Having perfectly manicured nails is one trend that never goes out of style. We love to have nails that are polished and perfected all year long. Nail-art and maintenance is a booming fragment of the beauty industry and looks set to keep on growing. But, in this ever-competitive world where new products are popping up daily how does the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Polish hold up? Read on to find out.
Finding a nail polish that provides long-wear has always been something I’ve struggled with. I’m quite an active person and subsequently rather hard on my hands. Thus, “chipping” for me is inevitable. I’ve tried so many polishes from the high street classics – Rimmel, Collection, Tanya Burr, Autograph – to the more high end favourites: Ted Baker, OPI, Illamsaqua, YSL. But, alas none have won me over. Don’t get me wrong! Some of these colours and formulas are lovely and on my toes look great and last well. But, again they are no match for my hard-hitting fingernails.
My usual solution it to head to a salon and have the beauty therapist work her magic with some Gelish or Shellac. This is always successful and I have lovely, groomed nails for the promised two weeks. But, doing this on a regular basis can be pretty pricey depending on where you go and what you want done. It also requires quite a bit of time. You have the extra effort of planning appointments in advance (to ensure you are “fitted in”) and planning your day and week around it to ensure you can make it along. So, as much as I love this kind of pampering session it’s not always the most practical option.
Yes, you can now buy yourself your own “at home” Shellac or Gelish kits but they also throw up their own host of problems. Again, when they work they are brilliant but the process can still be time consuming: setting up the light, adding the layers of polish and setters and clearing it all away. Working full time and running a house means I don’t always have the luxury to set aside the time to do all this. In reality, I want something quick and easy that gives good results. Is that too much to ask?
Shopping in Boots one afternoon I spotted the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish selection. I hadn’t heard or read too much about this product. However, it branded itself as fuss-free and was on a limited time price offer. Even now you can pick these up as part of the 3 for 2 deal in stores. I did a quick “google” on my phone and saw that it was a 2016 Allure “Best of Beauty” winner so, I decided to give it a go.
It’s important to note that (on your first purchase at least) you need to pick up two bottles: one colour and one top coat. Each bottle has a £9.99 price tag but one gel top coat can be used for several colours. As I stated earlier I picked it up as part of a “2 for” deal and it’s still part of the Boots classic “3 for 2 offer.” There are over 47 shades to choose from and stores are stocking a generous selection from this range; Boots online for example offers an impressive 52 colours from the brand. I opted for a hot-pink shade called, “Shock Wave,” a light pink-nude called “Plush Blush” and a classic beige-nude called “Birthday Suit,” I don’t know about you but I have always found that nude or pale pink shades never stay on and are a nightmare to apply. No matter how long I sit motionless to allow for ample drying time it always events up smudging, chipping or glooping. Oh how I long for the Instagram worthy nude-nail! So, from the outset I was already putting a lot of pressure on this product to perform. I later went back and picked up a few more shades to add more variety of colour to my collection: “Boho-a-go-go” and “Pretty Piggy.”
The packaging is pretty simplistic; I wouldn’t say it’s anything special. It’s not as pretty as the bottles from ranges such as Ted Baker or Reiss but, if it was going to do the job I was willing to let that slide. After all, my motivation for buying the product was one of practicality not prettiness.
In the overall shape of the bottles I can see some attempt has been made to make them appear feminine and vintage looking! But it’s the garish text smeared all over the brush lid that is the most off-putting. On the colour bottle the words “no light, sans lampe, ” are emblazoned in a repeating pattern. Meanwhile, on the gel top coat you will find an annoying, orange circle that looks like a peel-able advertising sticker. You’ll want so badly to pull this off but you can’t. This sticker contains the words: “Miracle gel 2x volume coat,” which isn’t the best articulation of what the product does and therefore fairly pointless in my eyes.
The instructions meanwhile are on a peel-able label found on the back of the bottle. This seems a little odd as this is the removable part but the one you are most likely to want to look at. And, it’s yet another disappointment as the labels are written in the smallest font possible. I consider my eyesight to be fairly good but I struggled to read this. Thus, I certainly wouldn’t class this as the most accessible of products.
How to Use
So, in the likelihood that you won’t be able to read the instructions provided how do you actually use this product? Well, the brand tells us that we should:
“Apply two coats of colour. Activate with top coat. No base coat needed”.
This is certainly simple and to the point but, it doesn’t provide any advice on how long to leave the colour on for before you apply the top coat. If you are used to counting the seconds or waiting for “the beep” on an at home Gelish system this might be a bit of a bugbear. Basically, common sense is needed here – wait until the colour is dry to touch. My advice would be to apply very thin layers of the colour coat. I found myself applying three or four coats doing it this way as it certainly dries quicker and smoother.
If you do go for the standard two coats approach then try not to move or do anything that could cause the colour to chip at this stage. If you apply the top coat over any lumps. bumps or gaps then they will be stuck there. It’s then time to apply your gel top coat. I opted for two layers of this for extra strength although this isn’t a necessity.
I can honestly say that I do like this product. I love the colours on offer and the finished look. The pigmentation of the colours is very good and the staying power is also credible. However, I do think the 14 -day longevity the brand promises is a little exaggerated. I managed to get through a whole week without any drastic chipping. And, in the case of the odd chip it was easy to touch up. So, if you’re more light-handed than I am you may find you will achieve closer the 14 days. I was particularly impressed with the quality of “Plush Blush” and “Birthday Suit.” I can’t believe I have found a product that lets me wear these kinds of shades with no streaks or blobs. However, I did find it easier to apply the polish on to some clear false nails rather than my natural nail bed. To be fair, I do think this is down to the make up of my own nails and not necessarily a reflection of the product.
However, that doesn’t mean this product is without flaws. The application is fairly straight forward if you have the time to let the layers set properly. If you do this then the product goes on smoothly with no stickiness or “gooping.” Rush things however and disaster will strike! My key piece of advice would be to keep an eye on the amount of product you have on the brush. There seems to be quite a lot when you take it out of the bottle and if you don’t wipe off the excess first you end up applying way too much. This seems to lead to the dreaded “gooping.” Thinner layers are the way to go but this obviously adds to the time it takes to complete the process. I did have to wait a bit longer that I wanted before it was dry and I could go on my way. However, it’s still less time-consuming than setting up a gel lamp and you can get round this by applying it when you sit down to watch TV or a film.
Therefore, despite the few niggles here and there I will most certainly be purchasing this product again. For the price I think the quality is great. It’s a good alternative to achieving quality, long lasting nails without heading to the salon. I can’t wait to start trying out more of the colours on offer.
Happy polishing everyone!