Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sally Hansen Salon Insta-Gel Strips Starter Kit Review

Hey guys!  Today I'm reviewing this gel strip starter kit from Sally Hansen in the color Red My Lips.  Just warning you, this is not a pretty review.

The kit includes a mini LED light with plug, instructions, cuticle stick and file, 16 gel nail strips, and 2 nail cleanser pads (which is just rubbing alcohol).  It looks all fun and exciting but...

Yeah...  You're probably thinking, "Liz, what is that supposed to be?!"  Well, let's just say I'm not impressed.  After trying Sally Hansen's Gel Polish Kit, I was looking forward to trying these out.  I love Sally Hansen's regular nail polish strips and I like using the Gel Polish Kit as well.  So the combination of the two should be amazing, right? 

Let me start off by saying that I followed the provided instructions to a tee.  And when I got bad results, I stopped and went back through the instructions again to make sure I wasn't missing anything. 

The first nail I did was my pinky.  While handling the strips, I immediately noticed that they were not sticky; they were barely tacky.  I had just opened the packet so it confused me.  They are also less pliable than SH's regular strips and surprisingly sheer as well.  In fact, this particular color reminds of the red plastic films on 3D glasses. -_- It applies like one too for that matter.

I've never had trouble placing nail strips before, but these took me a while because they wouldn't stick well.  (Yes, I used the cleansing pad before starting.)  I noticed that the instructions recommend that you "warm hands for maximum flexibility and to help mold the strip to nail."  My fingers were fairly cold, so each time I held my nail against the palm of my hand in hopes of making it stickier and more pliable.  No such luck.  What's a girl supposed to do during the winter time? :(  I don't know if it was because of that, but the sides just wouldn't stay down.

The instructions also tell you to smooth the strip over the nail edge to form a crease.  Well, whenever I tried to crease the edge to fit my nail, the sides would just kind of pop back up.  Then if I smoothed the strip back on my nails, the creased edge would come back up.  Basically making it an absolute nightmare to file the excess away.  After the pinky, I was exhausted.  I really did not feel like doing three more nails.  But I did in case it had to do with user error.  Each time the results were less than stellar.

Finally, my pointer does not even have the gel top coat on it.  At that point I was pretty fed up.  I really tried my best, but it was not filing smoothly and seemed to be even less tacky than the others.  Overall, I think it took me an hour to do just these four nails.  In that time I could have painted all my nails and toes with less frustration.  So very disappointing.  I was really hoping this would be a cheaper, easier alternative to the $70 Gel Polish Starter Kit.

As for the LED light and the gel top coat, they work perfectly fine.  I liked how this lamp has a raised spot in it to indicate where you should place your nail.  I found that very helpful.  The gel top coat cured as it should and it took no longer than the allotted 30 seconds.

Verdict: I'm sorry Sally Hansen, but these were horrible.  After I finished using these, I looked up other reviews to see what people were saying.  Most of the blog reviews I read were positive.  I saw one blog mention the problems I experienced.  Was I the problem?  So I checked consumer reviews on both Sally Hansen's site and on Ulta.  Ulta's overall rating was less than average (2.3/5), while SH's was 3/5.  Looking through the reviews, I'm seeing either glowing reviews (4-5 stars) to downright bad reviews (1-2 stars).  In the end, I'm not sure if I just got a bad set, but I'm running the other way if I ever see these again.

What I would recommend instead:  If you want gel, just use gel polishes.  They're much easier and ironically less time consuming.  If you want strips, use SH's regular nail strips.  I've never gone wrong with those, and I prefer SH's strips to OPI's.  I recommend you check out the application tab under my header for instructions on how to wrap your tips.  <- This will make them last much longer than the gel strips (in my opinion).  Want them to last even longer?  Why not just use a gel top coat over them?  I haven't seen any designs exclusive to the gel strips - so is there a difference?  I'm not sure if the gel top coat will react badly to the nail polish strip, but it's an idea.

Availability: Anyway, if you're still interested in trying this set out.  You should be able to find these at any store carrying Sally Hansen products for around $29.99.

Have you tried Sally Hansen's Insta-Gel Strips? How was your experience?  Let me know in the comments!  I'm really curious to know.

This product was sent to me for my honest review.
Please view my disclosure policy for more info.

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