I never really imagined I would be doing beauty/tutorial posts, but here I am writing a review/demo for the SensatioNail gel manicure kit! I definitely love trying out beauty products and usually read at least a couple of reviews before I purchase most any type of product whether it’s drugstore or not. I have heard lots of rave reviews about gel manicures, but I actually enjoy doing my own nails and rarely go to the salon. This made me a little curious about all the at-home systems that have been popping up everywhere. Wasn’t sure if I wanted to shell out the money for one though! So, when my mom got this kit for Christmas I was pretty hopeful that she would let me give it a whirl! She loved using it and was very willing to share the miracle of gel nails with us girls. I figured other people might be curious about these systems before investing too, so I took pictures of each step. I learned a few tricks along the way that I think might be helpful to know before diving in to your first procedure. I’ve also included some of my final thoughts on the kit after the demo photos.
Have any of your tried gel nails at home or at the salon? What do you think? Is it worth the price?
File and buff your nails before applying the gel cleanser with a lint free wipe (provided).
Apply the gel primer and let it dry. I expected the primer to be dry to the touch immediately, but it remained a little sticky. To be safe, I let it sit for a few minutes before I moved on to the gel base coat. (I think it just stays sticky though!)
Apply a thin layer of the base coat and then get ready to try the lamp! The light stays on for 60 seconds total, but beeps after 30 seconds. The base coat only needs to cure for 30 seconds. I found it worked best to place your four fingers in for the first 30 and then switch to your thumb (below).
When the lamp beeps the first time, place your thumb underneath. Doing it one hand at a time like this keeps you from “wasting” lamp time. It will work a little differently in the next lamp step.
Now it’s time for color! I used pink chiffon. They really stress that each layer should be thin. It seems to me that if your coats get too thick, tiny air bubbles will form. Look out for them while you’re painting. If you see them just keep going over it with a mostly dry brush. The dry brush will help ‘pull’ the bubbles and smooth the layer.
Don’t forget to paint the tips of your nails to help seal everything in! (This actually applies to each painting step) You should try to avoid painting your skin. I painted the nail and then used the remaining polish on the tip rather than re-dipping. If you do get some on your skin you will just feel it tighten a little under the lamp. It might feel like there’s something stuck under your nail for a day or so, but should peel off or wash off soon.
Place your four fingers under the lamp for 60 seconds per hand. Then place both thumbs in for a third round. So, after this is when you’re probably going to need to use the bathroom…at least that’s how it went for me! I made the mistake of thinking that once I cured the polish I was pretty much set. Apply and cure the gel top coat before you run to the bathroom! The polish shouldn’t chip or smudge, but it’s tacky and every little hair or piece of lint will stick to them. Luckily, if you do get any fuzz on your nails (that you can’t just pick off), a dryish brush will help sweep them off just like the air bubbles. You could either try another thin coat of color to help pull them off or start the top coat and keep brushing until all the fuzz is gone.
And here it is! Fuzz free – phew! After you cure the top coat, you need to wipe them with the gel cleanser again. If you don’t do this, your nails will feel a bit tacky and continue to attract lint. Once that step is done, your nails should be hard as a rock!
Here they are a couple of days later. Still lookin’ good!
The reason that I didn’t put the top coat on right away was because I wanted to try some gold tips. I thought it would be best to let the polish sit for a while, add the gold and then do the top coat. I was wrong about that! To do these tips I tried a metallic sharpie trick that my mom told me about. I LOVED the way it came out, but it doesn’t last. I even put the gel top coat on and cured them. I left one nail top coat free overnight to see what happened and it basically just wiped off like a dry erase marker. The top coat helps it stay longer, but it still rubs off, just more slowly. I’d say on it’s own, it will last you a few hours before it smudges. With a top coat, you might get one full day.
SO what do I think?? I think it is worth the money (and time), but I still don’t know if I would buy one for myself. It really is a perfect gift idea! It is a great value when you compare it to going to the salon and it would be awesome to do before a vacation where you don’t want to have to do touch ups. Your nails will look beautifully shiny even just with the cured top coat. My mom bought the colors that she thinks are tricky to apply/don’t last with regular polish – red, black, white, and this light pink. I haven’t tried removing it yet, but my mom said it does take a toll on your nails because some spots might need to be scraped off with a tool. We both agree that the kit is perfect for applying these tricky colors, but it’s a good idea to give your nails a rest and use your fun, regular colors in-between! If you like to change your nail color every few days, this thing isn’t for you! : )