Insta-Gel Strips for a single manicure, plus a few extras in case you have need to do a mid-week do-over. Refill kits, which come in several other color and pattern choices cost $13.99.


5 years ago by in Nail Polish | You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
About the

By day, I am a busy marketing executive, mother of a 9 year-old daughter, and wife. At night, I put on my cool black eyeglasses, Stila Fiery long-wearing lipstick and become Ageist Beauty, a makeup, skincare and anti-aging product-obsessed beauty blogger with a particular passion for minimizing the pores of women across the globe.

24 Comments to Product Review: Sally Hansen Salon Insta-Gel Strips Starter Kit
    • meself
    • oh man no wonder you returned it! unfortunately this isnt the first negative thing I’ve read about these 🙁

    • chantel
    • Do not buy it. Big waste of money.I didnt have mine on for 24 hours. They fell of in the shower. They took forever to put on. Just a all around bad product.

    • Fullyassembled
    • I think this is a great product and have had no problems with it. My nails are very large and very wide, medium in length. I find the time it takes in the beginning is worth it because they last so long. I got the starter kit, and that color lasted for at least 10 days. The only reason I removed it was because the color was a little too light for me. My nails still looked great the day I removed them. Now I have on the “Pinkies Up” and they have been on for 9 days and look as good as the day I put them on.

      To me, they are well worth the cost and the time involved over regular nail polish. An I guess I should add that I use a keyboard all day, almost every day and no chips, no peeling.

    • Kimber89
    • I tried these and didn’t have any luck at all – they didn’t fit my nails and they peeled right off. However, I did use the gel and the light with my regular nail polish and it worked great so far! I left a review on the SH website for these explaining in more detail if anyone is interested 🙂

    • Chelsea
    • Can you just buy the gel polish and use it that way? Or does it have to be the strips? Im thinking about buying it, but i want to be able to use it with the gel if the strips turn out bad.

    • Stacy
    • The strips are garbage. You need to invest in the polish starter kit, which is around $65 at Target and Walmart. You really need to do the base coat for it to adhere to the nail and the strips have the base coat built in, which doesn’t work. Plus the LED light that comes with the polish kit is much larger so you can fit all four fingers in at once and then do the thumb last.

    • Tanya Gardner
    • I wish I would have read this before buying the starter kit. I had the same poor result and had to use glue to keep them on. It kinda defeats the purpose of purchasing this kit. Thanks for the information it made me realize that I didn’t do anything wrong when applying this product.

    • Heather Shineflew
    • absolutely agree I am reviewing this product now. At least I got it for free. I have it on less than a day and at first I thought I just sucked at application. But for something that they say NEEDS a 5 min foil acetone removal process in two weeks to get it off, It sure came up like dollar store nail strips. I lost two while washing my hair and another just now. After two hours last night I lost the pinky and redid it and reapplied the gel coat three times to each nail. I am dissapointed to say the least. Also they should include more of those alcohol wipes you MUST use to get the gel non tacky after you cure it. I use Julep freedom gel top coat and it dries instantly no tackiness and no uv light. For the rest of my review time I am replacing the strips that fell off with dollar store nail strips and julep freedom gel top coat and see if it fairs better. Thank you for letting me know I am not a failure as a woman and too stupid to apply nail strips correctly.

    • Stephanie
    • I got one also and I am not impressed. I wanted to love this product so much but i dont. I do have to say that I have tried it with regular nail polish and put the gel on top and I loved the results. The strips…. not so much though. Happy to know it wasnt me!

    • Vicky
    • IF the nails do actually stay on for 2 weeks, what is the process
      that you have to endure to remove them. The premise of the kit sounds
      good, (if they don’t chip) because in my job, involving my fingers in water,
      and picking up small screws and screwdrivers all day, they will get quite
      a work out. How difficult is it to apply ( with your left hand) to your
      right hand

    • Angeline
    • I love gel! I used to go to the salon about every 3 to 4 weeks. I was excited that Sally Hansen was making its own line of products. I decided to give the strips a try ….I have to say I am shocked… I am very unimpressed! I followed the directions to the letter and found the strips very easy to tear. I also have short nails cause I play guitar and agree that the edges do not seal well. Within 2 days I had chips on a few and on the 5th they were looking so chipped I took it all off. Oh and as mentioned a base coat does not come with the strips, they peeled off way too easy…no wonder they chipped so easy. A waste of money and my time!

      I will be buying a bottle today of Sally’s polish to try that out…. lets hope it is way better than the strips.

    • BeautyThatBe
    • Purchased this product from drugstore, price is a little high for a basic color, i would recommend buying this when you would like to apply a pretty pattern which is hard to develop using regular polish, Overall found this fun, easy and simple to apply, lasts as long as polish.

    • Kris Chicoine
    • Well unfortunately my experience wasn’t that great. The first couple of nail strips went on well. They were really pliable and stuck, then I started getting some that had hardened up that they didn’t stick. I started to worry about the sizes and how many I had left and had to cut some to fit that’s when it started getting messy. I finally said forget it and took then all off it didn’t look good and I’m a perfectionist when it comes to DIY stuff. The other thing I think you should beware of is that UV light. I used it according to the directions and it burnt me. It was kinda like dropping hot glue on you if you ever used a glue gun. I wasn’t quite sure at first so I had to do it a couple more times. I know, i know. Stupid but did it for all of you. So please be careful.

    • Cecelia
    • How long do the non gel strips last I’m going on a trip and I don’t want to worry about my nails I’m going for about a week do you think they will last thanks

    • Valerie Delisle
    • I was surprised to hear that someone paid only $27.99
      for the kit. At Shoppers Drug Mart, a very popular chain in Canada, they were $59.99 , for the starter kit here in St. Catharines, Ontario, which is located just across the border from the U.S. ( Another reason WE do a lot of ‘cross border shopping’) But thanks for the Info, now I don’t have to bother with it…

    • B. Brandon
    • I wouldn’t buy this product if you have any allergies or have sensitive skin. I tried it and after putting the clear coat over, the next day my finger tips/sides of nails were numb and then the next day the skin on my fingers began to get hard/dry and peel off! I have have raw fingers and it hurts!!!! I have had Gel nails in a saloon without any problem, but using this product did something to my fingers! I threw away the whole kit and out the money as well as raw fingers!!!!!!! All ten of them now!!!!!

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