Thursday, January 3, 2013

Sally Hansen Salon Insta-Gel Strips Starter Kit (People StyleWatch Style Hunters)

Last week, I was sent the Sally Hansen Gel Nail Strips Starter Kit by People StyleWatch Style Hunters.
The kit itself comes with all you need to create a long lasting gel manicure, such as a mini LED Lamp with Auto-Timer, Gel Top Coat, 16 Gel Polish Strips, 2 Nail Cleanser Pads, Cuticle Stick, File & Buffer. I was sent the color, "Red My Lips" but the starter kit also comes in "Shell we Dance" (a pale pink) and "Wine Not" (a slightly sparkly berry colour).

A couple of months ago, I purchased an at-home gel kit, so I was ready to compare this starter kit (which was much more affordable at only $29) to the kit I used by Red Carpet Manicure.

Everything that comes in the kit
The instructions are simple:

  1. Push back cuticles with orange stick and file nails with dark pink side of file.
  2. Open up gel nail strips container, and find strips that fit for each nail; set aside.
  3. Cleanse nails with cleaner pads.
  4. Peel off front of gel strips, peel back off gel strips. Affix to nail, using warm hands and cuticle stick to properly adhere strip to nail.
  5. Use light pink side of file to file the excess strip off the tip of nail.
  6. Apply a thin(!!) coat of gel top coat.
  7. Cure under LED lamp, and wipe sticky residue off with cleaner pads.
Overall, I had several issues with the kit! Although the instructions themselves were easy to follow, the biggest issue was with the application of the gel nail strips. Not a single strip fit any of my nails (most were too wide), and each of them had to be cut down and shaped to size. In no way is this time efficient (something this nail kit is supposed to be!!). I've used regular nail strips before, even Sally Hansen's Salon Effects, which I LOVE, and never had this problem until now.

You can see the jagged edges in this picture (pre-cure)
Thumb after cure - sides are still jagged
The strips themselves didn't adhere to my nails properly, either, and most had significant lifting even before curing with top coat. The mini LED light is simple to use (and safer than a UV light), although being able to cure only one nail at a time is a bit time-consuming. The top coat didn't give my nails that shine than my other gel topcoats have either, but it did the job.

finished nails - not too much shine, lifting is apparent
Once the nails were cured and cleansed, the lifting became even more apparent close-up. The kit promises up to two weeks of mirror shine and no chipping, but my nails peeled off within 24 hours when I gave my dog a bath; my regular gel nails last anywhere from two weeks to four weeks.

The individual products in the kit are useful and make for an affordable gel manicure, but the strips themselves are the ones with issues. Problems with sizing, jagged tips, and lifting make this particular kit a bit of a flop. Sally Hansen also sells a gel polish kit which comes in 16 colours (which would be applied like a regular nail polish, but cured under the UV light). I probably won't be buying the gel nail strips in the future, but I may give the Sally Hansen gel polish a try!

The complimentary products mentioned in this review were provided to me by People StyleWatch Style Hunters. All opinions are mine.


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