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.
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.