Sally Hansen Gel Polish

Tips for trying an at-home gel manicure

In Beauty by Angela Amman1 Comment

The sad state of summer manicures

Sand and water can take a toll on typical nail polish. Between the chlorine in pools, the grittiness of sand accompanying a day at the beach and the four hundred hand washings necessary due to sunscreen application, your basic manicure doesn’t stand a chance. If you don’t want Monday’s manicure to fall apart by Wednesday, consider a gel manicure. The light-cured polish lasts much longer, and savvy moms can achieve a gel manicure at home — with a few fabulous products.

gel nail polish
Salon quality at home

If you’ve been loving your salon gel manicures and can’t wait to bring the process home, the Gelish Basix Kit is a fabulous choice (Sally Beauty Supply, $55). Used by many salons, you can get salon-perfect nails without leaving the house with the Gelish MINI Pro LED Curing Light (Sally Beauty Supply, $75).


The easiest gel manicure to remove

The Kiss Gel Polish Color Gel Starter System comes with almost everything you need to get perfect nails at home (Beauty Online Supply, $20). You’ll need to invest in the Everlasting Pro LED Gel Lamp to complete the system, but the Kiss system provides a gorgeous, shiny manicure that’s one of the easiest to remove (Beauty Online Supply, $30). One of the main complaints about gel manicures, in general, is the removal process, so the Kiss system is the best option if you’re worried about spending a ton of time removing the polish.

gel nail polish

At-home gel manicures for beginners

The Sally Hansen Salon Gel Polish Kit comes with absolutely everything you need for your first at-home gel manicure (Ulta, $65). The system includes the LED light — and everything else you’ll need for gel nails at home. It’s the best system for one-stop shoppers who don’t want to worry about forgetting one of the system steps at the store.

gel nail polish

Best overall gel nail polish system

The Sensationail Gel System is an overall winner for at-home gel manicures. The salon-quality results are even more impressive considering the reasonably-priced Sensationail Pro 3060 LED Lamp (, $30).  Sensationail even has trendy polish choices, like their Magnetic Gel Polish in Tantalize, which sets their color selection apart from some of the other gel systems (, $12).


gel nail polish
Gel nail polish for the non-committal

If you want to try a gel manicure at home without investing in a complete system, Miracle Gel™ from Sally Hansen might be your perfect match. The polish is a two-step system instead of the typical three-step system, and it doesn’t involve the curing LED light. With over 45 nail polish shades available, you don’t need to commit to an LED system to get the lasting power of a gel manicure (Walgreens, $10 each for color and top coat).

An at-home gel manicure cheat sheet
  • Unless you want to destroy your nails — and we know you don’t — always remove the polish by soaking and not peeling. Peeling will take off the top layer of your nail with the gel, which results in thin, weak, splitting nails over time. You can use 100% acetone to soak off the gel manicure if you run out of the polish remover that you bought for your system.
  • LED lights will work with any gel polish. Just because you start with one system doesn’t mean you can’t snag a color you love from a different one. An off-the-record hint is that even regular polish will simulate a gel manicure if used with the gel base and top coats. Your typical polish won’t last as long as a gel polish cured under the light, but it will last longer than normal if you have a favorite shade you just can’t find in gel form.
  • Following the instructions on the system you buy is crucial. Skipping one of the steps may seem like it will save you time, but the curing — which is what makes the polish so resistant to daily damage — depends on each step being performed during each manicure.
Would you try a gel manicure at home?

Meet the Author | Angela Amman

Angela Amman is a short story and essay writer. Collecting her family's stories is a gift-in-progress for her daughter and son, and she blogs at Playing with Words, capturing the craziness and beauty that weave together to create something extraordinary. As the co-director of Listen To Your Mother Metro Detroit, Angela is thrilled to bring others' stories to the stage and to celebrate the magic of words, storytelling, and the courage to share that magic with an audience. When she should be sleeping, she works on her latest short story collection. Her writing has been featured on Mamalode, Peacock Journal, and Scary Mommy. Her personal essays and short stories have appeared in her collection, Nothing Goes Away, and various anthologies.

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  1. Wow great information shared. I am looking forward to try the gel nail color and flaunt it among my friends.

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